GILS and Leadership Training >>The manager is a whole person  

The manager is a whole person

Training with The GILS-model demands the use of real cases brought in by participants from their own (sometimes prospected) managementpractices. Or demands the use of realistic more-dimensional cases by the trainers. Reality as trainingmaterial should be untouched by decisions from the outside to engage in prescribed roleplay. This enables trainers to focus on:

  • the way a trainee views and interpretes managementreality
  • the norms and assumptions he uses in his managementdecisions for action
  • the (variety of) choice of operational behavior by trainee
  • the effects of operational behavior of trainee

With prescribed roleplay the focus is only on the behavioral effects of trainee's behavior. A good trainer helps a trainee replacing old behavior by new behavior that is more effective. A trainee so learns he can act as prescribed by the role. And again, this is helpfull. But with this focus one abstracts from the manager as a person and from his idiosyncratic relationship with managementreality. He or she is treated as a liveless mechanism, a black box. This ressembles - in a way - the learning in a school for actors: there one must be situationally able to demonstrate crying or laughing behavior.

But managementreality is far more complex: a manager stands in a reality constructed part by himself. And his attitudes, feelings, motives are integral parts of this reality. Furthermore he has developed a personality and a way of presenting his self in reality. Sustainable effective managerial behavior results from this base. Small and grand changes in managementbehavior will only be realised when this base is taken as a departing point.
Example. We can train a manager to interview a co-worker using so-called interviewtechniques. But if the manager as a person is not interested in what the co-worker has to state the results of his interview will be predictably low and the interviewprocess wil have stalled early. Evaluating these effects in a traditional training of behavioral skills will lead to the advice: "give the interview a new try and better mind the interviewtechniques". Hence the trainee has learned nothing about his inner drives that dominate his real managerial behavior in daily interaction. In other words: "good behavioral acting" is in the end no indicator for effective managerial behavior in daily practice.

Therefore to come as close as is possible to manager-reality in a management training one has to observe the manager as a whole. He must as a trainee be able to be (and experience) himself as much as possible. He has to bring to the surface the goals he choses. And the behavior that he thereafter decides to implement in the situation and its effects must be seen as a function of his person and choices. He must know only he is the owner of his reactions to and interactions with different co-workerpersonality's.

Finally we have to state that the assumption often viewed in modern behavioral leadershiptraining that it is best to organise such a training around cases brought in by trainees out of their own personal practices is not always valid. Naturally, as a rule, commitment is high when one discusses one's own practice. But using these personal cases "at face value" can be pretty deceptive. Behavior will then be trained around the perceived description of reality by trainee. We very often see that his or her main problems with being effective in management stem from distorted perceptions of reality. In GILS-training we therefore actively surface these fundamentals when necessary.
More-dimensional cases (cases where all relevant interpersonal, cultural and organisational dimensions that play a relevant role are designed into) constructed by professional trainers with profound knowledge of and experience with managementpractices can deliver very effective and confronting training material. When skilled didactical design enables demonstration of several core phenomena in the complex managementreality the learning of the manager as a person via these cases can be very efficient.