Leadership development, training, and learning

March 28, 2018 by Wally Bock

Leadership development and training are intimately connected. That’s why Aaron Levy’s article in Forbes caught my eye. The title is “Why Leadership Training Doesn’t Work,” Here’s the golden kernel.

“Most leadership training programs are designed for ease of operational delivery within an organization, not for habit formation. They are event-based trainings, meaning that the training takes place over a day or two.”

There’s important truth at the core of those ideas. Companies and trainers, like other humans, look for ways to make things easy on themselves. The way we’ve always done it is powerful, too. And technology makes things possible today that weren’t possible even a decade ago. But that’s not the whole story.

Leadership development and learning

Levy’s right that most training is not designed for habit formation. But habit formation is only one kind of learning. Aspiring leaders need to learn pattern recognition. They must learn when and how to apply the tools they have at their disposal. They must learn that if A happens, the best thing to do is X.

Human beings learn best when they’re confronted with a situation they don’t understand and work to figure it out. Sometimes they succeed. Sometimes they struggle for a while and reach out for help. Many times, the help is human—a peer, mentor, or coach. Many times, it’s learning resources such as books, or training materials.

Leadership development and training

Training is important to set up the learning that happens on the job. Today we know a lot about how humans learn that should help us design and deliver better training. We also have technology that can provide easily accessible learning resources on the job.

Training also has other important leadership development functions. Training is where aspiring leaders come together with each other and with senior executives who participate in their training. And training is a carrier of culture. It’s where aspiring leaders don’t just learn leadership principles. They also learn the way the principles are applied in the organization.

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

Posted in Leadership Development

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