August 13, 2020
The definition of management training changes depending on where you look. Some sources differentiate it from effective leadership training while other sources say that the two are mixed. There are articles which claim to have identified the “one best” management and leadership style, and articles which report that you should match the management style to the situation. All of this isn’t very helpful when training employees for managerial roles (change management) or training managers to become better at managing people.
Let’s try to put that right.
“Do as I say, not as I do” is not a very effective strategy. Hence, the number of smokers whose parents are smokers, despite those very parents continually repeating how bad smoking is for one’s health.
Is your organization faithful to its corporate culture? Or is it just for some of the people some of the time?
Get ready to ask tough questions about the style and management skills or leadership skills your organization wants to support. No matter how much you train, if people see that the training is a lot of hot air, they are going to do what they see, not what you say.
In order to figure out the management style for your organization, it is essential to understand what your workers are looking for in their managers.
A recent survey by Kimble (as reported in Forbes) described a US workforce which:
These statistics inform a definite picture, one in which a manager is an authentic work partner, rather than a distant overseer. In addition to trusting their employees, the manager can be trusted by the employees to support honest communication without fear of throwing them under the bus.
Different people have different management/leadership styles. Some people can modify their styles to be more in line with particular company culture. Others, frankly, can’t.
Choose management trainees based on their potential, not on their seniority or because they know someone “higher up”. Spend some time observing their interpersonal relationships now, prior to training. Do they seem like people who are going to embrace what you want to teach them?
When designing eLearning management training courses, roleplays can be quite helpful.
Begin by using a rapid authoring content template to give important points about the manager-employee relationship in your organization. Then use a series of rapid authoring relationship templates to practice leadership role plays: which action to take in which circumstance AND the target language which should be used.
Alrighty… I’m going to make the following important assumption: in this section, the great leaders we are speaking about have been through your initial Management Training Course(s). Yet, they are still not fully displaying the management style your organization is looking for. Here are ways of mentoring trainees that display different competencies, communication skills, team-building, emotional-intelligence, skills-training, self-awareness, hands-on skills-training, and teamwork styles.
This manager might have been overlooked when the online training course was taking place. He or she might not have been able to attend and/or complete all the modules. It is not logical to expect a person to use a management style when they have not received the necessary training.
To you, it might seem as if this manager is not on the ball, but what do their teammates think? Do they agree that this person’s management style is falling short of the mark? Perhaps what looks to you like failure is actually the way this manager has adapted your teaching for his or her personality, and it is working very well with the people he or she is managing.
An ongoing part of management training should be employee feedback. There are a variety of rapid authoring survey templates which can be used to gather information about how satisfied employees are with their manager. Once the results are in, the manager receives a copy without any employee identification whatsoever. After a few days to review the results, the manager and his/her superior meet. They create an action plan to address any areas which need improvement.
Even pros can improve, and an effective leader is no exception. This article in Forbes reminds us that management training is not a “one and done”. First of all, people forget things. Even though this good leader may be putting into practice most of what they have learned, there may be finer points which they missed the first time around. Second of all, even if they are practicing the correct management style 100% of the time, there is always another level up.
Level 1: This is the basic level when training employees to be managers (Section 1).
Levels 2 and up are going to depend on a number of factors. I know that sounds like waffling, but it isn’t really. Here’s why: Any additional training levels need to fit the manager’s needs. These needs could be improving interpersonal relations, meeting deadlines with greater accuracy, or improved delegation of responsibilities. Yet, you might be considering promoting this manager to a higher management level with a slightly different skill set. So, the needs could be points such as negotiating with other managers, preparing reports for board hearings, and public speaking.
Thus, it is not effective to prepare long courses for Level 2+ management training. Rather, microlearning courses should be used to provide targeted training in short doses due to their effectiveness. Managers and supervisors take the modules they need… and even ones they don’t need yet but are interested in.
Management training is a vital part of that process. Time to get working, no?