8 key steps for successful management training

All too often an awesome employee is promoted to a management position and when they don’t do well we wonder why they failed at this when they were so good at their previous position.

For most of us, managing people is not an intrinsic skill. Being a manager is hard, and without training, being a great manager is nearly impossible. We don’t expect a new employee to know how to do their job without training, so why do we think that someone promoted into management will know how to manage without any training? An untrained manager may stumble through and even do well enough to fly under the radar, but in these competitive times when finding and keeping great employees is so critical, management is of utmost importance.

In this short blog there is no way to jump into actual management training, but it’s a great start. Below are the eight key steps I’ve learned to refine management training:

  1. How to hire the right person
    1. Write an accurate job description.
    2. Evaluate your must-have vs. want-to-have skills for a position.
    3. Evaluate resumes and select whom to interview.
    4. Determine interview questions — don’t just wing it.
    5. Interview consistently and evaluate candidates quantitatively.
  2. Onboarding and exiting
    1. What do the first two weeks look like — have a training plan.
    2. How to set benchmarks and evaluate performance in the first 90 days.
    3. The importance of an exit interview, and what to do with the feedback once you have it.
  3. Defining success
    1. How to make sure your employees know where the goal line is.
    2. How to hold employees accountable to success.
  4. Effective performance reviews
    1. Pre-evaluations.
    2. Conducting an effective review.
    3. Post review follow-up and goal setting.
  5. Coaching and correcting vs. writeups and discipline
    1. How to give effective feedback.
    2. When to cross the line into formal discipline.
  6. Documentation
    1. What needs to be documented?
    2. What must go in the official employee file?
    3. Yes, it’s a pain to do, so how to keep track efficiently.
  7. Employee personality and motivation
    1. The importance of knowing what motivates each employee.
    2. Understanding each employee’s personality and using this to improve communication.
  8. Managing generations — What each generation needs.



The biggest tip of all? Ask your management team what they’d like to learn about! I did a quick survey of my management team and asked each of them to identify three to five topics within their management responsibilities where they feel additional training could be useful. We dedicate half of our monthly management meeting to training (approximately 45 minutes per month). I take one topic a month, build a simple training program around the topic, and share it with the team at our monthly meeting. If the topic is more complicated, I have found it best to break it into sections and spread the training out over several months.

This will take time and effort. I’ve read many articles and blogs about how employees leave managers, not jobs. Take this opportunity to do something about it and make the investment in solid management for your company.

Shannon Mayerl is president of Top Promotions Inc. in Middleton.

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