People have this stigma of what leadership is.
That you have to act a certain way or be a certain way to get results. And only after you’ve gained enough experience following those predefined steps you will be seen as a good leader.
This thought process has become the staple of becoming a good leader for over 50 years. But is that really the right way to school leaders?
In my opinion, it isn’t.
Because at this point, all you are doing is trying to fit in the box of what someone else thinks a leader should be.
The majority of leaders that I coach at first think they’re good leaders. But the team they are leading have a different opinion. And if the people you’re leading are saying you’re not great then are you a leader?
Most leaders out there are part of the same school of thought. Someone decided they need leadership training and have put them in a room with 20 other people where they had to listen to someone for two days telling them they are not good enough.
But they could be better if they follow a system.
There are at most 2 types of corporate training available. One is where someone sits in front of the room for 8 hours and shows off his PowerPoint skills with a 200 slides deck.
The other one is on the other side of the spectrum. The “we are different” training style where grown adults have to play games that may or may not convey the right message.
Whatever the case may be, the problem still remains the same. The majority of the participants in this type of trainings won’t improve THEIR leadership skills. And in a very short time, the same problems will emerge again.
Which are connecting with their employees, feeling like a leader, and being seen as a leader.
For me leadership is more about connecting, evolving, and embodying the person and people they’re leading and the people they also report to.
Because if you don’t have the buy-in of the people you report into and the respect of your team, you are not a leader. You are a manager.
After working closely with corporate leaders from all over the world and being in countless training rooms over the past years, I’ve put together a list of the most common reasons why corporate training breeds artificial leadership. Without further ado, here they are:
The majority of corporate trainings are boring. And the people in the room don’t want to be there.
Everybody just wants to cross stuff off their list.
The company wants to know that the training has been delivered. You want to say that you’ve participated in the training. And the trainer wants to get paid.
Most people don’t want a corporate trainer storming in their office telling them that they aren’t good enough or that what they’ve been doing is wrong.
They don’t want to sit in front of a PowerPoint presentation and listen to The Five P’s Of Powerful Leadership.
Because those five P’s of Powerful Leadership don’t matter.
The right way to do something is to find out what that person needs. Sure, on a big scale, it’s slightly harder to do but it can still be done. But not in a corporate training setting where you’re working with groups.
Where only maybe parts of the training are applicable to your needs. The rest is just filler.
Corporate leadership trainings are boring. And that means they are breeding boring leadership styles. Which means there’s no connectivity with the people they’re leading.
In the box solution
I’ve mentioned this briefly at the beginning.
Most corporate trainings altogether are actually trying to force you into a box that may or may not fit. And then you are becoming a leader that you may or may not want to be.
How many more things that you don’t want to do will you have to do?
Let me ask you this.
If you are becoming a leader that you don’t want to be, how do you think things are going to look like in 3-5 years?
Are you going to be confident, happy, fulfilled, content? Are you going to lead a great team that is confident, happy, fulfilled and content?
That’s not going to happen. Actually, the exact opposite is going to happen. It’s as if you are living someone else’s dream of what a leader should be.
It is forcing you to be this person that you don’t want to be. And with the beauty of the corporate standardisation, process you are part off an army of leaders that are acting and leading the same way.
The same, ordinary, conventional, lacking identity leadership pawns.
A conveyor belt of artificial leaders that aren’t able to connect with their team.
In reality, you will probably hang out for another 3 years or so before you decide “This isn’t for me”.
And you are again faced with the search of your true calling.
It’s not pleasant, but it is a reality.
It’s not uncommon to see people in leadership roles and they have absolutely no idea how they got there.
One thing led to another, someone left the company, a new leadership position opened up, that spot needs to be filled in ASAP, and before you know it, you are appointed the job.
It is what it is. The business needed to have someone step up and take the place on a short notice. It’s one of those “to be at the right place, at the right time” kind of thing.
And yes I agree. You can train someone to be a leader. But you can’t do that in a corporate training setting.
Because in the case of an accidental manager, people aren’t always prepared to take on the job. It’s too fast and they feel they “aren’t ready yet”. But they’ll figure it out down the road. They’ll have to wing it every now and then and hopefully fly under the radar as long as possible.
And slowly, but surely, the feeling of “I’m not good enough” starts to settle in.
There’s no accident that you are in that leadership position. And you will never be ready for anything.
This “impostor syndrome” can’t be fixed if you sit in a room with 20 people for 2 days and talk about principles and procedures.
A different approach is needed.
It’s not tailored to the people in the room
I want you to take a moment and think back at one of the corporate trainings you’ve taken part in the past.
Let me know if this ever happened to you.
Your manager suggests you should take part in a training next month. You go there and sit through a mix of PowerPoint presentation and a series of group activities.
Halfway through the training, you realize that nothing you heard in the training is remotely new or even interesting.
A solid chunk isn’t applicable to your job altogether.
But you have to sit there.
It’s frustrating. I believe you. The reason this is still happening is that 20 people can’t have the exact same need. They have different backgrounds and are basically at different stages in their life and career.
Not to mention they have different values and different goals.
In order to make a presentation as applicable as possible, trainers try to rephrase the same message to fit different personality types. But most of the times it’s just a wild stab in the dark.
Trainers don’t ask about who is in the room. They don’t know who they are speaking to and therefore the content they are presenting is as memorable as a bland spaghetti dinner.
Because nobody cares.
Sometimes you get one new concept and everybody considers that a win. When in reality you’ve wasted a day and a half to learn about only one concept that could easily be shared over a coffee break.
This applies to any presentation. Know who you is in the room. Adjust your message so that it is relevant to the people in the room. I promise you’ll have a greater impact.
You’re doing the training for the wrong reason.
One of the biggest problems in any organization is that the staff isn’t getting along with the managers.
And as a consequence, everybody is sent to a communication training.
Sometimes you don’t need a training.
But it has become the go-to instant fix in all companies. Every time a new manager is appointed, he or she is thrown into a “leadership training”. Which is nothing more than an onboarding presentation.
Is your team booking a lot of overtime? I guess they need a time management training.
When in reality they need something else.
Hardly anybody sits down with the team and has a normal conversation to see exactly what the need is. Or at least go through a discovery session to find out what can be improved.
A leader that had an amazing run in the company and all of the sudden they start making mistakes, isn’t a bad leader. But they might be having some roadblocks that not even they are aware of.
A leadership training that isn’t tailored to the needs of the leaders will only continue to feed the problem.
In order to become a true leader within your business, you need to be able to connect with the people you are leading. And at the same time, you need to be able to connect with your leaders.
A two-day training where information is being thrown in your general direction isn’t going to make you a good leader. It will only clutter your mind with concepts and techniques that aren’t helping you connect with anybody.
Leadership isn’t built in two days. Leaders don’t have a certification to prove that they are leaders.
Instead, it’s a process where you discover yourself and helps you put others people needs before your own interests.
And again. A two-day event for 20 people isn’t going to do that. It has to be tailored to the needs of the individual. And it has to be done individually.
I’ve been helping business leaders unlock their full leadership potential for over 5 years. And I can assure you, it’s different for everybody.
There is no rule or cookie cutter template on how to get there. It takes commitment.
If you want to unlock your full leadership potential and start making a bigger impact on your team, I’m here to help.
Use the link below to book a free call and I’ll show you how you can become a true leader.