The challenges you are facing as an L&D professional are unlikely to be unique to you, your organization or even your industry. When it comes to leadership development, our clients repeatedly tell us they are trying to help a growing number of inexperienced managers, despite shrinking budgets and smaller teams.
We recently ran a webinar for L&D and HR professionals to delve a little deeper into how organizations are faring in an era when leadership moments are experienced daily, and not just by those with formal authority. What are the demands on today’s digital age organization? What constraints are holding us back from equipping all our people with the skills they need to shine when that leadership moment comes along?
Within the discussion, several interesting themes arose:
Time–restricted leaders. When asked what leadership development resource constraints L&D are experiencing, 61% of those we polled said there is not enough time for their leaders to develop others, with additional comments around operational activities taking priority. We sustain learning through conversation with our managers and peers; and they are all too often not finding time to have that dialogue. It’s a worrying trend that we’re seeing across the board. The solution? In today’s ‘open source’ world where information is so readily available and there is an expectation of speed, a focus on frequent, short bursts of learning, with experiential ‘in the moment’ application is perhaps the key. These time constraints won’t go away. We have to adapt learning to fit.
Empowered learners. An overwhelming 77% of those we polled stated ‘leaders taking ownership for their own learning’ as a key challenge facing their organization. Though not surprising, we should consider that we do, in fact, learn all the time. We might not learn the right things in the right way, but having learned at our fingertips is now engrained in our psyche. As L&D professionals perhaps the disconnect is in the type of learning we are offering. We should ask ourselves whether it’s really about people not taking responsibility for their own learning. What are inexperienced (and experienced) managers looking for in terms of leadership support, and how we in L&D provide that?
A focus on all leaders. The core theme of the webinar was around ‘everyday leadership moments’. Changing the way we think about leadership. It’s recognizing that not only the elite few are leading the company – we all are. More distributed decision-making (45%) and ballooning numbers of inexperienced managers (38%) are seen as significant challenges amongst our poll respondents. Think of the employee who has a potentially tricky conversation in the diary for 3 pm or a project leader struggling to motivate the team. They both need ‘in the moment’ learning and tools to build their confidence and capability for the task in hand. It’s therefore critical that we ‘democratize’ access to leadership support throughout the organization.
You can listen to the webinar in full here.
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