Are you an L&D (Learning and Development) professional? If so, you may find that these days you’re having to do more with less, on top of managing day-to-day training, implementing training plans, assessing changing business requirements and pulling rabbits out of hats.
Ok, maybe that last one isn’t quite right, but it can sometimes feel like you’re being asked to perform miracles and feats on a daily basis!
You may be wondering just what it takes to excel in the world of L&D – are you made of the right stuff? Are you on the right track? Do others have the same worries and problems as you?
We’ve worked with a lot of training managers over the years – from Heads of L&D to L&D newbies – and there are a few traits we’ve noticed again and again in those really great L&D managers. These traits are:
1. Knowledge of the HR/L&D world: if you don’t know what the latest developments are within training (such as the explosion of eLearning, particularly gamification in online learning), you won’t search out these solutions for your own organisation. And you’ll be missing out on really great training that might make the difference between business success and failure!
2. Advocates of training: the best L&D managers are passionate about training and increasing the skills of their employees. Once they settle on a training programme, they’re behind it wholeheartedly, whether they’re talking to their seniors, employees who will take the training or their friends down the pub on a lazy Sunday afternoon. They live and breathe organisational training, and fully embrace how important it is to organisational success.
3. Knowledge of marketing: it can be tricky to get everyone on your side, particularly if they have had bad experiences of training in the past. Convincing them that your solution is different and that eLearning is the way forward can be like extracting Excalibur! But an understanding of marketing can make the process much simpler. Knowing how to market your training plan effectively is an important part of rolling out your online learning programme. Click here for some guidance on marketing your eLearning plan!
4. Lovers of technology: ok, you don’t have to love technology, but it helps to take an interest in technology – particularly because, as we said above, eLearning is becoming more and more popular. Knowing your way around your Learning Management System will reassure your organisation that they’re making the correct choice. Never, under any circumstances, claim to be a technophobe and use that as an excuse not to update your training programme!
5. Decisive: as an L&D professional, you may need to make some ‘scary’ decisions. The decision to overthrow your current training scheme – which may have been in place for years or decades! – can be terrifying. That’s why it’s important to run with any decisions you make (but only if you’re certain it’s the best option for your organisation, of course – see the next point). Be decisive, make the call and go with it. Trust in your decisions and, should things not go entirely to plan, make sure you always make the best of your situation.
6. Evaluation skills: you’ll likely have a lot of information in front of you when you’re thinking of updating your training and development solution. Online/offline? Blended learning? In-house eLearning units? A fully-functional LMS or hosting on your intranet? Being able to effectively evaluate the options available to you (and, as you get further through the process, the companies you may use) will be a massive help. You don’t want to make a mistake and regret it – as we saw above, once you land on your choice, you’ll need to go ahead full-throttle. No takebacksies here!
These are just a few of the qualities that awesome L&D professionals possess. How many do you recognise in yourself?
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