How leaders can promote learning


Wie Führungskräfte lernen können

Leaders shape the organizational culture


Leaders have a significant influence on the culture within an organization. Therefore, if we want to create a learning organization where people can continue to develop, it is essential for leaders to create the necessary conditions. Without them, it’s not possible. In fact, if leaders hinder progress and, for example, do not allocate time for people to develop and learn, it obstructs the learning organization – and consequently, the growth of the employees.


Lead by example as a learning role model


If you’re a leader yourself, be aware that you have a key role in increasing or inhibiting learning competence in your environment. Start with yourself. Show your team that you take time to read, attend further training, or engage in coaching. When your employees see that you don’t assume to know everything but are still learning, it will have a positive impact.


How to develop more learning competence in your employees


In your everyday leadership, it’s about enabling a continuous learning orientation, i.e., promoting and challenging employees in their learning orientation. You also create learning-behavior conducive conditions to encourage and enable self-directed learning. Ultimately, everyone must learn for themselves, but you can contribute to it. In my book “4 Paths to Increased Learning Competence” (Only available in German so far), along with Renate Wittmann, I provide you with four aspects that you can use in various ways to expand your employees’ learning competence and thereby advance the company:


Create learning conditions


  • Discuss learning behavior within the team.
  • Make learning experiences and desires a topic of conversation.
  • Ensure that learning can happen without fear.
  • Reflect on your own learning behavior and how you evaluate other learning behaviors.
  • Communicate your own learning behavior openly and ask for feedback.
  • Enable learning for each learning behavior in the team – there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution.
  • Provide freedom for learning, collaborating, asking questions, and acquiring knowledge.


Recognize and expand your employees’ learning behavior


  • Provide diverse learning opportunities.
  • Establish projects with a high degree of experimentation.
  • Facilitate interactive forms of learning.
  • Provide opportunities for collaborative learning.
  • Establish learning groups, mentoring, workplace shadowing, and/or case consulting.
  • Ensure a conflict-free, relaxed environment.
  • Allocate time for questions, clarification, and uninterrupted thinking phases.
  • Facilitate and encourage personal exchanges (e.g., with a learning partner).


Plan learning opportunities


  • Learning does not happen randomly with your employees – therefore, create learning spaces and opportunities.
  • Clarify the framework in which learning should take place.
  • Make transparent how the new learning works and enable active participation in shaping collective learning.
  • Clearly communicate your role in the learning process.
  • Focus on openness and a learning-friendly, trusting environment.
  • Let your employees find the learning content they need and support them as learning consultants in the process.
  • Create space to share learnings and uncover unconscious learnings.
  • Utilize IT systems to share knowledge.
  • Celebrate successes and transparently reflect on failures.


Test and choose learning strategies


  • Ensure to create diverse learning opportunities to accommodate the different learning behaviors in your team.
  • Encourage your employees to try out various learning formats and methods.
  • Regularly exchange new methods and techniques with your employees.
  • Support informal learning.


My tool recommendation:


If you want to reflect on your own learning behavior, I recommend our brand new Strategy Planner for Learning & Personality (Only available in German so far), which helps you find out how you can learn most effectively and how it relates to your personality. It is also suitable for use in team training on the subject of learning.


“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


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