Management and training can encompass two very different skill sets, depending on how the terms are defined. In the literal sense of the words, a manager is directing the activities of his or her group, while a trainer is providing the individuals who make up the group with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
In a military context, the servicemembers who guide new recruits through basic training aren’t typically the same people who command their units once that training has been completed. Those commanders expect their subordinates to show up trained to do as commanded.
But in the business world, managers often find that they need to assist or even take the lead in training their employees, even if they may not feel best-positioned to do so. Fortunately, there are some strategies employers can use to help managers become more effective trainers.
Communicate the Business Need
Many managers might not see it as their job to train employees. Aren’t there professional trainers for that? According to some experts, employers should let managers know why they, as the employees’ managers, are in the best position to have an impact and how they themselves—and their groups—will benefit by directing the training.
Give Them Time to Train
Managers wear a lot of hats, and some might just not have the bandwidth to spend time training employees. And they may get pulled away even when they do find a few minutes to work with an employee.
Try to lighten your managers’ loads enough to let them block off enough quality time to focus on the training responsibilities of their jobs.
Develop Metrics of Success
Metrics help chart the progress of managers’ training efforts so they know whether they are doing well or need to make some changes to their approaches. And, by using standardized metrics, you can see which managers are doing better than others and which might need some additional support.
Not all great managers are necessarily great trainers. But it’s such an important part of the job that organizations should spend some time and effort to instill some basic training skills into all of their managers.