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New Manager Training: Debunking Common Myths About Leadership Development

ICC January 19, 2022 0 Comments

By: Susan Ruhl

According to Gartner, 60% of new managers underperform in their first two years. Why is that? The reality is that there is either a lack of training provided to new managers on how to be a good manager or the training provided is ineffective. 

As learning and development professionals, we know it, and yet we continue to use the same ineffective methods we have always used. I believe that this is due to misconceptions surrounding training that have been pervasive for decades.

The first myth about leadership development is that traditional stand-up classroom training is a great way to learn because the participants are in-person, and it can be knocked out in a few hours. Certainly, it is nice to come together to create bonding moments. 

However, the reality is that bonding moments alone don’t equate to retained learning and implementation of the desired skill. It is no secret that traditional classroom training only yields a 10% retention rate, which leaves learning and development professionals with no choice but to consider different avenues. What does that look like?   

That leads me to misconception number two: simply migrating to online learning is a great way for employees to fit training into their workday without devoting large segments of their day to the new manager training. While this approach is a bit more effective than classroom training, people only retain 30% of what they have learned, and still, it has marginal on-the-job application.  

Let me illustrate the problem of training misconceptions with an analogy. If I handed you a pair of running shoes, could you run a marathon tomorrow? Even if you were a good runner, chances are you could not do it. It is the equivalent of saying, “Congratulations, you are a manager! Now go manage.”

What if I put you in the classroom and taught you the theories of running mechanics? Could you do it then? No? 

Ok, what if instead, I gave you videos to watch at your own pace and even checked in with quiz questions? 

Certainly, you could run that marathon then. Again, the answer is “highly unlikely.” Running a marathon takes preparation, practice, and training over time.

Creating performing leaders is much like training them to run a marathon. We must provide the theories, but without practice, feedback, and continued training, there is little growth, and we end up putting our new managers in the inevitable position of underperforming.  

We have found that the most effective training provides theories spread out over time and opportunities to practice and course-correct when necessary. ICC’s Accelerator™ Program uses a proprietary process of microlearning that will allow for learning over time, reinforcement of the content to allow for greater knowledge retention, remote live group coaching sessions to allow for feedback, and manager support to encourage and promote skill application.

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