It’s no easy feat being a leader in the current economic and political climate. Technology, while it’s helped in many ways, has also created new obstacles that leaders must overcome to remain effective. But what sets one leader apart from others — and leads to new skills — is the ongoing commitment to learning new things and then applying them to the work they do.
The challenges that modern day managers face
At the start of 2016, Business News Daily polled CEOs and other business leaders what they thought were their biggest challenges. At the top of the list, along with managing an ever-increasing mobile workforce, is providing, “greater development opportunities within the company.” This also goes for managers who are trying to stay ahead of trends in their markets in terms of employee engagement, flexible work environments, and learning organizations.
Leadership training is something that all companies should invest in. After all, without a strong and trustworthy leadership team that’s prepared to deal with the pressures of this role, other areas of the business suffer. Managers must be continually learning new ways to foster team building and productivity if they want to support business objectives. Consider that among the newest hires in any organization that there are already a few leaders emerging to take their future place.
Management training isn’t meeting with workforce leadership needs
At the end of September, a new study was released by Grovo, a workplace learning innovation company, facilitated by the independent research consultancy firm, Wakefield Research. It focused on 500 middle managers across multiple industries and the challenges and opportunities they experience in terms of their career development. The survey found that:
- 98% of these managers believe they need more training to cope with professional development, employee turnover, conflicts, time management, and project management.
- 84% of managers said they need a better way to manage their own abilities, with 76% saying ineffective managers are often rewarded for bad behavior.
- Two out of five managers are unprepared to deal with the challenges of this role, and less than half are highly effective managers.
- 87% of the managers said that the bulk of leadership training occurred at the start of their careers only.
These findings are somewhat surprising because nearly all companies have some form of leadership training programs, or at the very least mentoring from one generation of leaders to the next What makes it negative, however, is that managers are not held accountable for results, and in a high number of cases, poor managers are still getting promoted to higher levels within their organizations with zero concern. Imagine how this is affecting employees who see this on a regular basis and feel powerless to speak up.
How can companies make sure that managers get the right kind of training?
Much of the existing leadership training out there is outdated, at best. In order for leadership training to be most effective, it has to address the factors that managers are facing here and now. It also must hold all managers accountable for their own career success. Just as organizational development programs for employees focus on skill building that directly impacts performance, so too should management training.
Each manager needs to have a set of objectives that can lead them through the kinds of training they need for their specific job. For example, if a manager is leading a team of remote employees, then he or she should receive training that’s geared towards effective remote team management, along with technology training to help engage and bring employees together. Training needs to be highly relevant and up-to-date.
With organizations losing a large chunk of their seasoned Baby Boomers, the time is now to start building strong leaders among all levels of employees. Starting with the right kind of leadership development training that’s geared towards the challenges that today’s managers face is the right course of action.