The Anatomy of Training Leaders

January 29, 2014 4 Comments

By Allen F. Weitzel

Once again I am jumping on the training bandwagon; reminding our readers of the importance of training their leaders.  I want to explain the anatomy of a winning leadership class.  The perfect formula eluded me until about eight years ago, when I started reporting to a VP with a training philosophy matching mine:  give the leaders the information they need and make it enjoyable.

How did I know it was a winning formula?  Rookie leads and supervisors began to stop me in the park and ask when the next class would be.  I then knew we had connected.  Using the formula, I trained 1,500 trainers, leads, supervisors and managers in five seasons with this system.

What Was The Problem Before?

Until I discovered the winning formula, there would always be restrictions on the classes.  Previous management would impose a rigid timeline for class completion or would want information added to the syllabus that did not relate to the training topic.

What Makes A Class Successful?

The trick to finding the correct formula is to get inside the heads of the trainees.  Recall training classes you have attended and what you liked or did not like about those sessions.  Use the good elements and eliminate the bad.  The one thing that trainees appreciate is having a trainer that is genuinely and enthusiastically interested in them and their success.  Young trainees want to be treated with respect as people, not as rookies.  In some classes, there were decades between our ages, but I ignored that difference and concentrated on presenting a great class.

Effective Class Procedures

  • Employees conducting leadership training should enjoy teaching, be animated in their work and able to connect with others.  To maintain consistency, limit the number of trainers in the company.
  • Classes should be entertaining, yet thorough.
  • Management must approve the syllabus.  Only make syllabus changes for new procedures.
  • Do not have attendees change seats during class.  Once seated, trainees are comfortable and do not want to move.  Having attendees move into groups just wastes class time and interrupts the flow of the class.
  • Provide variety:  Lecture, trainee interaction, video or computer created presentations, checklist work, testing, performance rewards, reasonable breaks, stories, review of key points, a chance to evaluate the class, Q & A (encouraging and answering the tough questions) and food/beverages.
  • Use a room that is comfortable and free of distractions. However, prepare your syllabus so classes can be presented in any room and under any condition.  It should not matter whether you have access to state of the art equipment or only pen, paper and flipcharts.  Understand that training classes are often presented in storage rooms or restaurant dining rooms that lack state of the art equipment.
  • Target the syllabus to the trainees’ education and maturity level.  This is important to successful class participation.  You may find that the employees sent to you for training might have limited learning skills.  If you find trainees having trouble with the class, help them through it and then make adjustments to future presentations.
  • Provide handouts so trainees leave with information they can later reference, including documents the employee will use on the job.
  • Never embarrass trainees in class or in any stories you share. Use stories about your own experiences.  If instructors can laugh at themselves, the audience will bond more quickly with the instructor.
  • Never allow the glamour of advanced technology to outshine your training message.

 Follow Up With Your Trainers

 Track which trainers are teaching which groups of employees.  Trainers must be experienced enough to understand the jobs of the employees in their class to keep the class relevant.  A food trainer, though a skilled supervisor, should not present a class on ride operations. The trainer must have credibility.

  • Video tape training classes every six months so trainers can see where they need to improve their performance.
  • To encourage trainers to do a good job, their class evaluations should be shared with management, so leaders know how the trainees felt about the class/instructor.

The Goal of Your Training

In leadership classes, I pose the following:

“When you enter a retail operation, and you see a cashier behind the counter wearing a ‘Trainee’ nametag, how many of you switch to a different line?” “Your training goal is to make sure that your guests are never able to discern a rookie from a veteran.”

Filling In the Blanks

I have provided the concepts of a winning leadership training class.  I did not present specifics.  If you would like a sample training class checklist or have unanswered questions, please drop a note in our comments section or contact me directly: weitzel@witent.com.

Industry expert Allen F. Weitzel spent 45 seasons in the recreation field and was most recently safety and training manager at a California amusement park.

Industry expert Allen F. Weitzel spent 45 seasons in the recreation field and was most recently safety and training manager at a California amusement park.

Back
4 Comments to “The Anatomy of Training Leaders”
  1. Paul Warren says:

    Dear Mr. Weitzel: I’ve missed you’re blogs for the past few months.
    This one, as so many are, was packed full of good, practical, and
    easy to use material. I’m sending it to my managers and leaders
    here at Fun-Time World Amusements.

    Thank you for sharing your sage advice. Have you published a book
    or seminar series on training or your other blog topics? If so,
    how might I find out more about them.

    Again, I enjoy your back-to-basics management philosophies and
    style. Keep up the good work; we all benefit.

    Cordially,

    Paul Warren
    Fun-Time World Amusement Company

    • mas sato says:

      Excellent article & info about training especially for the veteran & the rookie trainee. Mas Sato, Mas Promos

      • Mas, Thanks for checking in. Good hearing from you. Praise from an expert like you is most heartwarming. Glad to know the Blog was on the right track. Much appreciated. Best, Allen

    • Dear Paul, Thanks for the kind words and support. TAP Magazine is the best resource for our Blogs and articles. Nice to know our work is helpful to industry veterans. Best, Allen

Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)


Sponsors

Funovation

Laser maze challenge

Formula K Raceways

Go-karts, kiddie cars and bumper boats, go-kart parts and tires.

Richie's Italian Ice

Italian Ice Kiosks and Carts

Laser Star

Laser shooting galleries, laser tag, dark ride target systems, overhead target ranges.

Safari Ltd.

Leading manufacturer of innovative educational toys.

Lakeshore Merchandise (Smart Vending)

Premier vending supply for all of your vending equipment and supply needs.

S&S Worldwide

Large Park amusement rides.

Soft Play

Leader in designing, manufacturing and installing soft contained playground equipment.

Adventure Golf

Miniature golf courses, consultants, architecture and design.

Klopp International, Inc. (Playmeter)

Quality coin counters and sorters.

Sippers By Design

Design and manufacture of specialty custom-shaped drink containers.

Harris Miniature Golf Course

Design and construction of miniature golf courses and water rides.

Store on Wheels

Importer and distributor of quality toys, lighting and novelties. Cater to the amusement, retail and entertainment industries.

See Coast Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Coin-operated binoculars and telescopes.

Wisdom Industries, Ltd.

Amusement ride manufacturer, new and used rides.

Tear Repair

Tear-Aid industrial strength patches to repair holes and tears.

Davis & Davis, Inc.

Planning consultants for wet/dry attractions, mini-golf, go-kart tracks and laser arenas.

Max Flight

Manufactures interactive virtual reality motion-platform game systems including networkable flight and roller coaster simulators.

Look Solutions

Fog machines.

Enchanted Castle Studios

Fiberglass statuary and figures for restaurants, mini-golf, theme parks and other attractions.

Tarobots

Boxerjocks robotic boxing amusement ride game attraction.

Belson Manufacturing Co.

Park and recreation outdoor furniture and equipment.

Quik N' Crispy (QNC)

Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer.

Friedman Group Ins.

Insurance for amusement devices.

Broaster Co., The

Food programs and food service equipment.

Beckman Insurance Agency

Amusement attractions insurance.

Fast Corp Vending

Frozen food vending machines

Action Lighting Co.

Lighting supplies.

Gerber Manufacturing, Ltd.

Outdoor furniture, benches, picnic tables and grills.

Castle Golf, Inc.

Planning, design and construction of miniature golf courses and family fun parks.

Qubica

Sells capital equipment to bowling centers.

Challenger Industries

Sports surfaces, carpets and mini-golf surfaces.

Extreme Engineering

Industry leader in zip lines, climbing walls, jumper systems and adventure products.

Adventure Glass

Unique paddleboats.

Gold Medal Products Co.

Concession equipment, foods and beverages, popcorn, pretzels and snack foods.

Tokens Direct

A wide variety of tokens.

Aquaventronics

Research and development of interactive water games for use in the commercial amusement industry.

Empex Water Toys

Aquatons Water Toys

Wells Fargo

Commercial insurance for inflatables and event planners.

Midway Concepts (Circus Tops)

Premier designers of stainless steel food service equipment.

Amusement Entertainment Management (AEM)

Premier entertainment consultants.

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

Brunswick Bowling

Entertainment bowling center developer and manufacturer of bowling equipment and entertainment products.

Lazer Runner

Laser Tag Systems

Water Wars (T&D Enterprises of Brainerd)

Water Wars water balloon game, portable or startionary.

SnowMasters

Evaporative snow systems.

Stoelting
LMap Powered by Silvercrest
Premier Polysteel
Spectrum Sports
Cannonball Blaster
Funovation
Empex Water Toys