Principles of learning leadership

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Written by Barry Johnson on 5 October 2017

We are advancing into the Fourth Industrial Revolution that will impact every element of an industry and society. From the executive leaders to the foundation workers, all will be involved in change.

Learning leadership creates a learner-centred environment within an organisation. The learning leader will lead a learning community that may be a skills, knowledge and attitude cluster or a particular organisational grouping. Training is evolving to learning facilitation both on and off the job.

A collaborative learning environment will spread the ideas and creativity present in digitisation, AI, intelligent robots, leadership, social behaviour and the advances in biological technologies. Learning leadership is a significant departure from tradition.

As in other avenues of life, those who exhibit enthusiasm are the ones who inspire the most people. Contagious enthusiasm is at the core of learning leadership.

Within a system of learning leadership, the leader encourages learning achievement as a top priority of the organisation. The managing learning leader will be a member of the board and that will be his or her target population, resourcing learning facilitation to bring the directors and functional executives into the exploitation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

I can already envisage some of the executive population running for cover and others seeing it as the adventure of a lifetime.

The learning leaders throughout the organisation will strive for learning excellence. In each learning community, they will redefine learning objectives with the functional executives and learning needs with the people managers.

Learning leaders will provide AI learning facilities, learning facilitators as well as creating on-the-job learning opportunities with the managers thereby ensuring that the organisation operates the latest approaches and techniques for operational excellence.

Through discussions with the functional directors and people managers they will:

  • Establish clear goals for employees at all levels of the organisation
  • Allocate learning resources
  • Encourage social learning
  • Manage the curricula to ensure it meets the organisation's operational and learning goals
  • Monitor lesson plans to make sure they use modern learning research findings
  • Evaluate learning facilitation based on the new emerging parameters.

Learning leaders will exhibit a clear sense of direction for their organisation, prioritising the issues that directly impact the output of managers and other employees. In addition, learning leaders continuously build the strengths of learning facilitators.

But more essential than any other factor, these principals will lead by example, serving as a visible presence and committed to achieving success for the organisation. As in other avenues of life, those who exhibit enthusiasm are the ones who inspire the most people. Contagious enthusiasm is at the core of learning leadership.

The process of learning is a pursuit that must take place from the top. When those overseeing the management of the organisation and its resources are excited about learning, they'll share this enthusiasm with those around them, building operational excellence, a viral process that spreads from executives, to learners and on to the social community at large.

This is the real Fourth Industrial Revolution, social, technological and human advancement through learning.


About the author

Barry Johnson BA, Chartered MCIPD, MCMI is the co-founder of Learning Partners. He has extensive experience in designing assessment events for development and selection and is an experienced facilitator and assessor.​


Read more from Barry here

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