A former colleague used to become highly animated when she spoke of the power of learning on the human person; that when we learn it has a transformative impact on lives. When I first heard her speaking in this manner, I thought she was going a bit over the top.
The more I reflect on her musings, the more I realise the wisdom of her observations.
Think about it: when you learn something new – whether in making sense of new concepts or principles, or learning how to execute a new skill…mental or physical, how good does it feel?
When the proverbial light bulb comes on, or we have success in mastering a process, it gives us such a buzz. We feel a sense of satisfaction or achievement and often desire to share our success with others – commonly wanting to teach them.
It’s little wonder learning is a foundation of high morale in the workplace.
The feelings described above are aligned closely with how we would describe flourishing – that strong sense of purpose and fulfilment; a depth of contentment that is largely unaffected by luls in our daily experiences and thus helps us to avoid the perils of workplace Burn out.
What can leaders do to maximise the opportunities for their staff to experience the satisfaction of learning on the job? You might be surprised to hear me say there are many simple, yet effective strategies you can employ! The reality is, this is indeed true.
Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ is indeed a seminal piece of work due to its emphasis on leading from principles and not whims. His illumination about the concept of ‘Stewardship Delegation’ is something all leaders should understand and apply, if they wish to support the learning of others.
The key result of Stewardship Delegation is an individual is trusted to take ownership of a delegated task and deliver the prescribed outcome as they consider best. When we own a task and have autonomy to execute, we learn so much, including that from the inevitable mistakes we’ll make along the way.
In my piece on the place of building empathy as an antidote to workplace Burn out, I made mention of the impact of providing ‘Keep’ feedback.
I could write a dissertation on the role feedback, if delivered and received according to clear guidelines, can play in fostering a high morale environment! The key is for leaders to understand why it is so powerful in supporting learning.
Leaders must understand feedback is only positive. “Negative feedback” is an oxymoron if viewed through the lens of learning.
“If you start mentioning the front of house team in your thank you’s it will be more impactful”, “If you stop talking so fast, it will enable your message to be more readily understood.” are examples of what might initially feel a bit challenging, yet in the fullness of time can only support a person to be their best.
Let me say it again. ALL FEEDBACK IS POSITIVE…because it is designed for one purpose: To support the development and learning of others.
Learning excites us. We instinctively want to learn and thrive when we do.
Learning is like a heat shield to the threat of Burn out. All leaders have an obligation to create an environment where learning is part of the daily rhythms of work. The good news is, it’s very achievable.