Home' HR Monthly : November 2018 Contents 24
OUT OF TOUCH?
Putting to one side out of the box approaches
to training, there is evidence that Australia
might have a leadership training problem –
and not just in parliament and the country’s
financial services companies.
Research from the University of Melbourne’s
Centre for Workplace Leadership shows many
leaders have an inflated perception of their
own effectiveness. The study surveyed 2,500
senior managers and almost 4,500 of their
employees across a range of industries.
CEOs, workplace managers and frontline
managers were asked to assess their own
effectiveness in setting direction, gaining
commitment, and overcoming obstacles.
These were then combined into a single
‘leader self-efficacy’ score.
CEOs gave themselves the highest
score, followed by workplace managers and
then frontline managers. Non-supervisory
employees were then asked to rate their
leaders. They gave a consistently lower score
than their superiors’, rating them much lower
on the effectiveness scale.
While 86 per cent of organisations offered
some type of leadership program – such
as workshops, or coaching or leadership
qualifications – their impacts on workplace
performance were underwhelming, even as
they boosted leadership confidence.
Give your leaders the skills to lead change,
create high-per forming teams and manage
conflict, with Ignition Training programs.
These courses can be tailored to suit your
team’s needs and delivered in-house.
Call to adventure
If you really want to immerse yourself in a
left- of-field leadership experience, why not work
with nomadic migration reindeer herders in the
thick of the Mongolian winter? This is one of
the programs offered as part of the Queensland
government’s Advance Queensland initiative.
Ben Southall is Advance Queensland’s
adventurer-in-residence and founder of Best Life
Adventures, the company that facilitates the
program. “If you’re tough enough to get through
a physical challenge you thought you couldn’t
do, it means you’re better placed to take on other
challenges in the futu re,” he says.
Southall seems qualified for the job, having
spent a year driving from London to Cape Town
and setting a record by running nearly 550
kilometres of New Z ealand’s famous walks in
just nine days.
“We take entrepreneurs and corporate
leaders out of their day-to -day lives, and put
them together in a challenging and adventurous
environment where they undertake pretty heavy
physical activities,” says Southall.
He also runs mentoring sessions throughout
the program, touching on the sore points of each
Southall cites the case of Lachlan Young, a
former coder for a tech company, who attended
the New Zealand program.
“He wasn’t the fittest guy. He was used to
sitting in front of a computer all the time.
“We’d been paddling for about six hours
across a lake – it was the most beautiful location
– and he made it to the end, almost fell out of the
boat, sat down on the beach and said, ‘Thank
god we’re done.’ I pointed over my shoulder at a
mountain and said, ‘we’re climbing that now.’
He said, ‘There’s no f**king way I can do that!’
and then he flipped me off.”
After encouragement from Southall, Young
took off up the mountain and made it to the
top. After completing the program, he started
going to the gym three times a week and got a
new job. His whole life has turned around.
Young is what Kolb refers to as an
‘accommodator’ – someone who learns best
when provided with a hands-on experience.
They “explore complex ity by interaction”.
Kolb identifies three other learning styles:
divergers, convergers and assimilators. While
they’re all slightly different in their learning
approaches, they each favour logical theories
and observing a wide collection of information.
These types of learners are the kind who
will probably thrive in traditional leadership
scenarios, so perhaps we shouldn’t do away
with them all together. But it’s interesting to
explore what’s available to the accommodators
of the world.
“People who go on these adventures are
much clearer of mind,” says Southall who could
be described as an ex treme accommodator.
“In a new environment, they’re able to test
themselves physically, emotionally, culturally,
and they can generate a lot more brain juice.
That’s the stuff that makes leaders more
Despite the benefits of getting out in nature,
a trek into the unknown or a kayaking trip into
the wild ocean will only work for those with an
adventurous streak (and a generous budget).
The rest of us should perhaps just stick to
sampling different flavours of juice. •••
18/10/18 5:09 pm
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