How to Approach Leadership Training

This newsletter was written by our CEO, Bree Groff.

Last week I went on a tour of a school where we may send our daughter. Like most tours, there was a sign-in sheet: name, email, age of offspring, etc. But this one had an extra box: “What are you passionate about? Did you learn it in school?”

I wrote, “How organizations grow and evolve,” and “No”.

How many passions and skills that are essential to our work are never actively taught in school, or in the workplace? If the consistent demand for NOBL's Leadership Training is any indication, “how to lead a team” is one of those skills. Unfortunately, many leaders haven’t received so much as a day’s worth of instruction—ever—on how to grow a high-performing team. And their team’s performance is their measure of success!

We did one such Leadership Training for a rapidly scaling start-up earlier this year. The original intent was to target new managers—people in their 20s and 30s who have been leading others for a handful of years. We walked into the workshop that morning and noticed that the CEO and CTO were present. We first wondered if they wanted to oversee what we were sharing with their staff, but instead, our client told us, “They’ve never received any training either! They’re here to learn too.”

If you’re looking to level-up your own leaders, whether they’re new to management or the CEO, start here:

  • Assess where the stress is. Before we do any workshop, we conduct interviews with a handful of leaders to find out what’s top of mind. Our breadth of leadership training content covers strategic alignment; communication up, down, and across the organization; expectation setting; individual performance; team performance; high-stakes communications; and leading change. However, not all are of equal importance to each leader. Prioritize where the greatest pain and opportunity lie.

  • Assess how you need to change. We are firm believers that one size fits one. In fact, if we offered the same leadership counsel to all our clients, we’d be wrong 50% of the time. With our enterprise clients, we’re usually helping leaders bring more simplicity, humanity, and agility to their teams. With our start-up clients, we’re helping leaders set expectations and process amidst the chaos of scaling. Your ambitions will be your own, so don’t hesitate to customize.

  • Be biased towards the practical. As much as reflecting on leadership styles can be helpful, most leaders we work with prefer practical tools that they can implement with their team, tomorrow. Offer a checklist for project kick-offsmeeting formats for 1:1s, or a worksheet for prepping a difficult conversation. You want leaders leaving a training knowing exactly what they can do to improve their teams.

  • Extend the experience. The most critical part of any training is the day after, when everyone returns to their desks wondering what (if anything) will change. At best, the training leads to concrete actions that affects the work itself. At worst, it’s critical time taken away from daily work. We often extend training through individual leader coaching. You can also build follow-ups into your regular meeting cadence or at a distinct point in time—say, four weeks post-training—to share early wins and learnings.

Interested in learning more about leader training?Contact us.


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