9 steps to Effective Leadership Training for Managers

Sometimes Effective Leadership comes down to Managers who can learn.

Perhaps everyone’s had that job where they simply promote the “last person not to quit” into a management role.

Soon after, the remaining new recruits quit, too, and everything returns quickly to normal.

It’s no picnic. Lot’s of companies hemorrhage money and talent simply because new managers receive no training, run ad hoc leadership campaigns and basically just blindly follow some kind of presumed management blueprint.

It’s not good for the managers. It’s terrible for the employees. The money? Well, you can pretty well guess how companies losing in all these areas will do.

These Nine Steps—when followed, re-interpreted, and adjusted for your own management mission—will improve your management team’s performance across the board.

1. Get Started Coaching
All management is coaching, all coaches are managers. Correcting and instructing on behaviors and motivations doesn’t take genius. It does take commitment and motivation. Get new managers to accept it and to love it. It doesn’t require a cigar-chomping bully, but a true understanding and an emotional connection. See also, our 7 Basic Team Building Tips – even if you’re not in HR.

2. Spell Out Emotions
Some emotions are necessary. Not crying or screaming. But good managers love what they do. They may be obsessive, they should be involved in all kinds of forums and discussion groups and LinkedIn groups and they should be staying up late sometimes just to love it more. That’s an appropriate emotion. Inappropriate emotions, like too much excitement, or over-investment, need to be discussed. Cool indifference might seem like it’s always the answer. But managers need to be self-motivated and for that, a healthy discussion of loves, hates, passions and disappointments is not going to hurt.

3. Build Managers
Regular readers know that this blog has no patience for conference rooms, meetings of more than three and regular meetings of any kind. But you should have at least some classroom style training for new managers. These are not just orientation and policy briefs. On the contrary, new managers need to be transitioned, trained and directed. Pairing a new manager with an experienced mentor is also a good idea. Building managers means, also, dealing with resentment, and any kind of friction or turmoil at the staff level. Relationships are everything, and good coach-managers know that.

4. Build Teams
Strengths and weaknesses don’t come to light over night. And teams are not just another name for a bunch of otherwise un-related players. New Managers need to learn individual skills, understand processes and, where necessary, learn to navigate the gauntlet of competing interests, passions and motives. Goals should be enunciated and continually called up for revision.

5. Figure Out Meaningful Goals
But now, goals need to be not just your own, much less those of the company, but most importantly, the goals of the individual players. All of them want something. What is it? Coaching managers means coaching the coaches of all those individuals—and effective leadership here is going to mean assisting all those players in reaching their own goals. Get those people moving to where they want to go, on the job, and off, and you are very much back in business.

6. Develop Skills
Very often, a new manager will move to the top of a room where she’d been on one side. Thereafter, she needs to learn something of the skills that were being used—on the other side of the same room. See #2 above. This is where some passion can really help out. Your manager doesn’t need to master new skills. But, for example, coaching people running different computers and programs requires taking interest. Getting involved. Learning a little. Talking to team players about weaknesses, problems, and what they need and want is essential to developing the sensitivity necessary for management.

7. Establish a Presence
Oddly, lots of managers are timid people. Lots more are perfectly agreeable people, but they’re pulled away to all kinds of “meetings” and other time-wasting activities. But work with new managers on where they are, how available they are or need to be, to the people they’re managing. Managing multiple shifts can require straddling the two – but the important thing is to be available.

8. Establish a Documentation Procedure
This can very often get neglected in the early tenure of any new manager. Work with trainee managers to see how records of team performance and achievements are documented. This will very often fall to an assistant or office manager, but especially with larger teams, a lot will get lost in a quarter.

9. Recognize Excellence
This is one more reason why good records are so important. Good managers should be trained to review performances and to recognize achievements and to do it regularly. Achieving and exceeding goals is terrific, but it can come to nothing for lots of team members. If there is no reward and recognition process in place, managers fail. While quarterly recognition is nice, biannual or annual performance reviews can, and should, make a terrific incentive for everyone on the team.

What are you doing to recognize, coach and train new managers? Let us know in the comments section below.


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How to run an effective meeting © Creative Commons License by Nguyen Hung Vu on Flickr

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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