How to Develop Managers – Identify the Need
June 10, 2011
Recently I’ve realized that one of the biggest needs we have as an organization is manager training. We have supervisors who have forgotten what it’s like to be human, new managers with little or no experience in the role, and ones who keep screwing up even the most basic of leadership tenets.
In other words, we need it bad.
But when I brought up the idea of offering a survey to the managers to help figure out the development holes that need to be filled, I quickly realized the fallacy of that wide open approach.
* Some managers would say they didn’t need any training
* Some managers would say they needed training in irrelevant/impractical areas
* Some managers would immediately become defensive
So just saying “What do you want to do better?” isn’t an option. But there’s a better way to do ask the question and still get a solid response.
The question I usually ask when I am looking for stealth development opportunities is this: “What is your biggest frustration as a manager?”
That opens the door to all kinds of answers, and I’ve never met a single manager who didn’t have a heartfelt response (or a dozen!) to that question. Those answers will help guide the process from there. For instance:
* My biggest frustration is dealing with apathetic employees. This opens the door to providing some training on leadership skills and ways to motivate and inspire their people.
* My biggest frustration is hiring poor performers. This is an opportunity to work with them on interviewing techniques to select the best people.
* My biggest frustration is [insert problem here].
You get the picture. Instead of having to start from scratch, let them tell you what they need in terms of development and training. Then give it to them.
Ben Eubanks is a blogger and HR professional from Huntsville, Alabama. During the day he works in a generalist role with Pinnacle Solutions, an aviation-centered defense contractor. He is the cofounder of HRevolution, author of a blog about human resources, leadership, and zombies, and a new dad to some amazing twin girls.
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