Start At the Top
The task to begin finding and implementing leadership training for your supervisors and managers may not be as daunting as some would have you believe — unless the initiative came from anyone other than your President, General Manager, or CEO. This is critical because before you venture out to begin any training program, you need to start with the business reasons why you are doing so.
Leadership Training for Supervisors and Managers Must Drive Results
Whether you are considering adding leadership training or not, consider these facts to take to your boss. A University of North Texas study found that companies that train their managers and supervisors show a productivity increase of 21%. A Business Week workforce study reflects a 300% decrease in turnover when companies train their front-line leaders. A Gallup poll of more than one million workers sites the number one reason people leave their job is because of their immediate supervisor or manager.
Before Starting Leadership Development You Must Ask Yourself Seven Key Questions
- Why do we need leadership training?
- What problems are we experiencing, that leadership training will fix?
- What impact will it have on the business?
- How might it positively affect productivity?
- Will we be more profitable after training our supervisors and managers?
- What do you want people to know, do, or feel differently as a result of this training?
- How will we measure its success?
Provided that the President/CEO and their management team are on the same page with these questions, you can then successfully implement any training that is chosen. This process will be the hardest part, but if done correctly and thoroughly, it will make implementation and buy-in all the easier!
Key Leadership Competencies
Don’t waste your time and money on assessments. Some will disagree with me on this, especially those who sell and consult the assessments themselves! The fact of the matter is, research has been done again and again when it comes to identifying the top competencies of leaders. We even did our own research with executives from over 400 organizations (because we didn’t believe it). We uncovered what everyone else has known over the years — the top competencies your managers and supervisors must have:
- Accountability & Responsibility
- Change Management
- Coaching & Mentoring
- Conflict Resolution
- Motivating Yourself & Others
- Trust and Integrity
Which of Those Competencies Can Your Supervisors and Managers Skip?
To help you understand why I believe assessments are a waste of time and money, ask yourself two questions:
- Which of those competencies do I NOT want my managers and supervisors to have?
- If a leader reaches a certain proficiency level in a competency, will it not add value to my organization if they continue to improve?
As one very experienced executive recently told me, “what you guys call them may have changed a little, but the underlying skills are the same as they were 50 years ago, and they’ll be the same 50 years from today.”
Competencies Remain Consistent
Do these competencies vary from organization to organization? Not really. If they do, it is because of a competency that is more technical in nature or one that may be specific to that job, but when it comes to the fundamental ‘soft skills’ or people skills, these are the essential ones for building leadership skills in your formal and informal leaders.
Promotions are Based on Hard Skills
Most organizations have managers who are promoted based on their job skills or technical skills, but rarely receive any training on how to be a good manager or to supervise others. I am always impressed with organizations that recognize this and prepare their future supervisors and managers before they step up into a leadership role.
Keep Employees on The Job
More than ever, companies are sensitive to having employees away from their productive tasks for too long. Search for training that is short and concise, but still gives you practical skills for growth. Seminars and 3-hour workshops have proven to be ineffective for two reasons. One, up to 90% of what the participant learned is forgotten within 30 days, primarily due to a lack of reinforcement. Two, much of the training that takes place today tends to be a data dump and little time is given to the participant to process and apply what they have learned.
With answers to the above questions and the list of competencies, you have a foundation upon which to either build a leadership program or evaluate off the shelf training materials, which usually require less time and a smaller investment. There are a countless number of companies ready to help you. Good luck!
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