“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.” Vince Lombardi, who led the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championship wins as head coach.
There’s a common misconception when promoting new leaders. It’s assumed that those who have worked hard to be good at being part of a team have also done the hard work necessary to be good at leading a team.
Often, a superstar is quickly promoted through the ranks and is too soon faced with the unpredictable challenges of motivating and supervising people. They may be sent on a day course in leadership or, more likely, be given a few presentations to click through online, but ultimately they’re left to fend for themselves.
Even when the training offered is outstanding, research shows it’s largely ineffective. Only 25 per cent of respondents to a 2010 survey said formal training improved employee performance. And Hermann Ebbinghaus’ 1885 ‘forgetting curve’ suggests 65 per cent of what’s taught in the classroom will be forgotten within a week.
Together, these statistics show the need for continuous, on-the-job training to maximise performance improvements through immediate relevance, and enhance retention through repetition.
Find out how Leadership Essentials can help your organisation
In our experience, the best way to do that is with technology. When HS2, the UK’s largest infrastructure programme, asked us to help with their senior leaders and line managers, we created an online learning portal. It’s full of checklists, short videos and ‘how to’ guides that give practical support instantly. Topics cover everything from conducting an interview to running a performance review.
The best thing about our Leadership Essentials learning portal is that it can be accessed on any device, so new leaders can find the support they need when they need it. And content is customisable to meet the challenges faced in different industries and businesses.
The challenge of making leaders is a big one. But with the right resources, new leaders can be nurtured through the hard work that will make them great.