Leadership skills – acquired vs applied

Leadership skills – acquired vs applied
May 19, 2020 Linda Murray
learning and development

With the world being in a state of turmoil, companies need to rely more and more on their leaders to help hold things together and stay on track. Yet despite the big dollars, they throw at leadership training, they aren’t seeing much improvement in results.

It’s not the quality of the training that’s the problem. There are many reasons for this failure.

  • No motivation to learn
  • No recognition of the need to learn
  • No clear connection between the training and the development need
  • Delay in applying to learn
  • Not building on skills/experience learners already have
  • Not asking learners what they need or if they even aspire to leadership.

In 1880 Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered “the forgetting curve.” He discovered that “without any reinforcement or connections to prior knowledge, information is quickly forgotten—roughly 56 per cent in one hour, 66 per cent after a day, and 75 per cent after six days.”

Your company can’t afford to pay money for training when there’s no result. This is critical especially at the leadership level which shapes the culture and standards of the company.

It’s time to look differently at leadership development.

 Learning is not a standalone event.

Despite all the talk about lifelong learning, most executive and leadership training is delivered in single episodes, each independent of the next. It lacks cohesion and relevance to either the learner or the job.

Learning is not purely a “classroom” event.

With training alone, only 10% of learning might transfer to the workplace. For learning to be effective and retained, learners need to apply it. Until they do that, it’s all just theory. They don’t know if it will work and they don’t know if they understood the learning. This is particularly true of the ‘soft skills’ which are the core of leadership.

Learning is boosted with social connection.

We begin applying our learning when we discuss it with others. When learners listen to their stories, share experiences and opinions or ask and answer questions, they are translating theoretical learning into practical application. Talking about learning not only increases retention, it makes sense of it.

Technology alone won’t work.

The beauty of technology is that it gives learners control over what they learn, when and where they learn it. However, it doesn’t give real-world experience or the opportunity to learn from others. Technology-based learning is excellent for providing information, but it forms only one component of a training program which brings about real change.

Training doesn’t need to cover everything.

Instead of cramming a program with information, choose the most important things learners need to know. This increases the chances of learners remembering what they’ve learnt and been prepared to apply it. There’s more to professional development than traditional training.

Acknowledge and use previous experience.

Learners already have a framework they can use as a basis for new learning. Experience is a powerful teacher. When learning builds on the experience and is kept within the context of the work environment, it becomes real, not just theory. It’s anchored and reinforced by neurons in the brain which form a pathway for learning to be absorbed.

With training alone, only 10% of learning might transfer to the workplace.

The development of new competencies will only happen when the new learning enhances the experience and natural abilities and is applied on the job.

The leadership training which works combines the acquisition of relevant and necessary skills and knowledge, through individual learning and learning from peers, along with the opportunity to apply it. It is tailored – customised – to suit the needs of each learner.

Athena Leadership Academy Programs adopt a blended learning approach, proven to maximise engagement, integration of the learnings and therefore drive commercial results.

The well-rounded programs focus on:

  • Education of leadership concepts through a series of customised workshop modules
  • Exposure through group coaching, plus social and peer-based learning
  • Experience through the application of concepts and theories in day-to-day responsibilities.

Not only do the Athena Leadership Academy programs create high-performing, confident leaders, but they also drive long-term commercial results, long after the program is complete.

Are your leadership training programs delivering the results you want and have paid for?

Contact us today for a leadership program which delivers on its promises.

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