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Inc. Magazine’s cover story this month is How to Be a Great Boss, but what happens when you don’t work with that “great boss” who proactively provides all the training and development you need to improve your ability to lead? If you’re not sure how to ask for, justify, or advocate for the training or coaching or resources you need to succeed, these three tactics will help.
Focus on Features and Benefits
Asking your boss for two grand to attend a leadership course in Cancun will require serious justification on your part to lower his eyebrows and get the okay. But, if you can approach the conversation with clear benefits for your attendance, you might make some headway. Try this phrase: “With this ____ (insert leadership course or anything else you want), I can ____ (what will you do better or different as a result of this course?), which means ____ (how will your new knowledge or skills impact the bottom line?).
Point out the Ripple Effect
Much as we describe leadership and behavior as contagious and mention that everything we do, say, think, believe, and how we behave rubs off on others, the development you seek as a mid-level manager or leader of many, will have a ripple effect. How many team members, direct reports, or indirect reports will your increased confidence, ability to communicate more clearly, skills in dealing with difficult people, or motivating performance…impact? If hiring a professional coach for you will reduce time spent in HR’s office, or speed up productivity, those are also worth mentioning when you make your request.
Prevent One Hit Wonders or Drive-By Days
Many organizations believe one day of training will fix problems it took two years to create. In only rare cases is this true. Yet, when a course is brought in with no follow up or action steps or summary report that keeps the momentum going, you create a one hit wonder that no one remembers. More importantly, you train team members to endure this one event and then go back to normal. Training and development of you or the team you have the privilege of leading is not effective if it’s a drive-by event in which we focus a day on fixing the issue and months complaining about why it’s not fixed, doing nothing different but expecting radically new results. Request results from your training firm or coach and keep them accountable. Show the powers that be your request will produce results.
Training is a process and the more follow up you can show is included in your training proposal and the more time spent discussing measurable results and metrics will keep anyone from questioning your decision to spend the money on an event that produced results that could last a lifetime.
Contagious Companies, Inc. is a training and development firm that provides leadership development that you can measure and that lasts. For more information on training tools, resources, and courses, go to contagiouscompanies.com or call 1-866-382-0121.