This is what makes the difference in every business between a manager who is effective and succeeds and one who does not. Although one can find the occasional manager who has succeeded in spite of this, as my husband has just rightly reminded me, I believe implementation is the key.
What we really want is to achieve a far higher number of effective and successful managers in the UK than we see today.
There has been a lot of reporting on the ineffectiveness of UK managers in recent years. The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has been running surveys, monitoring this issue and reporting its findings regularly for some time now.
Many of our UK organisations accept the need for management training and most provide in-house programmes themselves, access externally run programmes or run training in conjunction with external training providers such as our own.
However, even with all this financial and time outlay by businesses and individuals, why are reports on UK management or managers effectiveness still found wanting?
In my view it all comes back to implementation.
It is all well and good to attend hour after hour of training, to cover theoretical material and even do some roll play whilst in sessions and to even culminate with a project or report as part of one’s study, but what happens after all of this is done?
It is my experience that not enough time is spent in real and personal learning beyond the course or the classroom. What I mean is the personal learning that brings about actual change in practise and performance.
The fault may well be that of the business itself. It may be that not giving enough focus is placed on the case made for evidence of implementation. May be not enough time is allowed to implement learning effectively; to make changes to individuals own management approach and style.
It may be that businesses do not understand what it means to their long term progression, staff retention, customer relations and innovation. It seems that businesses do not realise that the impact on efficiency and improvement. How we apply what we know bears fruit.
If managers and staff are not required to demonstrate continual use of and improvement of their management skills, even long after a period of training, then any period spent in the metaphorical classroom will be short lived and ineffectual. The money and time expended will have been wasted.
Another issue here is in understanding how long term learning and practical performance improvements take place for the individual in the work place. Unless required to do differently, most people, even after training just resort back to their previous behaviours.
Senior managers need to realise their responsibility in not only doing this themselves and leading the way, but in creating the right environment that allows learning implantation to happen for manager and team leaders at lower levels within their organisation.
I would like to see, as the requirement to demonstrate with the CMI Chartered Manager Award, that managers within organisations are require to demonstrate how they have used what they have learnt and the differences their learning has made to their daily performance.
So how could this be made to happen? Well all of the types of training previously mentioned are highly necessary and important to have and where they are not in place this should be put in place as a minimum.
Management training is the foundation to good management practise.
But this is only the start and not the end of training and learning. We need to build on this by creating long term learning that is seen to change and improve performance and behaviour.
What needs to happen after these initial types of training has taken place is for support, guidance, and challenge to be given to help managers learn how to make more practical connections between what they have learnt and how they implement it in their daily management.
The use of mentoring, coaching and 360 degree assessment can provide the next stage. In the case of 360 assessment, this should probably be done before management training is started in the case of existing managers and team leaders and again afterwards. This will help to measure change and progress.
These tools can provide the mechanism for making the difference in implementation. These offer ways to raise personal awareness on how ones management skills are perceived by others around you, (at an early enough stage, for new managers and to deal with difficult areas with more experienced managers) before things become more of a problem for the business.
After identifying performance failures and bad behavioural habits of managers coaching and not group or team training can provide more focused, speedier method for change. Good coaching will explore not only how one uses what has been taught, but any patterns of thinking, approaches or attitudes that hinder implementation of what one has learnt.
Most of the time it is not that we do not know what to do, but that we need an objective pair of eyes to help us see more clearly what the picture is and how best of apply our knowledge more precisely for the greater good of the business.
Coaching provides an objective supporter that has no axe to grind but is able to challenge our thinking and actions.
Although coaching has gained more credibility recently in the UK its effectiveness in management is still not seen or appreciated; its benefits are largely ignored. There is still a level of ‘I should not need support’ in UK businesses. This can be one of reasons UK managers are not as effective – are loosing out to other countries as a result. We all need help at some time in our careers.
How do we improve the standards of UK management?
- Taking a more long term approach to management training and learning;
- Creating and investing in management training which focuses on learning implementation, behavioural and performance improvement;
- Using tools to measure, help and support actual learning implementation, such as 360 degree assessment, coaching and mentoring;
- Expecting and gathering evidence to back up any claims of improvement from a range of sources, ideally colleagues, staff and customer;
- Rewarding success based not only on financial results, but also on positive behaviour;
- Creating positive values and behaviours that are practically and actually implemented by all managers.
- Create an environment where both training and learning is expected long term.
The bottom line for improving UK management standards is in how we implement what we know to be right in our heads into what we do practically each day. Practice does make perfect, and heralds improvement. It’s all in what we do and how we implement what we know.
It’s all in what we do and how we implement what we know.