When we facilitate sessions where we know that there will be a number of seasoned managers and leaders, we often start by asking how long people have been in their current position. We follow up by asking if they think ‘they’re done?’ or ‘why are you still in training?’ Most times they laugh but they get the point. The answer of course is, ‘No.’
But even with that acknowledgement that learning is never truly done there can be resistance to learning new things. One of the ways we help experienced leaders approach new learning is to give them some personal insight using a communication style survey. We happen to use Inscape Publishing’s newest version of the Adaptive Testing Workplace Disc. It’s incredibly accurate and keeps the model simple so that you’re able to focus on a few, powerful points about your own style. Insight is a key factor in getting experienced managers to pause.
Another element to our approach is to focus not on retraining them on skills they know but in getting them to teach what those core skills are and why they are relevant and valuable to them on a daily basis. It helps them reconnect to skills they may have let go or use less consistently than when they first began.
Lastly, we focus not on the skills but on the situations they face. Seasoned leaders want to talk about their challenges and how to get better. It’s a way for them to first ground the learning in something that’s important to them and then revisit which of the ‘tools’ in their toolbox work best to help them address those situations.
What’s your experience with teaching ‘old dogs new tricks’ when it comes to developing seasoned leaders? Share your thoughts here in the comment section or tweet us @mohrretail some of the finer points. In retail, every day is a chance to learn. MOHR!