Should we be giving people a compass or a map?

During a Moorhouse breakfast seminar last week, there was a quote that came out from the discussions that really stuck with me - ‘how do we equip our people with a compass rather than a map?’

This made me think about how leaders can really get the best from their people, whilst ensuring the right support mechanisms are in place for them to be successful and to operate at their very best.

For me, it’s thinking about what courageous and inspirational leadership actually means as we navigate the future. Helping people find their way and create their own path as they go through a career that could span multiple employers and in some cases, multiple careers. Today’s leaders need to be brave and bring their teams in to working through the challenges ahead, empowering their people to work through potential solutions. Embarking on this journey means creating an environment which supports failure and looks at mistakes as learning opportunities, rather than fatal flaws. This then starts to shift and bring to life a new learning culture, whilst beginning to change the way we look at supporting and nurturing the talent within our organisations.

As this new learning culture develops, it is important to recognise that learning and development no longer just takes place between the hours of 9-5. In many cases, it is the 5-9 that shifts the dial when it comes to new capabilities, experience and intrinsic reward. In some cases, it can also be the time when there is a significant gain in terms of monetary rewards. As organisations we need to be creating a more agile, self-service learning environment, fuelling passion, encouraging people to play to their strengths rather than just focusing on what the organisation needs them to do. In doing this, organisations begin to upskill their people and create organisational benefits, whilst also appealing to those portfolio careers which are becoming ever more prominent.

With all of this in mind, I still think it is important not to lose focus on the importance and increasing relevance of a blended learning approach and the value behind models such as 70:20:10 where the ability to learn from experience and learn from others is key to continued professional development. For me, these are great foundations that enables change, whilst ensuring there is a sustainable learning environment. It is also essential to have check points to ensure you are harnessing and supporting talent to grow in the best possible way. For example, remaining focused on recruiting the very best talent and never compromising on the quality bar, enables people within that organisation to learn from others, either directly or indirectly. Furthermore, it also creates a culture of coaching and honest conversations around learning and development.

The significant of courageous and inspirational leadership is becoming ever more present. Personally, I want to work for a leader who continues to challenge me, puts me in uncomfortable situations and throws me to the cusp of my comfort zone, but offers me a safety net if I don’t get it right first time. It’s through having a leader that offers me this that I am able to navigate my career, whilst been given challenges and growth opportunities. Imagine what it would be like to work for a leader who encourages you to take risks, knowing you may not always get it right? But is willing to catch you if you fall.

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