In today’s ever-changing business landscape, the role of a manager is more critical than ever. Not only are managers responsible for guiding their teams to success, but they also play a pivotal role in shaping the company’s culture and achieving strategic objectives. Time and time again, we hear from clients that the best salesperson does not make the best sales manager. We have to stop promoting our “stars” without giving them the tools to be successful. While leading people does come naturally to some more than others, there are competencies that can be taught.
Why upskilling managers matters
Managers are the linchpin between upper leadership and front-line employees. Their ability to lead, communicate, adapt, and make informed decisions directly impacts team performance and, subsequently, the organization’s bottom line. They are there to monitor work but also inspire great work and support employees on their career journey.
Here’s why investing in their growth and development should be a top priority:
Leadership Excellence: Effective leadership is not innate; it’s a skill that can be cultivated. Upskilling managers in leadership competencies can transform them into inspiring, forward-thinking leaders who motivate their teams and drive results.
Navigating Change: In today’s fast-paced business environment, change is constant. Managers need to be equipped with the skills to adapt and guide their teams through transitions effectively.
Talent Attraction and Retention: Candidates are seeking opportunities where they will have a career path and where their employer is investing in their development. Skilled and empathetic managers create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and engaged. This, in turn, boosts employee retention, saving your organization recruitment and training costs.
Innovation and Problem-Solving: Managers need to think creatively, identify opportunities for innovation, and solve complex problems. Upskilling can enhance their critical thinking and decision-making abilities.
Communication and Conflict Resolution: Effective communication and conflict resolution are vital managerial skills. Training in these areas fosters better team dynamics and reduces workplace conflicts.
We often have clients come to us to deal with issues they are struggling with surrounding one leader. This manager might be really good at getting the job done but they are leaving a wake of destruction and discontent behind them. We know that many times people don’t quit their jobs – they quit their managers. There is a correlation between turnover and a recent performance evaluation. If managers don’t know how to communicate, motivate, and hold employees accountable, they will see poor productivity and turnover as a result.
What programs can increase managerial competencies?
Tailored Training Programs: Identify the specific skills and competencies your managers need to excel in their roles. Tailor training programs to address these areas effectively. This could be an in-house program, or you could hire a third party to train or enroll your managers in a cohort program that teaches sound managerial practices.
Coaching and Mentoring: Encourage senior leaders or external mentors to guide your managers. A mentorship program can provide valuable insights and personalized development.
Soft Skills Development: Don’t underestimate the power of soft skills. Emotional intelligence, empathy, and adaptability are all crucial in modern management. Sound training programs should spend time discussing communication practices and perhaps even role play.
Feedback and Assessment: Regularly provide feedback and assessments to help managers gauge their progress and areas for improvement. 360 feedback assessments are great tools for managers to get unfiltered feedback.
Learning Resources: Make learning resources readily available. Invest in learning management systems (LMS) and provide access to courses, workshops, and materials that support managerial growth.
Leadership Retreats: Consider organizing leadership retreats or workshops where managers can immerse themselves in leadership development activities and team-building exercises. We love to do CliftonStrengths® as a means of discovery and understanding.
Continuous Learning Culture: Foster a culture of continuous learning within your organization. Encourage managers to stay updated with industry trends and emerging management practices. Send managers to conferences. Perhaps form a book club where emerging managers share ideas about best-selling business books that focus on collaboration and leadership. We love Brené Brown, Marcus Buckingham, Adam Grant, Patrick Lencioni, John Maxwell, and of course, we love the JoyPowered® series authored and co-authored by JoDee Curtis. JoyPowered® Teams is a favorite of mine!
So, what’s the ROI?
Investing in upskilling your managers is a strategic move that yields significant returns:
Improved Team Performance: Skilled managers lead high-performing teams that meet and exceed targets.
Enhanced Employee Engagement: Engaged employees are more productive and committed to their roles, resulting in reduced turnover.
Innovation and Adaptability: Managers equipped with innovative thinking skills can drive the company’s adaptability and competitiveness.
Stronger Leadership Bench: Developing a pipeline of capable leaders ensures organizational resilience in the face of change.
Positive Workplace Culture: An amazing manager is able to hold employees accountable and create a positive and inclusive workplace culture that attracts and retains top talent.
Investing in upskilling managers is not just a beneficial strategy. It’s a strategic imperative in today’s business landscape, and it’s money that will come back to the organization in dividends! It’s also, not that expensive. If you need help finding training that might help your managers be more successful, we’d love to help guide you. Reach out to us here.
Peggy is Purple Ink’s Vice President of Talent Services. She is passionate about helping organizations be more effective at sourcing and retaining top talent and loves the powerful effect connecting people to the right opportunity can have on their lives.