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Best of CoBiz: Maximizing managers

Derek Murphy //July 29, 2013//

Best of CoBiz: Maximizing managers

Derek Murphy //July 29, 2013//

I love data. I’m naturally drawn to articles that feature statistics, which is probably why I tend to quote them often.

With that in mind, I found this encouraging stat the other day: A recent poll of about 100 corporate HR practitioners and leaders reveals that nearly all (98 percent) anticipate maintaining current levels or modestly increasing spending on management training in 2011, despite the uncertain economy. The poll was taken by the Southern Methodist University Cox Executive Education, based in Dallas.

We’re still battling a tough economy, so any stat that discusses an increase in corporate spending is good news. For a while there were reports about decreased investments in managerial training, and whereas spending cuts in training might solve near-term budget issues, they come at the expense of long-term competitiveness. After all, most employees want growth opportunities, and if they aren’t receiving them from their current employer it’s only a matter of time before they begin looking elsewhere.

Let’s look to Forbes Magazine for a minute. I’m sure you’ve seen their annual best companies to work for list. More often than not, one reason those companies make the list is due to the company’s dedication to developing its employees.

Makes sense, right? Training and development initiatives not only make employees feel more connected to the business and create new challenges to help boost creativity and morale, but they help solve critical business problems like strategic succession planning.

And we all intuitively understand how important training is for new managers, who need the appropriate tools to help soften the move from peer to manager, as well as a way to understand their new role.

The truth is, without proper development and training, new managers oftentimes fail, or at least fall way short of their potential. Why? One reason is the skill sets necessary to complete the work are entirely different than those required to supervise those efforts.

Yet, regardless of this fact, it’s quite common to see workers promoted on the basis of past accomplishments, rather than managerial potential. They are promoted because of their technical expertise. As a result, many new managers lack the practical knowledge of what management entails, and struggle unnecessarily in their new role.

This is where training proves invaluable. Whether it’s several months of formal training, a two-day management 101 boot camp, or as simple as a peer mentoring program, the most important thing is to realize how even a modest investment in employee development can pay huge dividends.

In short, companies that invest wisely in their employees are typically a step ahead of the competition in preparing for the future. And I’m confident I can find some data to prove the point.