The manager's training wishlist

Management is all about dealing with reality. It also often focuses on balancing the needs of others - teams, stakeholders, and senior colleagues, for example.

Written by Suzanne White
Published 06 February 2014
The manager's training wishlist

So, the managers in your organization may not have much time, or be in the right frame of mind, to reflect on their own training needs. That's not to say that they don't have needs - anything but. So, below, we've outlined six common training needs that managers in all sectors have on their "wishlists," and we explore how you can start to meet these needs. Let us know your experiences of training for managers by commenting below.

1. A need for training that's based in reality

Managers need training that's practical. As such, they tend to see trainers as experts who can help them make urgent changes: they will often use training sessions to quiz trainers on specific situations, and refer to training materials later. Make sure that trainers build question and answer time into training sessions, and ensure that they'll be available at other times to respond to trainees' queries. It's also wise to provide learning materials that learners can customize or add to, based on their own situations. Web-based rather than printed tools can be highly effective here.

2. A need for flexibility

If you can, offer training via multiple delivery methods -online, informal, and course-based, at a minimum. This will allow managers to match the delivery method with the time that they have available, and with their learning styles.

3. A need for hassle-free delivery

"Just-in-time" training is ideal for management-level learners. They can build it into their schedules, choose modules or sessions that meet their current needs, and access materials "as and when." Managers also respond well to the sense of completeness that just-in-time training offers. They can work through a module, and move on, without having to schedule extra assignments, presentations, or follow-up sessions. Look for other ways to provide "just-in-time" information, too, such as online videos, podcasts, and fact sheets.

4. A need for mentoring/coaching

A mentor or coach can help a learner embed training into their day-to-day work. He or she can help the learner find ways to apply the new knowledge, and ensure that it's followed through. Mentors can also provide a "sense
check" if learners are struggling to understand recent training, or how to apply it.

5. A need for context

Like all adult learners, managers need context for their learning. It helps them retain information, and build it into their work. Plus, managers' time is precious, so they'll want training that helps them resolve the problems that they're experiencing right now - not ones they might experience at some point in the future. Keep learning and development focused on immediate needs - this will help learners apply it in context, and manage their time, too. If you need to roll out company-wide training initiatives that are focused on wider issues, consider tailoring sessions for managers so that they're concise, and embedded in the types of issues that they're currently dealing with. Alternatively, offer drop-in sessions at a selection of times so that managers can choose one that fits into their schedule.

6. A need for support

It's tough juggling everyday work, supervising team members, and solving problems - and learning and development can slip down many managers' To-Do Lists. This can lead to difficulties later, particularly for new managers, who may miss out on essential information as they get up to speed. Encourage managers' managers to help them take responsibility for their learning. They may need self-directed learning, accredited courses, or a reward system. Or they may prefer drop-in sessions or bite-sized training sessions that can be slotted around other tasks. Of course, this provides an added incentive to tie training to competency frameworks and appraisal processes so that everyone - including managers - reviews their training needs periodically. 

About the author

Suzanne White

Suzanne White

Performance and Development Manager
Suzanne has been working in the Client Success team since 2013 in a variety of roles, including managing client accounts and managing the team itself. Most recently, she has been focusing on ensuring the team delivers a top quality, consistent service to all clients in her role of Client Success Quality Manager. She has a real passion for L&D and also has two lively toddlers at home that keep her on her toes.

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