Yesterday’s Leadership Training Won’t Work for Tomorrow’s Leaders

Yesterday’s Leadership Training Won’t Work for Tomorrow’s Leaders image making training relevantYesterday’s Leadership Training Won’t Work for Tomorrow’s LeadersPicture this:

You’re in a large room surrounded by everyone from work. Now, watch all the Baby Boomers (by 2020, this group will be 25% of most workforces) exit from the rear with their retirement gifts and plans for their next career.

As all those years of leadership, knowledge, experience and relationships leave the building, ask yourself, “Are the people left in the room ready to lead?”

But, before you have time to answer yourself, there’s a knock at the door. It’s a crowd of future employees, and you’re not mistaken if you spot your college-age kids in there as well. That’s right, we have two junior generations coming onboard together.

In fact, for the first time in history, we will have four generations co-existing simultaneously in the workplace. And the younger groups have different needs and motivators than their predecessors.

Are the people in the room ready to lead this highly interactive, hands-on and very collaborative source of talent?

If not, do you have the resources to prepare them for the challenges ahead? Because at this point in time, yesterday’s training isn’t going to work for tomorrow’s leaders.

Still, unfortunately, most leadership training is too passive, directive and theoretical for the new wave of talent. Or it’s been pushed onto technology – users now call this ‘shovelware’ – with minimal, if any impact on behavior and results. It appears that we have rushed to use new technology just because we can and not because it’s appropriate. After all, how much would you get out of training content on your smart phone?

“But these kids are hard-wired into tech. They went from teething to Tweeting without a pause.”
Perhaps. But the reality is that these plugged-in youngsters are hungry for face-to-face contact and interaction. How else can we explain phenomena like the growth of youth activism and flash mobs?

These junior leaders-in-waiting have the potential to be very dynamic, inspiring and creative workplace leaders, if their preparation meets these criteria:

1. Engage them immediately – you’re competing against a myriad of distractions and attention spans as quixotic as a butterfly in a greenhouse. Happily, the new evolution of leadership development is not only engaging, but it’s amazingly enjoyable and fun!

2. Get them moving. If you involve the whole person – head, heart and hands – you anchor focus on the material and its associated activity.

3. Give them principles, not checklists. Principles are easy to absorb and interpret, and their application is immediately clear.

4. Target behavior, not tactics. Positive behavior change is the fastest route to instant and long-term results from the learning.

But let’s not just concentrate on the new arrivals. The time is right to revitalize how we train everyone, not just the upcoming generations. Our older employees, shelves crammed with dusty binders, are disenchanted with traditional training, but have responded enthusiastically to this new approach. Is it time you took a fresh look at your leadership development before workplace demographics force the issue?

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