For leadership training to be effective, it is important to: set the stage by making sure all participants understand the ultimate purpose of learning the skills.
Participants who come to business leadership training often ask, "Isn't this just that thing where you repeat what the other person is saying to you? That's what my boss does when she is trying to manipulate me. It drives me crazy. Does she think I'm stupid?" Like any skill, leadership skills like active listening, constructive confrontation (I-messages), and conflict resolution skills can be learned and used effectively or misused. The misuse can be either intentional or unintentional.
Deliberate misuse leads to a climate of distrust and fear, hardly the sort of workplace most leaders would view as desirable. In such a place, little real work gets done, petty conflict is everywhere, game-playing is rampant, and grievances are commonplace. These are the kinds of organizations where highly adversarial labor-management relations prevent the company from thriving. Any tool can be used badly. A knife can be used to injure, a car to haul stolen goods, a word to humiliate. That doesn't mean that the tool is no good. It is, rather, an indictment of the person abusing the tool.