Archive for June 2010

Why Don’t We Train Our Managers to be Managers?

June 29, 2010

Of the many ills impacting the Tech Industry, this is one of the most common questions asked by my clients. As a business coach, it quickly becomes the key complaint of executives who were once very successful individuals, only to be promoted to management with little (or no) training to help them bridge the obvious gap between excellence at the individual level and excellence as a manager.

The reasons are many: budget and time constraints, understaffed HR departments, a focus upon execution (as if team leadership is only a minor contributor to operational success). More often than not, however, it is a common blind spot on the part of executive teams composed of individuals who, in their careers, learned management techniques by observing others and not from any specific training sessions.

Some of us have been fortunate to work, at some point in our careers, for a superb manager who served as our role model. Mine was at Cadence Design Systems in the 90’s, and I still recall his lessons as I coach others. And the more fortunate are those of us who have actually worked for companies with formal management training: the 3-day offsite for new managers that I completed at Synopsys in the late 90’s included a curriculum that continues to serve me well. I mention these personal experiences, not to applaud my own background but as evidence that solid management training is not “black magic” but can and should be provided to new leaders in every company.

The components of a “best practice” curriculum?

  • Decision-making models
  • Prioritization techniques
  • Conflict resolution
  • Interviewing skills
  • Active listening
  • Teambuilding practices
  • Communication strategies

In the days ahead, in response to a request from one of my current coaching clients, I’ll comment on each of these and offer some “tricks” for those who know, in their hearts, that they could serve their employees better but don’t know where to begin.