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On Leadership Training:

If you are looking for ways to be inspired, humbled, excited and motivated, have I got a suggestion for you!

Last year I was reflecting on our internal training and professional growth programs.  We have all kinds of programs targeted at new employees, specific classes on “how to” do x,y,z, and an introduction to management training.  I realized that we had a hole in our professional development track for key staff – senior management.

That seems like a big oversight.  I mean if we are counting on designated staff to take on leadership roles, then we need to figure out how to help them learn:  a).  what leadership looks like and b).  what is expected of one in that role.

This realization sent me on journey to get reacquainted with the experts. From the trendy but great Simon Sinek and Malcom Gladwell, to the oldy- but -goody Dale Carnegie and of course the guy who knows how to take anyone from good to great, Jim Collins.

And Besides Ted himself, I’m not sure there is a person who has watched more of his talks than me.  I also sat through many mediocre video sessions, but also a few good ones and read and re-read numerous articles and blogs to help me launch the leadership program.

I discovered there is no such thing as a one-size-fits all training program for leadership development.  And that it is also big need in any company and one that goes unfilled all too often.

Not surprising, I discovered a “few” things about myself in this search to improve others. I am happy to share a few with you.

As a boss and a parent, I find many similarities between staff development and raising children.  It requires patience, teaching folks how to fail and learn from it, and the understanding that individuals are motivated in different ways.  Did I mention patience?

It is also important to remember that my (your) own behavior is likely to be one of the most influential factors in the development of team members.  If you (I) want to “grow” leaders, then you (I) have to model that same behavior – in addition to training.

One of the biggest take-aways for me was from Simon Sinek’s interview on “Millennials in the Workplace”.  For years I too had made light hearted fun of this new generation joining the workforce.  This training showed me how short sighted I was being and helped me redirect our training approach to mold and support these folks who were learning “how to adult”.

Another big eye opener was the realization that I may be stifling ideas and conversation by stating my thoughts before hearing any one else in a meeting.  If the most senior person in the room states their opinion or direction they want to take, then it’s possible that everyone else will just go along or hold their tongue and the thoughtful, honest give and take that should happen in a discussion, never happens.

The inaugural leadership training program occurred last spring over a three month period. Participants were encouraged to provide honest feedback and constructive criticism to help shape future sessions.  The overall feedback was positive and the open dialogue between the peer group to sort through issues and questions reinforced how much this training was needed and appreciated.

But I admit that I may have benefited just as much in preparing for the training as the participants did when they went through it.  What started as a journey to help train up and coming leaders in our firm, helped me to think of ways that I can continue to grow myself.  That’s a win-win.

Kim, Chapman Cubine and Hussey

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