Leadership styles in practice

This post is a simple homework exercise for trainees from an ongoing leadership training.

As you will learn in training, according to Blanchard and Hersey there are different potential styles for leading. Read each of the following examples of leadership and put them into categories where the phrases, according to you, all look to indicate the same style:

  1. CEO to CFO: “I need you to cut costs by 8% next year”
  2. Daughter to Sister: “Put your hand there. Now pull a little. No, left a bit. OK. Now, lift up your hand and put it there.”
  3. Manager to employee: “How do you think we should approach this project?”
  4. Consultant to client: “The best thing we can do is implement the service change in 3 phases. First we will do this, then you need to do that, the final step is…”
  5. Mother to son: “I think the best way to do it would be to close your books and just test your memory. What do you think?”
  6. Manager to employee: “What’s your idea for this? “
  7. Mother to son: “Can you deal with the washing please darling?”
  8. Manager to colleague: “If we tell them it’s in their benefit, they’ll surely be motivated. What’s your idea on this?”
  9. Father to daughter: “Put your hand on the rail. Now move this leg. No, THIS leg. OK. Now, move your hand up. Here, let me help you. That’s it, much better. The other hand needs to go here…”
  10. One colleague to another: “If we try it like that, it might work. Do you agree?”
  11. Manager to assistant: “Can you type this report for Monday please?”
  12. Manager to employee: “How do you think we can best improve profit next year?”

You’ll get an overview of the styles (and the answers) in training. Non-trainees can always email me: mail@dansteer.com for more information…

Check out my site: http://flavors.me/dansteer

5 simple tips to help you deliver conf-call trainings

I just spent an hour and a half on conf-call with 3 people, sharing training information from a session they missed last year. This post gives 5 simple tips on how to do this well.

During a 4-day Project Mgt Round-Table initiative, each afternoon was dedicated to learning people and behavioural skills. The afternoon they missed was all about “Understanding other people” and “Commercial Communication”. Since they missed the training, the call today was to get them up-to-speed. In that sense, a knowledge-building session (rather than skill building), but I didn’t want it to be “just me talking”.

As a personal debrief, here are some tips for trainers who train over the phone (or just general conf-call tips) – list is a non-exhaustive and in order of thought, not priority:


Don’t be afraid to “ham-it-up” a little and “act more”

Boring people are boring to listen to. Boring voices are hard to pay attention to. Use your voice intonation and personal style as much as possible to keep people awake. This is true anyway, but on a call go 120% from time-to-time. You need to be the energetic speaker with intonation.


Take time to address individuals

2 elements – first address individuals, then take time.

  1. Addressing individuals is all about asking specific people to speak. Instead of “Who can tell me what the ‘B’ stands for in the FAB acronym?” ask : “Vincent. What do you think the ‘B’ stands for in the FAB acronym?”. The only thing to be careful with is to make sure that you systematically ask questions to all participants and avoid missing anyone out. You can explain up-front that this is what will be doing..
  2. Take time. It is true that people don’t like silence, but its also true that we sometimes badly estimate what people are doing on the phone when we have just asked a question. We might easily mistake 10 seconds silence for “I don’t know” (which is much easier to see, than hear). If you are worried people don’t know an answer, or don’t dare to answer, follow-up with “Would you like to answer, Vincent?” *  ….but give them a little time to think first!

* you don’t have to call everyone Vincent, even on conf-calls 🙂

Make sure you repeat regularly the structure of your call

This is important in any training/meeting, but doubley-so on a conf-call. The vast majority of people respond best to visual stimuli (like your PPT or flip-chart agenda) and often this is missing in a conf-call, so you need to repeat and regular moments the purpose, learning objectives and agenda of your call. If you’ve never seen a “Dora-the-Explorer” cartoon, watch one and see how good she is at reminding you that “first we went over the bridge, then we went through the woods, now its time to…..”


Try to use a visual support for your call

If you can use NETmeeting, send a PPT, or even ask people to visualise something, this is very handy to help create concentration, improve attention and create recall for the vast majority rep systems. Don’t forget the visual element!


Use more “confirmation moments” than you might do in a classroom or face-to-face environment

When you are face-to-face with trainees, it’s quite easy to see if they are following you. * On the phone, don’t be afraid to ask from time-to-time: “Is that OK?”, “Do you have any questions?”, “What do you think about this?” (followed inevitably by “Anyone?”) …or even of course: Ask someone specific!

* although it would be naive to assume that the smiley face in front of you has understand more than the girl in Indiana Jones’ classroom

I hope this was interesting for you. Feel free to add comments with more ideas on how to do well in conf-call training sessions.


Visit http://flavors/me/dansteer of www.dansteer.com or follow me on twitter @dan_steer

How L+D professionals handle training cancellations and absences

This report treats the subject of how different organisations face up to trainee cancellations and absences. 

On the 12th May 2010, I asked 34 Learning Managers and HR professionals from around Belgium the question:

 “How do you deal with trainee cancellations and absences in your organisation?”

Of the responses received by email and telephone, answers were divided across 3 camps:

  • Those who control cancellations and absences with policy
  • Those who focus on presence by creating support for value-added learning
  • Those who simply suffer the phenomenon, taking no further action

Below, you can see the content of the report.

Click here to read it: How-L-D-Professionals-Handle-Training-Cancellations-and-Absences

If you have further questions regarding the following content, contact me via email mail@dansteer.com or by telephone +32 (0)472-346.226




Reasons for cancellation, absence and presence.. 3

Cancellation and absence vs. lack of subscriptions. 3

Why people don’t show up. 4

Why do people show up?. 4


Controlling cancellations and absences via policy. 5

Most common cancellation policy. 6

To whom should charges be made?. 6

Problems dealing with sickness. 7

Linking policy to important measurables and consequences. 7

What about internal trainings that have “no cost”?. 8

Pay now, refund when you show up. 8

Have a back-up plan for cancellations. 9

Strict vs. flexible policy. 9

Communicating policy. 10

The importance of reporting. 11


Focusing on presence by creating support for value-added learning.. 12

Make learning a priority. 12

Reward people for training rather than absence. 13

Seek agreement and buy-in from the trainees’ manager. 14

Show the ROI of training activities. 15

Build the reputation of the learning people. 15

Create real motivation by letting people choose for themselves. 16

Alternatives to the classroom: Blended learning solutions. 17

The importance of timing and time-spending 17

How to develop and facilitate brainstorming sessions

As part of its Continuous Improvement strategy, SITEL is globally rolling out Six Sigma.

The training on brainstorming Dan delivered recently constitutes an excellent add on to this development, facilitating the link between analyse of data and specific improvement initiatives.

It allows our Yellow, Green and Black Belts to perform their improvement tasks even more efficiently.

Jeroom Malcorps
Operation Support Director, Benelux and Netherlands

How to develop and facilitate brainstorming sessions (2)

Sitel is a performance improvement driven company. “Green is not good enough”. We are constantly moving forward and constantly looking for ways to improve.

The goal of my department is to support our corporate objectives through learning and development for all Sitel associates. Our success is that of the individual.

Having followed a public training session with Dan on how to facilitate a brainstorming session, I saw an opportunity to achieve
that mission and decided to implement it internally.

Innovation is a tool I believe each line manager should carry on their tool belt. This training helps participants to fulfil the strategic and business-driven need for improvement by identifying relevant operational actions.

In a highly interactive training environment, participants learnt how brainstorming can be done. We trained 37 different people and I am very satisfied with the work.

Learning Manager
Sitel Belgium

Welcome to me + highlights of 2010

To support the kick-off of my site at http://flavors.me/dansteer here is a little information about me, by means of my 2010 top activities:

  • 444 different people trained in communication, leadership and personal effectiveness –> 725 man/days of training
  • 46% growth on 2009 revenue
  • Lots of sub-contracting work for Kluwer and Cefora; also started with Febelfin Academy
  • Wins with 7 new direct clients
  • Spoke at Epsilon Salon on Infinite Learning ©
  • Ran my 1st L+D round-table with 5 top learning Belgian learning managers
  • Published article on HR World about my Infinite Learning © concept
  • Working with large international pharma company to facilitate brainstorming sessions to elaborate marketing strategy
  • Creation of new training concept: “2-Brain Training ©” in collaboration with new partner “Happiness at Work
  • Created a course on “Facing up to stress in a call-centre” for Cefora
  • 9 weeks summer holiday!
  • Bought a farm 🙂

..and now it’s 2011 !