Leadership Development – Engaging the Learners

Working with a client recently, it was reinforced to me again how vital it is to consciously design development programs that do this. “Well of course dummy, what else is new” I hear you say. OK. If you want your leadership, or most other interventions, to make a difference, the key is the involvement and interaction of and with the participants. I still come across programs that have many many slides and the presenter being proud of what they have produced, yet, the impact on the participants from the presentation is minimal, and possibly negative. Why? Because they get lost in the volume of information, and/or, bored by the presentation. To have your program participants head back to work and do something positive, they need to be actively engaged. This usually means considerably less slides.

More slides means more talking by the presenter and less interaction, thinking and affect of the participants. The techniques for this have been there for generations and they are still effective with the different generations. They include:

  • Case studies
  • Guided group discussions
  • Role plays
  • Experiential activities, indoor or outdoor
  • Feedback instruments

For the above to yield the power they are capable of two things are required. They need to be:

  1. Selected, tailored and/or designed to address the outcome the program is focused on. Careful of facilitators who always use the same activity regardless of context.
  2. Be appropriately debriefed. A great activity with a lacking debrief is such a waste as the learning opportunity is allowed to be missed. The skilled debrief ensures the desired learnings are realised and will be acted on. It also ensures the appropriate emotional care of the participants, which I advocate we have an obligation to mange diligently.

Next time you are at a development program, consider what the correlation is between the number of slides and the value you get from the session. If you would like assistance with your program designs, we would be delighted to provide that assistance.