7 Habits of Highly Effective Chief Learning Officers

Jun 10 16:12 2021 Lakshmi Narayana Print This Article

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Have you ever tried changing your routine of getting up late? Or attempted getting out of a relationship that is becoming toxic? Or consider adopting a healthier lifestyle? Well,Guest Posting you might have thought about it, but chances are, in reality, it rarely happens. Why? Old habits die hard. And this holds for leaders in any organisation as well — especially when it comes to learning. But for improving learning at workplace, change is necessary.

In any company, habits drive the design of strategy and design workflows. Habits also define how leaders build the structure of their organisation and communicate with employees regularly. Your habits also determine who you turn to for new ideas and advice. If your habits lead to positive results, you reap their benefits. Additionally, your peers will practically apply your concepts, and success comes easily — without your coaxing anyone. Habits indeed serve as shortcuts, and hence, it’s a challenge to do away with them. But with the industry being driven by changes, a change in habits is necessary. Only then you can think of improving learning at the workplace.

Improving Learning at Workplace: What Are Some of the Common Old Habits Showcased by Leaders?

The current industrial scene is highly competitive and complex — driven by rapid changes. Therefore, to stay competitive, leaders must concentrate on improving learning at the workplace. How? By changing their old methods of operation and adapting their behaviours. While most managers are willing to accept change, others are a little reluctant. Let’s see some of the areas where it’s difficult for the leadership to alter old habits:

Driven by Deadlines

Here is a famous quote by Albert Einstein: “No problem can be solved by the same level of thinking that created it.” Einstein achieved success by altering his static thinking process. He was prone to questioning his thought process, taking risks, and working from inspiration. You can apply it to your working mode as well. Senior executives should not shy away from introducing radical changes in their companies so their organisations can stay competitive. It is essential to adapt to changes and then convert their thoughts into actions. Only then you will contribute to improving learning at the workplace.

The current workplace is indeed driven by digitisation. And this offers limited scope to sit back and relax and reflect. Hence, almost every leader is compelled to work throughout the day, driven by deadlines. However, such a habit makes it challenging to mull over creative ideas — which is necessary for transformative strategies. To cultivate a culture of fresh thinking, we need to slow down and be open to new ideas and see patterns that are not immediately visible. Additionally, working 24×7 inhibits collaboration. Continuous working means operating alone. Hence, there is no room to communicate and receive ideas from others, altering one’s thinking and approach.

Not Letting Go of Authority

Although leaders claim that they want inputs from their staff members, they are often stuck with the idea that they are the sole authority. Since the original strategies were already proving to be successful in a slow-changing market, they believe that its long-standing process is continuing to work in the long run. Leaders do not want to alter the old policies related to marketing, selling, or manufacturing. Officials who believe that they are the authority think that new ideas may be too drastic or impractical. They are not willing to consider new ideas from customers, key stakeholders, and employees.

Believing that Their Knowledge is Sufficient

Confidence is vital for any leader to be successful. However, knowledge is unlimited. But it’s often seen that senior executives consider that they know more than others. This habit diminishes the likelihood that their direct reports will offer input or even retaliate. Subordinates believe that they should never question their manager. Some of the results of such a habit are not being receptive to feedback, cutting people off, being dismissive, always having the correct answer, and having a support team of employees who always say ‘yes’.

Not Opening up to Risks

When a leader has already been successful in a stable market, s/he does not want to take any risk. Since the business has not failed in the past years, they believe that its past strategy is still working well. This is when senior leaders play it safe and do not like to open up to risky ideas. They even ignore signs of disruption in their markets. Leaders might hold brainstorming sessions to come up with innovative new products or marketing ideas. But rarely are such ideas incorporated in the real world.

Not Considering Well-being

When a company has been successful in a market for years, its leaders may view the organisation as a machine that will regularly generate profit no matter who is working there. Executives will presume they can replace anyone without missing a beat. And with an ingrained habit of treating employees as interchangeable cogs in a machine, executives can look at employees’ personal lives as subservient to, or, at times, in direct competition with the corporation’s needs.

Leaders possessing this habit can ask or even demand that people regularly work long hours and on weekends, be available by cell phone or email on vacation, and be away from home for days or weeks at a time if a big project requires it.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Chief Learning Officers: Improving Learning at Workplace

  1. Embracing Ideals

French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” Transformational leaders need to be guided by ideals. They require a grand but vivid vision of why the organisation exists and where it’s going. A leader needs to remind team members of these ideals to keep them hopeful during trying times. Reminding employees of a clear vision of their organisation’s core values, purpose, and future direction is especially crucial in times of high stress. Without this habit, leaders risk being pulled into a reactive state every time they face external pressures. A CLO should strongly consider building an online training platforms course with maybe a half-yearly refresher cycle built-in that trains and retrains the workforce on organisational goals and values. We strongly advise keeping the criticality of undergoing this training at par with the statutory compliance training.

  1. Engaging Productively

The habit of productive engagement forces leaders to recognise that they are responsible for the impact their words and actions have on others. It is also responsible for creating an environment where others feel safe and are willing to voice their opinions. Leaders who demonstrate productive engagement meet their colleagues with open ears. Specifically, for a leader, driving workplace learning, leveraging your eLearning platform can help drive engagement for employees who can interact and provide feedback via different social forums.

Productive engagement is about interacting with other leaders and employees in ways that gain action and commitment. It means supplementing assuredness with openness and receptivity, being open to feedback, and taking action on that feedback. It also means cultivating curiosity and high self-awareness and being accountable for your impact on others.

  1. Opening Up to Agility

Having an open mind enables leaders to expand what they think is possible. They remain open to new ideas, no matter where they come from — inside and outside the company, whether from the front lines, customers, suppliers, or the board. It is vital for improving learning at the workplace. Keeping an open mind is a hugely valuable leadership habit since the most critical ideas that companies must act upon often exist at the bottom of the middle of an organisation, not at the top. Feedback forms, introduced as a part of eLearning modules, play a huge role in learning about employee views and gap areas.

  1. Acting Innovatively

Learning through experimentation is a leadership habit that balances the legacy habit of avoiding risk by delaying action. It’s the ability to uncover the best course of action through experiments, innovation, and learning as you go. Microlearning is an ideal way to help employees absorb knowledge on their phones at their place and pace. Leaders should think about action-taking as a learning opportunity. You experiment, you try a part of the solution, and then you learn from it. The results from these experiments lay the foundation for the next set of actions to take.

Building competence in innovative action helps executives reduce bureaucracy and hesitation. It also creates an environment of curiosity and learning, trying new ideas and abandoning those that aren’t working after reasonable effort. Leaders with the ability to balance conservatism with innovative action permit team members to do the same. They enable employees to make rapid decisions without being afraid of missteps. Moreover, this habit makes people more engaged. They align behind the goals, and they have a stake in the organisation’s future.

  1. Vital Fulfillment

Leaders who drive transformation with the habit of vital fulfilment create cultures where people feel well used rather than used up. This challenge is even more significant during the global pandemic. Leaders dedicated to vital fulfilment pay attention to the stress their employees are experiencing. They curtail late-night and weekend emails, even if their workforce is mainly remote. And they understand what a fulfilling life and job mean for each of their direct reports. They also roll out online learning platforms modules — necessary for improving learning at the workplace.

  1. Adapting to the Art of Conscious Leadership

The habits of conscious leadership may sound like discarding the practices the leaders leveraged as they rose to the top. It may also appear that by staying connected to integrated ideals, productive interaction, intellectual agility, innovative action, and vital fulfilment, executives relinquish the habits that got them there. That, however, isn’t the case. The legacy habits described before are still necessary under some circumstances. But, with focus, they will no longer unconsciously drive a leader’s beliefs and behaviours.

  1. Willing to Take Risks

Brilliant leaders make it their habit to shatter the status quo — necessary for improving learning at the workplace. They know that growth and remarkable change can only come from doing what is unfamiliar, bold, and new. Personal and creative development cannot manifest from comfort. The majority of us stay in our comfort zones because change is scary. What if it doesn’t work out? What if you decide too late that you were better off where you were? These unknowns can potentially keep you so stuck in fear of creating change that you end up staying where you’re feeling unfulfilled. Make it your habit to get out of your way and take some risks. You may not win all the time, but each stumbling block will pave the way for your success at the next step.

Conclusion

To stand out as a leader in your own right, you must create the habits that back your success and good reputation. Only then you will contribute toward improving learning at the workplace. Once these habits become a part of your daily routine, you set yourself up to be well on your way to becoming the great leader of your own success and helping others achieve theirs. Do you want to bounce off a few ideas? Our team at PlayAblo is happy to act as your sounding board!

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Lakshmi Narayana
Lakshmi Narayana

PlayAblo is an award-winning cloud-based learning platform that offers multi-device support, microlearning modules, corporate learning and analytics, gamification among other features.

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