In celebration of Adult Learner’s Week, the Calgary Public Library recently welcomed Dr. Dianne Roulson, Diversity Manager at Calgary Board of Education. She provided fascinating insights into her research and the work of leading adult learning. For me, it was a time to look inward to discover “how we can gather around our core purpose” and help others to learn and excel.
Dr. Roulson reminded us that most effective leaders are those who are committed to learning. What was interesting is that her research showed that while we are constantly seeking harmony in our work and lives, that we often make the biggest gains in understanding and learning when we are in a state of unease or in the midst of disjuncture. As those of us who lead learners, we should be prepared to expect the unexpected and to “rattle chains around a good idea.”
She moved on to propose that good leaders should be prepared to sharpen their abilities to listen and respond in challenging situations, but should resist moving too quickly. That while we should be willing to wander into the middle of a situation that’s causing a stir, we should take the time to evaluate the current situation, who’s involved, and what’s currently happening. I know that I often try to respond as quickly as possible to solve a crisis, and this makes me wonder if a wiser approach might be to sit back and think a bit longer.
And on that note, she also stressed how important is it to carve out time every day to study and read what’s notable and meaningful in our jobs or industry, to gather new ideas, and take time to contemplate. In an era of constant email and increasing workloads, it’s often tough to refocus in stressful times. But she certainly provided a compelling argument to make it happen.
For more ideas on work, learning and leading, check out many of the Calgary Public Library's books, such as The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton. And don't forget about the wide array of databases for research on this and other topics.