Thursday, January 28, 2010

Management needs training too!

There is no nice way to put this...

Lots of managers are terrible at being managers.

Some are manipulative, some are glory-hogs taking credit for staff accomplishments, some hide behind rules instead of taking the lead, some are know-it-all's, and some are control freaks who micromanage employees to death.

If you're in the HR department, you know I'm telling the truth. You see it, hear about, and all too often, try to clean up the messes bad management leaves behind. So what is HR doing about it?

Are you training your managers? Odds are, the answer is no.

Somewhere, somehow, we got the idea that training was for the rank and file. Managers occupied a glorified, exempt realm where they were free from all training needs except for the odd time-management seminar or maybe an intro to the newest corporate initiative to reorganize the rank and file.

And that's sad. Because the right training at the right time could transform those rule-huggers and glory hogs into leaders. A properly designed workshop could teach managers why their success depends upon letting their staff do what they do best without the pressure of micro-management. Good management training can introduce an emotionally-distant manager to the idea of collaborative success through listening, engagement and participation.

No, it is not a cure all. Some managers are just wrong for the job, and will spend the rest of their tenure exemplifying the Peter Principle, as they continue at their level of incompetence.

But with training, the majority of bad managers can become, at the very least, less bad. Lots can become pretty good. And a few, with the right tools and training, will become leaders.


Heath Davis Havlick said...

Well said! Many companies reward good performers with management positions without every equipping them for the job--or really examining whether a management position is right for that person. Leadership training can equip managers with the tools to encourage and inspire their team to be great, which can then positively afffect business outcomes. Bad managers tend to do the opposite.

Alison Miles-Jenkins said...

Yes, I agree. It's an age-old problem - organisations are still perpetuating the 'Peter Principle' - promoting people who have done well in professional or technical or more junior supervisory positions to a level of incompetence. Lack of support and appropriate training are certainly key aspects but we also need to address issues re: reward mechanisms and career opportunities more laterally and not just an automatic foothold on the corporate ladder. A deeper look at necessary competances and honest appraisals of peoples' talents and weaknesses will also be critical parts of the jigsaw to organisational and managerial high performance.

Guy Farmer said...

Great tips. I think it's valuable to realize that managers manage the way they do because they often don't know how else to do it. If we help them understand their leadership style a little more and offer options then they can become more inspirational leaders.

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