The Learning and Development function has considerably evolved over the years. With a rise in the knowledge and education around L&D, more and more training needs are being catered to in our modern world. On the face of it, training is majorly associated with new hires– to get them inducted in an organisation whilst providing them the required technical expertise that’s necessary for their day-to-day assignments. This is merely a single form of training. Another form of it includes the First-time manager training or the training for newly promoted managers who’ll work as managers for the first time in an organisation. It is particularly significant since it caters to the needs of managers who are often considered the most important success factors for any organisation.
Managers – Key Roles
The managers play a multi-dimensional role in the organization. They serve as a basic link between the senior leadership and the subordinates- Carrying the orders of the seniors while directing the subordinates. It is akin to connecting the organizational strategy with the grassroot level work. The managers have considerable authority, at the same time, they’re also held accountable for the success and the failure of the core organizational operations.
Apart from the basic administration task, the managers need to collaborate with the different organizational levels facilitating coordination among them. They need to build relationships and manage any conflicts that may arise. They’re also expected to communicate well with the other levels. In addition, they’re the ones who evaluate, motivate and develop their subordinates while preserving a positive workplace environment.
There’s a reason why the managers are considered to be the linchpins of any organization. They not only serve as an intermediary between their superiors and subordinates but also are often expected to contribute at an individual level. As a result, they get pulled in different directions from the different levels in the organizational hierarchy. Their workload stands increased. They need to possess a wide variety of skill-sets so as to effectively carry out their responsibilities. They need to be all-rounders, being well-aware of what’s happening in the organization at all levels. For first-time managers, this is quite a daunting task.
Emerging Need for First-Time Manager Training
An effective and efficient management is a vital organizational asset. To ensure the new managers are equipped well with respect to their role, it’s important to prepare them well in advance. Such preparation can be executed through suitable first-time manager training. It provides the necessary expertise and enhances the skill-set of a new manager. Even though the manager is experienced with respect to their contribution as an individual in the organization, working in the middle of the organizational pyramid comes with a whole lot of responsibilities that are novel to them.
With rising competition and narrow margins of error, every organisation wants excellent managers who can handle these complex situations. In addition, they also seek in them, the potential to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Another important need for first-time manager training lies in an early focus and consequent preparation for succession planning. Creating leadership pipelines is an immensely important task for any organisation. Leaders aren’t simply born, they need to be developed over a period of time through comprehensive training and experience. What’s wrong in searching and developing leadership instincts in a manager right from the word go?
Cultivating home-grown leaders or leaders from within the organization results in multiple benefits. First of all, these leaders have a functional understanding at the grass-root level since they’ve also traversed a similar path. Under a crisis situation, the experience of these leaders proves handy. Nothing can replace the organizational experience that leaders from within bring with themselves. As a result, every organization wants managers who can be developed into leaders. Additionally, there are certain gap areas that need to be identified and filled in. The training program helps you to find that gap in your new managers so as to yield results from a long-term perspective.
First-Time Manager Training Program
Delving deep into the first-time manager training program, we find that it is specially designed for managers at the very first level or the beginning of their managerial careers. It’s a multi-dimensional program that takes into account the expectations of the organisation from their managers, based on their current position and existing levels of skill-sets.
How does it help?
The first-time manager training program helps the organisation on different fronts. These are described as below-
Transitioning and Adaptation
An employee who has been promoted from an individual contributor role to a managerial position needs a transition. The training helps them acquire skills for management of self, others and various business aspects. It also provides an opportunity to apply the learnt skills.
Building Relationships and Social Skills
Being a manager, social skills lie at the forefront. A manager needs to form cordial relationships for effective people-management. The training program highlights the importance of such skills and presents a mechanism to develop them through multiple tools and techniques.
Communicating across the organizational structure can pose challenges for a new manager. Organizations adhere to their communication hierarchies. It’s important to understand how they work. There are several barriers to communication such as the language, the grammar, a lack of interest or attention, talking-over, deficient listening skills. It’s important to have a barrier-free communication channel since the flow of information is vital for the smooth functioning of the organization. All these barriers can be addressed through the training program.
Dealing with conflicts is a fairly common task for any manager. On several occasions, conflicts can cause a lot of damage in case they’re not handled in a thoughtful manner. The new managers need to learn the art of dealing with conflicts. The first-time manager training helps by presenting them with several cases where a particular type of conflict ensued and what sort of action plan was used to deal on that particular instance. Impactful learnings can be extracted out of such case studies.
Another important focus of this training program is personality development. The long-term objective of personality development is to groom an individual with an ultimate aim of succession planning. An organisation is a ‘going concern’, but an individual is not! Leaders of today won’t be the leaders of tomorrow. As previously mentioned, it’s important to build the leadership pipeline well-in advance.
The gamut of first-time manager training program extends its focus upon certain other areas as well. These are acquiring cognitive skills, maintaining culture, effective time management, coordination in the organizational structure, additional soft skills such as individual resilience, self-accountability, self-motivation and team-work etc.
A Component of Mid-Level Training
The first-time manager training is a component of the mid-level training that can be classified based on several parameters. It can be classified based on functional divisions. It can also be classified based upon the experience of managers. The mid-level in the organizational pyramid is a wide region. It includes a range of managers. There are the first-time managers, at the same time, there are others who’ve been working as managers for 5-7 years, they are the middle managers. Finally, the third category includes those who’ve been over there for a while and are ready to get promoted as the leaders, a further step up in the organizational hierarchy. Distinct mid-level solutions are offered based on these stages. The first-time manager training forms the core of the mid-level training programs.
A Modern Approach
The modern first-time manager training programs are widely available in a virtual or digital format. This format not only serves as an alternative during the Covid19 restrictions, but also provides multiple benefits in the form of technologically advanced tools and techniques. The programs are well structured, the criteria are defined upfront and impact is measured on key metrics. The usage of analytics has added a whole new dimension to the program.
Best-in-class business faculty with an established curriculum that caters to the needs and the fluctuations of the emerging business world are employed in the program. The most important feature of the modern first-time manager training program is that it is well designed to align itself with the organizational leadership needs. This alignment is important so as to make a visible impact through managers. A long-term focus along with a touch of personalization makes an ideal combination for the development of modern world organizational leaders.
What’s important to understand in this VUCA world is the need to be agile in terms of your response against a contingency. A before-hand preparation is the key for an agile response. First-time manager training is a before-hand preparation that not only seeks to prepare them for the present in terms of a smooth transition but also for the future through its futuristic and multi pronged approach. Just like in a factory, a product is manufactured in different stages, the managers are prepared through the mid-level training in different stages. Managers need to be trained according to their respective stage, the end result of which is the development of an effective leadership capability marked as a ‘finished product’. The first-time manager training is crucial because it is the first stage of the leadership development process. A high quality first-time manager program isn’t just beneficial for the individual manager, its beauty lies in its long term orientation that eventually benefits the organisation.
“The path to your successful future lies in the development of your new managers.” There’s no time to waste!