When it comes to learning and development (L&D), leadership is a crucial element in shaping the future of organizations and their workforce. L&D leaders are entrusted with nurturing talent, fostering growth, and ensuring that employees continually acquire the skills needed to excel in their roles.
Below, L&D Think Tank members share the invaluable advice they’ve received throughout their careers — advice that has not only shaped their leadership journeys but also positively impacted the development of countless individuals and organizations. From mentorship to innovation, these leaders share the wisdom that has guided them on paths to excellence in L&D.
The best advice I’ve received as an L&D leader is to always keep learning relevant for the audience. It may sound basic, but it’s my guiding principle. Focusing on how the learning applies to the audience outside the classroom ensures our programs are impactful. Keeping it simple and relevant makes the learning stick, inspiring action. Prioritize the learner’s experience, and they’ll see the true benefits of investing their time.
The best advice that I received (learned) actually stems from the military: Train those below you to do your job and you train for the job two steps above you. In order for you to train those below you to do your job, you have to feel confident and secure in your job and self. In order for you to train for the job two steps above you, you have to be willing to let go (and delegate) to grow and rise!
The best advice I’ve received as an L&D leader is to continuously emphasize a culture of curiosity and growth. Encouraging a mindset that values learning from both successes and failures has proven instrumental in fostering a dynamic and innovative team.
This gives us an anchor, guiding the decisions we make around the programs and priorities in which we invest, how we spend our time, and the ultimate impact we have on our broader firm and our people. By doing this, and showing up in a way that shows agility and innovation, we can become a true vehicle for elevating business value.
Collecting qualitative and quantitative data about every training initiative — be it an e-learning, an in-person training, an onboarding cohort, etc. — is critical. L&D is historically not revenue-tied, but proving the value of the team’s work is still essential for gaining and maintaining senior leadership buy-in, investments and resources, and more. Make it a habit to track, at a baseline, the number of learners, the number of hours, and the average satisfaction score per training, and always have those numbers available for report-outs, leadership updates, and more. This helps validate your team’s position as a business-critical function.