The pandemic has flipped work culture on its head, often for the worse, with both leaders and workers feeling over-extended. It comes as no surprise that study after study is reporting record levels of anxiety and disengagement amongst all levels of employees. With whispers of a recession on the horizon, it’s easy for senior management to consider battening down the hatches on employee development but investing in your people is more important now than ever. However, for that investment to have a return, there needs to be three key ingredients: a learner-centric approach, built-in ownership and real-world application.
In these disruptive times, you need to make sure that your employees adapt well to changes and have the necessary skills to bridge the competency gaps. Delivering learner-centric leadership development is one of the best ways to meet your top talent where they are and ensure learning is pertinent and relevant.
Learning is a process and works best when it is viewed as more than merely a program. We need to provide platforms and opportunities where leaders can engage and exchange ideas; where they can broaden their thinking about the business in real time…not in some isolated classroom or with an external coach who doesn’t understand the context of their job.
When leaders from across the organization gather in peer groups, it gives them the unique ability to adapt their learning into the context of the business and the situation they’re facing. Not only will a person receive encouragement and helpful advice, but it comes from a from a place of understanding about the culture, values and mission of the business.
For leadership development to flourish, participants need a say in their learning outcomes. In a group coaching environment, we often create a common language and vision of the future and then facilitate an exploration of what individuals need to do to move toward that future state of leadership.
In the cohorts, leaders outline their challenges, ask questions and offer up thoughtful feedback and support in a way that allows each person to ultimately find their own answers. And, the group keeps each other accountable as they build their skills.
By connecting, leaders empower and energize each other. In essence, group coaching is a profound form of community building. It’s the only way to sustainably change behaviour and culture because it puts the accountability of leadership development firmly into the hands of your leaders. It shifts learning from an isolated or on-off event to a collective, shared experience.
Certainly, specific skills and behaviours are needed for leaders to successfully navigate our ever-changing workplaces. However, for these skills and behaviours to be honed and finessed, your leaders need to be able to apply what they’ve learn quickly and frequently.
Multiple research papers support the value of extending learning into the workplace and connecting the dots between workplace challenges and formal learning programs. Most executives cite on-the-job experiences as the key events that shaped them as leaders and taught them important skills, behaviours, or mindsets.
If you’re curious about how The Roundtable can help your organization develop a culture where leaders can support each other through coaching and mentoring, let’s start a conversation.