Written by Heidi Wadsworth
Most employers will know that training is essential to support line managers. This is particularly true when you have first recruited or promoted someone to the role, but can also apply throughout their time as a line manager, as they need to broaden or freshen up their skills and knowledge.
Productivity and quality of performance can all be positively affected by the right approach to learning and development – and a failure to train could result in a management team low on morale and less engaged, with a direct knock-on effect on the teams they manage.
It’s important for line managers to be trained in a range of people management areas, for example:
- Recruitment – how to design recruitment practices that find and secure the best people for your team
- Induction and Probation – how to get new joiners settled in and performing at their best as quickly as possible
- Performance Management – how to ensure your team are delivering excellent performance levels, and how to deal with poor performers
- Disciplinary and Grievance – how to effectively (and legally) manage issues that arise
- Attendance Management – how to support your teams’ wellbeing and deal with poor attendance
- The Equality Act – ensuring managers have fair practice in mind at all times
Here are some of our top tips to recognising your line managers’ training needs:
Expect they will need training
Too often, managers are thrown into their role with little to no training, particularly if they are first-time line managers. It’s necessary that you support them during their onboarding process and educate them on the importance of their position. E-learning courses, seminars or books will give them an understanding of becoming better leaders – assigning managers a senior mentor or coach of their own will enable them to learn the ropes of the business and feel more comfortable in the role.
Make them aware of training offered
Your line managers may not be aware of the training and development offered by the business – they may take it more seriously if they know about opportunities. You could do this through an internal newsletter, email or during one-to-one meetings. When your employees are made aware of the opportunities available to them, they’re likely to feel valued and see a future at the company. While opportunities need to be apparent, ensure manages feel comfortable asking for training – it’s a strength, not a weakness to want to develop skills in areas where they may need support.
Set a personal development plan
Every employee should be encouraged to grow on the job. Employers need to support managers in reaching their goals by setting out a path to achieve them. This may include training, mentoring or the responsibility of a challenging project. When accomplished it can improve the performance of your entire team, through better communication and productivity. When setting out a personal development plan with your line manager, make sure that objectives are clear, measurable, realistic, timed and rewarded. Examples of goals might be to improve retention rates or enhance productivity among their team.
Offer continued support
Support and guidance for new line managers shouldn’t stop once they have settled in. Be sure to follow your own processes – there should always be a clear line of communication between the employer and management team. Giving them regular feedback and appraisals will help you identify any training needs or if they are on track with their development plan.
Let line managers manage
Micro-managing could lead to a break down in trust between you and them – they’ll feel they are losing their autonomy which could result in a drop in motivation. Giving managers the responsibility and space to learn from their mistakes will help their development – they will see where they need the extra guidance.
As a business owner, you shouldn’t forget the importance of helping your line managers grow through effective management training and coaching. Teach your managers the skills and information they need to recruit, lead and develop their team as well as supporting their own career and development.