January 27, 2021 6 min read
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Having strong leaders in every part of your organization is one of the most important factors for short and long-term success. Strong managers hire and retain quality employees, increase productivity, inspire innovation and help to develop a strong culture that breeds success.
While hiring the right people for managerial positions is obviously an important first step, providing them with adequate and ongoing training is an essential next step. As John Rockefeller famously said, “Good management consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.” By giving new managers effective training, organizational leaders help to set managers up for success while also giving them the confidence that they need in their new role.
It’s easy to think that new manager training is a formality and one that could largely be addressed through a managerial handbook. Avoid this temptation. Be thoughtful about what is included in management training. Doing so will lead to more confident managers, happier and more productive employees, and better organizational outcomes.
Here are five essential skills that should be a part of every manager’s training.
1. Effective communication
Being a good communicator and understanding the importance of effective communication is one of the keys to being a good manager. Managers constantly communicate, with both the employees that they manage and with upper-level management that they report to. As a result, it’s key that managers understand how to clearly and concisely communicate and that they develop habits of regular communication, both formal and informal, with their teams.
Part of developing good communication skills involves being aware of nonverbal communication, being an attentive listener, and learning to respond to complaints and negative feedback. It also involves giving regular feedback, both good and bad, and developing the skills for offering constructive feedback in a productive way. The best communicators are able to address conflict and are adept at conflict resolution.
Obviously, the skills of great communicators are built over long periods of time and through extensive work. However, effective communication is a topic that managers should be trained in from the outset. Focusing on communication in new manager training will not only help to make managers better communicators, but it will also make it clear that good communication is something that your organization values and is committed to.
2. Developing and coaching team members
The best managers are effective at coaching and developing all members of their team. While this is a skill that comes more naturally to some rather than others, it’s something that should be addressed in new manager training and consistently revisited in ongoing professional development.
Good coaches are able to help employees focus on and develop specific skills, work through areas of struggle, and find opportunities for continued growth and development at their organization. They’re also able to build trust, inspire their teams, and encourage every person that they manage.
Coaching is one of the most important tasks of managers, but it’s also one of the most difficult. Given the complexities of this role and the varying skill sets that managers bring, it’s a good idea to include a basic introduction to coaching in managerial training and then to include a more personalized coaching training in each manager’s ongoing professional development.
“Inclusivity” is a term that gets thrown around a lot in training, but it’s one that managers should focus on and prioritize. Having a diverse team where all members feel valued and heard will not only ensure a healthy, positive workplace but also lead to increased employee retention, an increased ability to hire quality employees, and increased productivity. Leaders and managers should spend time focusing on what inclusivity looks like and why it’s essential.
4. Creation of a long-term, personalized professional development plan
Employees at all levels should constantly be developing and becoming better at their jobs. Managers, in particular, should embrace and model a growth mindset, showing their team what it looks like to acknowledge areas of opportunity for growth and work to build skills in those areas.
With that in mind, part of managerial training should be identifying specific areas for each manager’s growth and creating a long-term development plan to address those issues. Ongoing leadership development is always important, but it’s particularly helpful to create personalized plans from the outset. Ideally, this will also help managers do the same thing with their teams and to more effectively build a culture of self-awareness, growth mindset and commitment to ongoing development.
5. Time management
One of the biggest challenges for new managers is time management. Unexpected interruptions, increased obligations and meetings, and new responsibilities often make it hard for managers to juggle their many tasks. Strong time-management skills are important and often determine how successful new managers are.
During training, consider sitting down with managers and scheduling an average week. Help with allocating time for specific tasks, reserving some time for interruptions, and prioritizing daily, weekly and monthly goals. This will be a skill that managers continue to develop once they’re in their role, but it’s important that all managers have effective time-management skills from the outset, along with the necessary tools to effectively organize their schedules and commitments.
The right training will set managers up for success. The best measure of proper management is performance. The goal of managerial training and development is to ensure that all managers perform, that their teams excel, and that they lead invested, productive and happy employees.
Being thoughtful about training and ongoing development is one of the most important things that leaders can do to ensure that all managers have the skills and mindset needed to lead and help grow their organizations.