Three Essential Steps for Improving the Skills of Managers in Your Organisation
When it comes to training, managers don’t always get the level of focus they deserve. Organisations develop training for employees to enhance their skills and increase the operational capabilities of teams. Leaders are also often nurtured and developed. What about managers, though?
Managers are crucial to the success of all organisations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Our three-step plan will help you improve the skills of the managers on your team.
Step 1: Understand the Difference Between Managers and Leaders
The terms “manager” and “leader” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. They are distinct roles and describe different types of people with different sets of skills. Good managers can be good leaders and vice versa, but one does not naturally follow the other, i.e., not all managers are leaders, and not all leaders are managers.
So, what’s the difference?
A manager typically oversees the work of others, so they are responsible for a team. The focus is usually on following rules, ensuring tasks are completed according to requirements, and maintaining operational efficiency. Managers often have to be problem-solvers and they contribute to the success of organisations by bringing stability to tasks and teams while also mitigating risks.
Leaders, on the other hand, inspire, motivate, and influence others. They are responsible for strategic planning and nurturing an environment where the organisation can deliver on its purpose and achieve its goals. Leaders are also often visionaries who drive change and encourage innovation. Where managers often mitigate risks, leaders take them.
In this blog, we are going to focus on improving the skills of managers. To do that, it is important to first identify the skills that managers need.
Step 2: Identify the Skills That Managers Need
- Leadership – while managers are not necessarily leaders, it is beneficial for managers to continuously improve their leadership skills, including those mentioned in the previous section. By enhancing their leadership skills, managers can improve their ability to motivate their team and create a productive and positive work environment.
- Communication – effective communication is fundamental in management both up and down the chain, i.e., managers must be able to communicate with their team and their bosses.
- Problem-solving – managers are often faced with challenges and conflicts that need to be resolved quickly, appropriately, and effectively. As a result, managers must be able to understand problems, put in place viable solutions, and make the right decisions.
- Delegation – managers can’t do everything themselves, so it’s important they have delegation skills so they can assign tasks to team members based on skills, capabilities, and availability.
- Time management – managers often face time pressures, so it’s important that they can prioritise tasks, manage their own time, manage the time of their team, and set achievable goals.
- Team building – team building skills can include the ability to select team members with complementary skills, as well as promoting teamwork, facilitating collaboration, resolving conflicts, and fostering a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect.
- Strategic thinking – while leaders set the vision and organisational direction of travel, it’s important that managers can see and understand the big picture. They need to have a good grasp of the organisation’s strategic goals so they can align their teams appropriately.
- Emotional intelligence – managers manage and deal with people, including members of their own team, so they benefit from high levels of emotional intelligence. This includes recognising and responding to the emotions of others, but it is also helpful if managers can also understand and manage their own emotions.
- Adaptability – the workplace is constantly evolving, so managers must be flexible and open to change. Rapidly adapting to new situations, challenges, strategies, and technologies is essential.
- Performance management – as managers are responsible for the performance of their teams, they need performance management skills. Some examples include setting clear expectations, evaluating performance, and providing constructive feedback.
Step 3: Engage Managers with the Training
- Set clear objectives and clearly communicate the purpose and objectives of the training, including how managers will benefit.
- Involve managers in the planning stages to give them a sense of ownership and increase their buy-in.
- Use practical examples and make the training as relevant to their work as possible. This can help managers see the value of the training and how they can apply it to their daily tasks and responsibilities.
- Include interactive elements, such as scenarios and quizzes.
- Provide opportunities for peer learning, coaching, and mentorship, either one-on-one or in groups.
- Implement a reward system that recognises the efforts of managers in completing training.
- Tailor the training to individual needs as much as possible, including in relation to learning preferences and existing ability levels. Managers will typically have a higher level of knowledge and experience than other team members.
- Provide feedback to managers on their progress and request their feedback to get their views on the training.
- Make the training convenient as managers are usually busy people. E-learning can help with this point, as you can create courses that managers can complete at times that suit them.
Creating and implementing a comprehensive training plan for the managers in your organisation will give them the skills and knowledge they need to operate more productively. They will also be able to more efficiently encourage, support, and guide the members of their team. The training should be ongoing as managers should have a mindset of continuous improvement, bringing ongoing benefits to your organisation.