One of the things missing from most training rooms (with the exception of those in the most prestigious business schools) is managers, especially senior managers.
Even the most naïve observer would have difficulty explaining this absence by saying they are already very good and therefore don’t need more training.
A more realistic perspective would suggest managers don’t believe they need further development, despite overwhelming evidence from their staff, or they feel they don’t have time to attend.
Leaders reap many benefits from participating in learning opportunities. Beyond the obvious chance to learn something, is the message it sends to other staff.
The leader is seen as someone anxious to develop and improve themselves, to get better at what they do and who has the humility to admit they don’t know it all.
In a world of constant and accelerating change, this willingness to learn is an essential survival trait.
The leader undertaking training eliminates the opportunity for hubris or arrogance within the team – we are all in this together, trying to get better and respond to the changing environment.
The topic of the learning probably doesn’t matter, as long as it is relevant.
Most managers could benefit from learning more about manipulating spreadsheets, or about finance or even leadership.
Participating in in-house training sessions and those delivered by external providers help build this culture of learning.
Encouraging your staff to do the same by allocating time and money to learning and development is essential.
Extend the learning on their return, by having staff give a brief presentation about what they learnt and how it can be applied immediately in the workplace.
Taking the time out of the workplace to attend training is always a tension for managers. Sometimes it’s an excuse, more often it is a response to the on-going pressures in modern organisations.
But individuals and organisations that stop learning are at serious risk.
The external environment is changing so rapidly that we fall behind quickly and recovery becomes even more difficult.
The organisation and your email inbox can survive without you for a few hours or a few days.
One small step in the next 24 hours
Say “Yes” to the next in-house training session or briefing.
Book yourself on an external program and make a presentation to staff on the outcomes.
Say “Yes” to the first few staff who come forward and follow your lead with requests for training.
Allocate a sum of money and a time allocation for staff development.
Once staff become aware that money has been set aside for this purpose, they will be more likely to look for and apply for relevant training opportunities.