Myths of learning leadership for faster change

2017-03-19

Let’s start off with the good news. By now, a universal view of good leadership is sinking in fast and across industries. Most modern leaders recognise two “musts”. First, if you need your company to change, you need to lead your exec team to be one, be fast and be driven by purpose. Secondly, you need to turn your managers into leaders of change. So far so good. It is good know what needs to be done. As always, the challenge is making it happen.

With my colleagues, we have identified three particularly persistent beliefs preventing too many companies from accelerating change and building their capacity for learning faster.

Myth #1: Managers need detailed instruction, training, before starting to lead in new ways.

Myth # 2: The behavioral impact of a leadership-programme always starts to fade fast after completion. And it is impossible to tell if behavior actually has changed.

Myth # 3: Learning leadership is best done in workshops with strong content presented by skilled trainers and facilitators. That’s why training is very expensive, takes too much time out of work and needs to be done in smaller batches over time.

Wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

At LearningMiles, in pragmatic and daily work with clients, we have learnt to challenge the myths and find ways of accelerating change in any company. Let me finish by sharing three insights from this work;

  1. Managers can be helped to learn faster by coaching them to start ‘doing’ new leadership activities immediately. The time for reflective talk is later when there are interesting experiences and insights to discuss with peers.
  2. Managers become engaged by having their supervisor leaders challenge them with real business questions. In the process, they learn to challenge their own teams.
  3. Finally and not insignificantly, coaching managers into real leaders of change can be partially supported by digital and mobile concepts. Compared to traditional ways of training change leaders, this allows for increasing the numbers of participants while keeping costs significantly lower. Most importantly, leadership learning gets more personal, business-relevant, visible and fun!

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Bo-Magnus Salenius

Bo-Magnus Salenius