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  • Writer's pictureRyan Panzer

Introducing "Leadership training that won't annoy people," a blog series

Updated: Dec 6, 2019

Welcome to the first-ever blog series on the Motivational Clichés Leadership Blog!

In this series, we'll explore how to build leadership development experiences that won't bore your learners to tears! In each posts, we'll ask why leadership and management courses are often viewed by participants as a waste of time - and how you, the talent development professional, can do something about it!

It's no secret that leaders don't love leader training, which is too bad, given how much time and money their employers invest in it.

At best, people leaders tend to view their training experiences as semi-optional diversions from their actual responsibilities. At worst, managers view leadership training as an obtrusive hindrance to their ability to lead effectively. Regardless of how leadership training is received, it's likely that nearly all of the participants will forget everything they learned within two to three weeks, applying little to none of what they were taught.

This is a problem that matters to me on a personal level. As a leadership developer, I build these types of courses for a living. At a practical level, I'm a busy guy and I don't want to waste my time with inapplicable training. At a deeper level, I want to avoid the existential dread that ineffective training can trigger in instructional design types.

It's a picture of one door closing while another door opens. It's a metaphor. That actually happened.

Fortunately, I have the benefit of working with a vocal team and an engaged group of people leaders, willing to provide radically candid feedback on what they like, dislike, and find applicable about their experiences. While I don't claim to have some monopoly on timeless principles for leadership development, I might humbly suggest that I have identified several common mistakes that many leadership trainers continue to make!

As I continue to build and deliver leadership courses, I have identified three common problems with leadership training that leave learners bored, disengaged, and even resentful. They are:

  1. Teaching too many things

  2. Introducing too many models

  3. Pushing a single leadership style or philosophy

Fortunately, each of these problems has a solution, with which you can boredom-proof your leadership training! The solutions are:

  1. Don't teach anything.

  2. Don't use models or frameworks.

  3. Don't promote leadership styles.

But what, you may ask, am I supposed to do if not these three things?

In the three upcoming blog posts, we'll dive into each of these problems, their corresponding solutions, and how you, the leadership developer, can take action. Whether you are an instructional designer, a trainer, a people leader, an HR business partner, or someone who just wants their teams to lead more effectively, these posts will inspire you to start dialogues that lead to concrete leadership development outcomes.

In this digital age, there is a better way to build leadership in our organizations. This blog series is about acknowledging that the common way of doing leadership training simply doesn't work - but there is, in fact, a way forward.

The motivational cliché mug from Pine Lake Camp, photo credit: Ben, Robyn, and Baby Cedar Koehler

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