Why We Need To Train Our Leaders

T here’s something fundamentally wrong with the way that we teach leadership. In the business world today leadership is failing. According to numerous surveys worldwide, approximately 11% of employees in the
10 Jun 2017 11:00
Why We Need To Train Our Leaders

T here’s something fundamentally wrong with the way that we teach leadership.

In the business world today leadership is failing.

According to numerous surveys worldwide, approximately 11% of employees in the workforce are not just unhappy but are truly miserable coming to work.

Research by the Australasian Leadership Institute shows that in Fiji only 8% of all Managers are rated as excellent leaders that leaves a massive 92% of all Managers who are falling short.

This is a major issue for the economy as businesses with unmotivated employees do not produce as much work as motivated employees which leads to lost productivity and ultimately lost profits.

This lack of quality leaders is not due to a lack of information.

There are over 50,000 books on leadership published worldwide each and every year. Information about how to be a great leader is everywhere for everyone to access.

The issue of poor leadership is the result of how we teach our leaders both academically and in the workforce.

In the workforce the typical career path of a leader is as follows. A company is looking for a new leader.

They turn to someone who is a star performer, who has demonstrated strong technical skills, has good knowledge and possesses a certain amount of common sense.

This person is then placed in a role that is very different to the one in which they have excelled.

No longer are they just responsible for their own performance but now they are responsible for a team of people, many of whom have different personalities and work ethics to that of their new Manager.


Manager’s role

The Manager’s role is one that many people are unprepared for and despite their best efforts they at best end up as good leaders but very rarely excellent leaders and quite often are seen as poor leaders by their staff.

Academically it’s worse because on several occasions leadership courses are taught by people who have little or no experience of leadership in the business world.

I know from many years practical experience that there’s a big difference between leadership in the classroom and  leadership that is required in the workplace.

Leadership is too often taught as a series of steps and procedures for people to follow yet there are so many variables.

Leadership needs to be more adaptive and leaders need to be able to deal with many different personalities, differing motivations and an almost unlimited number of different situations.

People often make the mistake of training leaders in the same way they train other skills but leadership has so many variables it requires a different approach.


Leadership in Rugby

I find the best way to describe this difference is to compare it to rugby.

When I lived in the United Kingdom,  to be completely honest I didn’t like Rugby.

I went to see a game once and it was a series of scrums, followed by the ball being kicked out and then line outs followed by more scrums and kicking, all set plays and little to no action.

When I came down to this corner of the world I watched the super rugby teams and the flying Fijians and what I saw was a completely different game.

It still had the same rules but the players had a very different approach.

The players ran with the ball, they passed fast and accurately, the players off-loaded the ball in the tackle. It was a much more improved style of play and as a result a lot more tries were scored.

I recall talking to a coach afterwards and I asked him about the training rugby players received and the differences in approach between the northern hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere teams.

He told me the difference was that in the northern hemisphere the players were taught rugby skills yet in the Southern Hemisphere players were not just taught rugby skills but also how to think and make quick decisions on the rugby field.

This allowed them to make the right decisions at the right time and therefore become far more effective.

I believe we need to take this  same approach  when looking at leadership and the training required to create highly effective leaders.

Leadership is more than a set of skills, leadership is a way of thinking, an attitude.

Leadership training is broken, not just in Fiji but worldwide and now is the time to change.


Teach leaders the right way

If we want to put an end to people being miserable at work, if we want people to feel inspired and motivated then we need to start teaching leaders the right way.

It’s time to provide Leaders with a range of leadership techniques and develop the attitude that allows them to use the right skills at the right time in the right circumstances.

In Rugby skills are irrelevant unless you have the knowledge of how and when you use the skills, and off-loading the ball at the right time can be the difference between winning  and losing.

The same can be said about Leadership in business, skills combined with knowledge can make a huge difference to your organisation and the people within that organisation.

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