Has your CEO stopped learning?

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Your CEO may have reached the top of the organisation in terms of hierarchy but that doesn’t mean they should take a back seat when it comes to professional development – that’s the warning from one HR advisor who says senior leaders still need to learn and grow.

“There’s a huge void of development at the senior end because CEOs and their direct report teams aren’t continuing that learning journey themselves,” says leadership and people management specialist Karen Gately.

“When this happens, there’s a chance they will lose sight of why learning and development matters because when we’re experiencing things ourselves, we’re more likely to realise their value and then invest in them for other people,” she explains.

Gately also says that if senior leaders aren’t pushing to develop themselves, other employees throughout the organisation may end up following suit.

“There’s a risk that other people will think it’s okay to become stale or set in their ways so when CEOs are making a conscious effort to improve and keep up, it sends a very loud signal to the business about how agile we need to be in our learning,” she tells HRD.

“An organisation cannot continue to learn and grow if it doesn’t have a learning culture where employees have an attitude that they want to challenge themselves,” she continues.

It’s for that reason that Gately says HR leaders should be stepping in if they feel their senior leadership team is falling behind on learning and development.

“In my mind, influencing the CEO’s investment in themselves is unquestionably the HR director’s job because it’s about optimising the potential and performance of the company – you can’t do that without high quality leadership at the top.”


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