Leadership development and independent learning

October 25, 2017 by Wally Bock

Leadership development requires a key transition that we rarely discuss. When men and women show up at your door, direct from school, they arrive with a handicap. They don’t know how to learn on their own.

Leadership development and the dependent learner

The top performers in the educational system are mostly people who are good at school. They are dependent learners. They take courses with pre-defined curricula. They’re tested on what someone else thinks is important. And they get the right answer if what they come up with is the same as the teacher or the textbook.

Those new graduates arrive at your door with many good traits. They’re smart and they work hard, but to be your company’s future leaders, they must learn to learn on their own.

Leadership development to create independent learners

The learning skills that young people arrive at your door with were important for success as students. But they’re not what those people need to lead a successful organization in a dynamic world.

You will have to teach them to identify what to learn about. Effective leaders spot critical issues before others. They do that, in part, by developing a personal system for gathering, evaluating, and using information. You can help them put such a system in place.

You will have to teach them to sift out relevant information from a mountain of irrelevant information and misinformation. Finding information is easy, curating it, and selecting the actionable information is key.

You will have to teach them to learn from people as well as from books and master the art of asking great questions. In the working world, a lot of the most important information is not written down where you can find it.

You will have to teach them the skills of effective persuasion. Understanding an issue is worthless if the leader can’t convince others to act that understanding.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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