"I am the vine; you are the branches." (John 15:5)

Transformational versus Informational Development

I was sent to a management training school back in the 80s so that I could learn how to teach and train people. The company philosophy was pretty simple and straightforward – we were told to keep people focused and on track. Make them repeat back to you what you just said and when they veer off subject, drag them back (kicking and screaming if necessary). We all probably know managers like this and recognize that while that might be an effective way to teach someone how to perform a task, it isn’t conducive to conversation and leading a small group.

As small group leaders, we are more interested in seeing lives transformed than we are in knowledge transfer, so a different approach is required. I read the following post on Mac Lake’s blog last year and have wanted to talk about the concept, but don’t feel like I can say it any better than he did or make it any more concise, so here’s a link to the post and the text.

Years ago when I used to lead teacher-training sessions the first principle I would drive into their thinking was, “Teaching isn’t talking, listening isn’t learning.”  We make a fatal mistake in leadership development when our only approach to development is dumping a bunch of information on learners.  Dumping information doesn’t necessarily equate to transformation.  Yet many organizations use an informational rather than a transformational approach to developing leaders. Here are some of the big differences between the two.

  • Informational tells the learner about principles they need to know.  Transformational teaches people to behave in new ways by challenging them to put principles into practice.
  • Informational dumps knowledge. Transformational develops competencies.
  • Informational is one-way communication. Transformational is a two-way dialogue.
  • Informational uses the science of teaching. Transformational uses the art of facilitation.
  • Informational follows a linear pathway.  Transformational customizes learning based on the learners present situation and needs.
  • Informational the instructor uses a structured, highly controlled lesson plan. Transformational the instructor allows freedom and flexibility in the lesson plan.
  • Informational puts a priority on content. Transformational puts priority on behavioral change.

June 15, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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