Developing People asked:
The potential advantages of line manager involvement in learning and development has long been recognised.
The line manager is in a unique position to reinforce learning from management training or other forms of development, by integrating them into an employees working life and promoting a positive approach to these types of activities.
So how should a line manager be involved in their staffâ€™s management training and development?
1. The first area of involvement is for the line manager to set clear expectations with their staff, both in terms of what they need to deliver (job responsibilities, targets etc) and how they are expected to deliver these things (approach, behaviour at work, etc).
2. The next area of involvement is conducting performance appraisals and agreeing personal development plans, i.e. measuring the â€œgapâ€ between what an individual delivers (and how they do it) and what is needed.
3. In agreeing personal development plans line managers should not just ask â€œWhat are this persons weaknesses?â€ but should also ask â€œWhere will learning and development add the greatest value to their performance?â€
4. Line managers should understand the breadth of learning and development interventions that are available to them. For example, too many turn to the ubiquitous â€œManagement Training Courseâ€, or â€œPresentation Skills Courseâ€, when in reality there are hundreds of development actions that an individual can take from reading a book to learning to play chess.
5. Line managers should also take on more of a coaching role with their staff. Significant relationships exist between the effective provision of coaching and guidance by the line manager and levels of employee satisfaction, commitment and motivation.
6. Finally, to be truly effective line managers need to understand their role as a â€œsponsorâ€ of an individualâ€™s or teamâ€™s learning and development. For example, it sends completely the wrong message to someone if a manager asks them to attend a management training course but then prevents them from attending some or all of it.
As a sponsor, the line manager should:
Â· Invest time, energy and enthusiasm in their employees development.
Â· Demonstrate public commitment to management training and development by â€œwalking the talkâ€.
Â· Sanction any hindrance or blocking behaviour from employees reference their learning and development.
Â· Be clear with their teams the importance of management training and development in raising standards and performance.
Â· Recognise successes.
Too often education and development is the province of HR or the training department but by becoming more involved in their managers training and development, line management will have a greater impact on their teams performance and capability, which will ultimately impact the performance of their organisation.
1. Gibb S (2003) Line Manager Involvement in Learning and Development: small beer or big deal? Employee Relations, Vol 25, No.3, pp 281-293.
2. Latest Trends in Learning Development and Training. CIPD Survey 2007