The heading of this article may need some explanation. Learning leaders and leaders leading learning realized, at some point in their careers, that their continued growth as leaders and the growth of the leaders on their teams would flourish only if they continued to learn and grow. The success of any organization in today’s VUCA world or in the past when organizational life wasn?t quite as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous has always been about people. Leadership has always been a differentiator of organizational success whether it is in the private sector, public sector, non-profit or military, leadership and learning leaders have always carried the day.
Learning leaders and leaders leading learners are even more important today. The millennials who are rapidly becoming the dominate part of the workforce and will represent over two thirds of the workforce in a very short time are demanding learning and growth. If they don?t get what they are looking for they will exit their current organization and find it somewhere else.
I?m an avid reader and although I have years of leadership experience, training and education I always want to understand human behavior and leadership better. With technology moving so fast with so much disruption, we as leaders are going to have to always be curious and always learning more and leading learning in our organizations to be able to support our teams in responding to so much change in every facet of their and our lives.
I have been reading the current issue of Chief Learning Officer Magazine. In this issue, in addition to many interesting articles the Learning Organization of the Year was designated. If you are not familiar with Chief Learning Officer Magazine or go online to?http://www.clomedia.com/?. Not only is this a very informative magazine but one key message in all recent issues is the engagement of senior leaders in championing learning and development. More and more leaders from middle management to CEO?s are becoming continual learners and leading learning where they have the opportunity.
I found in my career as a leader I was able to have a very strong I impact on developing myself as well as leaders in my organization even though there usually wasn?t anything in my job title about leadership development. I always knew that as a leader I was in the people business. Any results I achieved throughout my career were always produced by a team of people, not me. My job was always to try to understand the needs of the people who worked for me and provide them with the tools necessary to support them in achieving our mutual goals.
Whether it was in my first leadership position as a supervisor of 15 people in a corporate accounting environment or as a corporate officer leading 8,000 people in 68 locations the issues were always the same. Its all about people and the questions are always around how can we find a way to lead in a manner that will resonate with as many people as possible? There are many techniques, processes, systems, technology that need to be utilized but at the end of the day its always about the people and what will it take to fully engage them in achieving our mutual goals.
I could continue this one-way dialogue for much longer but if I still have your attention, I?m sure I would be losing it soon.
Find a way to be a continual learner and a continual leader of learning. If you believe that your people are your biggest asset and that unlike other assets, your employees appreciate as opposed to depreciate and the speed, depth and duration of their appreciation is driven by your attention to and investment in their development then find a way to be intimately involved in their development. If you have a leadership development group partner with them, take the lead. If you don?t have a leadership development group take the lead in finding a way to provide the developmental resources your team needs and lead the charge.
As technology continues to evolve and disrupt industries and adds incredible value in many areas that we don?t yet understand the engagement of the human spirit in optimizing technology in ways that are productive will become increasingly more important.
Be a learning leader who is also leading learning.