Welcome to Business Leadership
You’ll find the 20% of leadership information that produces 80% of leadership results in this newsletter. This is well-researched leadership information that, when consistently implemented, will produce bottom-line results.
Our newsletter series has been expanding on the theme of discretionary effort. Leaders can set the stage for employees choosing to give that extra effort. Manager who inspire the extra effort are:
1. Performance and development strategists
2. Solutions enablers
3. Learning experience architects
4. Opportunity brokers
5. Honest appraisers
In performing this role, the manager helps employees find and use opportunities to apply new skills and knowledge. Part of that process may include teaching and coaching on the part of the managers and giving examples and advice as the employee tries out new skills and knowledge.
Most of us can relate a horror story of lost learning opportunity. Picture that time when people received training on new software that would be installed next month. Next month became the month after that and the month after that. By the time the software was installed, everyone had forgotten what they’d learned. They never had the chance to practice those new skills. Our company lost both the cost of training AND motivation from employees. Our employees were thinking, “What’s the point in learning if we never get to use it.” Or worse, “The second I get back to my desk, my manager is going to tell me to forget what I learned and do it the old way.”
Workplace learning comes with a “use it or lose it” warning label. Managers who heed that label find ways for employees to immediately use new learning. Indeed, transfer of training studies show that the manager is the single most important influence on whether the employee uses new skills and knowledge. Wise managers will see that employees use training quickly afterward and follow up later down the road to be sure the training is still being used.
Wise managers not only find opportunities for employees to use new skills and knowledge, they stick around to coach. We quite naturally know how to coach well. Think of teaching your child how to ride a two wheeled bike (or when your parents taught you).
Initially, you are there and very involved. Your hands are on the back of the seat and the handle bars. You are giving a lot of verbal instruction. “Pedal, pedal, pedal” and positive feedback, “Great job. That’s it.”
Then as your child begins to pick up the basics, you move on as well. “Ok remember to steer.” Your hands are still near the handle bars and seat although you are letting go for short periods of time to test how well your child can balance. You praise progress—frequently and point our errors—sparingly.
Next comes the point at which you know your child can balance, pedal and brake, yet they are not completely confident or were over confident and hurt themselves. Either way, they still want you there for support, just in case.
Finally, they, and you are comfortable and confident that they’ve mastered the two wheeler.
Now, simple as that, you know how to be a learning coach.
Join the dialogue on leadership
Expanded information, case studies, business applications and missed opportunities from the real world that you can use to further leadership development in your organization, is in our quarterly journal Leaders’ Work. For a sample issue,