I was conducting leadership training for a large public utility, in a rural training facility about 100 miles from the company’s headquarters. The Vice President who had brought me in was a full participant in the first class I conducted, and believe me, his presence and participation in the training wasn’t lost on anyone.
A few months later, I returned to provide the same program for a different, more junior group. Although the VP had already completed the training, he wanted to put his stamp of support on the program for this group — even though the event’s timeframe wasn’t particularly convenient for him. Despite having an important meeting at headquarters, he thought it was important enough for him to kick off the training session that he took a company helicopter from the main office to the training facility early that morning. There, he delivered a 10-minute message, saying how valuable he felt this training was for everyone there. Afterward, he and a colleague got in a car and drove south to the budget meeting. His validation of the training did as much as anything I did to let people know, this is important. You’ll learn something here, and I want you to use it.
I’ve noticed a big difference between people who are sent to training, and those whose leaders go with them and participate fully. It’s a little like the difference between parents who send their kids to church versus taking them, or telling your kids to get out and get some exercise, while the parents sit on the couch and watch Netflix.
Visibility matters. I hope you’re investing in the training and development of the people you lead. And if you are, it can be so much more valuable in many cases, if you take the time, and the interest, to be there, and to participate fully. No executive parking places for training and development. You’ll see the value of this approach if you’ll make a commitment, today, to support the training and development of those you lead, by attending and participating in a specific training opportunity that one or more of your team members has planned. Do that the first chance you get.
And who knows? By going to training along with your team members, you may just learn something. What’s almost certain is that they’ll learn all they need to know about your commitment to their success.