Is Training (alone) a form of Work Avoidance?
Updated: Mar 24, 2022
'... Beyond selection, leadership development is a line manager's daily responsibility. Training and development processes like those we design in our consulting services are no substitute for regular on-the-job debriefing....'
From The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
This is so true. It is such a common illusion held by managers (me included) that sending people to development interventions (mostly training course) is THE answer to develop people. The managers in fact are the most important teachers as we can role model, coach, give feedback, reward etc on timely basis... frequently. This is more the case for soft-skills capabilities e.g. leadership, managerial skills, presentation, but also applies to technical skills to a certain extent.
Some more reflections on this:
1. Our contribution - L&D practitioners actually help create this illusion. We are eager to help, sometimes, by doing more and better at what we know i.e. running workshops. Sometimes we could unconsciously convince the managers that attending workshops is the magic pill. Politically, in order to justify the existence of a training department, we make ourselves busy. The immediate answer is more workshops. We are promoting technical fixes to an adaptive challenge.
2. Reward - In most organisations I know, managers are not rewarded for developmental work. At least for most managers I know, they do not see it this way. Even though some companies measure managers' developmental effort, the norm is that such effort can be 'sacrificed' in the name of quarterly business result.
3. Organisational Collusion - Somehow, simply putting people into workshops is easy for the managers as well. We (in fact the whole system) do not need to face the pain in adapting ourselves to be people developers. In a way, is training a form of work avoidance (from the organisational perspective)?
See my related previous posts
How much does training matter? (2008)
How much does training matter? Cont’d (2008)
Be careful about L3 and L4 (2014)