Do Team Members Need Leadership Training?
Written by Jocko Willink
December 30, 2021
For many companies, leadership training is often confined to upper levels of management. And on a superficial level, it makes sense. After all, your top management is made up of the leaders in your company. And they’re the ones who most need to hone their ability to lead.
But when you think about it, don’t you want every member of your team to be able to step up to the plate, and lead the people they’re managing?
The bottom line is, everyone in your organization benefits from learning leadership skills. Leadership training and development shouldn’t be viewed as a scarce resource to be parceled out only to the most deserving. And providing leadership training to people at every level in your company can be a core component of your organization’s success.
Make leadership training a part of your company’s culture.
Knowing you should be teaching leadership to all of your team members is one thing. But how much leadership training is enough? Should you arrange for a leadership workshop once a year? Offer courses every six months or so? Or maybe provide training once a month?
For those struggling with this question, Willink offered this rule of thumb: “Leadership training needs to be a daily part of what you do as an organization. It needs to be embedded in the way your organization exists.”
This doesn’t mean you should be halting things two days every month in order to train your people in leadership skills. “I’m not talking about that at all,” Willink elaborated. “But you do need to talk about leadership every single day. Leadership needs to be a part of the culture of your company.”
Leadership training happens all the time.
The amount of leadership training required will be different for every company. For some organizations, it could mean five minutes of training a day. For others, maybe more.
But what if you run a small company? You’re probably thinking, I can’t afford to do that much training, and I certainly can’t do it on a daily basis.
You can, though — if you follow Willink’s advice and make leadership training a part of your company’s culture.
The key is, leadership training can happen at any time. Here’s the crucial thing: leadership training doesn’t have to be in the form of a workshop or course that you arrange for your team, for which everyone has to book the time off so they can participate and learn.
If you spend 20 minutes discussing a project with a member of your team, that’s probably 20 minutes of informal leadership training taking place right then and there, even if neither of you are aware of it. Because chances are, during those 20 minutes you’re not only discussing the project, you’re also offering your guidance on leadership matters.
For example, let’s say one of the foreman attached to the project you’re discussing is known to be challenging to work with. "I know the foreman’s a jerk with a bad temper. So we spend five minutes role playing how you’re going to go out there and talk to this guy,” Willink said. “That’s your training right there. In the construction world, you always have projects you’re doing. Use these projects as a training tool. Use them to teach your people leadership.”
Take advantage of the unbounded ROI on leadership training.
Those five minutes of time you just invested in role playing the foreman situation with your team member? “The ROI on that five minutes is going to be exponential,” Willink pointed out. “Because here’s the deal. The ROI on making leadership a part of your company? It’s unbounded.”
His experience over the past 10 years of teaching leadership skills bears this out. “I’ve seen the results. Once you make leadership a part of your organization’s culture, you’ll make an infinite amount back on your investment.”
Teaching leadership skills shouldn’t stop with members of your upper management. Leadership training at all levels of your company is essential to your organization’s success. The way to accomplish this? Make the training a part of your company’s culture.
And while leadership development discussions often focus on the optimal amount of formal leadership training team members need, the reality is, leadership training happens every day.
As Willink pointed out, every construction project your company takes on is an invaluable tool for teaching your people the leadership skills they need. Take advantage of this, and earn an unbounded ROI on your investment in leadership training.
Written by Jocko Willink
December 30, 2021