As a motivational speaker, I have had the honor of speaking in a plethora of corporate seminars. During the Q&A session, participants often admit the real reason why they’re in the room; ‘To grow and learn’. Why is learning something new so important? And why do people spend their life savings on motivating themselves? This is a question I ask myself every day, and to date, I haven’t come across a satisfying answer. If you have one, do enlighten me in the comments below.
Coming back to the topic, the harsh reality is that people are not trained to seek advantages from their organization. Most organizations these days treat ‘learning something new’ as an “extra” that can be overlooked. Something which can be done on an individual level but there is not much of a culture to encourage employees to grow and learn new things.
Author Chris Miller in his White paper explores why organizations should encourage the development of growth? The learning process needs to start at the managerial level.
- Teach them to learn from their experiences and move forward.
- Instead of fearing the authorities, act. People beset with a Growth-mindset know that fear and anxiety are paralyzing.
- Go the extra mile. Try to get a little better every day.
- Be flexible. Things will not always go as planned. Embrace adversity.
- Don’t complain when things don’t go your way. This is a hallmark of a rigid person.
To garner a broad perspective of life, managers would do well to help their subordinates grow. Taking an online course isn’t enough; you need to show, teach, appreciate and play on the strengths of every individual. Support and encourage them to learn something new every day.
True learning starts from inside
A good starting point is self-development. Regardless of whether your organization supports a learning culture or not, it is your responsibility to grow and learn new things every day. Start with yourself. Which of your areas need grooming? What insights have you found supportive when it comes to accomplishing these goals? Share your answers with the rest of your team.
After every seminar, conduct a meeting and ask the participants to share what they have taken away, rather than bombard you with pleasantries of ‘that was interesting’. The best way to actually learn something is to teach it as soon as you’ve grasped it.
Make learning fun. The more enjoyable method you choose to learn, the better it will work towards altering the limiting behavior of people.
Celebrate growth & failure
A study conducted by Carol Dweck revealed that people don’t simply harbor passions; they nurture and water them. The best way to know what your passions are is to start learning new things. Be it getting to grips with an online task management tool that keeps track of your employees or a new course which can help you advance in your career. You need to find purpose in learning and encourage those around you to experiment around with things.
When I consulted on a global brand, they saw a 3X times growth in sales once their employees started celebrating little wins and appreciating the efforts of others even after a failure. Everyone can complain, but it takes a true leader/manager to appreciate the efforts of their employees and celebrate every failure with their chins held high.
Make way for people
As a manager, I’ve seen that my colleagues tried, again and again, to create hurdles for their people. While a true leader is someone who removes all the roadblocks and let the team do their work. Project management is not a piece of cake. But what differentiates a boss from a manager is the way they clear out all the blockages and make way for their employees.
Instead of just barking out orders, understand the stress level of your employees and give them some space. I’ve heard many employees complain that their boss recommended them for a development program, only to email them constantly throughout the session, forcing them to step out to address work issues.
Encourage new experiences
A research shows that as individuals, we need to be better aware of our limits and look for opportunities to grow. As the saying goes, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
Instead of running and shielding your employees, it is advised to let them witness the impact of their decisions. People benefit most and feel empowered when you allow them to weigh in on what learning opportunities are of greatest interest to them.
Sadly, the new experiences come with a daunting feeling when someone is highly accomplished in their roles. Only by carrying the load of problems, do people learn how to deal with those problems. You and your team might not succeed every time, but surely you can learn a lot from the experience itself.
Companies are investing time and money in employees without doing the up-front work to ensure that leaders are building a learning culture. The upper management has the largest and most immediate influence. Before you show employees how to grow, you need to grow yourself first.