top of page

Management Development

Do you have inexperienced or accidental managers leading teams within your business?

Do you know what it takes to help your managers succeed?

Do you need help in creating a Management Development Programme?

How to identify Management Development needs within your business

When we help our clients with a Management Development programme, we first spend time with the managers to understand what their development needs are. This can be formal or informal, every business we work with is different.

We may be able to review each manager’s last performance review and create a learning needs analysis, but mostly we find that UK SMEs haven’t even had a chance to implement a robust Performance Management system yet. We’ll often start with the informal chats around the business. We take a holistic approach, asking for 360 Degree feedback from the Line Manager’s team members and their own manager to see what skills they feel they are lacking.

At a larger organisational level, this may differ slightly because you are looking to make bigger generalisations like ‘Our Company’s managers are not equipped to deal with Employment Law issues’ so a few training days regarding Employment Law may be exactly what all the managers need at the same time.

Speaking with Senior Management and involving them with the planning process in order to respond to the immediate training needs they are facing, will ensure that the programme is being designed correctly and for the right purpose.


It is about going on a fact finding mission. We talk to all levels of people in the organisation to see what is important to them, what skills do they see as a priority learning need in their department. After this, we match these requests to the business owner’s requests. Managing Directors want to see return on investment. If we are going to spend time and money developing programmes at the requests of managers, what will be the benefits to the business?. This is often referred to in monetary terms, which can be hard to measure, like ‘increased profit’.

Having a basic framework of Management Competencies is essential, as each manager will need to score themselves and be scored by their own manager as to their level of expertise in each competency. Examples of core management competencies are:

  1. Communication

  2. Delegation

  3.  Organisation & Prioritising

  4. Supervising others

  5. Performance Management

  6. Recruitment & Interviewing

  7. Conflict resolution

  8. Understanding Interpersonal relationships & behaviour

  9. Team building

  10. Managing Change

  11. Coaching


How do we decide on a suitable Management Development Programme?

When designing a programme, which is going to be beneficial to all, it must support many styles of learning and training, and recognise the distinct difference between the two.

A ‘blended’ learning approach is the most common form of development programmes currently in use. It uses a combination of new and more traditional methods such as: E-learning, informal learning such as team-based activities, action learning, performance reviewing, mentoring programmes, self-development methods, instructional learning such as formal training programmes etc.

The importance of a well-balanced management development programme is that no matter what the participant’s preferred learning style is, they will be immersed in a ‘full-cycle’ programme so that if they find one area of the programme particularly challenging, they will find many other areas easy.

There is no one right answer, and the purpose of My HR Business Partner is to develop a strategy to suit all needs.

Learn the most important lessons about transitioning from team member to team manager

Engaging advice on 6 key areas of management: Managing People, Leadership,

Achieving High Performance, Effective Communication, Presenting

& Negotiating

Essential insights from Michael Armstrong on how to be an effective manager


How do we design a relevant, effective and efficient Management Development Programme?

Throughout the design of a Management Development programme we keep in mind organisation’s values and goals.

Example: At present, the managers are only responsible for the basic induction and on the job training of their staff and not their future development. No consideration is made to identify talent, and support them in their development.

In order to change this, and make managers responsible for talent development, they will need to be given the skills to identify, development, motivate and lead the talented individuals under their control. This could lead to a MD programme for Leadership Skills, and maybe a Talent Management Workshop Scheme within the organisation. This is turn will lead to Career Planning, Succession Planning and development for both the existing Managers and the Managers to be. The benefit to the business will be the continual supply of highly trained and motivated managers at all levels, and the people resource necessary to operate the business.

Any process or programme that is developed must be relevant to the work of the intended participants or it will be seen as a ‘chore’ or an unnecessary waste of time. Participants should be shown the relevance of the scheme to both their current role and any future role.


To be effective, the programme must take into account the learning styles and existing skills of the intended participants to ensure ‘full cycle’ learning opportunities.

A junior Management Development Programme may deal with the more day to day transactional activities of a manager such as:

  • Succeeding as a new manager

  • Fair Recruitment & Selection processes

  • Training & Inducting your Team

  • Managing your Time

  • Essential Team Building Techniques

  • Effective Communication Skills

  • Information Skills

  • Conflict Resolution

  • Stress Management

  • Problem Solving

  • Decision Making

  • Project Planning

  • Holding Team Meetings

  • Presentations

A more senior Management Development Programme will consist of for complex skills such as:

  • Leadership Skills

  • Strategy

  • Total Quality Management

  • Operational Excellence

  • Change Management

  • Chairing executive meetings

  • Complex problem solving

How will you know if the Management Development Programme is working?

The evaluating of a Management Development activity is essential in benchmarking its effectiveness. The outcomes of the evaluation can be used to refine activities to be more relevant, to solve performance problems and improve planned learning to be more effective in meeting training needs.

Questions we ask when designing an evaluation method are:

  • Who wants to know?

  • Who is doing the evaluating?

  • What is the real focus of interest?

  • When should evaluation be carried out?

  • Why is evaluation necessary

  • How will evaluation be conducted?

  • Did we Increase the participants’ skills or knowledge?

  • Did we encourage cultural change?

  • Have we improved the perceptions of employees?

Regarding the financial aspect, stakeholders will wish to see a return on investment. If a Management Development activity is costing X amount, then what will be the financial benefits to the organisation? This can be measured in literal terms, such as increased productivity and therefore profit. Or in terms of people resourcing by seeing that the Management Development activity has done such things as:

  • Increase the number of high potential people within the organisation

  • Increased the number of successful promotions, and internal vacancy filling

  • Supported company initiatives with well trained people

  • Increased employee retention

  • Increased the number of people with high levels of core competencies


The Kirkpatrick model for evaluating training is very simple:


Level 1: Reaction of student - what they thought and felt about the training / general satisfaction by learners of their training experience

Level 2: Learning - the resulting increase in knowledge or capability / the learning achieved, measurable changes in capability

Level 3: Behaviour - extent of behaviour and capability improvement and implementation/application, evidence of behaviour change

Level 4: Results - the effects on the business or environment resulting from the trainee's performance / business impact


Whichever model an evaluation method is based on, it should be simple, clear and easily interpreted, and answer to key objectives. Overall, it should ensure that any activity is supporting people in the correct way, and helping the overall organisational strategy to achieve the goals.


How do we meet Management Development needs in relation to specific organisational improvement strategies?

When an organisation sets out specific organisational improvement strategies, it needs not only the physical tools e.g. finance, materials, commercial property, but also the human resource capable of managing the changes.


Managers must be equipped with the skills to lead their staff forward and succeed in new initiatives. Process capability is a term used to describe the organisation in terms of whether it has the knowledge, skills, resources etc to manage a particular process.


It is therefore very important for us to assess management capabilities in the light of the pending changes and where there are deficiencies in capability, to supply solutions. Some of these solutions will be in the form of management development tools or ‘interventions’ designed specifically for the development of the skills required to implement organisational improvement strategies.


For example, significant changes in a manager’s job role and responsibilities may need them to have a Job Orientation, and a new Induction Programme. They may require specific skills for their new role, not required before, and be sent to off-the-job workshops at a Development Centre. Another tool may be to have them shadow someone else who is already performing the role, and maybe use them as a future mentor.


Some new competences may require the manager to obtain accredited learning, and study for a qualification as part of a self-learning process.


The organisation may have introduced new technology as part of its improvement strategy, and managers may need to attend training on the use of the new technology.


All of these interventions are ways to address management development needs related to specific organisational improvement strategies.


Building mutuality of interest into recruitment, selection and continuous development of managers

The selection process must be designed in order to select not only the people with the best skills for the job, but people who will fit into the organisational design. When embarking on management recruitment, we will help our clients look both internally and externally for applicants.


Those found internally, will be at the advantage of being aware of the organisational design, and may already be a product of a Management Development programme. They should hopefully find integration within their new role easy and continue on a programme of self-development.


When looking externally, the recruitment and selection process should be tailored to attract the right type of applicants, ones not only with the desired core competencies, but those that are looking at the career development path with the same goals and objectives as that of the organisation.


The process of analysing the job role, creating the person specification, matching applicants with competencies, interviewing, testing and assessing via assessment centres hopes to identify the applicant that will not only being able to perform the job well, but also be able to fit in with the organisational design. Businesses are looking for people to fit directly into their programmes, and have longevity within the organisation.


During the recruitment process, we will ‘sell’ the benefits of the organisation to the applicants. We will also promise induction programmes, career development programmes, reward programmes and so on. The psychological contract is formed at this point between the applicant and the organisation through our recruiters. The psychological contract is about managing expectations for both parties, providing Inductions, Training, Integration and Management Development along with reward.


The psychological contract is: ‘An individual’s belief regarding the unwritten agreement that he or she has with the employer about what he or she will contribute to the employer, and what he or she can expect in return’ (Roberts)


Building integration into the organisation is especially important. Those that have been chosen have been so because of their compatibility for the role. The Job Descriptions and Managerial Duties are designed to clearly explain the requirements of the role and the expectations of the organisation. The HR function is responsible for making sure the line managers of a new recruit are made fully aware of their background, skills, training requirements etc. More formal plans may be made in the beginning such as Induction Plans, then later Training Plans are formulated from the Appraisal Process.


The new recruit should be fully immersed in the Organisational beliefs of self-development and continual development. Future career planning should be made at intervals consistent with that which was promised in the recruitment process.


bottom of page