Manager Development

Manager Development: What Is The Fuss About?

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, organizations constantly seek ways to stay competitive and achieve their goals. One crucial aspect that contributes to organizational success is effective management. Managers play a vital role in leading teams, making critical decisions, and driving organizational performance. Therefore, organizations need to invest in manager development and training. But what exactly does development of managers entail, and why is it so important? In this blog, we will explore the concept of manager development, its key aspects, and its role in organizational success.

Manager development, also known as management development and training, refers to a systematic process to enhance specific management skills and competencies. It involves providing managers with the necessary tools, resources, and training to become influential leaders. It encompasses various areas, including manager leadership development, management skills enhancement, and new skill acquisition. By investing in manager development, organizations can groom effective managers with the necessary skills to drive organizational performance and success.

Interestingly, manager development is more than a functional exercise for L&D teams. The impact of development initiatives for managers (or the lack thereof) is directly visible around us in multiple ways. 

  • For one, the managers would be happier if the company invested actively in their growth and development. They are also likely to stick with the company longer, as LinkedIn has highlighted. 
  • Conversely, employees perceive managers without training as a major hurdle. Think of the annoying ones you must have met somewhere in your career. Team members recognize the need and impact of training among their managers as a significant factor in their overall success and performance, as SHRM has outlined. 
  • And most importantly, effective managers mean effective team processes and outstanding performance – the ultimate result that any L&D team wants. Manager development is not just about going through a series of lectures; it’s about creating a sustainable impact on your organization’s managerial practices and behaviors. 
Now that we know why manager development is essential, let’s think of when we need manager development. To help through this, we have listed a few signs identifying the need for manager development for a team. If you catch them around, investing in your managers is time.

Signs that your organization needs to rethink manager development

  • High turnover: If your organization is experiencing a high turnover rate, it may indicate that managers need further development. Effective managers play a crucial role in employee retention, and a lack of manager development can lead to dissatisfaction and turnover. Moreover, the managers could leave due to a lack of growth opportunities. 
  • Organizational behavior problems: Poor organizational behavior, such as conflicts and communication issues, can indicate the need for development initiatives. Effective managers can address these problems and create a positive work environment.
  • Business problems: If your organization faces challenges such as declining productivity, low performance, or customer complaints, it may be a sign that managers need additional development. Effective managers can address business problems and drive performance improvement.
L&D teams need to proactively identify these signs and invest in manager development to address deficiencies and improve organizational performance.

Manager development encompasses various vital aspects that contribute to the growth and effectiveness of managers. These aspects include enhancing managerial skills, leadership development, and acquiring new skills. By focusing on these areas, L&D teams can ensure managers have the necessary competencies and capabilities to lead teams, navigate challenges, and drive organizational success. In the following sections, we will explore these critical aspects of manager development and understand their importance.

Managerial Skills Enhancement

Managerial skills enhancement is an essential aspect of manager development. Effective managers possess technical, management, and soft skills that enable them to lead and manage teams effectively. The following are the key points related to enhancing managerial skills that an L&D team must focus on:

  • Developing management skills: Manager development programs focus on equipping managers with the necessary management skills, including decision-making, problem-solving, and communication skills.
  • Improving technical skills: Effective managers must have a solid understanding of their field’s and industry’s technical aspects. Development programs for managers help managers enhance their technical skills to stay updated and informed.
  • Strengthening soft skills: Soft skills, such as leadership, emotional intelligence, and teamwork, are crucial for effective managers. Manager development programs focus on improving these soft skills to enable managers to build strong and collaborative teams.

Leadership Development

Leadership development plays a critical role in manager development. Effective leaders can inspire, motivate, and guide their teams toward achieving organizational goals. Several key aspects of leadership development and training can complement development of managers, such as:

  • Leadership training: Leadership development programs provide managers with the necessary training and resources to develop their leadership skills. These programs focus on strategic thinking, decision-making, and team building.
  • Developing competencies: Leadership development programs aim to develop specific competencies for effective leadership, such as communication, coaching, and problem-solving skills.
  • Fostering talent management: Leadership development programs help organizations identify and nurture talent within their managerial ranks. By investing in the development of future leaders, you ensure a sustainable leadership pipeline.

Building Organizational Agility

Building organizational agility is another critical aspect of manager development. Managers must be agile and adaptive to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, and development plans are key to building these capacities. Primarily, it works by:  

  • Addressing organizational change: Effective managers are crucial in leading teams and driving successful organizational change initiatives. These programs equip managers with the skills and competencies to navigate change and manage resistance.
  • Solving business problems: Managers need problem-solving skills to effectively identify and address business problems. Manager development programs focus on enhancing problem-solving abilities, enabling managers to improve performance and address business challenges.
  • Enhancing agility: By investing in manager development, organizations can foster an agile mindset and culture within the workforce. Agile managers can adapt quickly to new challenges, identify opportunities, and make informed decisions.
Learning and development initiatives, under the purview of human resource management, are pivotal in developing managers. L&D professionals are responsible for designing and implementing programs and strategies to support the growth and development of managers. The L&D process for manager development goes as follows:

Identifying Development Needs

Identifying development needs is a crucial step in manager development. L&D teams first assess the skills and competencies required for managers to be effective. This assessment involves performance reviews, competency assessments, and feedback from peers and subordinates.

Once development needs are identified, organizations can design programs to address these specific skills. Managers can drive better team performance and contribute to organizational success by addressing performance gaps and enhancing skills.

Read more: Leadership Development Framework for the Future: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Drafting Leadership Development Plans

Drafting leadership development plans is a crucial step in manager development. These plans provide a systematic process for developing leadership skills and competencies required for effective management. A few key things to keep in mind while drafting manager development plans include:

  • Aligning with organizational goals: Leadership development plans should align with organizational goals and strategic objectives. They should be designed to support the organization’s overall strategy and vision.
  • Identifying specific skills and competencies: Leadership development plans should identify the skills and competencies required for effective organizational leadership through a competency framework. These skills include communication, adaptability, problem-solving, and strategic thinking.
  • Creating a systematic process: Leadership development plans outline a systematic leadership development and training process. The plan specifies the resources, training programs, and development activities required for managers to acquire and enhance leadership skills.
  • Establishing a strategy for leadership development: Leadership development plans are strategic and form part of an organization’s talent development strategy. By drafting these plans, L&D can ensure the systematic and targeted development of leaders at all levels of the organization while also ensuring that succession planning goes well.
Manager development comes in many forms. Some cover the technical aspects, while others focus heavily on soft skills. The right manager development tools for an organization can vary depending on their needs. How many managers do you have? And what areas do they need training in? How will they learn the best? All these questions are crucial to narrowing down the right mix of manager development tools for your team. Let’s have a look at some common manager development methods that can help you out:

Knowledge Training

Knowledge training is an effective method for manager development, focusing on providing managers with the knowledge and information required to address new challenges and make informed decisions. Knowledge training as part of manager development is helpful in:

  • Addressing new challenges: Knowledge training equips managers with the knowledge and understanding to navigate new challenges and adapt to changing business landscapes.
  • Enhancing critical thinking: Knowledge training programs stimulate critical thinking skills, enabling managers to analyze problems, evaluate options, and make sound decisions.
  • Improving problem-solving abilities: Effective managers need strong problem-solving skills. Knowledge training programs help managers develop problem-solving abilities, equipping them to effectively identify and address organizational problems.

Skills Training

Skills training is another effective method for manager development, focusing on enhancing specific skills and competencies required for effective management. There are three major areas where skills training for managers can come in handy:

  • Developing soft skills: Effective managers possess strong soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and leadership. Skills training programs focus on developing these soft skills, enabling managers to build effective teams and foster employee engagement.
  • Enhancing technical skills: Depending on the industry and organizational context, managers need specific technical skills. Skills training programs provide managers with the necessary technical skills to perform their roles effectively.
  • Acquiring new skills: In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, managers must continuously acquire new skills to stay relevant. Skills training programs offer opportunities for managers to enhance their skills and competencies, preparing them for future challenges and new roles.

Innovative Training Techniques

In addition to traditional training methods, organizations can utilize innovative training techniques to enhance manager development. These techniques offer new and engaging ways to build skills and competencies. Some of the most common yet innovative ways to focus on manager development include:

  • Coaching and mentoring: Coaching and mentoring programs provide managers with one-on-one guidance and support, enabling them to enhance their skills and competencies.
  • Secondment programs: Secondment programs allow managers to temporarily work in different departments or business units, gaining exposure and experience in different areas of the organization.
  • Action learning: Action learning programs involve managers working on real-world problems and projects, allowing them to apply and develop their skills in a practical setting.
  • Simulation and gamification: Simulations and gamification provide managers with immersive and interactive experiences, enabling them to practice and develop their skills in a risk-free environment.
  • Experiential learning: Experiential learning programs, such as outdoor team-building activities and workshops, offer managers hands-on experiences that promote skill development and team collaboration.
Manager development programs come in various forms, catering to organizations’ and managers’ specific needs and requirements. 

In-House Training Programs

In-house training programs are designed and facilitated within the organization, targeting specific skills and competencies required for effective management. 

In-house training programs are customized to address your organization’s specific challenges and needs, ensuring relevance and practicality. Thus, they enable managers to align their team members’ development with organizational goals and objectives, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

External Workshops and Seminars

External workshops and seminars allow managers to learn from external experts, industry leaders, and peers. Managers gain exposure to industry best practices, innovative strategies, and new trends by attending external workshops and seminars, enabling them to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to their roles. External workshops and seminars allow managers to connect and network with peers and professionals from other organizations, facilitating knowledge sharing and creating valuable professional relationships.

Online Learning Platforms

Online learning platforms have gained traction as practical tools for manager development. These platforms offer flexibility, accessibility, and a wide range of resources. The best part is that online learning platforms allow managers to conveniently access training and development resources, eliminating geographical and scheduling constraints.

Through such mediums, managers access many resources, such as e-learning courses, videos, webinars, and interactive modules, enabling them to engage in self-paced learning and development.

Choosing suitable candidates for manager development is crucial to ensure effective development programs and organizational success. 

Assessing Managerial Potential

Assessing managerial potential helps you identify managers with the necessary competencies and capabilities for success but still need an extra nudge to reach their potential. You can determine managers’ competencies through skill assessments, performance reviews and feedback sessions, and contributions to daily workflows.

Evaluating Willingness to Learn

In addition to assessing competencies, evaluating managers’ willingness to learn is equally vital for effective manager development. Managers with a growth mindset are more open to learning and development. You should determine managers’ attitudes toward ongoing learning and improvement to gauge their willingness to learn and grow.

Moreover, motivation plays a crucial role in manager development. It helps ensure that they are enthusiastic and proactive in their development journey.

Measuring the success of manager development programs is crucial to evaluate their effectiveness and impact. However, L&D teams often fall into the trap of vanity metrics such as completion rates and end-term quizzes, where scores do not correlate very well with impact. Hence, it’s essential to pick a set of metrics that reflect the impact on areas that matter to your stakeholders in the L&D process.

Performance Metrics

Performance metrics are an effective way to measure the success of manager development programs. The following points highlight the importance of performance metrics:

  • Measuring performance improvement: Performance metrics, such as key performance indicators (KPIs) and performance appraisals, enable you to assess managers’ performance and improvement over time.
  • Setting benchmarks: You can set performance benchmarks and goals for managers, comparing their actual performance with the desired performance, providing a precise measure of development program effectiveness.
  • Evaluating organizational performance: Effective manager development programs contribute to organizational performance improvement. By evaluating organizational performance metrics, such as productivity, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction, you can assess the impact of manager development on overall organizational outcomes.

Feedback from Managers

Feedback from managers is a valuable source of information when measuring the success of manager development programs. It helps identify areas of improvement and further development needs.

Gathering feedback allows organizations to assess managers’ satisfaction and engagement with development programs. Positive feedback indicates the program’s effectiveness, while constructive feedback helps make necessary improvements. Managers can provide suggestions and recommendations for improving development programs based on experience and perspective, ensuring program relevance and effectiveness.

In conclusion, manager development plays a crucial role in the success of organizations. It is essential for managers to continuously enhance their skills and develop leadership qualities to navigate through the challenges of the dynamic business environment. Investing in manager development programs can foster a culture of learning and growth, leading to improved employee engagement, increased productivity, and better overall organizational performance. 

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