Training Managers at the Top Level

We talk of training at positions ranging from upper, middle to junior but not the top. Training is also a must at the top level. They must know from organization development to winning in competitive markets to administration of man power resources through HR. Usually the training is outside the organization so that they can also interact with their counter parts. The topics they deliberate is not the strategic matters of their organization but topics of win-win situations and useful to both organizations.

The organizational ladder of positions and designations is a tricky affair. At the bottom, the urge to climb up is so strong that the lessons of the journey are often hurriedly missed. Once up there, the senior managers at their wits’ end realize that a lot of these missed lessons could actually solve at least some of their issues. A paradox arises because these are the same lessons that become outdated at the blink of an eye these days.

The world is changing rapidly to such an extent that it is becoming crucial for the top level managers to constantly upgrade their skills.

The top management provides direction to the entire organization, ensuring smooth sailing through stormy business conditions. Training senior managers in innovation can be the key drive to face challenges of any degree. In the global knowledge economy; a CEO should strive to create a culture of innovation for the company and ensure that it trickles down to the bottom. Whereas the lower level managers can contribute through incremental innovation in terms of better products and processes, the top management should gear itself up for radical transformations having important consequences for the industry as a whole. Suppose you gain an edge in floppy technology and the next day the pen drive hits the market. Tackling such business uncertainty requires a CEO to develop an entrepreneurial approach.

Someone at the top should also know how to build up a flow of creativity without demanding immediate results.

It is one thing to teach a beginner and another to teach an achiever already at a certain platform. Challenges of training the higher management differ enormously in terms of content and methods, from those adopted for lower levels. As people grow up the ladder, they need to hone strategic skills such as decision making, influential leadership, working in a global culture and driving change. On the other hand lead run managers need to be trained in tactical aspects like the process of becoming a manager, handling change, allocating resources or resolving conflicts. Difficulty arises at the top where the managers need to develop holistically; for instance skills such as the art of delegation. They ultimately propel company.

Senior managers especially in the IT sector to avoid getting caught up in the daily grind of technical tasks require a unique three layer approach combining the self, the peers and the subordinates. At the first layer, the manager requires training in looking inward and developing emotional capabilities. The manager must also gauge what others think and expect of him. At the second stage the senior managers should develop affinity for cross location, cross cultural and cross team collaboration. For the company’s growth the CEO must be a sharer, not a hoarder. While managing downward today’s young top managers should have an objective view yet not become harsh.

As compared to the past years when the top management would undergo training for one month at a stretch in a B-school, today the CEOs have become busier. At the same time, shelf life of information has come down drastically.

The skills are all linked to the five pillars of inspired leaders. These are: ability to reflect and introspect and become more mindful the competence to make the right choices while making decisions, compassionate behavior based on emotional intelligence, innovative thinking and action to adopt eco-friendly methods and technologies and the capability of working with all types of people and under all circumstances adverse and positive.

Clearly the lessons of sound management are like the lessons of life. What you learn or what you miss is only a matter of time, till something more complex and consequential shocks you out of your safety net. After all there is no safety net.

  • Smile2006957

    good guidance

  • Nalina Ramasamy

    Informative write up. I personally liked the subtle touch of training being given to the middle management, focusing on self development, lands them at the top and their negligence pays for the quality of their performance. At times as a corporate behavioural trainer, i also feel the rush to move up the ladder by the middle management in any corporate world has only made the rule “survival of the fittest” most true in a world of animosity. There is too much of pride enjoyed by the superiority at top levels, which not only shuts their ears and eyes on the rapid changes and the market scenarios. It also makes them empty, when it is required to be creative and innovative, wherein they depend on ready made solutions or piggy back brains. “Unfortunately management education is always a history with guidelines but not a predictor or quickfix solution provider” is the worry of these who have walked the ladder quick.
    Nalina k