The way they motivated you, brought out the best of your talent and helped you reach your greatest potential.
Alternately, you'll never forget the leader who prevented you from reaching your professional goals. Whether they lacked coaching skills to motivate you or neglected to offer constructive criticism to improve your performance, their behavior had a lasting impact on you as an employee—perhaps even as a person.
But it may not have been their fault.
Some of the most tenured, passionate people in any given industry have the knowledge and expertise to soar as a leader but were never offered leadership development opportunities to apply it in a positive way.
The good news is that leadership training is readily available and can help prevent negative outcomes. Most importantly, the knowledge gained will contribute to a healthier environment for the entire organization, which has been proven to increase productivity.
So, when is the appropriate time to implement manager training?
Truthfully, there's no bad time, but conducting manager seminars and skill–strengthening workshops on a regular basis will help establish expectations and reiterate company values. Below are some suggestions on what's worked well for a variety of companies.
During new hire onboarding, connect your executives with coaches who specialize in working with leaders. Be sure that time in their (often hectic) schedule is allotted to this professional development and make the sessions mandatory so they know that regardless of their prior background, they'll be expected to continue learning how to lead.
One of the greatest ways to recognize employee performance is to promote them to a leadership position. If they've demonstrated their knowledge of the tasks at hand with a positive attitude and measured results, chances are they're ready to share that expertise with their colleagues and train more individuals to perform as well as they did. The trouble is, they may not know the best ways to accomplish that. It's not uncommon for new managers to misstep because they're not used to delegating or taking time to listen.
By offering an automatic manager training for those in new positions, they can acquire tools and techniques for coaching, navigating conflict and delivering constructive feedback without it feeling like a punishment because they haven't yet had the opportunity to fail.
Re–organizations, acquisitions and shifts in big–picture strategy can result in heightened stress for employees, even when they're happening to better the company. Instead of letting uncertainty be the guiding light of change, get out in front of the fears by conducting leadership skills training specifically designed for the situation. Consider outsourcing HR professionals who can come in with fresh eyes and assess where the greatest areas of opportunity lie.
You may be tempted to leave things “as is” in peaceful times. Improvement is always something to strive for—and really, everyone can benefit from a refresher. Offer these “refresher” courses to keep executive skills sharp and build stronger relationships with employees.
Put simply: hiring top talent doesn't guarantee workplace harmony. Without good leaders in charge, employee well–being can suffer, which can result in low morale and turnover. If you suspect there are issues in leadership, offer education instead of a reprimand. Remind the individuals that to be good leaders, they also have to be good students.