As your small business grows, develop your management staff by providing them with opportunities to learn techniques and strategies that enhance productivity. Management development methods typically include a blended approach, providing a combination of instructor-led training, self-paced alternatives and experiential learning to selected individuals. Managers need to use effective communication skills, understand your company’s priorities and strategies, engage employees, manage performance and plan workforce needs.

Using Assessments

Self-awareness tends to result in effective management. Assessments help potential management candidates or current managers develop self-awareness and direct learning efforts. Online questionnaires present questions to determine how effective a person might be as a manager. Typically, these assessments allow her to agree or disagree with a statement and give immediate insight on how she might approach complex management situations. This helps her develop management skills in the future. Overuse of assessments may result in a long list of competencies to improve without any focus.

Using Coaching

Coaching improves employee performance by providing just-in-time advice to develop management skills. Coaches provide timely tips that enable a manager to focus her attention on areas that may otherwise limit her career. For example, a manager may fail to exhibit gravitas, or confidence in her authority. Her presenting style might lack a powerful presence or commanding style. By observing the manager in action, the coach can provide recommendations the manager can implement immediately. Disadvantages include lack of input from subordinates on current behavior. This may obscure real problems.

Using Mentoring

Mentoring enables organizations to match a new manager with a more experienced manager for guidance. This helps the new manager learn policies and procedures from an expert. Mentoring takes time and effort, and if the relationship requires too much effort, it distracts both parties from completing their work successfully. Both people have to commit to giving and receiving feedback for it to work. Mentoring typically requires a long-term plan and frequent monitoring to ensure growth and development.

Using Self-Directed Learning

Employers can provide self-paced training alternatives to instructor-led learning solutions, because online courses allow access at any time. Self-paced alternatives require a manager to take responsibility for his own development, which may be difficult for those who prefer a prescriptive approach to learning. Online courses accommodate hectic schedules and tend to be a cost-effective way of developing managerial skills. Course topics typically cover techniques to improve listening skills, give feedback, manage change and inspire subordinates to complete job tasks efficiently and effectively.