Do as I say not as I do

We know all the great leaders lead by example; inspiring their staff and exhibiting great management skills but sadly that isn’t always the case in every SME business. So what happens when senior managers expect their managers to show strong leadership skills but don’t themselves? What are the consequences when someone like me is brought in to deliver some leadership & management training yet the senior managers don’t participate because they think they have all the skills already themselves?

This happens to me occasionally where the leaders are endorsing and/or organizing the training; believe they have excellent leadership skills themselves so don’t take part. Yet the reality often is, that they exhibit the worst leadership skills because they are running around doing 1001 tasks so ‘don’t have time’ to manage. And the managers quickly identify this as an issue – “it’s great that we are learning these skills and techniques but our managers really need to be here too.”

Let’s explore the consequence of this:

Lack of a consistent management approach

Managers will gain some new skills, tools, techniques and language that they can implement with their teams. Yet if their managers haven’t attended the same training then we already have an issue of differing management approach in the same organization. The most likely outcome will be confusion from team members and the good work the training did, quickly dissipating away.

Cynical lower manager

This in turn will create cynical managers because they already know that their managers aren’t great so wonder why they are not attending the training.  Senior managers derail the good efforts of the managers by showing the hypocrisy of asking them to attend management training whilst not attending themselves!

Lack of delegation

Strong management is a huge part of creating a successful motivated and cohesive team. Weak managers don’t delegate because they believe “I don’t have time” or “it’s quicker/easier to do it myself”. Those senior managers who didn’t attend the training and are running around doing 1001 things will be the ones who don’t take the time to successfully delegate thus increasing their own workload and creating demotivated teams. A lot of my time is spent training and coaching managers around the art of good delegation. Not something that comes naturally to everyone.

So if you are in charge of management training or are one of those senior managers who doesn’t believe leadership & management training is for them. Think again!

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