Professional Development Programs for Managers

Professional Development Programs for Managers


In another post we discussed the type of training courses that are important for developing leadership skills. Leaders are like the captain of sailing vessels, where they chart the course, and make the big decisions when course corrections are required. But most ships (other than a single-person dinghy) also require team members to execute the orders of the captain, and team leaders to coordinate their activities.

Professional Development Programs for Managers

The larger the vessel, the greater the need for someone to coordinate the efforts of all team members so that they are working together in unison. In a corporation, that person would be a manager. The manager doesn’t typically select the mission of the organization. The role of manager requires a person who can execute orders, in an efficient and effective manner. That requires a different and complementary set of skills than that of the leader.

Developing Managers

While some of the management skills may seem identical to those required of leaders, there are subtle differences. For example, communication skills are important for both roles. However, managers do more individualized one-on-one communication with their direct reports, where leaders do more presentations and strategic communications. The changing nature of the workplace has also brought about the need to develop new management skills, even for experienced managers. Here are a few examples.

Managing Virtual Teams

There have been some technological advancements recently that have brought about the need for new management skills. For example, managing virtual teams requires managers to redouble their efforts in terms of clear communications, establishing well-defined goals, running effective virtual meetings, and keeping employees engaged even when they don’t see each other face-to-face.

New Employee Relationships

Starting at one company and staying there for 30 years is a thing of the past. Today’s employees value mobility over stability. Professional development courses for managers need to address the growing number of employees who work as freelancers, contractors, or even temporary employees. Managers need to learn how to stay ahead of the curve by communicating expectations on workplace arrangements and changing demographics. They also need to bring employees up to speed quickly, and work to keep them engaged.

Dynamic Organizational Structures

Traditional hierarchical organizational structures are being replaced by newer designs that facilitate agility, collaboration, and working across multiple time zones and media. In order to accommodate this new type of structure, managers are now expected to provide real-time feedback and coaching, rather than cyclical performance reviews.

More Trends

These are just a few of the trends in developing managers. As technology evolves and demographics continue to change, more skills development will be needed.

Values Driven Professional Development

Gone are the days of working for a company just for a paycheck. Today employees what to be aligned with the overall organizational mission, vision, and values of the company they work for. In fact, surveys have shown that Millennials would actually work for less money in order to work for a company that is aligned with their personal values.

In order to facilitate this, employees need to be clear on their own personal mission, values, purpose, and what personal legacy they want to leave behind. That’s where professional development comes into play.

Professional Development Programs

Creating a culture where people are able to self-assess how their personal values are in alignment with the organizational purpose is the first step towards having an engaged workforce. This involves offering professional development programs for every level in the company, from leadership on down to the individual contributor. Helping leaders, in particular, understand how their personal values align organizational values can enable them to inspire others. That’s one reason why professional development for managers is vitally important.

Training for HR Professionals

Human Resources (HR) often leads the way in delivering assessments, and helping managers facilitate their direct reports to become purpose-driven and highly engaged. There are literally dozens of assessments available today, and it is the job of HR professionals and instructional designers to select and sometimes customize these tools before they are deployed in an organization. HR professionals will also need to deliver training on coaching skills, equipping leaders with the right skill set to implement a culture of professional development.

Purpose-Driven Employees

When employees can see and understand the link between their work and the value it delivers to society, they engage much more deeply than others who see work as just a source of money or status. These purpose-driven employees contribute at much higher levels than their peers, since they see their work as a source of meaning and fulfillment. Learning professionals need to be aware of this phenomenon, and structure programs accordingly.

Employee Onboarding

Building a values-driven organization begins with employee onboarding. When new employees can see how their work makes a difference early on, they will be more fulfilled and feel more confident about having joined the company. Most importantly, be sure to frame the new employee’s job tasks in view of how they link with and impact the overall organization’s mission, vision, and values.