Three Types of Training
20 July 2017
Recently, I attended the From High Potential to High Performance seminar in the Trades Hall in Glasgow. It certainly gave me plenty of food for thought and covered a number of areas of leadership psychology that I am particularly interested in. One such subject was training and learning.
I am a firm believer that learning is a lifelong experience, not something that is confined to the classroom. We can always pick up new skills along our career journeys. Think about it on the basic level of how many of us have made the switch from paper diaries to online calendars; letters of confirmation to email. We are always adapting and learning how to do things in different, more productive ways.
Part of the seminar was delivered by the incredibly erudite, multi-PHD-sporting Dr Adrian Furnham. He spoke eloquently as to the three different types of training that we utilise throughout our careers. Leadership can be trained, changed and developed he concluded. Here, I will break these types of learning down and discuss how each can be applied appropriately to your career benefit.
As you may have expected, this means learning by experience. This type of learning will see employees or potential leaders learn from activities such as shadowing, outplacement and job rotation, with the idea being that we can get to see what works, what doesn’t and learn from it. If we see a job being done well, we seek to emulate the traits that we admire; if we see a system that doesn’t work, we resolve to edify it and do things better ourselves.
Of course, as many school leavers do, we can also learn via further education. We can take business or leadership courses; an MBA; short courses or home learning; simulations. This type of learning will give us the tools to deal with certain situations in theory, however, it is hands-on experience that will allow us to put such learning in to context. Many companies look favourably on degree status these days, although many young entrepreneurs will no doubt want to get out and work rather than remain in the classroom.
This type of learning is exactly as the title infers: We learn from other people via coaching and mentoring schemes. Similar to experiential training, we can pick and choose elements of what we have learned and seen in order to cultivate our own particular type of leadership. A mentor will usually be a stand-out example within a company, making them a good standard of leadership to learn from. Getting one-to-one attention will most likely prove beneficial as you will be able to ask plenty of questions and make the most of your time with your mentor.
But which type of learning works most effectively? To give a politician’s answer, it really depends on several factors. It can depend on an individual’s attitude and motivation; what knowledge and skills have to be trained; how much time you can afford to give; and how many people you need to train.
Learning is so important. Especially at leadership level, you can still be taught new things, and often by newer generations of workers. Setting a good example for these future leaders is simply good practice and will create responsible, effective leaders in the years to come. It should be a key part of your leadership legacy.
If you are looking for advice or guidance on the best approach to high level leadership, I would be more than happy to speak with you confidentially. Click here to see my details.
Written By Barry Lee