Leadership development the easy and ineffective way

April 11, 2018 by Wally Bock

Leadership development isn’t easy and taking the easy way is hardly ever the best. That thought was inspired by Katy Tynan’s post, “Why Management Training Doesn’t Work (and What You Should Be Doing Instead).” Here’s part of her conclusion.

“We know that classroom training alone doesn’t move the needle on behavior change, but it has been a simple and rewarding solution for organizations to apply, and say that they have provided something to support new managers. But the cost of the gap, that six to twelve-month period when managers are learning on the job without support, is higher than most companies consider. It’s that gap that can be closed when a complete support system is offered to emerging leaders.”

Leadership development for the convenience of the company

It’s human nature to opt for the easy way over the hard way, even when the easy way doesn’t work. The fact is that leadership development is very hard to get right.

Doing it well requires senior leaders to devote a big chunk of time to evaluating and developing leaders for the company. Then there’s classroom training, developmental assignments, coaching and learning on the job.

The sad truth is that many companies don’t spend the time or money to do it right. They provide some classroom training, then send the aspiring leader back to work and hope he or she can sort things out. That’s easy. Easy would be OK if it worked, but it doesn’t

Leadership development as it should be

Conventional wisdom is that an aspiring leader will learn ten percent of the important stuff in the classroom. The training challenge is to set the aspiring leader up for success and then provide resources to make success likely.

Most learning will happen on the job. To make that as effective as possible, we need to devote resources to coaching, peer support, and on-demand learning resources. That makes the job harder, but it also means we’re more likely to develop more effective leaders.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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