How are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions? The second week of January is usually when many of us begin to crack on those best intentions around eating less, drinking less, and doing more exercise, right?
There’s one resolution you really mustn’t give up on in 2016, and that’s how to use the next 12 months to step things up a gear in terms of using learning and development to empower and motivate your team.
Here are three L&D “resolutions” that will help you to lead your staff to success during the year.
Informal learning happens all the time in the workplace. Arguably, much of what we describe as “management” is really just informal learning: sharing knowledge and insight, helping people how to do and act, coaching people to perform or behave in a particular way...
However, concepts such as the 70:20:10 Framework are becoming popular. This argues the majority of workplace learning (70%) comes from on-the-job experience, 20% from social learning and interactions and just 10% through formal (whether classroom or online) learning.
Yet, if informal learning is happening all the time anyway, you want to be sure what people are learning is effective, relevant and “right” for your organisation. While over-formalising informal learning can risk snuffing it out, by controlling or directing (even just to an extent) how people learn informally you can make it much more powerful and compelling.
One ongoing conversation piece within the L&D community in recent years has been the rise of blended learning.
Blended learning is the idea that, while training and development can be effectively delivered within a classroom setting, in the modern workplace we increasingly gather the knowledge that allows us to do our jobs more effectively from a wide variety of sources. And the ubiquity of social media both within and outside the workplace is changing the idea, and the reality, of blended learning profoundly.
Chances are your team will learn on-the-job through formal online training modules posted on to the workplace intranet and one-to-one coaching, but it’s equally likely they’re going to be clicking on a YouTube video or finding answers to questions via LinkedIn, Twitter or a relevant Facebook group.
So, use and embrace this learning; encourage teams and individuals to engage, share and communicate in this way. Make a point of doing so yourself if you’re not already (and there may even be opportunities here for a bit of valuable reverse mentoring).
If you can show you recognise the value of social media as a tool to help your team grow and develop – as well as just communicate – it can become a powerful weapon in your L&D armoury.
In a workplace where people are increasingly accessing learning informally via social media, through their phones and tablets as well as their desktops, how you communicate as a manager is even more important.
Management and leadership is sometimes about holding “difficult” conversations, taking unpopular decisions and asking people to do things they’d rather not. However, the idea that to get anything done you need to have a “command and control” approach is long gone – and that’s where it should stay.
Teams expect leadership and vision, but also a consensual and “conversational” approach from their manager.
This doesn’t mean managing people is all about having a laugh – far from it. What it does mean is that managers will be expected to show emotional intelligence and focus on leading through building trust, respect, and demonstrating authentic behaviour.
This means developing active listening skills and learning to frame conversations in a way that encourages feedback, knowledge sharing, dialogue and even negotiation. It also means emphasising delegation, mentoring, and coaching.