Do Leaders Find Leadership Development Effective?

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I read with great interest the article in the HR Director reporting the research by Mercer that  “the most common leadership development methods are often considered the least effective by those in the organisation implementing them”.

Of course, this is (and should always have been) the challenge for Learning professionals – ensuring and then proving that learning drives business performance.

It is a challenge because correlating learning to business results is at best tenuous. For this reason, I have always encouraged training designers to “take the workplace into the learning…so that the learner can more readily take the learning into the workplace”.

But what does that mean in practice?

Building on existing knowledge

I strongly believe that leadership programmes must build on existing knowledge and be integrated with the goal of growth of the organisation itself. If you can focus on specific leadership skills, such as strategic planning, so much the better.

Individual support

There must be support for each person, ideally with each individual having a high level of personal responsibility for maintaining momentum of their development. This support can be in the form of coaching, but this should be strengthened by cohort work through an action learning set again give real world context.

Keep it real

Development programmes must replicate real life-situations – beware case studies that dilute this aspect.

Wide-ranging feedback

Individuals should receive wide-ranging feedback. But do not overlook the skills of ‘receiving’ feedback and turning that into a focussed personal development plan.

By adopting these practices, learning will reflect the 70:20:10 experiential learning model. The majority of learning (or around 70%) of learning will come through experience, around 20% from social learning with colleagues and 10% through formal learning.

Of course, any successful learning outcome will stem from engagement, so making sure that your leaders are engaged is vital – not only throughout the learning process, but at all times.

About the author – Nigel Walpole

As Managing Director of Bray Leino Learning Nigel has ultimate responsibility for the quality service they deliver. This means that his role is really all about the people who deliver that service, be it training administration, elearning development of face to face training.

Nigel has worked in Learning & Development for many years and he has a particular interest in the changes people from generation ‘y’ and ‘millennials’ will make to existing workplaces and practices – and how L&D will need to facilitate that change.

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