Magazine article Supervisory Management

A Manager's Guide to "Win-Win" Training

Magazine article Supervisory Management

A Manager's Guide to "Win-Win" Training

Article excerpt

A Manager's Guide to "Win-Win" Training

Have you been asked to add training to your responsibilities as a supervisor? When given this additional challenge for the first time, many managers panic. They may rationalize by saying, "I just don't have the time," when what they really feel is inadequate and anxious about this responsibility.

There are, however, compelling reasons to welcome rather than run from this challenge. First, the ability to develop other people is central to being a good manager; it is, therefore, crucial to your own career development. Additionally, you will be letting yourself in for what may be the most rewarding experience of your working life. You also take charge of your organization's most precious resource, as the human resouce is the only one that can actually appreciate rather than depreciate over time. When approached properly, training can truly be a "win-win" experience--for the employee, for you, and for your organization.

Of course, there are many valid approaches to training. But when designing an employees's training, you may find it helpful to break the process down into the four basic elements of management: planning, organization, implementation, and control.


In terms of your own involvement, planning is the most critical phase of your employee's training. The more time you spend on it, the less you will have to spend once the training begins.

First, make a list of all the skills necessary to effectively handle the employee's job. Now separate them into those that must be taught formaly, and those that can be self-taught (through a manual or video). Finally, develop a rough timetable to achieve your training goals.


Once you have identified the skills and skills-building process necessary to the training, you will need to organize and structure the training.

With respect to the skills that must be taught, who will do the teaching? If you yourself plan to teach, now is the time to gather and prepare any materials you and the employee may require, and to structure individual lessons so that each one is meaningful without being overwhelming.

As part of the planning phase, prepare a list of skills necessary to the job. During this phase, ask the employee to prepare an inventory of personal skills. Then sit down together and compare your lists. If you and your employee take this time to organize a training program according to a necessary-skills list and a personal skills inventory, you may both be pleasantly surprised to learn that the employee has already acquired some of the necessary skills in other contexts. Let's say, for example, that the job requires customer contact, which the employee has not had previously on the job. The discovery tha a couple of summers were spent as a sales clerk would suggest that this individual already knows some customer-service basics.


If planning is the most critical phase of the training process in terms of your involvement, surely the implementation phase--the training itself--is most critical to the employee. While hesor she must make an active effort, you can provide excellent support, and assure that the training is optimally effective, by focusing on some important concepts:

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