Managers are often expected to have some role in the training and development of their employees. After all, it’s the manager who oversees the work of his or her staff members. In addition, as the person responsible for the team’s performance, managers have a strong incentive to mold the performance of the individuals who compose that team. Unfortunately, managers aren’t necessarily the best trainers. Oftentimes, they are put in a management role because of their technical aptitude, charisma, or ability to lead. If companies want their managers to also be able to train staff effectively, they need to make sure their managers have the requisite skills. Let’s look at the critical skills necessary to position managers as effective trainers.
This may sound obvious, but communication is a more complex skill than many people appreciate. Effective communication is the ability to convey information—and the significance of that information—from one person or group to another. It’s more than just telling someone that “we always send a thank-you to sales prospects after we’ve given them a demo.” It means conveying the significance of that activity and explaining how and why it fits in with the company’s broader mission.
Identifying Learning Styles
Not everyone learns the same way. There are numerous learning styles, with some people learning more effectively by listening, some by doing, some by individual study, etc. To be effective at training staff members, a manager needs to understand these different styles and to adapt messages if some team members don’t seem to be picking up on the message the first time around.
Passion might not necessarily sound like a skill, but it is. Passion, in the sense we’re using it, doesn’t necessarily mean genuine passion in every aspect of every bit of information being presented. It means the ability to convey a sense of passion to those being trained. A manager who comes across as apathetic or who is simply going through the motions when training staff isn’t going to encourage a high level of retention and commitment from his or her employees. Not all managers are natural teachers and trainers, and they don’t need to be experts. But they should, at least, be somewhat well-versed in the three key skills mentioned above that can help them be more effective at assisting in the training and development of their staff.