Skills of Leaders of Learning Organizations?

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Five Disciplines > Forum > Skills of Leaders of Learning Organizations?

Skills of Leaders of Learning Organizations?
Kurt Moore
What skills or traits do leaders or managers need in a Learning Organization?

Leaders Skills in Learning Organizations
Eric Beebe
Effective leaders need many skills to be successful.
However, success starts with followers - the people who actually do the work of the organization. To me, this suggests "empathy" is one of the core/fundamental skills necessary to lead any organization - not just a learning one.

Skills needed for Leaders of Learning Organizations
Jagdish B Acharya, Consultant, India, Premium Member
As suggested by Eric Beebe, empathy is one very important trait of good leaders. A good leader should not appear to be leading, he or she should appear to be expecting the best from his people. When we expect the best, which is achievable as per us from the people, people try to be that. And excellence develops.
Excellence in leadership is to get ordinary people to do extraordinary as a team. People must be stretched to bring their best but it should be human and not too analytical to be seen as a scheme. People do not like to be part of a scheme.

Leadership Skills in Learning Organizations
Mohun Aujayeb, HR Consultant, Mauritius, Member
It would be wrong to state a defined series of skills/traits. Leaders should be capable of managing any situation to achieve the organisation's goals. Building a learning organisation is but a process towards that mission.

Leaders Skills in Learning Organizations
Gerard Leigh, Business Consultant, United Kingdom, SIG Leader
As Eric says leaders need to have many skills but as a leader who is trying to build a learning organisation the starting point is to set the "shared" vision. Define what you are all trying to build, draw them into the vision and most important... Inspire them! Inspiration is, in my opinion, "the" driving force behind the journey to becoming a learning organisation. When people feel inspired great things can happen. The leader then needs to set the pace, create the resources and make sure impetus is provided on a regular basis.

Culture is the Starting Point
Gary Wong, Consultant, Canada, Premium Member
@Gerard Leigh: Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg in their book "How Google Works" offer a different starting point. "When starting a new company or initiative, culture is the most important thing to consider. Once established, company culture is very difficult to change, because early on in a company's life a self-selection tendency sets in. People who believe in the same things the company does will be drawn to work there, while people who don't, won't."†
The two suggest that the smart approach is to ponder and define what sort of culture you want at the outset of your company's life. The best way to do that is to ask the smart creatives who form your core team, the ones who know the gospel and believe in it as much as you do. †
Try this experiment in your current organization. Ask the leadership team: What do we care about? What do we believe? Who do we want to be? How do we want our company to act and make decisions?
Presumably, something in their responses will be about a learning organization. If it doesn't spontaneously surface, then think again about becoming a learning organization. It's not in the leadership DNA.

Culture is Always the Starting Point - and Everything in Between!!!
Gerard Leigh, Business Consultant, United Kingdom, SIG Leader
Hi Gary - I agree! Was it Drucker that said "culture eats strategy for breakfast"?
The shared vision, I was alluding too, was not necessarily about the strategy, or the "hard" metrics. The vision could well be about culture. Company culture, a concept pioneered by Edgar Schein, is the operationalizing of an organizationís values. Culture guides employee decisions about both technical business decisions, how they interact with others and how the learning happens! Good culture creates an internal coherence in actions taken by a very diverse group of employees.
A journey to becoming a learning organization, will by its nature, re-shape the culture of an organization. I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.
Great to debate by the way!

Special Interest Group Leader
Gerard Leigh
Business Consultant

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