Building management capabilities in a high-growth context
The pandemic has generated many challenges for organisations, albeit varied in nature from one business to the next. Some saw their operations slow down, some had to modify their product offering. For others, the Covid-19 confinement created opportunities for growth and, with it, expanding teams.
But, as we all know, growth often comes with some pain points, as one of our clients in the pet industry discovered. The increase in pet ownership led to rapid growth, and the organisation found that their managerial teams were buried under tons of admin and overwhelmed with additional responsibilities.
Each manager was now in charge of a bigger team and had little time left for each of their team members. The lines between the roles of leaders and managers were never clearly defined, and whilst constant overlap in roles and responsibilities could be managed before, it now needed to be addressed.
The challenge of overburdened managers faced with expanding teams
It’s a well-known fact that poor management is the number one reason behind employees leaving their roles. Therefore, our client needed to be proactive and invest in the development of its leadership and management community.
The organisation wanted to ensure that each one of its managers and leaders had the right tools to attract, keep, and grow great people. That’s where Let’s Talk Talent (LTT) came in.
Helping managers and leaders to slow down
In collaboration with the company’s HR team, we were able to split our main target group into two sub-segments: the senior leadership team, and people managers.
Whilst both groups had a similar need to improve some of their foundational management capabilities and build confidence in key areas, each would require a different approach to get there.
From there, we realised that our objective was quite simple: we needed to help leaders and managers to “slow down to speed up.”
With the increase in admin and responsibilities, most of them were overloaded and rushed, jumping in to sort out situations rather than give their team members the space and autonomy to find the solution themselves.
Providing their staff with both the freedom and guidance to challenge and stretch themselves would not only free up managers, but it would also contribute to their team members’ development and increase motivation levels.
Here’s how we achieved it.
Designing a tailored leadership and management training package
After identifying both our objective and target audiences, we created and implemented a tailored training programme for both groups.
This was initially run as a pilot in order for LTT to collect the insight needed to adapt the programme to the participants’ feedback. The pilot was run over a six-month period, which gave people enough time to put what they learned into practice and cement their newly obtained knowledge.
The initiative was also designed to work both top down (working with the senior leadership team), and bottom up (targeting people managers). This gave us the best chance of achieving results.
1. Senior leadership team development programme
We began by implementing a series of workshops. Each individual session was centred around one core theme: helping leaders to slow down. The series was designed to be delivered virtually, with some face-to-face sessions to maximise impact.
The learning objectives for each module were established for this team, and the series was focused on developing essential soft skills such as active listening, decision-making, and coaching, as well as providing courageous and effective feedback.
2. People managers programme
A series of virtual workshops was implemented, and supported by group coaching to ensure managers could discuss ideas and ask questions in a safe environment. An online community of practice was also created to offer meaningful support to the organisation’s managers.
The main focus of the programme was around building on the fundamental skills of a manager and establishing consistency. The modules were designed to build up their coaching and listening skills, and to help managers give effective developmental feedback.
The essential components of a great leadership training programme
For this project, it was important for Let’s Talk Talent to utilise facilitators who could bring their real-life experience to the table. Knowledge from actual practitioners was essential to the success of this initiative, which had to be delivered in an agile way and consider the ever-growing business’s challenges.
Our client was also very much involved at every stage of the process, providing invaluable insight and liaising with the rest of the business. Another success factor? The autonomy given to the LTT team. The organisation’s HR team was open to trying new things and implementing different ideas, which allowed us to truly customise the programme to its audiences’ needs.
“Group coaching and creating a community of practice was a new learning tool for the business, which they were happy for us to try. This allowed us to supplement the learning we delivered, and ensured managers would have somewhere to turn to for advice once the training was completed,” says Jo Taylor, MD at LTT.
Adopting a people-centric management approach
We all know that people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses. But we also know that nobody gets up in the morning wanting to be a bad manager.
Issues arise when leaders and managers don’t receive the training and guidance they need to support their team members in an effective way. Organisations also have a tendency to overload managers with admin and processes, leaving little time for the most important part of the equation: the people.
Our client understood this early on and wanted to invest in their managers and leaders to implement a people-centric approach.
“Leaders and managers have the biggest impact on employee satisfaction and motivation levels,” adds Jo. “Ensure you make them a key focus of your HR strategy.”
If you would like an audit of your leadership and management development programme, don’t hesitate to book a call with us. Alternatively, have a look at our Management Development services page, download our free HR strategy whitepaper, or register for our Leader of the Pack workshop.