Distributed Leadership and emotional intelligence skills are the key to becoming a great asset to a high performance team.
However, although some may think that you are born with these skills they are learnt through experience and driven personal and team development. Today the training arena is very competitive with some companies trying to be very creative and innovative with new technology. Whilst some of this is excellent, much of the learning never makes it out of the classroom or training event. If you want your team to be notoriously different and outperforming others, you need to make sure you invest your training money, time and effort wisely and get the long term results you want?
Before committing yourself or your team to any learning intervention you must be in a position where you can clearly answer the following questions with positive answers:
How does it seek to motivate me?
When attending a course you want it to stretch you with new ways of thinking and different ways to approach your work when you apply this new knowledge. The course you choose then must gain your commitment to using these new ways, not only because it makes sense but because, emotionally, you want to do it.
Does it start at the right point for me?
You have a unique background knowledge, what you have learnt from your formal education and work experience, how well you know yourself, how easy you find it to accept challenge and learning and are willing to try out new ways of doing things. Check the course content, does it assume too much or too little of you, hold your interest without lecturing, patronising or baffling you with jargon.
Has the course been designed for our team goals or is it an off the shelf course that does not fit our job?
Why waste time and money acquiring skills you don’t need or, worse still, get bored listening to what you already know. Choose a course that starts with an assessment of your needs and tailors the content to meet them. Clear work based goals will help you concentrate, achieving these goals will give you the satisfaction and confidence to continue with your new work practices. Look for a course that helps you set these goals and then focuses on giving you the skills to make them happen.
What style of learning is it and can we direct the pace?
Over the length of any the course you will acquire new knowledge and confidence; you may discover face new issues that have not seemed important before and require more attention. Check for flexibility that allows you to change content and direction to meet your evolving needs.
Will the content of the course help me apply my learning to the performance of the team and organisation?
Your new skills and techniques require practice to perfect, before they can become second nature. This requires time and opportunities for refining the skills in the real world as well as in training sessions. Seek out training that incorporates supported practice at your work. Your enthusiasm for your new ideas and ways of working will affect your working relationships with your seniors, peers and junior colleagues. The accepted ways of doing things within the organisation will either help or hinder you. Your ability to influence and adapt your new knowledge to the organisation may be part of the new skills you want to acquire.
What support do I get after the course?
It is an emotional experience to challenge and allow others to challenge your long held beliefs and ways of working. Having someone to talk to, who has been through a similar experience, can help you cope with these feelings and stop you getting disheartened when something doesn’t go right first time. Choose a course that builds in this support, either a coach or another participant that will continue to support for a few months after. It is very easy for these skills to fade away if we don’t keep drawing them from our unconscious and put them use.
After each of my courses I always summarise with this renowned saying:
‘Tell me and I will forget’
‘Show me and I will remember’
‘Let me do it and I will understand’
Each of these questions are important for all managers, teams and individuals if they want to take their professional development seriously.