Did you know that there are 7 really effective yet
powerful ways to improve your leadership learning
If you have ever looked at using a leadership skills
training program, you probably have run smack into one or
more of the following problems:
- leadership training will usually cost you some serious
money - in fact, some programs are outrageously expensive
- leadership training programs last for a very short time -
quite a few of them run for only one or two days
- many leadership training programs fail to give you some
way to support or help you meet your daily challenges
- less than 1% of all leadership training programs couple
coaching and mentoring follow-ups with classroom sessions
- most leadership training programs like to do 'raw data
dumps'- the vast majority of them do NOT give you chances to
'blend' your learning experiences with supervised practice
This article will help you to find, use and take advantage
of every leadership skills learning opportunity you
encounter - you will be able to employ your leadership
skills in highly effective, more creative and powerful ways.
Power Strategy - 1 -- Make sure you get clearly defined and
significant returns on your training investment!
When you spend your money on training are you looking for
entertainment, engagement or education?
I don't know about your priorities but I know that I demand
a ton of convincing to invest in training of any sort.
I want to get much more from training than I put into it. Of
course, your training program certainly needs to contain
some entertaining and even engaging aspects to it.
If you want the temporary benefits of watching an action
adventure movie or taking a walk in the park then go for it
- but if you need to see your career prospects blossom and
vibrantly grow stronger, your training investment must
deliver more than a mere 100% payback [I suggest you look
for programs that guarantee you returns of at least 300%].
Power Strategy - 2 -- Spend your money to make more money
Strategy 1 instructed you to seek guaranteed returns on your
investment. Of course, that does mean that you do need to
invest your money to get a return on it!
What am I saying? I am not telling you to spend all of your
money for leadership training, however I am advising you to
make wise investments of your money. So what does that
Wisdom says you need to look at every training program as a
continuing investment in both your current and future
performance. So doesn't it make sense to you that you need
to pay for training on a continuing basis?
Leadership training prices should be reasonable and based on
your desire to pay for those incremental benefits that you
are likely to receive from your training program over a
period of time.
Power Strategy - 3 -- See the long view of your training
We already discussed the continuing nature of training. Do
you believe that learning is a lifelong exercise? If so, how
do you expect to learn anything of lasting value in just 1
or 2 days?
Many leadership training programs feature these short term
exposures to the complex job of leading others and yourself.
I wonder how you are supposed to master the diverse arts,
practices and processes of leadership in less than 12
In those kinds of workshops and seminars, you are told that
you will come away from the classroom with an in-depth
understanding of 15 or 20 topics - yeah, sure you will!
By now, it should be obvious to you that the most effective
leadership training requires LONG-TERM continuous, committed
and caring support, follow-ups and assessments from your
Power Strategy - 4 -- Get the most that you can from every
I can hear you talking to yourself - you're thinking that
you only need to get the most out of everyday you
participate in a training class, aren't you?
Since you have spent your money on a training class, you
would be foolish not to get the most from that investment.
However, I would like you to consider the fact that everyday
that you're alive is a day for learning, practicing and
mastering new skills, knowledge and principles.
If you maintain a daily diary or journal, you should strive
to write down your learning-oriented accomplishments. You
would enter the principle, skill, knowledge [applicable,
relevant and practical information you found - not just mere
facts and figures but useful, valuable and profit-producing
Power Strategy - 5 -- Be open to being helped
Many times, people in leadership training hold the mistaken
belief that only their teachers know how to help them learn
leadership skills and principles.
If someone wants to weave you an elaborate tale of how only
other leaders can show you the 'ropes' or that only those
buttoned-down, up-and-coming junior executive-types can show
you how to charge into the fray and take no prisoners then
you're in for a surprise.
Not everyone who has gone before you knows how to lead or
knows what they're doing in this new age of knowledge - so
you can forget all those myths and nursery stories right
When you break free from assumptions like those mentioned
above, you will see how people operating in various walks of
life and those working in different professions or sectors
of the economy from yours can and will add rich, colorful
textures to your tapestry of leadership.
Helpers of all sorts can contribute to your understanding of
their cultures, operational paradigms and traditional
practices - these people can be found all around you.
How can your peers, subordinates and non-leaders empower
your leadership development? It's your task to learn how.
Power Strategy - 6 -- Reach out and grab a basketful of
The journey towards leadership maturity may begin with a
single step but you'll need a thousand other things to carry
you along your way.
Your leadership adventure will have to be fueled by
sustenance of many kinds:
- A written record of your challenges and encounters will
help you stay focused and encouraged
- Interactions and exchanges with your fellow travellers
will maintain your sanity and stability
- Confessional and consultative sessions with your advisers
will strengthen your resolve and faith
- Daily inspirational readings and pep-talks will energize
you and feed your soul
- Meditations and prayers will uplift your spirit and enable
your inner being to soar with wings of eagles
Power Strategy - 7 -- Get your acting cues from the director
In essence, a coach is similar to the director of a motion
picture - coaches prompt, instruct, direct and intensely
encourage us to move towards our goals.
You have a better chance of becoming the leader you were
destined to be with a coach working alongside of you. Of
course you still need a structured course of learning and
teachers who will help increase your knowledge and tutor
A coach will instill a sense of accountability in you, your
coach will keep the bar raised so that you become accustomed
to striving for the highest possible performance.
In your development as a leader, your coach will be
instrumental in helping you examine yourself candidly and
rigorously. After a time, you will come to see your coach as
the person who showed you the meaning of reaching for the
Most successful leaders agree that these kinds of approaches
to leadership development work precisely because they became
world-class leaders through using techniques, tools and
resources like the ones you just read about.
Change management expert, Holger Nauheimer, explains how our
dynamically-charged, ever-shifting, global-landscape, calls
for a new spirit of development, "in which individuals, the
members of organizations, experience self-determination and
personal growth - and participate in creating a world around
them to which they want to belong."
Recently reported results in the Wharton School's Leadership
Digest, of a comprehensive study of leadership failures,
the following recommendations were given to help promising
leaders avoid potential pitfalls: it suggested that, they
- "should create development plans and opportunities for
promising internal candidates;
- should reflect carefully on their own experiences and,
throughout the course of their careers, seek out
opportunities to develop their context skills;
- determine the level of support they'll need from their
predecessor, and perform an intense self-assessment to
determine what other organizational support they will need"
- Experienced firefighter, Lynn Biddison, says the number
one priority for new leaders is: "Establish a rigorous
training plan for [yourself and] your people"
The last but most important "Power Strategy" I will share
with you is this -
Be sure to increase the richness, texture, luster, power and
scope, depth, capacity, value-added, quality and
competencies of your leadership development experiences on a
Seek and find only those training programs that can help you
fulfill the objectives of these Power Strategies and you
will make laudable, noteworthy and legendary contributions
to your community, organization and our world.
Mustard Seed Investments Inc.
Copyright ? 2004-2005, All rights reserved
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bill Thomas publishes "The Leadership Toolkit" - an
affordable, all-in-one, interactive, self-paced training
program - it will energize your leadership skills, boost
your creativity and transform you into a persuasive,
empowering leader. Inspire Confidence, Be Creative, Elevate
Your Influence - Get "All the Tools You Need To Lead!"