Article main image
Jul 26, 2022

What with employee vacations and business slowing across numerous industries, it’s easy to see why many organizations eschew scheduling training sessions during the summer months.

But I want to offer a contrary view. Summer is actually the perfect time to schedule training, especially for your leaders.

So why is this?

For one, there’s the inescapable fact employees are increasingly frustrated and burned out. In our Leadership IQ study on employee burnout, we discovered only 25% of leaders felt their employees were thriving emotionally and mentally. Meanwhile 79% of leaders said they had seen less productivity as a result of employee burnout.

Secondly, even if we weren’t in an especially fraught year, employees would still be asking for better leadership from their managers and executives. For example, research shows only 20% of employees believe their leader always takes an active role in helping them grow and reach their full potential. Leaders don’t disagree. In a recent study on leadership skills, only 19% of leaders said they were adept at reducing employee burnout, and only 28% thought they were good at managing hybrid teams.

But…why summer?

On their own, of course, these are legitimate arguments for more leadership development. But they are not necessarily-so for conducting training during the summer months. So why this season? Let me make a more detailed case:

There are fewer emergencies:

As many businesses naturally wind down a bit during the summer, leaders have more time on their hands to think about their development. At this time of year managers and executives are less beset by one emergency after another. This means they’ve got more mental and intellectual bandwidth to think about their own growth and development. As the saying goes, it’s hard to rebuild the engine while the car is running. But right now, and for the next few months, the car isn’t running (or at least it’s not running as hot).

It feels good:

When training is done right, including running it when people are less busy, people learn new things, and the learning feels good. In one study, only 35% of people say that they’re always learning something new at work, while 52% are never, occasionally, or rarely learning new things. But here’s the kicker; when someone is always learning new things at work, they are literally ten times more likely to be inspired to give their best effort at work than someone who is never learning new skills at work. Too many companies think of training as a painful and perfunctory exercise when, if the training were better, it would actually be an emotional boost to participants.

It makes uses of managers not wanting to rest

The most common objection for conducting training during the summer months is that companies want to give their leaders a breather, to let them rest and recharge. But most leaders (generally), aren’t good at resting, even during vacations. In our research on employee burnout, we find that more than three-quarters of leaders admit they work while on vacation (including taking calls from employees and colleagues). So if managers won’t totally relax, at least give them some training to make use of their time.

Make hay in the sun

If you’re going to enforce strict vacation protocols, it’s definitely a good idea to eschew training over the summer. But since your company probably doesn’t do that, you have the opportunity to push aside some rather mundane work and replace it with training. Not only is this training likely to be psychologically refreshing, but it can also demonstrably enhance a leader’s resume. As the phrase goes – make hay while the sun shines. Use the summer time to give your leaders a benefit that not only improves your company but also enhances leaders’ careers.