10 Ways to Become the Next Learning and Development Star

“The future depends on what you do today.” – said Mahatma Gandhi.

Unquestionably, this statement is matter-of-fact, and if you are someone working in the L&D department, you need to sow the seeds now and create strategies to reach the pinnacle in your L&D career journey. 

However, without specific benchmarks and appropriate actions, your resolution to become the L&D star would be just like ‘Another New Year Resolution’ you make every year. 

Of course, having the required technical L&D skills, L&D Certification, and Personality Attributes will help you, but your soft skills will enable you to stay ahead of the game.

So if you are aspiring to make that influence in your L&D career, below mentioned are the points to master ……

  • Have a Challenging mindset.
  • Be that “iA5 Leader” (Inquisitive, Approachable, Assertive, Action-orientated, Able and Appreciative)
  • Grow yourself, before helping others grow.
  • Hone your Marketing Skills.
  • Master Project Management.
  • Master Designing thinking and Design Instructions.
  • Develop the Data-Driven Decision Making and Analysis.
  • Command on Communication.
  • Be a Strategic and Critical thinker.
  • Have that excellent Teamwork and Collaborating Skills.

Growth is essential while working in any domain, especially when you are working in the L&D department; you are highly conscious of your personal and professional development. As an L&D person, you already know the importance of working in the right company and the correct designation to grow in your career.

To develop more in your career, notably, you must have an appropriate global L&D certification, and at the same time, your resume should depict the required skill set. In addition to these formal requirements, you need a unique LinkedIn profile.

Also, it would be great if you maintain a sounder online presence, for instance, on Quora, Reddit, or any other websites where you can contribute your knowledge and learning.

In this article, I have mentioned the essential soft skills, a few exceptional technical skills, and some guidance and tactics to climb that ladder of success and become “The Learning and Development Star.”

  • Have a Challenging Mind-set 

“A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.”

 –Said Oliver Wendell Holmes, JR.

What could be more satisfying if you fill your profession with those new experiences and challenges? No doubt, It will be fun to work. Taking up new challenges will make every time worthwhile, and every effort counts while you are on the job.

You need to have a challenging mindset if you have decided to grow in the L&D department. To develop that, you have to acknowledge the excellence of your grind, take the hit, seek help if required, and aim to overcome in the end. In simple words, you need to aim to challenge yourself and challenge your audience.

As a Learning and development professional, you should remember that you have the Superpower of developing intellects. Thus, you need to use that Superpower wisely to bring transformation in the workforce, leading to increased productivity. 

Now, what else can be more engaging than giving challenges to your learners? Challenges can aid retain and mastering the knowledge gained from your training. But before you challenge the learners, you need to challenge yourself; you have to be in the uncomfortable zone of learning, researching, innovating and putting yourself in extreme conditions to be an L&D ninja.

However, this is not the end to developing a “Challenging mindset”. Again, it would help if you redefine your job in your head and the real world by challenging your audience and yourself.

As I have already mentioned, you have the superpower to Design, Develop, and Prepare real people; you should also understand that your job is not only to deliver or transfer information to the learner but also to design learning experiences. So, focus on designing practice instead of developing those boring quizzes. 

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Ultimately, you must aim to build the challenge for your learners to give them the most incredible learning experiences.

  • Be that “iA5 Leader” (Inquisitive, Approachable, Assertive, Action-orientated, Able and Appreciative)

Gone are the days when the leaders used to command their team and employees to get the work accomplished. However, with the changing corporate culture, equality and inclusivity got recreated in the system of the working atmosphere.

It plays a critical role in the smooth functioning of the organization as well as the entire team. As a Learning and Development manager or professional, you need to build the unique leadership skills. 

To be the “IA5 Leader, you must be Inquisitive, Approachable, Assertive, Action-orientated, Able and Appreciative”. Being curious, welcoming, positive, practical, proficient and supportive should be the core of your leadership practice. To simplify, I have explained all the leadership qualities one after another.

Be Inquisitive:  Being curious will help you be the problem solver, the helper, the creator and the proactive one. Thus, being curious should be on the top priority list for leading in the learning and development profession. 

 Be Approachable: As a leader, you must be open and unbias; being unbias and open to listening to your subordinates will help you be the best and most loved leader. Being approachable will benefit you to attain maximum productivity from your team and thus would be a win-win situation for you and your team.

Be Action-orientated:  They say, “In life, you need to talk less and work more”, a worthy phrase. Undoubtedly, every word here is accurate; to be a perfect leader; you need to bring those hands to work.

Supporting your team with the work assistance would be more than just awarding and much admired or respected at the same time. So it would help if you worked both hard and smart with your team.

Be Able:  They say you should “Practice what you preach”. If you encourage other individuals in your team to execute or hold specific skills, you should acquire them.

Moreover, you have to be able and deserving of the designated role. Here, being able means being adept with the required skills to master your team’s tasks.

However, it is not always possible for an individual to master everything and every skill.

But as a Learning and development professional, you need to master the skill of learning because only the skill of continuous learning and unlearning will help you be the most abled one, making you the best of the best leaders. 

Be Appreciative:  This is an essential quality if you are in a leadership role. It would be best if you had the aptitude to appreciate others and their piece of work. Appreciation is how you motivate and encourage the team to be more productive and efficient.

Not only have the skills of an “IA5 Leader (Inquisitive, Approachable, Assertive, Action-orientated, Able and Appreciative) you must have some documented certification or credentials to back up your knowledge. Without a doubt, you need to have a credential or certification in Learning and development. Still, to be a star Learning and development specialist, you need to acquire these above-mentioned qualities as you get seasoned in the industry.

As an L&D specialist, you have to be the cheerleader for continuing Education and keep researching the most promising and productive ways for continuous education. It would help if you had the attitude for the below-mentioned points. First of all, you need to believe in the term Endless Possibilities- Never Say Never! Adapting and implementing this will not only make you confident & consistent in your work, but also, at the same time, this would improve your worthiness. Moreover, it would be best if you practiced gratitude.

Yes! To be an effective leader, you need to be thankful and have a gratitude attitude towards their contribution. This attitude will help you collaborate with the team well, and the more gratitude you show, the better responsive and productive your team will be.

Also, you need to develop the aptitude for sharing and intercommunicating; to be precise, you need to be competent and willing to share knowledge. Lastly, you need to have the Now or Never attitude to complete the tasks on time. The Now or Never attitude will help you deliver projects timely, and also, at the same time, it will help you have ample time to make changes if required before the deadline.

  • Grow yourself first before helping others grow

Self-growth is of utmost essential to flourish in the Learning and Development department. Whether you are an expert, mediocre, or an L&D novice, you need to practise what you preach; that is, you need to behave the way you encourage others.

Furthermore, as a Learning and development professional, staying informed, educated, and humble will keep you ahead of the competition. Moreover, it would be best if you were proactive instead of reactive. Be a continuous learner and try to be the expert in your domain of Learning and Development.

Besides, you need to continuously invest in self-growth to stay ahead of knowledge and expertise. They say that the more you learn, the more you will earn. Similarly, when working as an L&D professional, you need to be well-read and always prepared to accept new challenges and gain experiences that will make you the most promising and in-demand “L&D STAR”.

  • Master Project Management.

I know this isn’t a new term for you if you are already working as a learning and development manager, but I am sure that this would brush up your knowledge on project management. Again, if you are mediocre or a beginner, this will surely help you master your project management skills. Here are a few tips for more proper project management.

  • Mark all the critical queries at the beginning of the project.
  • Trace the extent and objectives of your project.
  • Convey positions, expectations, and goals to the team.
  • Monitor improvement and recognize roadblocks.
  • Make sure all deliverables have been completed and finish the project.

Planning, organizing, and controlling your training area and handling numerous projects are must-have skills for L&D professionals. Being a learning and development professional, you need to know the Project background, analyze the learners and the learning requirements, and find the suitable and most appropriate technology and tools.

The delegation and the staffing within the project are crucial to mastering timely and productive project management. Last but not least, you ought to know your project’s Development Approach Assessments and evaluations. 

  • Hone  your Marketing Skills

Surprised right? You read it correctly; you ought to develop and learn marketing skills. As a Learning and Development professional, you need to view your organization as your customer. You have to consider the trainees as your end customers.

To rock in your role as an L&D specialist, you need to develop your training strategies like you are selling a product that can be that extra edge to your skillset. Once you start thinking like a marketer, it magnifies your training impact, helps you make better strategy and training designs and, without a doubt, provides you with an opportunity to be proud of your work.

Therefore, start thinking like a marketer, and if not aware, how? You can check some great marketing workshops available online to master the gist of marketing techniques and put it into your L&D practice.

Eventually, these implementations will help you innovate training solutions, spread your unique designs and strategies, and make a tremendous impact.

  • Master Design thinking and Instructional Design

You need to learn the skill of prioritizing consumers’ or learners’ needs with design thinking. With a design thinking approach, you should rely on observing your training with empathy, how your learners interact with their environments and employees, and interactiveness simply; you need to have a hands-on approach to creating innovative training solutions.

Apart from mastering design thinking, you also need to understand instructional design theories and practical implementation and master adult learning psychology. Mastering instructional design will give you insights into systematic designing, developing and delivering instructional materials and experiences, both digital and classroom training deliveries.

  • Develop the Data-Driven Decision Making and Analysis.

Data is the key to measuring the success and impact of your tainting delivery and effectiveness. Right from the skills gap analysis and feedback collection, data is everywhere.

You, as an L&D professional, would be highly dependent on various data to make decisions related to the training deliveries as well as changes to be made in training modules. While you may be getting better at collecting it, it is still challenging to investigate and adequately put the results into a pattern.

For this, you need to master the Kirkpatrick model, which will help you build a base in the measurement of learning impact and, at the same time, it would help you measure performance solutions. So you need to get familiar with the data managing software to gain that expertise in data-driven decision-making.

You will be highly dependent on reports generated, or you need to make those reports to take significant decisions. Again, there are numerous courses available online for mastering this skill.

When it comes to the decision making using the data, we can have a solid understanding of the learner’s understanding and the improvements you need to implement as the learning provider.

  • Get-Command of your Communication.

They say that excellent communication acts as the bridge between confusion and clarity. As you facilitate the employees’ learning, you need to be perfect in business communication.

Learners and other stakeholders would also be your regular point of contact. When your role requires or mentions communication skills, you ought to have everything from email writing to report generation, social media posts, speaking with co-workers or subordinates, or public speaking; you need them all to be flawless. Communication skills can be mastered with the help of many online courses and workshops.

For instance, British council business communication programmes linked to Learning Courses and Udemy can give you endless options. Obtaining involvement in your organisation by creating an inner newsletter or promoting new interdepartmental groups is also a great way to show off your communication powers.

  • Be a Strategic and Critical thinker.

You have to play a versatile role in the Learning and Development Profession. Honing multiple skills is the requirement of the job role. But what tops the list of requirements is the skill of creativity, and you all know that creativity comes with critical thinking.

Further, the more you practice the art of strategic thinking and see the bigger picture, the better you can lead and direct the overall project. I would personally recommend you search for some critical thinking skills courses that are readily available on the online learning platforms.

  • Build that excellent Teamwork and Collaborating Skills.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – said Michael Jordan. Also, “No man is an island entire of itself”, – said John Donne; well, these statements are true-to-life when discussing the importance of teamwork and collaboration in any business or team. 

No doubt, pandemic has given us lessons of loneliness but at the same time taught us the biggest lesson of collaboration during the time of virtual working conditions.

Having the skills to collaborate can help you be the best L&D professional. You in the learning and development department need to collaborate with different experts constantly; collaboration and teamwork can help you make more significant tasks easier and doable.

Also, to stand out in the competitive market, you must highlight them on your LinkedIn Profile, resume, and other online profiles and accounts.

Conclusion: 

Overall, having the required specialized L&D skills, L&D Certification, and Character traits will assist you in sustaining and growing in the L&D department, but your soft skills will stimulate your exponential growth. If you have the right attitude to give and accept learning challenges, being that “iA5” leader, besides always being willing to learn and share your leanings, will provide you with remarkable success in your Learning and Development career.

However, to hone all these skills, I recommend you take up our most appreciated and globally acknowledged certification for aspiring and existing learning and development professionals.

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