5 Ways L&D Leaders Lose Respect — And How to Win It Back

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In business, respect is currency. Without it, no one takes you seriously. With it, you gain opportunity and play a crucial role in business success. Because of this need, raising the professional profile of our customers is a main goal of eParamus. We’ve seen many L&D leaders lose respect when they fail to fulfill the call of their profession. It’s our job to enable learning teams to design effective programs and be able to articulate results. Yet L&D leaders lose respect when they cannot prove the effectiveness of their work.

5 Ways L&D Leaders Lose Respect

You fail to show learning program value.

Every other business department shows value with data—widgets sold, calls answered, problems solved, interest gained, etc. They can show how their department decisions and methods led to results and how changes to their decisions and methods lead to improved results. In contrast, L&D teams skirt these measures. They provide little if any useful data about their programs. Win respect: Create measurable learning. As a result, you can track behavior change that verifies learning program value to organizational success. Learn more: Learning Process or Learning Outcome—Where Do You Focus?

You don’t earn your seat at the table.

The C-suite is where the leaders sit. So if L&D isn’t invited to planning and strategy sessions, that’s a sign you haven’t earned respect. As a result, you are not considered a strategic asset to the company. You are considered as a fulfillment center, not a business partner. Win respect: L&D professionals must learn to actively provide information on how learning can improve performance. They must measure the results of their programs. Learning activities must drive business outcomes. Master the design skills needed to show how learning objectives link to specific, measurable business outcomes. Learn more: How Can Learning Professionals Earn a Seat at the Executive Table

You rely too much on SMEs and not enough on ID principles.

Most L&D teams rely heavily on SMEs—and there’s nothing wrong with that. We need their expertise to drive content creation and ensure accuracy. However, experts delivering content does not guarantee transfer of understanding. SME knowledge must be paired with instructional design (ID) know-how so employees can learn the information. Win respect: Embrace your SMEs and their expertise, but commit to building learning programs on a firmer foundation. Extend SME knowledge by including ID skills for creating measurable, quantifiable learning programs. Learn more: Business Trends Demand Professional, Skilled L&D Teams

You depend on opinion-based data rather than empirical data.

Smiley sheets and LMS activity reports reveal nothing about how effective learning programs are. Therefore, these tools only show what your team does and what people think about it.  Tools that report on student or training activities do not show training value. These tools reveal nothing about how well your team operates. Win respect: With standardized instructional design, create measurable learning and show what matters. This data will help you gain the respect of your business partners. Learn more: To Create Measurable Learning, What Do I Measure?

You accept the role of order taker rather than partner.

Think about how learning requests make their way to your L&D team. Do other team leaders tell you the training they want? Or do they rather seek your input and guidance on what learning programs to create? Is this a process that you’ve embraced? Win respect: Part of winning back respect means showing the value of your expertise. Learn to create learning programs that accomplish specific, measurable business goals. Use the data on results to drive the conversations toward solutions. Show stakeholders that you know HOW learning creates change in the organization. As a result, you’ll become part of the conversation before an order is ready to be given. Your knowledge (based on data) will highlight the need for your expert opinion. Learn more: Measurable Learning Speaks the Language of Business

What You Risk By Losing Respect

When L&D leaders lose respect, they lose so much more—the esteem of their colleagues, the confidence of business leaders, the deference to their strategic insight. Lack of respect degrades your team and downplays the value you provide the business. Gaining it back can be an uphill climb, but it’s worth it to secure the place of your L&D team in your organization’s planning and structure.

Have you lost the respect of your business partners and company leaders? Gaining back that respect depends on becoming a highly qualified group that delivers results. If your team needs to master instructional design principles and create measurable learning, please contact us here at eParamus. We’d love to help you master these essential skills.

Please follow eParamus on LinkedIn and feel free to connect with me, Laura Paramoure, PhD to discuss your specific learning challenges.

Photo copyright: Dmitriy Shironosov / 123RF Stock Photo

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