When it comes to management training, one size does not fit all. New managers sometimes need a different type of management education. To let them learn and grow confident in their new role. On the other side of the coin, senior managers will need also different training like an SMCR course.
But in this article let’s focus on the new managers and how the old training model has inherent shortcomings:
• The large amounts of new information that must be crammed into a short time are overwhelming and often leads to feelings of panic.
• Participants can’t put the new learning into practice until the course is over, leaving no opportunity to ask questions of instructors or colleagues after they try the techniques in the course of their jobs.
• In-house management training often incorporates company-specific material. Although well-intentioned, this practice confuses the issues, and too often fundamental management skills don’t receive adequate attention.
• Courses take new managers away from their tasks at exactly the time when they need to give all their energies to the job. Not only does this dilute their concentration, but when the course is finished, the urgency of the day-to-day job activities leaves little time or opportunity to implement the new learning.
• There is an emphasis on “leadership skills”, including concepts like authenticity, cultural fit, conceptual thinking. These are, of course, important, but inexperienced managers are struggling with the practical challenges of running meetings, making presentations, managing difficult employees, hiring and firing team members and a plethora of other everyday management activities. New managers can strongly relate to the old expression, “When you’re up to your ears in alligators, it’s hard to concentrate on draining the swamp!”New managers need a new approach.
The corporate world needs a new training model specifically tailored to the needs of new and recently appointed managers. This model should:
• Focus on universal management principles. At the more senior management levels, issues are more situation-specific, but the problems facing new managers are universal in nature. These problems and their solutions should be the focus of the training.
• Provide for ongoing on-the-job learning. One-time programs, whether they last for half a day or two weeks, leave participants wondering how to put the techniques into practice while “putting out the fires” of everyday work life. An effective training program will allow managers opportunities to implement the newly learned practices and techniques and discuss the results.
• Make use of technology where appropriate, but also of the human element so essential to effective learning.
• Cover practical skills for management tasks such as running meetings, interviewing job applicants, planning and goal setting, etc., as well as conceptual subjects such as emotional intelligence and leadership.
• Explore the concept of career management. This should include the importance of taking responsibility for their careers, and the best practices on how to do so.
• Follow the principles of adult learning by first conveying information about a subject, then providing examples of real-world application, and finally giving guidance on how to implement the ideas in the workplace.
When it comes to management training, one size does not fit all. If they are to fulfil their promise, those who are new or recently appointed to management need separate training that provides specific education in the universal skills of management.