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Developing a Growth Culture – The Value of Adult Educators in an Organization



31 Core Competencies of a Leader

By Nancy Thompson, Executive Director, AWENS – Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia  @nthompsonED

Today’s leaders are tasked with creating a culture where growth occurs every day. This task cannot be taken on by one single leader, but requires the involvement of a multitude of leaders within the corporate culture. The involvement of management at several levels ensures that leadership is initiated from the top, and then evolves throughout every level of the organization.

The entire organization must be involved to create a culture of leadership that ensures a continuum of growth. This means employees within existing positions are obligated to recognize the need to acquire leadership skills and knowledge to help others be successful.

Leaders who help others improve the way they work through more effective learning can transform their organizations into a learning culture. Stop for a moment and think about the qualities of a good leader vs a manager.  Anyone can be in a leadership position, but this doesn’t mean they are a leader. There is a difference between managing and leading. Managers look after things/checklists (budgets, invoices, scheduling, reports) and usually do so from behind a desk. Leaders are individuals who can facilitate the transfer of knowledge and encourage others to take up new challenges.

Organizational leaders should be up for the challenge to create a culture of learning. To do so, leaders must look at the adult learning environment within their organizations. The development of an adult learning based environment would allow leaders to ensure they are delivering and facilitating in a way adult learners within their organization are learning effectively.

Great leaders know that to connect with their teams, they need to be engaged, ready to step in and support their people, even working side by side to get the job done. Leaders take the time to build their social skills and interact with others so that there is a strong teamwork atmosphere – these are principals of Adult Education.  Leaders need to look at becoming great facilitators. This can be accomplished by understanding and practicing leadership with the principles of Adult Education.

AWENS helps organizations focus on Adult Education and Organizational Learning that shapes the learning culture in an organization. AWENS members understand the role that Adult Education has on assisting leaders to become great leaders by delivering leadership programs that increase the capacity and potential of all adult learners.

To learn more about leadership and integration of Adult Education Principles within your organization, contact AWENS.


Nancy Thompson is the Executive Director of AWENS – Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia. She has worked across a wide range of industries and organizations within the business development, government, construction, corporate and non-profit sectors. As an experienced trainer and adult educator, Nancy’s passion is for promoting lifelong learning and helping people to grow both personally and professionally.



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