L&D teams are actively working towards inculcating this learning mindset. But can all learning be left to the L&D teams of organizations? What is the role of managers here? An average employee spends a considerable amount of time each week with their direct manager. If you are a team lead or a manager, how can you best utilize that time to create a learning mindset for your team, reflect on jobs done together, and also focus on your own learning derived through these interactions and experiences?
"Leaders must shift from a “know it all” to a “learn it all’’ mindset. Educate leaders and employees on the importance of continuous learning and development and encourage them to seek opportunities to learn both formally and informally."
— Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
Few ways to inculcate a holistic learning mindset
Stay curious and lead by example
As leaders, it is important to nurture your team’s curiosity and encourage questions during team meetings or project reviews. One can use the 5Ws (What, Where, When, Why & Who) & 1H (How) to implement a framework of questions. It is equally essential that leaders be role models and walk the talk by raising alternative viewpoints and triggering debate amongst team members before concluding on any decision. A healthy exchange of diverse views can help set the stage for people to think, analyze, present, and strengthen interpersonal rapport.
Emphasize on continuous learning and development
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft says, leaders must shift from a “know it all” to a “learn it all’’ mindset. Educate leaders and employees on the importance of continuous learning and development and encourage them to seek opportunities to learn both formally and informally. Encourage a learning mindset among the team through online programs that can cater to specific individual’s needs and can be accommodated in one’s own schedule.
Encourage more employees to take on a trainer’s role
Rather than depending on external trainers alone, leaders can encourage their team members to facilitate training programs based on their strengths. They can tap into specific skill sets and share it with others. This not only widens the scope of holistic learning in organizations, but the employees feel valued and get incentivized to enhance their own learning and stay updated.
Give meaningful and constructive feedback that encourages learning
Leaders should use feedback sessions constructively to provide inputs and direction to their teams on what learning could be relevant for their overall development. Knowledge gaps can be bridged accordingly.
Leaders should also use these opportunities to seek upward feedback on what skills can help them support their teams better. This 360-degree conversation can be mutually rewarding and help identify useful areas for both parties.
Inculcate both technical and non-technical learning
Beyond core skill enhancement, adding holistic learning programs on topics such as compassion, empathy, stress management, etc. that focus on the well-rounded development of an employee is increasingly relevant. As a team manager, nominate your team members for such learning opportunities. If you are a participant, make sure you discuss a few learnings from the program with your team members, after its completion.
The potential benefits to an organization of a leader and team that has a learning mindset are immense. The onus lies on the leader to maximize the learning options provided by the organization for their teams and create a two-way holistic learning environment. This will not only help the manager evolve as a better leader but also set the right example for the team members who will be the potential leaders at the future workplace.
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