When's Your Management Training Conference?

I was impressed to read in Uncontainable (by Kip Tindell) how seriously The Container Store takes training employees. And I've worked at companies where certain functions (mainly sales) gets training and conferences, but I've never heard of a management training conference. Have you?

I absolutely understand that without sales, no one gets paid so salespeople need to get all the training and resources possible to sell better. But there are other equally important functions that seem to be ignored—i.e., managers. 

Not only are people promoted for the wrong reasons (as I wrote about in my earlier post about the Peter Principle) and not checked for their ability to handle this difficult position, but they're rarely given any training. If you're lucky, you'll be sent to some "new managers" training for a day or two then thrown to the sharks. 

Countless books and studies now confirm that people leave their managers, not their jobs, and that bad managers cause long-lasting health problems. So bad managers either lead to high turnover (the topic of another post) or to sick and underperforming staff and bottom lines, yet preventing this does not seem to be a priority for many companies.

My recommendations:
  1. Senior managers should gauge who is interested in management.
  2. These candidates should go through an apprenticeship where they shadow a good manager, are mentored by them, and learn by observing and discussing what works and what doesn't.
  3. These candidates then should be promoted to an assistant management role where they have one or two staff to manage, while being closely supervised and mentored.
  4. If the above works, they can be promoted to manage more staff, with check-ins on an ongoing basis; if the above does not work despite feedback and mentoring, they are returned to their previous role with no penalization.
This will ensure that only the right people—those with affinity and training—get to have control over another's livelihood and health. 

And let's take this a step further. Have a management conference so all your managers can get together, learn from experts and each other, and go back rejuvenated. Encourage them to keep learning and to come to you, their manager, if they're unsure how to proceed. Role play with them. Help them develop further by being a good manager to them. 

If you're a manager, would you like a management training conference?

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