Management Matters

Management Matters

Good Manager, Bad Manager: Managers Are Made Not Born

Grovo Unveils New Research on the State of Manager Development

Written by Joris Luijke

Einstein said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

If that’s true, then the way many companies approach management training just may qualify as insane. As they’ve done for decades, companies continue to pour money—$15 billion annually—into leadership development programs. But they still don’t have the managers they need. According to Deloitte, nine out of ten companies say finding strong leaders is an urgent challenge. The investment is there. The returns are not.

Shining new insight on an old problem

Today Grovo unveiled a brand new research study and companion whitepaper, Good Manager, Bad Manager, to help companies better understand where management training goes wrong, and why getting it right is so important to the bottom line. After all, when Gallup says more people would prefer a new boss than a pay raise, you know something has to change.

We partnered with Wakefield Research, an independent consultancy, surveying 500 middle managers at companies with 500 employees or more. The process unearthed a trove of insights we are so excited to share with the L&D community.

Where management training goes wrong

Turns out, companies aren’t giving managers enough of the training they need, when they need it. Middle managers believe more than two out of five of their company’s managers were unprepared when they took the role. What’s more, 87% say they themselves wished they’d received more training when they first became a manager.

Furthermore, the training they do receive doesn’t stick: 80% of managers who change their behavior after training revert to their old ways in 6 months or less.

In addition to the issues of timing and stickiness, managers voiced the overwhelming need for training on a broader set of topics. Ninety-eight percent of our respondents felt managers at their company need more training on business-critical issues such as professional development, time management, and employee turnover.

The business impact of better managers

As we looked at the data from our study, a general rule of thumb surfaced with regard to training: if it’s better for managers, it’s better for business. In fact, 98% of the managers we surveyed believe key aspects of their company would improve if managers were training to be effective more quickly, including employee retention and office morale.

As any 21st century CEO will tell you, improving company culture and employee happiness are particularly pressing business challenges in a talent-centric economy. Better management training is critical to solving them.

On improving the training content itself

Managers weren’t shy about telling us how their training content could be better. At the top of the list was a resounding cry for more compelling training: 98% of managers believe they’d be more likely to use the skills we’re training them on if the content were more engaging.

Beyond that, managers want training in bite-sized doses. Seventy-four percent say the large volume of information in most management trainings makes it hard to remember and apply. It only makes sense in our distracted age: our content needs to be more competitive with the rest of today’s digital media landscape.

Moving management training forward

Great managers are the backbone of any great company, but they don’t become great own their own—they need great training to get there. For a clear view of the obstacles to look out for as you develop managers at your own organization, along with a roadmap for creating management development program that works, download our study today. Let’s make better managers together.

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