A guide to Leadership training for Managers

Dale Carnegie once said that “if you increase your success by even a mere 10 per cent, you have become 10 per cent more effective as a leader than you were before”. Managers can use this quote to help them become better leaders by remembering to focus on continuing to improve themselves, as well as finding ways to help their subordinates.
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Leadership training for managers should be a key concern for any business looking to shape how employees function and organise better. In this topic, we’ll cover the benefits of leadership training and the importance of understanding a variety of areas, including emotional intelligence and personality types. 
What are the leadership skills required for managers?
Whether it’s leading groups of five to ten or over one hundred people, leadership requires a certain skill set. Leaders are part problem solvers and part visionary, but more specifically they possess the following: 
 
1. Integrity  
People pay more attention to the leader's actions than the visions and values which they produce on behalf of a company. Writing down business policies are only valuable if they are adhered to by the leading figures in a company. 
 
Dropbox CEO, Drew Houston explained to inc.com how he showed up late to a meeting he had scheduled on employee lateness. The message is simple: practice what you preach or don’t expect people to respect and follow you. In this case, Drew was questioned by his subordinates and rightly agreed that he was in the wrong. 
 
2. Communication and listening
 
Mastering communication is certainly not the easiest topic for any manager and quite often someone can be an expert in one form of communication, but very poor at another. These types of communication we are referring to are face to face, phone, email and social media. 
 
A good leader needs to be able to communicate organisational goals and tasks succinctly and listen well to others. The best leaders exercise a steady flow of communication through regular conversations and by providing an open door policy. 
 
 
3. Team building skills
 
A good motivator doesn’t prejudice based on gender, ethnicity and other factors, but builds a team from the best available people. 
 
To develop team building skills, communication is key. Everyone must be on board and working towards a common goal decided by the manager. To be an effective leader, the manager must then foster relationships with customers, suppliers, service providers and business contacts. 
 
4. Decision making and flexibility
 
Being a manager involves making tough decisions and acting quickly. This can sometimes mean parking your emotions and acting in the best interest of the business. But, in other circumstances, it involves dropping the importance of the business for an employee which needs your empathy. 
 
A good leader will adapt their management style depending on the individual they are working with. They will also need to be able to manage a remote workforce and the rapidly changing working environment. 
 
5. Delegation
 
A poor delegator takes on too much and struggles to get anything done. Good delegators accept feedback, assess strengths and weaknesses, define expectations, prioritise tasks and evaluate employee performance. 
 
Effective delegators know that assigning tasks to employees is important and that it shouldn’t be seen as a weakness. 
Emotional Intelligence in leadership
If you picture someone you consider to be a good leader, it is likely they are not a person that shouts at employees and lets their bad temper get out of control. 
 
It’s more likely that they listen to their team, are easy to talk to and make careful decisions. People with high emotional intelligence know what feelings and emotions mean and how they can affect other people. 
 
According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to it:
 
1. Self Awareness 
2. Self-regulation
3. Social Skills
4. Empathy
5. Motivation
 
Emotional intelligence means fostering safe environments, where people feel comfortable voicing their opinions and about taking calculated risks. 
 
Large companies are sometimes considered to lack emotional intelligence. But, it’s not always the case, as in the example of Jeff Bezos at Amazon, who responded to criticism of the working conditions at Amazon by stating that people could email him directly or escalate with HR any practices they did not believe to be fair working practices. 
 
In this case, Bezos put himself and Amazon in a good light with empathy and good communication.  
 
Ursula Banks also didn’t have it easy. Growing up as a black lady from the lower east side of New York, she was part of the first woman to woman CEO leadership transfer in Fortune 500 history. 
 
One of the hardest lessons she learnt as a CEO was in putting on a good poker face. As someone who was emotional, she learnt how damaging it could be to showcase emotions. She learnt to channel her negative emotions and emerged as a self-confident leader. 
 
What are the benefits of leadership training for managers?
When managers develop their leadership skills they bring further benefits to their work and the businesses they are associated with. Below, we’ll investigate some of the benefits of leadership training for managers:
 
● Increase in productivity: Through emotional intelligence, a manager can read people’s emotions and control their own to improve work productivity. 
● Employee retention: It’s well known that the majority of people leave a job because of their boss, not because of the work. By investing in leadership training, businesses can reduce recruitment expenses 
● Nurture future leaders: Developing leaders is a strategic process. Don’t fall into the trap of identifying the most forward and dominant personalities as leaders, instead time has to be invested in assessing personality types and potential leadership qualities. 
● Increase employee engagement: Most workers like to know how they are progressing in their roles and studies have shown that successful leaders give employees feedback. In fact, 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week compared to only 18% of those with low engagement. Leadership training can be exercised to give feedback to employees and motivate them. 
● Implementing effective leadership styles: Investing in effective leadership training can help managers to learn which methods their team members respond best to. 
Leadership training ideas
 
How do we put this all into practice? Well, one of the best ways to test how effective your employees are as leaders is to run workshops or hire someone specialised to offer support. Jackie Casey Consulting can help you with the latter, by providing expert advice at their workshops.
 
1. Develop a learning culture 
The only way to discover the effective leaders in your organisation is by learning about their work and personalities. Encouraging opinions and feedback can help to speed up this process and can be achieved through one-to-one sessions or by producing surveys for employees to complete.
 
But what happens if employees are not engaged? Rewards can be given to individuals that show a willingness to learn. This will not only help to encourage the engaged employee, but can motivate others to get involved. 
 
Also, reassure employees to give their opinions, with there being no right or wrong answer. Encourage creative ideas without the concern of rejection or failure. 
 
2. Coaching, mentoring and self-directed learning
These are potentially the most important areas to focus on in harnessing leadership training for managers. Each is time intensive, but most businesses have the facilities to offer this support, with possibly the exception of very small companies. 
 
Business owners can support leadership training with self-directed learning. Examples include videos, online courses, portals and games, which will benefit individuals who are curious, passionate and keen to take responsibility. This type of learning is informal and flexible, giving ownership to the employee to learn in their own time, either at work or at home. 
 
Mentoring and coaching is a personal approach, which gives the individual learning a greater opportunity to ask questions and tailor topics towards their requirements. Successful leaders often provide extensive one-on-one tutoring, which research suggests leads to a higher chance of skills being mastered. 
 
3. Develop and implement specialised training
Firstly, focus on identifying leadership areas which need improvement and skill sets that are missing. This will give you a topic to focus on for your group discussions and exercises. 
 
Consider interactive ways to engage with employees, like developing case studies with real-life examples from organisations. Games and other methods of learning will also help to increase the skills knowledge. 
 
Contact Jackie Casey Consulting to get personalised advice on leadership training for your company. 
 
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