There can be a lot of laughter in a training room.
While the topics are often serious, there is a wonderful relief when people discover that they are not the only ones struggling with issues, personality types, challenging bosses and perplexing employees.
In a recent group of supervisors, one participant raised his hand after a few sessions of training had been conducted to share a recent experience. He had shifted from telling people what to do to asking questions. He now provided encouragement and stopped following his employees around to make sure they were doing their jobs well. After a few weeks of this, he reported that he now had very little to do!
While everyone in the training room laughed, I was intrigued.
“Are you saying that in only a few weeks you are no longer overworked, overwhelmed, and frustrated? “
It did beg the question so I asked it – “What do you think you’ll do now with all this ‘free’ time?”
He didn’t miss a beat.
“I’m going to arrange to meet with my boss to see what I need to know, do, and show, so that I can position myself for a promotion – maybe even her job!”
Everyone in the training room marveled at the transformation. He definitely looked and acted happier. He reported that his employees were doing a great job. And he had gone from being a person who was annoyed at having to attend a training program to a person who was looking into additional professional development.
Things like this don’t happen every time a training program is conducted.
Of course it’s the goal: learning, increasing effectiveness, solving problems, and empowering professionals.
More often than you’d suspect, people don’t want to be in training (they were sent by someone who never explained the benefit or the reason). They don’t think anything will change or that anything the hear and learn will help solve their issues. They are burned out. They don’t care. They are overwhelmed with work and think that training is simply another layer of things they now will have to do. No one will care if they learn or not.
For behavior change to happen it requires the right situation and the right person – someone with an open mind and a willingness to try new things. Optimism and execution.
But learning, motivation, and behavior change can happen and does happen. It happens in every day in management training rooms everywhere.
When it happens in my training room, the laughter is wonderful.