Imagine a doctor treating patients for 10 years before going to medical school or an airline captain transporting passengers at 30 000 feet for the same time before getting his pilot’s licence?
The fact that so many of our managers are practicing leadership without training should also alarm you.
Jack Zenger, the CEO of Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy, claims, “leadership development should be taught from the earliest age possible but that most companies wait far, far too long to begin. And when I say late, I mean very late”.
He produced statistics from their database of some 17,000 worldwide leaders participating in their training program and found that their average age was 42, of which only 10% were under 30!
The average age of supervisors or people being promoted to their first management post is 33. It follows then, that if they’re not entering leadership training programs until they’re 42, they’re operating within the company with no qualifications, on average, for nearly a decade.
Many people are promoted because of academic qualifications or technical ability which has ABSOLUTELY NO bearing whatsoever on leadership skills as summarised in the statement;
“Leadership is getting RESULTS through people. It is the ability to DEVELOP and EXTEND people to reach their full potential.“
The keyword here is PEOPLE so we have to start in gaining expertise in the mastering of topics such as effective communication, respecting and appreciating differences, understanding different personality types, the needs of the individual, the value of feedback, how to motivate people, effective team decision making and how to get the best out of your team – and these are just the essential basics.
When leaders are not given proper training, they lack the necessary skills to effectively manage and motivate their team. The obvious result is that the organization is hamstrung and can never reach their full potential. Let’s look at some examples:
Furthermore, by doing things incorrectly through lack of training, bad habits are formed and the longer these are practiced the more ingrained they become and the more difficult it is now to put the ship back on track. The adage “practice makes perfect” only holds true if the practice is done correctly.
Through training, leaders can learn the best procedures for guiding their teams and receive feedback and counselling on their performance. This will help ensure that their techniques are aligned to best practices, and they are able to continuously improve and grow as leaders to the greatest benefit of the organization.
The very clear message – start training potential leaders long before they take over the reins. This is the first and greatest investment in guaranteeing success.