Developing Your Managers

management developmentApproximately 25% of the total UK businesses spend on training is focused on training and developing their managers. Yet surveys show that there is still a large (and increasing) skills deficit within line management. So what is going wrong?

In 2014 the CIPD reported that the UK spent an average of £286 per employee on some form of training or development activity. The latest UK employment statistics for 2015 show the number of people in employment is 31.10 million people. So 25% of the training budget represents an investment of billions of pounds per year on managerial training. This should be getting results.

Many organisations rely on using external training providers for their management development but rather than running a proper programme, simply run a single short training course. They then wonder why their management team still lack the essential skills and knowledge and have also failed to adopt the behaviours necessary for business success.

Their approach is not working because they fail to recognise that changing behaviour long term needs an appropriate organisational context (see our blog on developing talent) that encourages and supports managers to make the necessary changes.

There are five key lessons that organisations should adopt if they are going to run effective management development programmes. These are:

1. Don’t just run a one-off training course
A training course should be part of the programme but management development needs to be longer term than a single short training course (3+ months). It should also incorporate a range of post-course developmental activities, including coaching and feedback, to supplement the learning from the training course. Every developmental activity should be aligned with achieving the programme objectives and build on what has already been delivered.

2. Network your Programme
Your programme must be linked to current organisational initiatives and strategies, as well as to any other development programmes you run. It should also align with your performance management processes and your selection processes. The more you build links in this way and embed it in the organisation then the more likely it is to have a lasting impact on the managers on the programme.

3. Focus on Process
Many organisations will spend a large amount of time and resource choosing the right external management training course – and therefore focus only on the intervention part of the programme. Instead, think of the development programme as having three (equally important) stages:
1. The pre-stage. In this stage you need to focus your efforts on developing the overall developmental objectives, securing stakeholder buy-in and engagement.
2. The intervention stage. This is where the delegates attend a training course, or courses
3. The post-stage. Where delegates are given opportunities to develop and sustain the skills they have learned with practice, coaching and feedback.

4. Without buy-in it will fail
A management development programme should be viewed as a project. And no project will be successful unless all the stakeholders are on-board and supportive of the project. For manager training the key stakeholders you need to get buy-in from are:

  • Your Senior Managers – they are key to the success of the post-training course stage.
  • The Managers to be trained – people made to go on training courses learn very little.

5. Align it to the organisations culture
Irrespective of any training, your managers will develop to be a reflection of your organisational culture. If the culture is one that is highly guarded and hierarchical and your programme is focused on authenticity and transparency - it will fail. Cultural change does not happen from the bottom-up, despite many HR departments attempts to do it this way!

Whether you simply use our open courses as part of your management development programme, or use us to design and deliver the entire development programme for you, we will work in partnership with you to ensure your success.