40 Ways Managers can Promote Learning in their Teams

Dr Peter Honey, creator of the Learning Style Questionnaire (LSQ) presents 40 methods managers can use to improve learning opportunities within their teams.

There are many ways that managers can help to promote learning, advancement and ultimately, the success of team members. It is in both the manager and the organisations interest to foster an environment conducive to learning as this help to boost engagement and productivity.

Do not covet your ideas

The above statement was propounded by Paul Arden in his seminal book It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be. The rationale behind this was that if you “give everything away that you know, then more will come back to you” and continues with the assertion that if you are secretive and hoard your ideas ”you will end up living off your reserves and eventually you will become stale”.

The same logic can be applied to the below list of ideas, all of which were generated by line managers in brainstorming sessions held during various seminars I have run over the years.

Ideas to help managers create learning friendly workplaces.

  1. Analyse mistakes, in a non-accusatory way, to see what can be learned from them.
  2. Hold frequent Q&A sessions.
  3. Invite people to identify possible courses of action and anticipate the consequences of each.
  4. Ask people for their advice: “If you were in my shoes, what would you do?”
  5. Ask people “What have you learnt today?” & “What are you going to do differently/better tomorrow?”
  6. Get people to play devil’s advocate with ideas.
  7. Give people different responsibilities while covering for holidays.
  8. Give people an interesting project to tackle over and above their normal job.
  9. Ask people for their ideas on how to improve working practices/processes.
  10. Delegate, not just to get a task done, but to provide someone with a learning opportunity.
  11. Hold “gripe sessions” and then challenge people to come up with ideas to overcome the causes of dissatisfaction.
  12. Get someone to deal with the items in your inbox and review the decisions they made.
  13. Hold regular learning reviews to crystallise what has been learnt from recent experiences.
  14. Keep quiet and let people have their say first.
  15. Hold collaborative problem solving/decision making sessions.
  16. Praise someone for a specific thing they have done well at least once a week.
  17. Rotate the chairperson at meetings.
  18. Hold “what if” scenario planning sessions.
  19. Get people to prepare and deliver presentations.
  20. Give people reports to read and summarise into one-pagers.
  21. Get people to read a business book and run a discussion exploring its relevance.
  22. Set agreed, but tight deadlines and hold people to them.
  23. Ask people to set their own targets/goals/objectives and agree them with you.
  24. Get people to talk you through their day.
  25. Invite someone to paraphrase what they have just heard.
  26. Get people to visit parts of the organisation they don’t know/have dealings with.
  27. Get people to write their own job description and agree it with you.
  28. Set people assignments.
  29. Make people accountable budget holders.
  30. Hold a discussion where people’s values are shared and explored.
  31. Get people to conduct customer satisfaction surveys.
  32. Take a controversial work topic and hold a “for and against” debate.
  33. Get people to give you feedback/appraise your performance.
  34. Get people to experiment with new ways of doing things.
  35. Give people self-development “venture capital” and get them to justify the way they used it.
  36. Hold peer feedback sessions.
  37. Get people to say three things they like about someone before they state a concern.
  38. Get people to give outside talks to local schools, voluntary organisations etc.
  39. Fix everyone up with a mentor or coach.
  40. Give people a set number of “learning days” per year.

It’s good to share! Can you think of any additions? Tweet @TalentLensUK