Nuance may be key in motivating employees to join leadership programs. It’s not enough to just dangle the possibility of such an incentive before their eyes.
Researchers from Singapore came to that conclusion after sampling 530 working U.S. employees who had never taken a leadership development course. They highlight their findings in a recent Harvard Business Review article.
Each was given two course descriptions. One described a program that would help employees become a leader that makes decisions that matter. Another made a subtle assumption that the students already considered themselves leaders, offering to improve their leadership skills.
What researchers found: a program on becoming a leader didn’t generate much interest because it seemed too hard. A program centered around learning leadership skills came across as accessible and feasible, according to the research cited in the article.
The conclusion researchers came to was that it is all about context and that framing leadership education a certain way can make or break a group’s interest in actually joining the class. A pitch to promote the class can make becoming a leader either seem out of reach or a doable and positive goal, the article concluded.
Both researchers are from the Nanyang Business School at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Click here to read the full Harvard Business Review article.