A tale of two managers: it was the best of teams; it was the worst of teams… A client had two different teams attending the same training event at two different times: One group is engaged, open and involved; the other group is resistant, closed and passive. The same exact content was delivered by the same facilitator. So what was the difference? Why did one team engage and the other sit back and behave more detached than the other?
While I can’t entirely chalk up to it to one factor, I can note one substantial difference between the two groups: In the positive group, the team manager attended and participated with the group before, during, and after the training session. In the group that was less positive, from what I could see, their team manager was not as involved; plus, he/she did not attend the training session.
If you are a corporate leader and you want a no-brainer way to get better results from your training effort, then the model for your group is behind how the engaged and actively participating group did their training: the team’s manager was a big part of the event. That manager was engaged in the training process and therefore the buy-in from the trainees was stronger, and their activity during the training session more enthusiastic and attentive.
If the leadership of an organization voluntarily participates and attends the training, it sends a message. In the above example, the manager who did not attend sent this subliminal message that the training was not really important, despite a corporate priority message that was sent to all participants that the session and its topic was one of the organization’s top three priorities this year.
Contrast this with the other team whose manager actively attended and participated. The manager set expectations that the team was to attend, complete the pre-work and actively participate in the session. This manager positively modeled for the team the training was a significant for both the team and the organization.
As with most aspects of managing, the key is to walk the talk. If you say the training is important and it is a priority, then show it with your actions. Make a commitment to attend the training and complete the accompanying work. Consider how your participation will influence your team and your desired outcomes for the training. In the words of Charles Dickens, “The remedy is in your hands.”