What Is Manager Training?

When you see a gap, it’s your job to jump in and fill it. Sometimes, filling the gap means training others. That’s where manager training comes in. You’re taking the information you know—or will learn—and passing it on to your management team so your company can continue to be successful at all levels.

Why Is It Important for HR to Train Managers?

In HR, you wear many hats, and training and development is surely one of them. Let’s look at the main reasons to train managers below.

  • Create a relationship. Often, HR is seen as scary and like being sent to the principal’s office. By providing and facilitating manager training, you’re creating a relationship with your front-line managers across the organization. You’re taking away the idea that HR is scary and building a bridge for questions and helpful dialogue.
  • Manager development. Managers are employees too, and deserve to have career development just as the rest of your employees do. Management training can ensure you’re teaching your managers tools to further their careers both inside and outside your organization.
  • Maintain manager engagement. It’s no surprise that employees will leave a job if they dislike their manager, so don’t give them that chance. Management training engages your management team and encourages them along the way. They take that back to their team as they feel empowered to continue leading. Your culture will thank you!

Styles of Manager Training

Choose a training style described below to ensure optimal success for your organization.

Instructor-Led Training

You’ll likely see the most success and involvement with instructor-led management training. This can be led by an outside instructor or a member of your HR team. It can be structured like a lecture, with a presentation leaving room for dialogue, break-out sessions, and engagement for those in the training. This style not only encourages your managers to learn in an interactive way, but they can engage with other managers and with the HR professional leading the training.

Video-Based Training

Some organizations may not have the availability to facilitate instructor-led training; that’s where video-based training comes into play. You can utilize videos, like step-by-step procedures or even screen recordings, to drive home specific points to your management team. Perhaps you’re presenting a training on leadership in the workplace, and you would like to share appropriate YouTube clips to show how not to lead for some comic relief. You could easily work this into your video-based training. One advantage here is that managers can watch the video repeatedly if they are learning a process or a system, and an instructor is not required to lead the class.

The Essential Components of Manager Training

All manager trainings need a few essential components to ensure the training goes smoothly and is effective.

Have Clear Points

It does not matter the style of management training your organization has selected; without clear points, you will lose your managers along the way. If you’re trying to ensure they learn about effective communication in the workplace, be sure you’re driving that point home. Don’t get caught up in where you wish they were in their communication style at the end of the training; take the time to clearly walk them through how to communicate effectively without too many side paths or veering off topic. Stick to easy language, and remember that at the end of this, the goal is to give your managers another skill they can take with them, not give them more questions than answers.

Be Engaging

Any training should be engaging, especially manager training. Your managers are the ones maintaining your employees and helping to propel the organization forward.  If they can’t stay focused on your training, it’s not engaging enough. Spice it up. Consider using real-life examples to draw them in and allow them to be fully invested in how the training is going to turn out. Do not underestimate the power of a good mid-training poll to wake everyone up and spark interest.

Encourage Dialogue

Whether you’re in a break-out session or you’ve just had a question and answer session, encourage dialogue amongst peers. It’s great that they are comfortable enough to dialogue with the instructor, but strive to encourage it between peers as well. As managers, they  face a lot of the same issues, and feeling like they are not alone can go a long way to creating unity within your organization at the management level. Don’t overlook this essential function of management training. It will keep your managers coming back to future trainings to increase that sense of community.

Continual Learning

When the training is over, don’t stop there. Follow up regularly on that specific training. Perhaps you continue that training segment over the course of a few months, or maybe it’s something you do annually to ensure your managers feel supported. Whichever route you take, don’t stop investing in your managers. You cannot start a manager training initiative and then drop the ball and not continue. Show your managers that you believe in their success and continually train them for that success.

How to Get Started With Manager Training

Let’s review the steps to take in order to ensure you’re ready to start manager training in your organization.

Step 1: Assess the Gaps

Take the time to run a gap analysis of the management team before you proceed. Where are the areas of weakness? Do you have a team that cannot be trusted to send an email to their team without sounding discriminatory? Perhaps you should do some communication and diversity management training. Or do you have managers who are uneasy and unsure of what to ask in an interview? Spend some time conducting manager interview training. Without knowing the areas your managers could use support in, you won’t be able to move forward, so start by finding those trigger points.

Step 2: Get Buy-In

Trainings can fall flat. Managers see this as just another box to tick off their to-do list. Some may not even attend the trainings if it’s not required. You should reach out for the support of your executives, owners, board, or whomever in your organization has decision-making abilities. Once they believe that this would be beneficial for your managers and they see value in the gaps you have found, it will be much easier to move forward with the manager trainings because your managers will feel the support from the top down.

Step 3: Make it Fun

There is nothing worse than sitting in a training and wishing it was over. Your managers have busy schedules, and attending training will not be top on their list. Change the narrative. Take the time to ensure your manager training has all the essential components of a manager training as stated above, and be sure to make it something they will keep talking about. Manager training doesn’t have to be boring. Ensure that it’s not.