Managers are a critical part of the structure of any organisation. Managers form the essential link between workers at the frontline and the key decision-makers at the helm of affairs. For meaningful progress to be made, managers need to be equipped with the right tools and skills.
The term management development refers to the processes involved in enhancing the skills of managers. It is not a simple, straightforward process as structured elements are included. Critical tools are needed to effectively plan, organise, coordinate, and implement the training programs.
Research has shown that good management development programs can have positive influences on organisational structure and practices.
The approach to management development should reflect the strengths of organisations. The training should be all-inclusive, involving every stakeholder at individual, group, and organisational level.
The framework for effective management development should include the following elements:
- Key management and leadership skills
- Techniques for strategy development
- Self-development tools
- Methods for interpersonal development
- Approaches to emotional intelligence
Every organisation should have a designated centre where managers can explore development opportunities. Managers can be coached periodically, with relevant training and psychological assessment offered at the highest level. Dedicated support staff should be on the ground to offer help when needed. Employees can key into this venture and make plans for their personal training.
Learning should be both formal and informal. Some of the methods that could be employed include the following:
- In-house conversations
- Training courses
- Online courses
Managers should be assigned to mentors. Mentors will tailor the individual needs of the manager, enabling them to reflect on their performance and how well they are getting along with others in the workplace.
Managers can also be paired with their colleagues. They can spend some time together, learn and review progress, then provide feedback to the evaluation team.
Managers can be temporarily moved to another department within the same organisation. It may also be helpful to move managers to another organisation. Studies have shown that this arrangement, often called secondment, is healthy for employee development and organisational growth.
To improve learning outcomes, managers can be encouraged to teach other managers. By sharing knowledge and expertise with peers and colleagues, both individual and organisational goals can be met.
As there are diverse groups of people within the same organisation, managers with similar interests can be brought together to share their experiences. This can be done face-to-face or online.
The more formal learning methods include registering managers for academic courses and encouraging them to pursue advanced degrees that are relevant to their training. A wide range of professional courses is available. These can be obtained online or on-campus.
At regular intervals, managers should be allowed to evaluate their work. The evaluation should be done by the managers and the employees that are being supervised by them. Individual and group assessment eliminates the chances of bias.
Management development can be a capital intensive venture. With the right tools, the process can consume little or resources. Organisations can save plenty of time and money if they follow best practices.