Workshop: Develop yourself as a manager

From MBAs to hands-on experience, take responsibility for improving your skills.

There are three ways to approach your development as a manager: do too much, don't do enough or do the right thing at the right time.

The 'do too much' manager will try any development opportunity, just in case. This is expensive for the employer and for the team, which has to endure absences and a manager who relies more on theories and advice than actual experience.

The 'do too little' manager somehow never finds enough time to value and invest in their own development. They can be unconfident about a lot of things or develop habits that the team would like to see improved or changed. Somehow they never take the opportunity to hold the mirror up and examine their own practice.

Doing the right thing at the right time requires a healthy dose of self-reflection, the confidence to take feedback and a sense of purposeful development in a role that requires continuous adaptation.

It is not possible to arrive as the all-singing, all-dancing manager. All of us need a mix of the right experience and skills, the opportunity to develop in a way that fits our short and long-term needs, and self-assurance.When we start out on our management path, we need different development opportunities to those we might need later on in the journey.

An opportunity to do an MBA or a long-term course in management should be considered carefully. It does not suit everyone's learning style. A pick-and-mix learning portfolio over time can be just as effective. Electronic learning has become more popular, and some day-long or short residential training courses still have value. Bear in mind, though, the workforce competencies that are currently being looked for in the sector and your longer-term goals.

Think also of opportunities for experience. For me, the great gift of consultancy has been the opportunity to work alongside top, middle and first-time managers, with different styles and approaches. My own management skills have been sharpened and refined as a result.

- willweb@easynet.co.uk.

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