Learn to think outside of the classroom when putting together your management development program. See how coaching, elearning, job rotation, and even volunteering can help your managers grow.
- When I first entered the workforce, the only management development opportunities were management training programs where you attended a bunch of one day classroom sessions. If you were lucky, you were hired into one of those coveted programs right out of college. The rest of us had to learn how to lead while on the job. Once the recession hit, a lot of these programs went away. A lot's changed since then. Technology has had a huge impact on the field of learning and development.
Today, there are a host of opportunities to develop managers that don't involve a classroom. Let's look at four of them. Hands down one of the most effective ways to develop leaders is through coaching. Coaching allows the participant to flex their leadership style and receive immediate feedback from a leadership expert who knows them well. I can tell you from personal experience that being able to role-play a situation with a coach when you need the help will yield much better results than sitting in a classroom going over scenarios that in all likelihood may never happen.
Online learning is becoming more and more popular since just about everyone has a mobile phone or a computer these days. This allows people to participate from afar and in many cases on their own schedule. Here's how powerful this mode of learning can be. Let's say someone is new to leadership and for the first time has to fire an employee. He can watch one of the videos on this platform on employee terminations and enter the conversation prepared to carry out this task.
As you think about how to best develop your own employees, you may decide that live-streaming courses from your company headquarters may indeed be a great way to deliver learning to your people especially if many of your leaders work in remote locations. A third way to deliver development options that are outside the classroom involves rotation or stretch assignments. One of my Fortune 500 clients has a very successful management rotation program where selected employees are assigned to different work groups for either a six month or one year period of time.
Participants rotate for a three year period. Some of you may be thinking, I really like this idea, only we're not a Fortune 500 company. If that's the case, no problem. Programs like this are easily scaled down. For example, you could have several of your managers change jobs with one another for three months so they can increase their skill and company knowledge. A stretch assignment is a task or project that leaders perform usually within their current role but beyond their job description that challenges and broadens their current skills and capabilities.
When they are in a leadership workshop or seminar, leaders are usually isolated and focused on learning outside the context of their work day then they must work to implement what they've learned once they're back on the job. However, when they are in a job rotation or stretch assignment while using a developmental lens, they're able to apply the new skills and lessons learned immediately and continually. And finally, did you know that you can give your future and current leaders the chance to practice new leadership skills on the job without any downside for your organization whatsoever? How? By encouraging them to practice on someone else's turf as a volunteer.
Volunteer jobs in leadership positions provide a wonderful opportunity for your leaders to get their feet wet, try new approaches and practice skills they haven't yet mastered. There are endless ways that leaders can obtain leadership positions in nonprofit and community based organizations that need volunteers to serve their constituents. These leaders will bring their newly developed skills back to their teams for all to benefit. As you develop your leaders, remember to think outside the box.
Classroom training is merely one of many options available as you look to boost the development of your leaders.
- What makes a manager effective?
- What managers seek from their employers
- Coaching versus mentoring
- Determining whether to use internal or external resources
- Helping managers take control of their learning
- Creating a management training strategy
- Measuring the effectiveness of your program
- Avoiding common management development mistakes