Conventional training is required to cover essential work-related skills, techniques and knowledge, and much of this section deals with taking a positive progressive approach to this sort of traditional training.
Importantly however, the most effective way to develop people is quite different from conventional skills training, which let’s face it many employees regard quite negatively. They’ll do it of course, but they won’t enjoy it much because it’s about work, not about themselves as people. The most effective way to develop people is instead to enable learning and personal development, with all that this implies.
So, as soon as you’ve covered the basic work-related skills training that is much described in this section – focus on enabling learning and development for people as individuals – which extends the range of development way outside traditional work skills and knowledge, and creates far more exciting, liberating, motivational opportunities – for people and for employers.
Rightly organisations are facing great pressure to change these days – to facilitate and encourage whole-person development and fulfilment – beyond traditional training
Training process and idea
There are many different training and development methods. On-the-job training, informal training, classroom training, internal training courses, external training courses, on-the-job coaching, life-coaching, mentoring, training assignments and tasks, skills training, product training, technical training, behavioural development training, role-playing and role-play games and exercises, attitudinal training and development, accredited training and learning, distance learning – all part of the training menu, available to use and apply according to individual training needs and organisational training needs.
Training is also available far beyond and outside the classroom. More importantly, training – or learning, to look at it from the trainee’s view – is anything offering learning and developmental experience. Training and learning development includes aspects such as: ethics and morality; attitude and behaviour; leadership and determination, as well as skills and knowledge.
Development isn’t restricted to training – it’s anything that helps a person to grow, in ability, skills, confidence, tolerance, commitment, initiative, inter-personal skills, understanding, self-control, motivation (see the motivation theory section), and more.
If you consider the attributes of really effective people, be they leaders, managers, operators, technicians; any role at all, the important qualities which make good performers special are likely to be attitudinal. Skills and knowledge, and the processes available to people, are no great advantage. What makes people effective and valuable to any organization is their attitude.
Attitude includes qualities that require different training and learning methods. Attitude stems from a person’s mind-set, belief system, emotional maturity, self-confidence, and experience. These are the greatest training and development challenges faced, and there are better ways of achieving this sort of change and development than putting people in a classroom, or indeed by delivering most sorts of conventional business or skills training, which people see as a chore.
This is why training and learning must extend far beyond conventional classroom training courses. Be creative, innovative, and open-minded, and you will discover learning in virtually every new experience, whether for yourself, your team, or your organization. If you want to make a difference, think about what really helps people to change.
All supervisors and managers should enable and provide training and development for their people – training develops people, it improves performance, raises morale; training and developing people increases the health and effectiveness of the organization, and the productivity of the business.
The leader’s ethics and behaviour set the standard for their people’s, which determines how productively they use their skills and knowledge. Training is nothing without the motivation to apply it effectively. A strong capability to plan and manage skills training, the acquisition of knowledge, and the development of motivation and attitude, largely determines how well people perform in their jobs.
Training – and also enabling learning and personal development – is essential for the organisation. It helps improve quality, customer satisfaction, productivity, morale, management succession, business development and profitability.
As regards conventional work-related training planning, and training itself, these are step-by-step processes -.
Having said this, we do need to start with the essentials, for example induction training for new starters. Induction Training is especially important for new starters. Good induction training ensures new starters are retained, and then settled in quickly and happily to a productive role. Induction training is more than skills training. It’s about the basics that seasoned employees all take for granted: what the shifts are; where the notice-board is; what’s the routine for holidays, sickness; where’s the canteen; what’s the dress code; where the toilets are. New employees also need to understand the organisation’s mission, goals and philosophy; personnel practices, health and safety rules, and of course the job they’re required to do, with clear methods, timescales and expectations.
Managers must ensure induction training is properly planned – an induction training plan must be issued to each new employee, so they and everyone else involved can see what’s happening and that everything is included. You must prepare and provide a suitable induction plan for each new starter. Here’s a free induction training checklist.
These induction training principles are necessarily focused on the essential skills and knowledge for a new starter to settle in and to begin to do their job. However there is great advantage in beginning to address personal development needs, wishes, opportunities, particular strengths, abilities, talent, etc., during or very soon after the induction process. The sooner the better.
An organisation needs to assess its people’s skills training needs – by a variety of methods – and then structure the way that the training and development is to be delivered, and managers and supervisors play a key role in helping this process.
People’s personal strengths and capabilities – and aims and desires and special talents (current and dormant) – also need to be assessed, so as to understand, and help the person understand, that the opportunities for their development and achievement in the organisation are not limited by the job role, or the skill-set that the organisation inevitably defines for the person.
As early as possible, let people know that their job role does not define their potential as a person within or outside the organisation, and, subject to organisational policy, look to develop each person in a meaningful relevant way that they will enjoy and seek, as an individual, beyond the job role, and beyond work requirements.
If possible ‘top-up’ this sort of development through the provision of mentoring and facilitative coaching (drawing out – not putting in), which is very effective in producing excellent people. Mentoring and proper coaching should be used alongside formal structured training anyway, but this type of support can also greatly assist ‘whole-person development’, especially where the mentor or coach is seen as a role-model for the person’s own particular aspirations.
It’s important that as a manager you understand yourself well before you coach, or train or mentor others:
Are your own your own skills adequate? Do you need help or training in any important areas necessary to train, coach, mentor others? What is your own style? How do you you communicate? How do you approach tasks? What are your motives? These all affect the way you see and perform see the training, coaching or mentoring role, and the way that you see and relate to the person that your are coaching, or training, or mentoring. Your aim is to help the other person learn and develop – not to create another version of yourself. When you understand yourself, you understand how you will be perceived, how best to communicate, and how best to help others grow and learn and develop.
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And it’s vital you understand the other person’s style and personality too – how they prefer to learn – do they like to read and absorb a lot of detail, do they prefer to be shown, to experience themselves by trial and error? Knowing the other person’s preferred learning style helps you deliver the training in the most relevant and helpful way. It helps you design activities and tasks that the other person will be more be more comfortable doing, which ensures a better result, quicker. Various models and tests are available to help understand learning styles – look at the Kolb model. Look at multiple intelligences and the VAK learning model and free learning style tests.
leadership and management training and development – processes overview
Here’s an overview of some simple processes for training and developing management and leadership skills, and any other skills and abilities besides. Use your own tools and processes where they exist and are effective.
- Obtain commitment from trainees for development process. Commitment is essential for the development. If possible link this with appraisals and career development systems.
- Involve trainees in identifying leadership qualities and create ‘skill/behaviour-set’ that you seek to develop. Training and development workshops are ideal for this activity.
- Assess, prioritise and agree trainee capabilities, gaps, needs against the skill/behaviour-set; individually and as a group, so as to be able to plan group training and individual training according to needs and efficiency of provision. Use the skill/behaviour-set tool for this activity. Use the training needs analysis tool for assessing training needs priorities for a group or whole organization.
- Design and/or source and agree with trainees the activities, exercises, learning, experiences to achieve required training and development in digestible achievable elements – ie break it down. Use the training planner to plan the development and training activities and programmes. Record training objectives and link to appraisals.
- .Establish and agree measures, outputs, tasks, standards, milestones, etc.
Training and development can be achieved through very many different methods – use as many as you need to and which suit the individuals and the group. Refer to the Kolb learning styles ideas – different people are suited to different forms of training and learning.
Exercises that involve managing project teams towards agreed specific outcomes are ideal for developing management and leadership ability. Start with small projects, then increase project size, complexity and timescales as the trainee’s abilities grow. Here are examples of other types of training and development. Training need not be expensive, although some obviously is; much of this training and development is free; the only requirements are imagination, commitment and a solid process to manage and acknowledge the development. The list is not exhaustive; the trainer and trainees will have lots more ideas:
- on the job coaching
- delegated tasks and projects
- reading assignments
- presentation assignments
- job deputisation or secondment
- external training courses and seminars
- distance learning
- evening classes
- hobbies – eg voluntary club/committee positions, sports, outdoor activities, and virtually anything outside work that provides a useful personal development challenge
- internal training courses
- attending internal briefings and presentations, eg ‘lunch and learn’ format
- special responsibilities which require obtaining new skills or knowledge or exposure
- internet and e-learning
- customer and supplier visits
- attachment to project or other teams
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