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9 Ways To Be A Connective Leader Who Can Hold The Team

9 Ways To Be A Connective Leader Who Can Hold The Team

Being a connective leader is no harder than becoming a skilled musician. If you apply these principles and play by the rules, people will follow you.

1. Encourage creativity.

Always involve others in seeking solutions. One of the qualities that makes us different from every other person is our creativity. It’s good to explore the creativity of each member of your team. Diversity brings innovation. From my years of leading several teams, I have discovered that the best ideas often come from passive members of the team. It doesn’t matter that everyone is not outspoken, what really matters is that everyone is heard. Always make sure you involve every member of the team in decision making, regardless of their personality.

2. Become an active listener.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Listening and hearing is not the same thing. Your ability to listen as a leader is your greatest asset, and it’s an asset not many leaders possess. Everyone wants to be heard; no one wants to listen. Sometimes just try to listen and not say anything. When you listen, you show your team members that you care about them and this encourages them to share with you. If you are going to be a connective leader, especially one who is skilled at problem solving, you just have to become an active listener.

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3. It’s okay to fail.

Failure is not the end of the world. In fact, you cannot succeed until you have failed. There is no way your teammates will not make mistakes, so the way you handle such mistakes is what will determine what kind of leader you are. Allow your teammates to safely face and self correct it whenever they fail or make mistakes. When someone makes a mistake, compliment her for her effort and tell her that she can do better next time. “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”

4. It’s all right to be a friend.

The days of autocratic leadership and dictatorship are far gone. There is a popular saying that “leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.” You can’t move people to action unless you first move them with emotion. Being a friend is not as hard as it seems; all you have to do is take personal interest in the growth and success of everyone you lead. Learn their names, find out where they live, give them something of value on their birthdays. Connect with them emotionally, and they will follow you to the moon.

5. Lead your team on a journey.

One of the costliest mistakes most leaders make is that they want to get to the Promised Land first and before everyone else. A team is called that because it consists of diverse people seeking a common goal. Whatever your team’s goal might be, make sure you carry everyone along. Even footballers are not happy when they get benched, regardless of whether or not the team wins a trophy. Let your team members help you as you make crucial decisions and overcome difficult challenges. They say that “success is a journey, not a destination.” Allow your teammates experience the joy of overcoming each challenge on the way to glory.

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6. Invest in your team.

I saw a funny joke recently. A CFO was having a conversation with the CEO of a firm.

CFO to CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us?”

CEO to CFO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

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The education of your team members should be a major concern to you as the leader. The more individual team members grow, the bigger and better the organization or group becomes. There is a popular saying that “to double your productivity, triple your education.” In other words, to double the strength of your team, triple the education of your team members. Investing in your team members also brings loyalty.

7. Give recognition.

Don’t try to take all the glory. Give recognition to whom recognition is due. According to Dale Carnegie, “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” Recognition is a major motivation to humans. Who doesn’t like to be recognized? We all love recognition and compliments. Take note of even the little things and make sure you give compliments openly so that the receiver can be very happy. This will also help other members of the team to strive harder so they can receive compliments for their good works.

8. Let your actions inspire others.

“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” ―Mahatma Gandhi

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People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves. In a typical organization, the moment your subordinate becomes stronger than you, he will become your boss and you will become the subordinate. One way to earn respect is to do what you say. You lead by example and from the front. First show your subordinates that you can do it, and they will follow you. They will give their best to become like you

9. Trust is a must.

To be a connective leader, you must earn the trust of your team members. There are various ways to earn trust but some of the best ways are: make your teammates comfortable around you; don’t judge people by their weaknesses and inadequacies and don’t do divide and rule; be a good listener; be your team members’ no. 1 cheerleader, and so on. No matter what you do, you will never be a connective leader if you don’t have the trust and respect of your team members, so earn it.

Featured photo credit: West Point – The U.S. Military Academy via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

1. Canvas Network

Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

2. Google Classroom

This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

4. Absorb

This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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5. Watershed Collaborative

Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

Honorable Mentions

There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

  1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
  2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
  3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
  4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
  5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

Conclusion

There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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