A June 2016 survey of US middle managers at companies of 500 or more employees conducted by Wakefield Research found 98 percent of respondents believe that managers need more training in conflict management, professional development, project management, time management and employee retention. With 10,000 baby-boomers retiring every day, companies are struggling to develop leaders with strong management skills. Almost 90 percent of middle managers surveyed wished they had had more training when they first became a manager, and nearly all surveyed felt important corporate objectives such as morale, satisfaction, revenue and employee retention would improve if managers were more effective through early training. Unfortunately, the data also suggested that about 80 percent of those managers who are trained and do manage to change their behaviour only maintain those changes for six months before reverting back to their old habits. This may indicate a need for a change to corporate culture in order to support better managerial practices, or the need to make the training less boring, or not overwhelming, with too much information to absorb and apply. It is important companies reinforce any new skills and ideas learnt with follow-up sessions and that they set measurable goals following training. Training alone is simply not enough. Committed companies must sustain their healthy cultures with policies that encourage practices and behaviours reflecting the values of compassion, authenticity in relationships, perceived fairness and trust. The preservation of workplace relationships, resolution of disputes, advocacy in conciliation and early intervention to conflicts are attainable through training, education and coaching.

Jan-Mar 2017 issue