Why is it that so much management training produces disappointing results? Is it poor planning? Poor resources? Ineffective trainers? Unsupportive organisational culture? Or is it a lack of sufficient investment in training?
It could be, but more often than not it is because we forget the basics.
The Basics of Management Development
All management training is about behaviours, change and performance. If you accept that organisational and management performance is an outcome of the behaviours adopted by managers, then it follows that defining the current and desired behaviours adopted by managers is critical to the success of any management development.
Effective management training starts by you knowing what behavioural and performance changes you want your managers to adopt. Usually, the outcome of a management training programme is to see managers using more of certain behaviours and/or less of others. Assuming they are also equipped with the appropriate tools and techniques, there should be a corresponding change in performance.
More or Less Management Behaviours
Let me give you some examples. You might want managers to avoid the use of an aggressive style of management because staff turnover is high and morale is poor although performance targets are being achieved. You believe poor morale and the turnover levels are associated with the management style being adopted and performance will decline in the longer term. Here, you want to see less of behaviours such as confronting, challenging, judging or chastising.
To be fully effective, managers need to be encouraged to replace those behaviours with new behaviours. You might, therefore, want your managers to adopt and use a new coaching style of management behaviour with their team members. The result that you are seeking is increased employee involvement, engagement and opportunities for team members to contribute ideas to achieve not only this quarter’s performance targets, but to exceed the next quarter’s targets. Here, you will want to see more of certain behaviours such as listening, consulting, collaborating, supporting and providing feedback.
Most management training and development involves encouraging or discouraging the use of particular behaviours. Of course, it may also be necessary to provide training in the use of specific tools and techniques associated with coaching to sit alongside the behavioural changes. The real secret to success lies in supporting the managers to make the behavioural change, rather than just training them to use tools and techniques such as the GROW Model.