5 Reasons to Train Your Managers

According to Bersin’s 2012 Leadership Development Factbook, a combination of online surveys and qualitative interviews with over 379 companies, leadership development investments for 2013 are projected to increase by 14%. While this remains to be seen, Bersin’s long-standing research around the best practices that deliver the strongest return on investment focuses on the companies with the most mature leadership development programs (Level 4). These companies produce the strongest results despite spending 30-60% more per participant than the least mature companies (level 1) in the study. Bersin’s powerful research uncovers that the Level 4 companies with the most strategic view of developing leaders reap the following rewards when compared to their least mature counterparts:

  • 20 times better overall employee retention
  • 12 times more effective at accelerating business growth
  • 8 times better at implementing a performance based culture
  • 8 times better at creating a strong bench
  • 8 times better at leadership-driven business results
  • 6 times better at engaging and retaining leaders

So what is one of the major factors that separate Level 4 companies from Level 1? They apply a consistent targeted set of solutions, aligned with the business strategy and supported by strong executive leaders and offered for all levels of leaders in the company—first time, midlevel, senior-level and high potential.

Making the case for training managers

We recently began working with a company in high growth mode to improve the performance of their managers. To the company’s credit, they took to heart the disappointing results of a recent employee survey and committed to improving outcomes by developing two things at once:

  • 360 feedback program with coaching for the top levels of senior leadership
  • A manager training program for their first line manager’s

5 Clear Reasons to Develop Your Managers

  1. Talent at this level is most often grown from within—the skills of an individual contributor are different from the skills needed to manage people. Individual success is rarely a pre-determiner of future leadership success. For first time managers, training is crucial to long term success because they lack the skills, experience and knowledge of what to do to make the transition to manager. 
  2. Managers touch more people than any other level in the company— they are closest to the employee and set the tone for the morale in the company. More people leave a manager than they leave a company, so investment in giving managers the necessary skills to develop others is paramount. 
  3. Managers are very hungry for programs that offer them a chance to develop. Often times, the level of appreciation for training is at its highest for this first time leader. 
  4. Investment now, pays dividends later! Managers who are taught strong skills early, develop and become invaluable later in their career. Establishing good habits early goes a long way to future success.
  5. A little money goes a long way. Bersin’s research shows us that the average amount spent on a manager in a Level 4 company is $1734 compared to a high potential with an average of $7911

We recently returned to a long standing client to deliver a training program and were approached by a manager we had trained a few years ago. Right before we were to deliver the program she had taken part in she said, “Can I tell you something? This training changed my life for the better. You see, I used to manage everyone the same, but since I went through the training with your company, I realized I needed to do things differently—adapt my style to the people on my team. So not only am I grateful, but so are my direct reports.” Inspiring words, from a manger still using the training tools from 2 years ago, to lead and manage her team.

Does your company have a comprehensive leadership development strategy and does it include your managers?