Managers Managing Manager’s Management

Managers Managing Manager’s Management

Managers Managing Management’s Management

Management’s Management Managing Management

So many variants, so many things that can be done with the M words! I suppose in one way or another they all mean the same thing, managing the management. I will stop this now, please do read on…

How do we effectively manage the people who are responsible for the running of the business, the customers of that business and the people who work in the business? Surely sending the on a course isn’t going to help can it? Well maybe, it depends on what the underlying issue is that the training needs to develop or correct. Here we can find the issue.

To Develop or To Correct

Management training courses come in all different shapes and sizes, and many of them offer the tried and tested theories and process, you know the type of thing, SMARTER objectives, Theory X & Y, bit of Maslow (sound of sighing) all that good stuff which is essential for those starting out. When I meet with senior managers such as HR Directors and Board members about Management training for their managers I make a point of asking, “What is the outcome you want from the management training?” I usually get back, “Well we want them to manage their teams more effectively?” OK I say, “What does an effective manager look like in your business?” I am then met with blank stares, and when the conversation continues there is a heavy lean towards HR processes such as the performance review process, the recruitment process or the day-to-day management stuff. This is fine until I then ask “So based on what you have told me, are we looking to develop the your managers in these areas or are well looking to correct a behaviour in your managers?” Again blank stares. More often than not, very little thought has been given to this.

To Lead or to Manage

Another area that I get asked to help with is leadership development. Leadership always gets mixed in with management training and to me they are different things. They may well be two sides of the same coin, but they are different. I ask clients quite specifically “Why is it important for your managers to understand and become leaders?” the answer is usually around the long-term view “We are looking to invest in our managers for the future so leadership skills are part of our strategy for the management team.” Great I think, “So your team are already effective managers then?” I get a puzzled look, “well not really, we want them to understand that leadership comes from being a good manager and it is important for them to know (and here is the statement that if I had a pound for every time I hear this I would be in my own private jet by now) what a leader looks like at XXXX organisation.” Talk about management buzzwords, “What a leader looks like?” I ask, could you clarify for me what you think they should look like?” “Well you know, coaching teams, managing performance, thinking strategically.” Yes indeed I do know, unfortunately all of those things you list are management traits and tools not specifically leadership. You see leadership skills can be harder to define, sure there are lots of books, papers and thinking on the subject, but perhaps that is why there is so much because we cannot define it. It is often defined as “employees will work for a manager, and follow a leader.” That says to me that potentially there are issues are influence, communication, vision that type of thing. These differences in manager’s development needs cause a problem for us trainers. Just like a SMARTER objective the training has to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound, Effect based and Reviewable and as much as it pains me to say it, when a training need is established it must become an objective if it is to work.

What Managers say about Management training?

When I deliver training to managers, I often hear the same feedback about the skills they have learned and statements appear like this “it would be great if the Senior Team had this training so that they could see what management is all about.” Funny isn’t it, the managers forget that their managers have in all probability attended management training, however it wasn’t outcome based and had no clear objective so like many managers, the skills were in the training notes to be referred to when needed, and inevitably got forgotten. After all, those managers have HR don’t they, and they will pick up the pieces when needed. Yet HR is often criticized as being to focused on management process and simply gets in the way of day-to-day management. It is like a viscous cycle.

Some help then please?

Training budgets are hard to come by and need to work very, very hard so that an R.O.I. is achieved. Trainers need to be able to effectiveness so that they will be invited back into the business too. Therefore when planning in management training and development choose one or more of the following options. I applied this when I ran the training in my previous life and it worked very well and I recommend it here.

One Course – Aimed at Different Levels of Manager

Ensure the content of the training course is exactly the same throughout the business ensuring the delegates are sorted by length of time as a manager. The discussions and skills application will then be tailored by the trainer to the group, based on experience. So the course might be called.

  • Considering a Management Role – aimed at those people who have the potential to be a manager in the next appraisal period
  • Stepping into Management – aimed at those managers newly appointed with no previous experience
  • The Experienced Manager – aimed at those managers with 18month -2yrs experience in the role
  • The Seasoned Manager – aimed at those managers who have more than 3 years experience in a management role

Courses by Management Discipline

This approach has a topline course that is actually a complete course of management skills to get people in the swing of things. A follow on set of courses would cover the key functions of the manager. E.g.

  • Management Planning – a focus on strategic planning, forecasting and effective use of time and resources
  • Management Organisation – looking at the resources and building an effective team and understanding capability and development
  • Management Co-Ordination – looking at management of task, team and individual in complete harmony
  • Management Command – Understanding leadership and personal influence, effective delegation etc.
  • Management Control – looking at managing effective performance with the appraisal process and objective setting and management of expectation

A Specific Coaching and or Mentoring Program

Often I am asked to tag coaching or mentoring onto a management development program and this has tremendous benefits as it allows managers to focus on their own areas of development, building on their strengths and allowing for challenges. Coaching and mentoring is a brilliant solution for corrective or developmental training and acts as a terrific intervention that can be as short of two or three sessions right up to ongoing one to one development. Whichever you choose, coaching or mentoring, it must, like the training, be outcome based so that there is a true deliverable at the end.

The person being coached or mentored should ideally be in a position to select their own coach or mentor, this should not be imposed and trust and rapport are paramount to success. Make time to meet different coaches and mentors and select based on their experience and credentials. Oh and you get what you pay for on that last point, look for OCM qualification and have a look for those with at least a years learning under their belt with very specific skills relevant to the business or person being coached where possible. If you need help finding coaches I have a contact list of truly terrific ones I can recommend, see my contact details at the base of this blog.

Rethink Management Development

If you are a Manager Managing Manager’s Management give some extra thought to what your outcomes are for them attending training or coaching, a one size fits all approach whilst useful in some ways, is not the way forward, and the managers and leaders of tomorrow will expect more. After all if you always do what you have always done, then you will get what you have always got.

Thanks for reading if you need management training either a course or coaching please contact me Simon@serialtrainer7.com or call 07979537824

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