How Peer Learning Groups Help Managers Manage



There are three major reasons why managers don’t manage: they are uncomfortable with their role and responsibilities; they lack confidence in their decisions; or they simply don’t know what to do. It is also problematic when they are isolated from the knowledge, experience and support of other managers.

According to Laurence Karsh, the President of SHL Americas, an organization’s human capital is its most important asset. The positive impact made by a single motivated manager can reverberate positively within businesses of any size.

Conversely, the burden of people performing below par — the hours spent correcting mistakes, the money wasted on unproductive performance, and the costs of having to recruit and train replacement staff — take a powerfully negative toll on the bottom line.

If you are interested in or responsible for ensuring that your managers have the training, resources and support necessary to meet the needs of employees, the challenge is to find accessible and effective management training that will build their comfort, confidence and capabilities.

In a survey conducted by the Center for Learning and Performance Technologies in 2017, over 5,000 managers were asked to rate the usefulness of 12 work-related learning methods. The least-valued ways of learning? Classroom training (essentially lecture and death by PowerPoint) and e-learning. The top two most valued ways of learning? Self-organized and self-managed forms of learning.

This is supported by research that resulted in the 70:20:10 Model, which found that approximately:

  • 70% of learning comes from experience, experimentation and reflection;
  • 20% of learning derives from working with others; and
  • 10% of learning comes from planned learning solutions and reading.

The classic leadership development program, conducted in physical isolation from the organization and outside of its operational context, needs to be replaced by experiences that build in real work, risk and accountability, intentional networking, exposure, collaboration, just-in-time-learning, and on-the-job problem-solving. The most effective learning comes from experience, experimentation and reflection.

That is why The Peer Learning Group Model© is so attractive. Managers share their experience and build their knowledge and skills as they bond with their peers. They bring the formal learning they’ve received from other learning methods (the 10%) and add to it by sharing their experience, learning new methods, and, most importantly, testing them out in their workplace in real time (the 70%).

The members of the group share a similar management challenge and want to learn other more effective ways to handle it. They do this in small 6-person peer learning groups that are self-directed and self managed. This means that one of their number facilitates the group, which meets onsite and on their schedule.

The peer learning group process helps managers become more comfortable with their role and responsibilities, gain confidence in their decisions, and learn how to handle common management challenges. It is also provides them with knowledge, experience and support of other managers.



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