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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Adult Learner

I’ve been reminded this week about the importance of adult learning principles while facilitating a study group for the PHR/SPHR class.

If you are a leader trying to train or teach an adult, here are some principles to consider:
1.     Seek input from the learner(s) about what their needs are and what content delivery best meets their learning needs.
2.     Focus on real world issues.
3.     Apply information being taught to their jobs.  In other words, apply work-related experiences to the learning.  Encourage learners to share their experiences as a basis for connecting content to on the job application.
4.     Make sure the training meets their goals and expectations.
5.     Allow for debate and the exchange of ideas between participants.
6.     Provide tools for immediate application of content on the job.

It is also important to consider different learning styles (visual, auditory, or kinesthetic) and provide content that reaches the learning styles of different participants.   A strictly lecture style approach is not the most effective.  Try to incorporate:

·      Videos
·      Case-Studies
·      Role-Play
·      Activities such as worksheets, etc.

Here are a couple of cool tools to help facilitate group or self-study:

Speakeasy App for voice recording notes

Taking or considering taking the PHR or SPHR?   You might find information on Ben Eubank’s UpstartHR blog useful.  Make sure you scroll down to see the link about his PR Study Guide as well as other blog posts related to the topic. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Is Your Way the Only Highway?

The following quote from The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander has so much meaning for today’s leader: 

“How often in a business situation does a manager find himself at his wit’s end when he discovers that work has not been done by others the way he would have done it himself? A common response is to deliver the ultimatum, whether explicitly or implicitly, ‘Do it the right way- my way.’ Not only does this latter message tend to squelch innovation and creativity, but it also trains students and employees to focus solely on what they need to do to please their teachers or their bosses, and on how much they can get away with.” 

This speaks to the heart of what makes a leader a leader, not a manager or a boss.     Here are some thoughts on avoiding  the “my way or the highway mentality” to get on the road to strong leadership: 

1.       Make sure your people understand what their job responsibilities are as well as the guidelines that should govern how to perform that job (budget, work hours, etc.), then get out of their way.  Give them the freedom to figure out how to do their job best within those parameters.  

2.       That being said, make sure before you turn someone loose, that they have the training they need to be successful and the understanding of what resources are available if and when they should need help.  

3.       Allow mistakes.  Don’t let the fear a mistake being made paralyze action.   

4.       If and when a mistake is made, don’t throw people under the bus by pointing fingers and placing blame.  Instead, see it as a learning opportunity for that staff member, and take the time to foster that learning process.

How do you avoid the my way or the highway mentality?