As a child, I tried out a lot of different sports.
I ranged from curling, to figure skating…
From vaulting (aka gymnastics on a horse) to synchronize swimming…
The one thing they all had in common is that they started off with some serious training, clear instructions, and at least one coach.
The same is usually true when someone takes on a new technical job. They receive off-the-job training, on-the-job training, a ‘buddy’, a boss, manuals, standard operating principles, ‘Wiki’ pages, and you name it…
So, why is it that companies assign leadership roles which require a whole new skill set without providing any of that?!
In fact, according to research based on answers from 17’000 managers and published by the Harvard Business Review, managers receive their first leadership training about 10 years after they begin supervising people.
This is alarming! And I believe it is one of the root causes of many of the employee engagement and satisfaction challenges organizations face.
But let’s stick with the manager for now. Here are 3 reasons why not getting any leadership training is bad for you:
1) You’re developing ineffective habits
Have you ever seen someone ski down a mountain and with every turn they make you fear they’re falling? It just looks bad and ‘elegant’ would probably be the last word you’re thinking of. Chances are high that this person learned how to ski at a later age and got little or no training at all. They just ‘wing it’… The problem is that the way they turn, slow down, stop, or speed up works (well.. kind of) but exerts a lot of energy and likely makes their body ache by the end of the day.
Leadership is no different. Ineffective habits may still feel like you’re moving forward but you’re stressed, overwhelmed and constantly trying to put out fires at work.
2) You’re not learning from other people’s mistakes
Learning from your own mistakes is good… obviously! But learning from other people’s mistakes is what’s smart. Leading a team is challenging. The journey is filled with landmines you could step on. So, why would you go at it alone? Without a map, without training, without a compass?
It’s painful and costly to make mistakes. While some are inevitable and are simply part of the learning journey, the majority of mistakes could easily be prevented with good leadership training provided at the onset of your leadership career.
3) You’re missing the window of peak learning
When you’re new in a role and a new circumstance, your brain is wired to learn, soak up information, and to form new synapses. Plus, you’re highly motivated to do your best because you know that your team, the leadership team, your boss and your peers are all watching you. The pressure is high and you are driven to rise to the occasion. This is an ideal window to get the most out of leadership training and coaching because a lot is at stake and your commitment is high.
I sometimes think back about all the information I absorbed and workshops I attended when my first baby was born. I was a “learning high” and I felt like a sponge. I wanted to learn because I wanted to be the best mom I possibly could. 3 kids later, I’m still reading parenting books here and there but I’m way less excited about it than I was that first year.
So… In conclusion
As a manager, you’re leading people from the first day on the job. And from that day habits are being formed, attitudes are being created, and management practices begin to shape.
Plus, your influence on the team’s morale, productivity, and engagement just quadrupled. Would it not be in the organization’s and your best interests to begin leadership training right now?
If you’re interested in learning more about what this could look like for you, simply reply to this email and we set up a time to chat.
Your leadership coach,