During the past few weeks, I ran three different cohort sections of my live-online Manager Development Program. While initially geared toward new(er) managers, we had many veterans in the groups, all working on sharpening their skills around the fundamentals of leading and managing. As always, the wisdom of the crowd adds value to the pre-planned content. Below are some of the key insights from the latest Manager Development programs.
Note from Art: due to demand, we’ve added two new upcoming sessions of the Manager Development program: July 20, 27, August 3 from 10 AM to 2 PM Central and 9/8, 15, 22 at the same time. Check here to learn more and register.
Seven Insights from the Latest Management Development Programs
1. Learning to delegate is a hot topic and a challenge
For newer managers, learning to delegate is one of the most challenging behaviors to master. Many report feeling as if they are simply shifting their work to colleagues, and others admit to being overly worried about the quality of work if they don’t do it themselves. Many avoid delegating for those reasons, taking on the work themselves and quickly becoming bottlenecks.
2. One-on-ones represent significant opportunities to coach and connect
The topic of conducting one-on-ones was one of the most popular. Most managers admit to not having a great game plan for these sessions, and others use them primarily as status update opportunities. By the time the groups were done with this module, they had defined a working plan they believed would below allow time to reconnect and shift some of the burden to the employee to identify what they need from the manager in these sessions.
3. Career coaching isn’t limited to one or two conversations per year
One of our cohorts was turbocharged by the addition of coach, expert, and author, Julie Winkle Giulioni as a guest. The groups soaked up the ideas for strengthening their support of team member career development with Julie’s excellent practices. The key takeaway—incorporating career coaching into the regular business flow and permitting yourself as the manager to have frequent career development discussions, was greatly received. Placing responsibility for career development on the employee but supporting their efforts is a part of Julie’s recommendations.
4. The manager controls the weather on their team
The content on forming and framing the quality working environment was well received in all sessions. While managers intuitively know they are responsible for this work, exposure to a template and priority activities for creating a quality working environment make the initiative seem tangible.
5. Challenging people are…challenging
Situational leadership topics were popular in our ad hoc “jam sessions,” where participants posed questions and supported each other with ideas (along with input from me). Many of the topics focused on dealing with challenging characters, providing quality feedback, and smoothing out troubled relations between coworkers. In many cases, it was clear the manager was trying to do too much and not holding team members accountable for their part of the heavy lifting. The idea of shifting accountability for the right behaviors to team members was liberating for the managers.
6. Your manager peers are a source of insight and power
The module on Working with Your Peers generated new insights for the managers about gaining support for decisions and building coalitions to tackle cross-boundary issues.
7. It’s important to dial-up the conversation quality with your boss
Our module on The Missing Conversations with Your Boss opened eyes and ears
There are many conversations and topics bosses and their managers don’t have that are truly important for everyone. For example, tuning in to your boss’s goals and striving to understand their aspirations and even frustrations allows you to support their efforts better.
The Bottom-Line for Now:
I leave the Manager Development programs as excited as the participants for their outstanding work and their plans to put the ideas to work. While our time together is a quick 12-hours spread over multiple sessions plus the program coaching call, the energy and curiosity these participants bring to our sessions and their firms leave me excited for what they will do moving forward.