When we are a Manager, what are our role, and our relationship to the training of our employees? And in fact, what is our degree of responsibility when it comes to supporting them in their development and in the acquisition of new skills?
It is still to be seen today and from experience that generally few Managers ask themselves these types of questions and that the report “manager” and “training” remains particular, not to say vague and disparate. This for various reasons, which probably find their sources, both:
- In stereotypes of training deeply rooted in primary school, which perpetuate the belief that in order to be trained, this necessarily involves one-to-one training sessions with a trainer and a lot of theoretical content,
- the fact that vocational training is particularly the subject of processes, frameworks, catalog approaches, which can give the impression that it is enough to let oneself be “carried by the system”, and to “dig into shelf-ready loan solutions “,
- In the fact that managers often think of referring to the “issue of learning skills” only because there are boxes for that in the annual interview form, etc.
Skills that we build
And indeed, it is true that in absolute terms, it seems so simple to hire people and say, “tomorrow will be like today”, so why worry about supporting their skills over time and to be attentive to their training? In any case, if ever a difficulty should arise, or if a skill should be developed urgently, this should not be particularly problematic, and there should be for that, a training “catalog” to propose when the time comes…
Since then, how many training managers have not already been confronted with requests such as:
- “My colleague does not write his reports according to my expectations … Can we send him in training: Know how to write a report?”
- “My collaborator is very good on this type of activity of substance and reflection, on the other hand for reasons of organization, I also expect from him for some months that it deals with the more basic tasks, and on this register it do not respond quickly enough to his emails and telephone requests on a daily basis … Can we send him to the “Time Management” training? … and it should be only half a day or 1 day big max »
- “I have a collaborator who has developed a great Excel file to track our activity, I want all the other members of the team to use it, but for the moment they do not do it regularly, and she is obliged to make the seizures each week for them. They told me they did not use the file because they need Excel training, can we organize this in 2 weeks? “
Or, conversely, in the case of setting up training, how many training managers have not already been confronted with Managers who feel that they cannot “release” their employees to train?
As a Manager, whatever approaches or beliefs we have developed with regard to training, the fact remains that, positively or negatively, our role in support and development skills of our employees is crucial.
So, how to make Training its best ally when you are a Manager?
Like a Sales Team Manager, who only agrees to “send” his sales representatives in training, if he knows that this training will have a direct positive impact on their capacity? To generate more revenue, a first reflex to systematically develop, is to aim to determine beforehand and clearly with the various stakeholders, the expected results of the training, the expected positive impacts and what will have to be done. Work at the end. This approach allows:
- To pragmatically qualify any training request from its employees, and to determine the concrete aims. It is therefore no longer a question of “negotiating” the interest or not of the training requested, but of determining its relevance with regard to the formalization of actions to be put in place at the end, which will contribute to the development individual or collective performance,
- And to concretely lay the foundations for support and follow-up of its employee after the training action, based on shared measurement criteria, to evaluate more easily, the return on investment the actual training carried out, in particular with regard to its cost and the time of absence of its collaborator.
The fact of exchanging and defining “what will have to change”, “what should be put in place in terms of actions and at what rate”, before any validation and training action, also makes it possible to question on a major point, which is to know, if “identified training” is really “the right solution”. In any case, when “we ask ourselves” and take a few minutes to think about it, as a human being we learn concretely in a continuous way:
- By ourselves by confronting new domains and fields of action, experimenting, remaking, etc.
- By observing other people and interacting with them,
Many more than just training days, the purpose of which is usually to focus on theory, Therefore, as Manager, depending on the situation, rather than just accepting and coping with an absence for training, whose return on investment is unclear, is not this a great opportunity, that the one to consider:
Adopt a position of “Trainer”, “Facilitator”, and “Manager Coach” and play for example the delegation card, to support the acquisition and development of skills of its employees.
And to develop the conditions to favor the sharing of experiences and knowledge between the members of his team
Lastly, there is a final approach to training, which as a Manager can prove to be particularly beneficial and positive, and which consists in supporting its employees from the perspective of building on their strengths, rather than aiming systematically to weaknesses , and to expect that they “will be treated” via training actions. Admittedly, this propensity to focus on what is wrong, and to invest more energy in these aspects, than to carry the strong points, is strongly culturally rooted in France. Nevertheless, if we take inspiration from the current practices of top sports coaches, they:
- Give priority to their coaches to rely on their strengths, to more easily compensate for their weaknesses while remaining confident,
- Rather than working mainly and for a long time on their weak points, with all the consequences that they induce in terms of loss of confidence, motivation, energy, etc.
So, as a Manager, why not start thinking about training from a new angle, the angle of the requirements, its efficiency, its concrete utility and its return on investment. The angle of its form, which can go through delegation, facilitation, setting up conditions for daily learning, etc. The angle of forming, from the existing strengths, while aiming to develop them even more, in order to address and compensate more efficiently the weak points that must be, without jeopardizing the “motivations” and “confidence” dimensions.
So many perspectives of the training, which can constitute valuable assets, and tracks of managerial actions with added value, with regard to the crucial role that one plays as Manager in the accompaniment and the development of its collaborators.