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How to train managers


August 13, 2020



How to Train Managers

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.

How to train employees to become managers

First, know your organization.

“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.

How to train managers with your LMS Analytics

Second, know your workforce.

A recent survey by Kimble (as reported in Forbes) described a US workforce which:

  • Wants a collaborative culture at work (75%)
  • Prefers managers who motivate, inspire, and then give employees the responsibility (72%)
  • Feels that their bosses do not ask their opinions/for their input often enough with project management (83%)
  • Is sure that they could do just as good of a job without help from their bosses (66%)…and 22% say they could even do a better job if their bosses would just butt out.
  • Says that it is hard for them to be honest with their managers (70%)

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.

How to train managers with a microlesson

Third, know your trainees.

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? 

Training tip

When designing eLearning management training courses, roleplays can be quite helpful.
Begin by using an 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 that should be used.

How to train managers to become better managers

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.

So, Step 1 is always making sure that the manager has done the basic training.

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. 

Step 2 is getting employee feedback.

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.

Training tip

An ongoing part of management training should be employee feedback. There are a variety of 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.

Step 3 is additional training.

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.

Management Training Levels

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. 

Elearning Authoring to train managers

Author and consultant Idowu Koyenikan has been quoted as saying, “You have to work on the business first before it works for you.” 

Management training is a vital part of that process. Time to get working, no?

For sure, let’s go!



Lisa Aharon Guest Author

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