Leaders Train

Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at the top of the hill which they captured, Battle of San Juan
Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at the top of the hill which they captured, Battle of San Juan (Wikimedia Commons)

Leaders are trainers. And the fruit of training shows up in the actions of well-led teamwork.

When Theodore Roosevelt led his Rough Riders into battle in the Spanish-American War, he taught his team "charge into the open," "straight ahead," "forward to the charge."

Witnessing journalist Edward Marshall said Roosevelt was "the most magnificent soldier I have ever seen" (Doris Kearns Goodwin, Leadership in Turbulent Times).

When Roosevelt commanded the Rough Riders to "charge," soldiers moved. Time for discussion and planning merged into a resolve to execute commands. Loyalty and trust of a leader begins in a classroom with basic training of the fundamentals. When we skip the fundamentals, we allow weak links on the team to remain weak.

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A pre-algebra teacher builds trust and loyalty in the science of math by drilling successful habits with students. Repetition is a master teacher. Success in the calculus begins in pre-algebra with a methodical trainer.

Solomon's admonition rings true today: "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning" (Prov. 9:9).

5 Principles for Training the Basics

1. Build a syllabus based on a clear presentation of foundational principles. Drill the basics until boredom seeps through crevices in the room. Include training units in standard operating procedures in "fundamental" sessions.

2. Increase the frequency of training meetings but reduce the length of the sessions. Pick one topic at a time and teach for 20-30 minutes. Aim for a hard stop at 30 minutes.

3. Don't use PowerPoint. Death by PowerPoint is real. You don't need slides when your training agenda drills one point.

4- Develop stories to improve retention and interest. Always keep watching and listening for stories. Teach the point and tell a story or two. Search YouTube for videos to illustrate your point.

5. Create a "one-thing" takeaway. Keep discussions going throughout the week or until your next training session. Send reminders by text or email. Keep repeating the lesson in creative ways.

Training is a process, not an event. Your effectiveness as a leader improves in every training session. Don't miss any opportunity to train.

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Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, here.

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