4 Tips on Designing Training for Your Leadership Team

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“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

– John F. Kennedy.

Every organisation has a hierarchical system, with different levels that perform different job functions. The top level typically consists of two groups – the leaders in the making and the leaders/the leadership team. The existing training programs promote the grooming of new (would-be) leaders, and help in keeping a ready set of minds that can be used in case the organisation is in crisis, with little or nothing being done on training the existing leadership team.

Different Levels That Perform Different Job Functions

A good leader can make a weak plan successful, but a poor leader can wreck even the best plan. That’s why leadership training with or without a fixed talent management program is essential for any organisation to prosper.

In today’s busy world of constant travels, meetings and discussions, leaders are barely left with any time (and energy) for attending regular training. One of the biggest hindrances to leadership training is the low interest or the lack of it, and, at times, the know-it-all attitude. In the words of Claude Bernard, “It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning.”

What comes handy in such situations is a custom-made training program that motivates the leaders or the leadership team to take the training, respects their tight schedules, and leverages their device usage patterns and downtime effectively.

Here are 4 tips on designing training for your leadership team.

  1. Motivate
    The what’s-in-it-for-me question needs to be addressed even at leadership levels. Busy schedules, know-it-all attitude, age, and personality, can act as some hindering factors to learning. Making the leader aware of the benefits of taking a course helps in cultivating a positive attitude towards training. Mostly s/he understands this very well but needs to be reminded that it applies to her/him as much as it does to any other staff in the organisation.
  2. Inspire
    Typically the leadership team is very experienced and in a position to actually train other staff. However, listening to other leaders or well-known industry thought leaders could be inspiring even for your leadership team. Short podcasts/vodcasts could be ideal to inspire the leaders in your organisation.
  3. Engage
    Instructional methods and techniques should be used creatively so that the leadership training is engaging. When providing a skill training, try to include short, interactive course nuggets that involve problem solving and decision making.
  4. Think ‘mobile’
    Mobiles, being personal and always ‘on’, lend themselves as the perfect platform for making information (& training) accessible to the leaders. Creating a place for your leaders to jot down ideas and other ‘flash light’ moments and reflect on them is quite useful too. I personally use ‘Evernote’ for this.

    If your leadership team is a large one, social networking capabilities of smartphones should be leveraged to get them connected, and encourage sharing and learning from other senior leaders/ peers.

Training for the leadership team runs entirely in lines with what Pablo Picasso once said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Leaders and higher management executives constantly learn as a part of their work however, to be technically sound and up-to-date on all the latest trends they too need some form of training.

What do you do differently to train the leadership team in your organisation? Let us know in the comments below.

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