Attributes of an Effective Learning Leader

Attributes of an Effective Learning Leader
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Choose An Effective Learning Leader
Unfortunately, the learning function in too many companies has either become a revolving door of well-intentioned leaders who lack clear support and direction from the business or is led by someone better suited to run human resources.

Learning Should Directly Improve People and Business Performance
There is a clear and compelling business case for companies to become learning organizations and to enhance their capabilities to adapt, grow, and thrive (or just keep pace) in these uncertain times.

  • Recent research by Deloitte reveals that 80% of managers understand the importance of learning for today’s organizations to perform at their peak.
  • Robert Half found a strong learning culture correlates to a 30 to 50 percent higher employee retention.
  • Gallup reports that learning opportunities are among the top three factors in keeping millennials engaged in their work.

Unfortunately, Learning Function Misalignment is Rampant
Without a clear alignment to strategic business priorities and a learning road map to address the most pressing organizational opportunities and challenges, the training and development function is doomed to fail.  It is, and should be, impossible to keep the attention of the CEO and leadership team if learning investments and initiatives are not directly linked to what matters most to employees, customers, managers, leaders, and the business as a whole.

Without relevance and alignment, executive teams become disillusioned with progress and decide to pay attention to other areas that matter more.

Helping Learning Leaders to Make an Impact
Effective learning leaders and Chief Learning Offices (CLO) are purpose-driven, weave learning into the fabric of important business decisions, and focus on creating a competitive advantage through people.  In fact, no other leadership role seems better positioned to foster a strong learning culture to attract, develop, engage, and retain top talent.

3 Learning Leader Attributes to Get Right

  1. Authority and Influence
    First, any effective learning leader should be given full authority and influence over the entire organization’s learning programs, budgets, and strategies. That means they should either report directly to the CEO or Chief Talent Officer.
  2. Strategic Business Acumen
    There is a big difference between focusing on training and focusing on the current and future skills required to move the business and talent management strategies An effective learning leader must be continuously attuned to the company’s priorities and align learning strategies, approaches, and investments accordingly. If your learning leader does not have the business acumen to sit at the executive table, do not expect executive level results.
  3. Organizational Development Expertise
    To make training matter, you must be able to not only assess if employees are capable of executing the near- and long-term strategies, but also integrate learning into the fabric of the employee value proposition, employee journey, and customer brand promise. That means understanding and shaping cultures, structures, behaviors, and systems.

    Understanding instructional design, training measurement, and training modalities is just the ticket to play the game.

The Bottom Line
Delivering skills-based and compliance-oriented courses is not enough to move the needle.  Effective learning leaders reshape capabilities and cultural norms to increase business performance and help employees thrive.  Creating a true learning organization starts at the top – is your learning leader up for the task?

To learn more about concrete learning processes and practices to get to the next level, download The Top 5 Training Strategies and Key Mistakes to Avoid

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