How to Build Your Own Management Training Course With These 8 Steps
Learn more about the 8 steps to help your organization build a manager training framework that actually helps your managers enhance their skills here.
At Whereby, we believe that being a manager is not just a higher-level version of the job you had before – it’s an entirely new job and an entirely new way of working. It requires new skills, new priorities, and most importantly, strong relationships and good communication to be successful.
Building a training course is essential for your company because it shows team members how to make the shift from contributing project deliverables to inspiring and leading a team. It’s a good way to create a consistent baseline for management and support team members who are looking to grow into a role with more responsibility.
Follow these eight steps to start building your own training program that is informative, interactive, and, above all else, effective.
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Step 1: Define the End Goal
Consider and clearly document the goal of the course. How will managers feel when it’s completed? What information will they learn? What skills can they apply right away? How long will it take? Answer these questions before you start outlining your course and return to them as you gather content and build each module. That way, the course will be cohesive and you can focus on what’s essential to include to reach that goal.
Action Item: Determine the ideal outcome for people who complete the course and how long the course will take to complete.
Step 2: Outline Content and Identify Key Values
Once you know the length of the course, you can start outlining the content you want to include. You need to tie that content back to the company values. That way, training and those who complete it will be embedded in the company culture. It also ensures your team is using similar terminology to learn and reinforce ideas.
Action Item: Outline essential content to include within the timeframe, then map out how it connects to company values.
Step 3: Balance Hard and Soft Skills
Managers need a unique blend of hard skills, like assessing performance and coaching teams and individuals to excellence, and soft skills, including a sense of empathy and applying company values. Training should cover both. Effective training can help people get familiar with core concepts and get experience differentiating between good work and great work, prioritizing tasks, facilitating meetings and workshops, and establishing positive group dynamics that build confidence.
Action Item: Identify how both hard skills and soft skills are being developed through the course.
Step 4: Develop Guidelines, Not Policies
Policies that focus on ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions can lead people to think of training as a way to patrol rather than a support resource. Guidelines allow people to use their judgement to assess a wide range of situations and act based on company values and high level themes. Even if something totally new happens (for example, a global pandemic), managers still have the parameters they need to support their decision making. Guidelines also build trust in managers to overcome challenges and enhance confidence in how the company as a whole navigates change.
Action Item: Rephrase any rules into recommendations and test guidelines for flexibility and longevity by seeing if they include phrases like ‘never’ and ‘always’.
Step 5: Create Scenarios
Ultimately, the goal of every manager is to help their team succeed and provide opportunities for them to learn and try. People learn by getting feedback, so managers need to be comfortable delivering feedback and having tough one-on-one conversations. Scenarios can help managers in training build their reflex for offering thoughtful and actionable feedback and reflect on their own delivery style. Managers’ job descriptions can be an easy starting point to add scenarios in the framework. Use their key role responsibilities to invent likely challenges and ask them to respond throughout the course.
Action Item: Use job descriptions to develop realistic scenarios and enhance familiarity with team responsibilities and performance expectations.
Step 6: Practice Makes Perfect
As people shift from individual contributors to people leaders, they need a chance to put the theory and guidelines they’re learning into action. Training should provide opportunities to practice new skills in a safe, low stakes environment. Give people the chance to build their skills in context by identifying a problem, finding a solution, and modeling the best way to handle it. No one learns in a vacuum, so it can be beneficial for multiple managers to learn and practice these new skills together.
Action Item: Include opportunities to apply key lessons by scheduling 1:1 meetings to role play scenarios, talk through materials, and assignments to put theory into action.
Step 7: Incorporate Self Reflection
One of the most important parts of being a good manager is understanding your own habits, behaviours, and communication styles. Unlearning negative traits and unproductive habits and replacing them with healthy communication strategies can build a strong foundation for leadership. Cover topics like bias and decision making and give people a chance to consider how they apply to them. That way, training can help managers make the shift from contributor to team leader in their personal approach to work, not just their job title.
Action Item: Make self reflection part of every module or key lesson to connect the information back to the individual.
Step 8: Use Tools from Experts
Include frameworks and guides built by psychologists and other high performing teams. Reference proven steps that managers can apply to navigate tricky problems they may face and make it easier to work with a diverse group of people. Credible publications provide new perspectives and videos, podcasts, and infographics can reinforce key information. These sources encourage continuous learning and ensure training applies beyond the organization.
Action Item: Start gathering relevant additional resources, from sources like Harvard Business Review and New York Times, to support further learning and discovery.
A management course is a great opportunity to support managers, deepen connections with the People team, and standardize training for greater accountability and culture. With the right resources, you can build a company where everyone can grow and thrive.
Learn more about how we designed our courses to support the Whereby team here.