How Experiential Learning Can Build Better Leaders in Your Organization

“The single biggest decision you make in your job — bigger than all the rest — is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits — nothing.” ~Gallup CEO Jim Clifton

In Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace employee engagement study, Clifton highlighted one of the chief concerns that continues to weigh on the C-suite today: How can corporate leadership influence talent attraction and retention in their organizations.

It’s never been more true than in the wake of the Great Resignation: People don’t leave jobs. They leave poorly trained leaders who produce toxic cultures within their organizations as a result of their shortcomings. The numbers don’t lie: As many as one in two employees have left a job because of a ‘bad boss’ at some point in their career, according to Gallup’s State of the American Manager report. 

How, then, do organizations equip and empower both seasoned and nascent leaders to foster strong, resilient teams? How can companies cultivate a continuous culture of learning that drives transformational innovation and inspiration? At Worksmart, we propose that developing your current and aspiring leaders over time, will inevitably help your organization attract and retain talent – by developing people into great leaders.

Great Leaders Are Made, Not Born

To quote another visionary leader, poet Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Empathetic leadership has been identified as the most critical skill needed by organizations today. From spurring collaboration to combating burnout, organizations that boast managers who lead with empathy report better talent attraction and retention, enhanced employee engagement, and better business results compared to their peers. 
Leading with empathy can mean various things to different organizations, but we have identified several common traits of successful leaders. Often referred to as soft or power skills, they include:

  • Building trust, 
  • Allowing for adaptability that leads to resilience, 
  • Mastering conflict resolution, 
  • Developing a coaching mentality for all employees, 
  • Aiding in impactful collaboration – especially among remote teams

    Surpassing technical training, empathetic leadership development needs to address mindset and behavioral habits to gain these invaluable skills for long-lasting personal and professional transformation.

    Now for the big question: 

    Can empathetic leadership be learned?

    How Experiential Learning Fuels Today’s Empathetic Leaders

    Our research-backed programs at Worksmart, are founded on the principle that people learn and retain information best through creativity, play, and experiential learning.
    Our flagship Leadership Canvas™ program harnesses human behavior and organizational psychology to offer ongoing experiential leadership training, designed to develop your team through memorable shared experiences. Experiential learning levels the playing field, allowing teams to tap into a skill we all share but may have shelved — creativity.

    During our dedicated time together, through our creative methods, we are able to build your team of leaders through experiences that help understand yourself, others on your team, and how to work better together. After 12 months of our Building Block Workshops, you’ll experience a transformational shift in your team’s perspective, and a greater emphasis on leading with empathy. As one leader shared, “Leadership Canvas™ has been an absolute revelation. I got to know so much more about the leaders I work with. I feel it made me more alert and gave me more perspective and situationally aware.” 

    Your leadership team will speak the same language fluently and have the skills to train the next generation. Because, as Ralph Nader once said: “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”