Why You Should Game Away the Leadership Gap in Training

Gamification is a strategy that many top companies are using in leadership development trainings. Learn how to employ gamification in training.

Published on 29 September, 2017

There are many paths to leadership — from climbing the ranks slowly to mentorships and training — but there is also another element of modern training programs that deserves your consideration. It is called gamification, and it is a strategy that many of the world’s top companies are using in leadership development trainings.

“According to behavioral research, there is more of a connection than you might think. Part of what makes conquering cartoon villains or treasuring imaginary coins so captivating are the basic mechanics common to all games. These game mechanics can dramatically increase intrinsic motivation,” explains Deloitte. “These same drivers are present in the methods chess masters use to build their expertise and in the way pilots learn from simulations. And they can provide insightful learning and development opportunities for leaders.”

While most people would not argue that the best leaders are made through a combination of experience and guided reflection on how to be better in a managerial role, gamification provides a way to quantify those activities. It also offers a challenge for more competitive sorts while meeting user expectations for technology. Most importantly, it offers a way to bridge the leadership gap.

The Leadership Gap

In order to understand why using gamification is important, it is necessary to understand the gap between what is needed in a leader and what it takes to become a good one.

In Deloitte’s 2015 Human Capital Trends report, 90 percent of business leaders polled identified “leadership” as one of the biggest gaps facing their organizations. More than half of the people polled said that they do not have the right team to meet future business needs while two out of three survey participants said that they do not feel that they have the tools in place to develop the next generation of leaders for their companies. It is a bleak reality that has some very real costs.

Financial Performance

Take financial performance, for example. If a company does not have adequate leaders in place, how can it deliver good shareholder value and what happens when it doesn’t come through?

There is actually a strong link between company financial performance and leadership capabilities.

A study by Laurie Bassi and Daniel McMurrer found that companies that make the biggest investments in leadership development enjoy stock returns that are five times higher than those companies that do not place such a premium on leadership.

Trainers are Closing the Leadership Gap with GamificationEmployee Engagement

Employee engagement also suffers when a company fails to invest in leadership development. Trust in company leadership, the perception of current leaders, and interactions with employee managers all suffer when a strong leadership development program is not in place.

After a while, employees begin to exhibit reactance — a psychological term that means a person exhibits counterproductive behaviors. It starts off as little things — it takes longer to answer the phone, customers are placed on hold longer, deadlines are pushed — but over time, the effects of those reactant behaviors snowball into poor customer service, lower employee engagement, and lower profits.

Gaming Away the Gap

Already, the gamification industry is around $500 million in market size. Current estimates place that figure at nearly $3 billion in just two years. Bite-sized learning sessions and small applications are easy to do and provide an intrinsic reward. Mobile devices provide a huge opportunity.

Looking beyond app-based games, there are opportunities such as gamifying elements of a webinar to ensure viewer engagement. Over time, these little efforts can make a big difference in the leaders that your company produces. Gaming away the gap is already a major interest in much of the developing world because it costs little to implement and it is effective.

Gamification and Game-Based Learning Have Revolutionized Elearning PracticesWhat’s the Difference Between Gamification Vs. Game-Based Learning?

Learn the differences – and why some organizations use one or both here.

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