Gains in knowledge do not always translate into new actions
So, you’ve attended a short management course and you’ve come away with some ideas and personal insights that you feel confident can help to make you a better leader in your workplace.
Hey, that’s great ….. But don’t kid yourself – making some sustainable changes to your management practices and the way you lead your staff will take some conscious effort. It’s all too easy to fall back into the trap of old habits and the old thinking that went with it.
A lot of post-training follow-up studies with people who have attended “soft-skills” type management training indicate that more than half of participants fall back into their old ways within 2 weeks of completing the training. It’s a questionable “return-on-investment” for the business if a training course is not delivering performance improvement at some level, isn’t it?
What the experts tell us is this – for learning to change behaviour, it needs to be part of a process and not simply an event. Learning application requires some initial clarity around what you intend to change as well as some ongoing reinforcement to help embed the new behaviour into your routine.
So define clearly for yourself exactly what you intend to do differently in the way you are managing your staff ……. whether it is in the way you approach delegation, or the way in which you approach raising performance issues with staff, or how you go about leading team meetings to gain more engagement, or the different techniques you apply when seeking to influence stakeholders.
It would be hoped that the manager you report to is taking an interest in the workplace application of your learning – and providing some guidance and feedback. But for various reasons, this is quite often not necessarily the case.
So what can you do to get the best outcomes for both yourself , the business and your team? Here’s some quick tips –
- Start by making some easy changes first – then move on to the more challenging ones.
- Successful behaviour change must be accompanied by monitoring your thought patterns and ensuring you are adopting a mindset that supports the change
- Write down your change goals – keep them visible for yourself as reminders
- Anticipate potential obstacles – and plan how you might deal with them. Anticipate and be prepared when you are entering situations that require the new behaviour
- Disclose to trusted co-workers and peers the changes you are aiming to make …… this elicits a further commitment from yourself
- Affirm the progress you are making – even if it’s not perfect and you occasionally relapse into old management practices. Reward yourself in some way when you succeed with the new management behaviour or when you have effectively applied a new technique.
- Keep in mind the benefits of making the change …… when your “why” is clear then your motivation is more likely to be maintained …… And you’re less likely to become disheartened when there’s not the immediate success for which you had perhaps hoped.
- Solicit feedback from a few trusted colleagues who are able to observe the degree to which you are following through with your changes
- If there are circumstances when things don’t work out, take some time later to reflect …. Figure out what why it went wrong and plan how to handle it better next time
- Continue to learn and improve your leadership skills – avoid complacency creeping in
Check out more tips and resources at our pages Management Development