Although L.E.T. stands for Leader Effectiveness Training, it is more than a course to teach leadership skills. It is also a course that will teach you the skills for building and enriching any and all of your relationships—such as relationships with:
- Other leaders in your organization
- Your manager or supervisor
- Your parents
The truth of this derives from the fact that L.E.T. teaches a universal model for building effective relationships. This means that the model can be used and practiced whenever and wherever you are relating to other people. So think of it as “relationship training”.
The skills learned in L.E.T. will become an integral part of you as a person. You will find new ways to get your needs met to replace using power. You’ll also become more accepting of the inevitability of conflicts in your relationships and more confident in your ability to resolve such conflicts so nobody loses and feels angry and deprived.
These skills and methods have a greater impact on organizations when all levels of management receive the L.E.T. training. Yet it is clear that their effects can be felt in an organization when only one leader acquires the skills and methods. This was brought out in a study conducted at the University of Chicago. It was a follow-up evaluation of a single leader, a plant manager, who had been taught the L.E.T. skills described in the L.E.T. book.
One year after this person had changed his leadership style and assumed the position of plant manager, in-depth interviews were conducted with his group members (11 foremen) and the top total management group (12 in all). Out of their 160 separate statements describing the plant manager, only five could be interpreted as suggesting undesirable characteristics.
The most frequently mentioned characteristics of this leader were:
1. Listens with understanding; willing to discuss problems; open to ideas; gives time to listen (27 comments)
2. Supports and helps; backs you up; is on your side; remembers your problem (19)
3. Uses team approach; helps group reach better decisions; facilitates cooperation (19)
4. Avoids close supervision; does not overboss; does not dictate or rule by the book (18)
5. Delegates authority; trusts group; relies on their judgment; permits group decisions; has faith in the creativity of others (17)
6. Communicates openly and honestly; tells you what he thinks; you can trust what he says (11)
7. Brings out best in his people; has common touch with the workers (8)
The interviews also provided data about the specific effects of the plant manager’s new skills and methods:
1. Increased cooperation and coordination between all departments (21 comments)
2. Positive effect on foremen’s behavior and growth as individuals (19)
3. Increased production and profits (11)
4. Better decisions and solutions (7)
5. Improvement in planning and tooling up (5)
6. More efficiency and cost reduction (4)
7. Improved communication (3)
These data, while admittedly subjective, were collected by an independent agency with no ax to grind. So the study tends to bolster my own confidence that the L.E.T. skills can be taught to leaders, that the new skills and methods readily become visible to the members of the leader’s group as well as to his management associates, and that in time the skills and methods bring about positive outcomes in an organization, even though no other leader in the company received the L.E.T. training.