Supervisory Leadership

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How can I pick the right leadership training program?

Leadership covers a vast range of specific skill-sets, almost all of which come under the heading of what trainers call "far transfer training." That means that they really need to be used on the job to be learned. With that in mind, here are my recommendations for choosing a good program for you.

Pick a program that will develop a specific skill or skill that you need. You'll find a list of skills on my Three Star Leadership site. Forego the general leadership workshops that usually won't give you much you can actually use on the job.

A good workshop should have conceptual learning, assessment, and role practice in the specific skill area. Ropes courses, cooking and other novelty programs may be fun but they don't leave you with much you can use on the job.

A good program will provide you with something you can use after you get back to work. This can be as simple as an outline of what to do or as elaborate as a series of follow-up sessions and computer-based job aids.

Finally, no matter how good the program is, it's up to you to do your own follow up and take charge of your own development. I suggest to trainees of mine that every time they apply what they've learned in the program, they answer the following questions in writing.

  • What was the situation?
  • What did I do and why?
  • How did I do it?
  • What happened?
  • How will I do things differently next time?

The "writing" doesn't have to be much, just enough to provide thought discipline.

One more thing. Most leadership training will be more effective if you have a mentor or peer to discuss things with when you get back on the job.


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