Trainers & Instructors: “Don’t pack it”


I often turn to Henry Mintzberg’s writings for his sage advice on management and leadership, yet tonight I found his advice on teaching. Here’s his “Ten Rules for Professors Who Want to Educate Real Managers”; they apply to anyone who is leading any kind of workshop, class, course, podcast or any other learning event:

1, 2, 3. Don’t pack it. Don’t pack it. Don’t pack it.

4. Schedule an extra hour for each session, but don’t tell the instructors until they arrive so they will have more time to turn the discussion over to the managers.

5. Profess less. Participants have at least as much to learn from each other as from the professors. (This is about what they learn, not about what we teach.)

6. Let participants run with the material on their agendas.

7. Be flexible. Let good discussion go on. If necessary, cut

what has to be “covered.”

8, 9, 10. Listen. Listen. Listen.

If you get nothing else out of that list, go back to #5; learning isn’t about what we trainers have to teach — it’s ALL about what the learners have to learn.

Third Generation Management Development

Leaders can only lead others when they can lead themselves


I’ve been setting aside a pile of blog posts, particularly on leadership, that I’m now ready to write. There’s so much written on leadership, it’s rather daunting to know what to read, or who to read. We can never go wrong with Drucker or Mintzberg or those published with Harvard (you all know by now what a groupie I am of the Harvard Business Review — is there a support group for us?) In fact, HBR has just put out their “10 most read leadership articles” – if you read nothing else, do check these articles out. Even to scan.

But I always like to ask senior executives what has made a difference for them in their leadership approaches. A friend who has been a senior executive for the past decade, & who has dealt successfully with unbelievably challenging situations (I say successfully because, #1, he’s still employed &, believe me, the organization he works for doesn’t tolerate incompetence, and #2, employees he works with – LEADS – like & respect him. ) He suggested I read “The Inward Journey of Leadership,” in the Journal of Surgical Research, April 2006. After some digging – & paying – I found it. And now, I pass his suggestion on to any of you who are in a leadership position (even if that means you have 1 person looking to you for leadership), or are considering moving into a team leadership, project leadership or functional leadership role.

Written by a surgeon who heads

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