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The most effective way to develop leaders across an organization is through a combination of training and coaching, designed to improve communication, organization, and decision-making on all fronts. We use a “Pulse and Practice” approach, that encourages participants to immediately apply the concepts they learn to real situations they are experiencing, while we support their development through coaching and facilitated discussion.
Your program will be designed to the needs of your organization, but here is an example of how we might structure a series of five half-day sessions. Notice how we start with broader concepts and practical tools to form a foundation, and as we progress through the series, the team gets more involved in customizing the concepts to their own environment, ultimately moving towards a practice of ongoing self-directed learning and development.
Training Session #1 – Resolving Miscommunication and Giving Feedback
People issues are getting in the way of productivity. This session helps people become aware of how their natural assumptions and thinking patterns lead them to misinterpret each others behavior and fall into unnecessary conflict. They begin to take ownership of resolving their own conflicts instead of only seeing the behavior of others as a problem that needs to be fixed.
- Learn a model that shows how miscommunication happens and what to do to resolve it.
- Walk through a process you can use to prepare for a sensitive feedback conversation, including how to frame the conversation and specific wording examples.
- Practice preparing for an actual conversation by writing scripts and role playing the conversation.
- Homework: Use the feedback tool to give both positive and negative feedback to others; identify one person you have been miscommunicating with and actively work to improve the relationship.
Training Session #2 – Understanding Different Work and Social Styles
People with opposite work styles get on each others nerves, and without the understanding of each others view point and general approach to work, have difficulty building trust or forming productive work relationships. This session helps them understand and value diversity in work styles and provides tangible tools they can use to work more effectively with different styles.
- Learn a social styles model that maps out different perspectives and approaches to work. DiSC Assessments are recommended.
- Build on our communication model by showing how people with opposite social styles fall into specific and predictable conflicts because of their natural stress and behavior patterns.
- Walk through a comparison report with another individual to review your similarities and differences, and develop specific strategies to work together more effectively during times of stress.
- Homework: Choose three specific people you work regularly with, and agree to run comparison reports and meet to develop relationship building strategies.
Training Session #3 – Communicating Vision and Direction
People are getting foggy on their priorities and not always choosing the right things to work on. Energy in the organization is starting to dissipate as different agendas compete for attention. This session helps leaders and managers talk more clearly and consistently about vision, goals, and priorities and spread that clarity throughout the organization.
- Learn what employees need clarity on in order to effectively organize their work and prioritize on their own.
- Test your own clarity on vision, goals, and priorities. Discuss and resolve internal confusion.
- Develop a message platform that works, even when company direction is changing or some decisions haven’t been made. Work through scenario analysis to test your platform.
- Homework: Immediately start communicating to teams and gauging their responses; solicit feedback and set up a specific time to regroup and review your platform.
Training Session #4 – Effective Meeting Management
People resent going to meetings because they seem to be interfering with time that could be spent on getting work done. This session helps managers streamline meetings so that they clearly serve the purpose they are designed for.
- Learn best practices in meeting management, including the models discussed in “Death by Meeting” by Patrick Lencioni, and the Level 10 meetings discussed in “Traction” by Gino Wickman. Optional to assign one or both of these books as preparatory reading before the session.
- Identify the issues that derail meetings in your current environment. When do meetings run over? In what situations do meetings go off topic? Do specific people repeatedly disrupt or mismanage meetings and why?
- Work though two or three specific issues relating to meetings as a team, and decide what changes to make moving forward.
- Homework: Immediately start using your new meeting strategy, gauging what works and what doesn’t, and schedule a specific follow up meeting to debrief your results.
Training Session #5 – The Power of a Healthy Team
Everyone has insecurities and blind spots that undermine the health of the team as a whole. We tend to tolerate these “personality quirks” and do our best to work around them. This session makes it painfully clear how damaging it is to sweep these under the carpet, and inspires individual team members to take ownership of their growth and courageously lean in to playing their part in helping the team grow to its highest potential.
- Review leading research and models that show how trust and relationships connect to accountability and results in the highest performing teams.
- Identify how individual stress and reactionary behavior erodes trust and damages teams.
- Work though a facilitated dialogue that helps the team identify key patterns and issues that threaten to undermine trust, productivity, and performance on the team. Choose next steps, which might include coaching, 360 assessments, relationship building activities and/or the next series of specific training topics.
- Homework: Act on the decisions you make and schedule a follow up meeting to debrief on your progress and results.
Additional topics that are commonly included in leadership development training:
- Building Effective Relationships with your Team – This addresses the problem that some leaders have of either micromanaging or abdicating to the frustration of their direct reports who are either stifled with too much direction or lost with too little. The session helps leaders find that line that enables them to delegate while also setting team members up to succeed.
- Leader as Coach – Studies show that the number one reason people leave a job is because of the relationship (or lack of relationship) they have with their boss. Ideally, everyone would like to have a manager who is also mentor and coach to them. The Aspyrre “Leader as Coach” program teaches coaching and mentoring skills to those in a leadership position who want to go beyond effective management and are ready to become a strong mentor within the organization.
- Getting Time to Think – One of the most basic problems leaders have in fast-moving organizations is falling into a pattern of handling urgent issues they are faced with on a daily basis and going weeks and sometimes months without carving out time to think strategically. Unfortunately this puts their whole team on a path of disjointed activity that does not move the organization forward productively. This series of sessions is devoted to time management, productivity and personal organization, helping participants balance responding to urgent issues with proactive strategic work so they can move their teams.
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