Confident young manager raising hand at workshop

Re-Energize Yourself and Your Training

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Michelle here. I got an SOS from a gym friend—she had the flu and needed someone to substitute for her early morning class. I ended up rushing to the gym as did another colleague. We both had a blast as we taught, choosing favorite exercises and music. Afterward, a client I knew came up to me. She thought the two of us had brought such joy to the class that she felt she got more out of it than normal.

That got me thinking about shifting our mental model from learner-centric delivery in the corporate classroom to instructor-centric. If you don’t mesh to the material—finding that which resonates with you—you can’t make it come alive to your students. For me, I often find material that connects to me and for which my sense of humor and whimsy has a role. Consider these examples:

  • One day toward the middle of a program I was teaching, someone blurted out, “Are you wearing a green jacket with leaves because you’re talking about Robert Greenleaf?” Of course!
  • I love sports and have found case studies and books that use sports as the launch pads for leadership discussions. This generated interest in clients who weren’t enrolling in “standard” leadership classes, and we had such joy in discussing the leadership lessons and how they could apply them to their workforce.

When I was at the gym, I also realized that I didn’t have any tech—no tablet, no smartphone, nothing—with me and neither did my students. I was fully present and joyful in the moment, and my students were in the same space to concentrate. No digital distractions are rare in the office.

  • According to McKinsey & Co., high-skilled workers spend 28 percent of their work hours reading and replying to email messages.
  • Udemy’s research found that more than a third of millennials and Gen Z employees surveyed (36 percent) say they spend two hours or more checking their smartphones for personal activities during the workday. That’s more than 10 hours of distractions—and productivity—lost each week.

Marykate here. I agree with Michelle that it helps when you believe in what you are teaching and is best when I am still learning a bit myself. My challenge is that I am so passionate about facilitating that I overdo it. I am learning that I need to pace myself, so I am working on taking care of myself these days. Way back when, I would squeeze in way too much and not allow enough time to really prep. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. My word for 2020 is pause. Pause before I say yes when deciding to accept projects. Pause to really consider how I want to deliver a session. Pause to take the proper time to prep. And pause during sessions to truly reflect on what participants are sharing. I have found that by pausing, I tend to enjoy every aspect of my day more.

How do you find joy in training? How do you stay present and not distracted?

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About the Author

Michelle Zager is with The Treasury Executive Institute, a government shared service providing leadership development and services for over 40 different government agencies.

About the Author

Marykate Dougherty is with The Treasury Executive Institute, a government shared service providing leadership development and services for over 40 different government agencies.

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