Gord Sheppard - Leadership Coach, Facilitator, Organization Consultant

5 Reasons Why Your Management Training Program Is Failing – And What You Can Do About It

“I love my manager!”

How often do your employees say that?

What would happen if your employees said that about every manager that works in your organization?

Why You Should Invest In Management Training

Managers are the backbone of every organization.

Not only do they move projects forward and manage people, but they provide critical insights into what is working, or not working, which is invaluable for senior executives who want to proactively make adjustments that will improve their company overall.

One way to keep your best managers fully engaged is to provide the right level of manager training. This will boost their confidence and competency level and ensure that they have the right technical and people management skills to do their jobs well.

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Gord Sheppard is a Corporate Trainer who has helped thousands of senior leaders gain the skills and confidence they need to be successful.

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What Is A Management Training Program?

A management training program is a combination of courses, information and instruction that helps managers gain the skills and confidence they need to be successful.

The best management training programs are based on a well defined leadership pathway that shows managers the exact steps they need to take in order to achieve both their personal goals, as well as the goals of their company.

Gord Sheppard - Leadership Coach, Facilitator, Organization Consultant

5 Reasons Why Your Manager Training Is Failing - And What You Can Do About It…

Here are 5 reasons why your manager training programs aren’t working (and what you can do about it).

  1. Managers Are Too Busy
  2. Senior Executives Don’t Support Manager Training
  3. One Size Does Not Fit All
  4. Lack Of Focus On Soft Skills
  5. No Follow-Up And Support

1. Managers Are Too Busy

Managers have a lot of demands placed on them. They have to manage their team, please their bosses, do budgets, conduct annual reviews, learn new technical skills, attend company functions and a whole lot more.

So when you ask a manager to do any type of training their first answer is usually “I’m too busy.”

So, the only way to help a manager embrace new training is to make sure that they can free up some time to actually do it.

For example, if you want your manager to learn new conflict management skills, then you’ll also have to help them make a backup plan for the ½ day that it will take to do the training.

This could involve having a senior member of their staff step up to take something off of the manager’s plate.

This may also involve helping the manager learn how to delegate more of their less significant work, so they can make time to take on new skills that will make them a better manager.

2. Senior Executives Don’t Support Manager Training

Time and money.

These are the two of the most important factors that senior executives consider when they are reviewing a manager training proposal.

So, if senior executives always see training as an extra cost that will take managers away from their regular duties, then they won’t support the training.

If senior executives aren’t willing to pay to backfill their managers to allow them to make time for new training, then the training won’t be successful.

But, if senior executives understand that investing time and money to upskill their managers will pay off because their managers will ultimately become more productive because they can immediately apply their new learnings, then the senior executives will support manager training.

"Gord has an uncanny gift of being able to read individuals and situations, while bringing out their best in a very short amount of time. He helped us produce great results that are truly actionable."
Cynthia Annett - Board Chair, Special Olympics Edmonton
Cynthia Annett
Board Chair, Special Olympics Edmonton

3. One Size Does Not Fit All

I was once hired to train a group of 40 managers in a company. They had a wide variety of skills and experience. Some were only in their first year of managing, while others had been there for decades.

In this situation training was optional.

But instead of offering different levels of training that was tailored to the different levels of managers, we offered a one-size-fits all approach.

The result?

Low engagement.

So instead of having 100% attendance in each of the training sessions it was more like 30%.

Younger managers attended because they wanted to learn new skills. But older managers who had already gone through that training did not attend.

While you might have to invest more money up front to build customized training for each level of manager you have on your team, in the end it will be worthwhile because all of your managers will be improving as they learn (which is also a great way to maintain manager retention).

Gord Sheppard - Leadership Coach, Facilitator, Organization Consultant

4. Lack Of Focus On Soft Skills

Just because someone has the title of ‘Manager’ doesn’t mean that they know how to deal with people.

So while technical skills are critical, it is also important to include soft skill upgrades into your manager training programs.

For example, many managers aren’t good at managing conflict on their teams. So, to help them you’ll want to offer role-play based training that allows your managers to experience what it is like to manage conflict in a productive manner.

Another area that managers struggle with is time management and delegation. In this case it would be worthwhile to create an online training resource that teaches them how to use a tool like the Eisenhower Matrix.

5. No Follow-Up And Support

Managers are often inspired during training. They take on new skills, share stories, learn from each other and often leave with good intentions to apply what they’ve learned.

But like a forgotten new year’s resolution, the skills they learned are often not applied because there is no follow-up after the training.

One of the best ways to support your managers after a training is to send out a survey to get feedback about the training itself.

Was the training appropriate? How was the instructor? How do they plan to apply the training etc.

Another way to make training stick is to assign a leadership coach to the manager. The leadership coach can meet periodically with the manager to talk about how to apply the training, until everyone agrees that the manager has fully mastered the new skills.

Gord Sheppard - Leadership Coach, Facilitator, Organization Consultant


Managers want to know the pathway to success.

One important way that every company can do this is by offering a clear, step-by-step training program.

If you don’t spend the right level of time and money, then your manager training will fail.

But if you do make the right level of investment in your management training program, then your managers will become highly effective and engaged, which will lead to higher retention and satisfaction, along with growth and profitability for your organization.


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