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4 Fail-Proof Strategies for Developing High-Performing Frontline Managers


Tue Sep 16 2014

4 Fail-Proof Strategies for Developing High-Performing Frontline Managers

According to a Cornerstone On Demand survey, nearly 60 percent of managers indicate they never received management training. Moreover, one in four managers indicate they were unprepared for the transition into management, citing challenges in managing conflict, motivating employees, and delivering performance reviews.

Developing frontline managers is the foundation of any global leadership development program, and in a recent American Management Association and Institute for Corporate Productivity report, a paltry 19 percent of executives rated their global leadership programs as effective or highly effective. Ineffective supervisor training, the huge influx of Millennials (18 to 33 years of age) into new supervisor ranks, and the intense war for talent that’s occurring in many industries creates the recipe for the perfect storm.


How can you ensure your organization’s new manager training program is designed to produce high-performing leaders who can deliver positive bottom-line impact in a timely manner?

Based on my experience of training, coaching, and developing thousands of managers and leaders in 24 countries, the best supervisor training programs include four fail-proof strategies. The four strategies are the foundation of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) Creating Leadership Development Programs certificate course. Evaluate your program using these four strategies.

New manager training must go beyond policy, process, and compliance

The majority of the training content for new managers is focused on compliance, process, and procedures in managing people—the HR administrative stuff. There is often a lack of linking the content to the actual business needs, and rarely is the content updated when business needs change.

The certificate program contains a simple, rapid, and repeatable needs assessment process for ensuring the content is linked to current and anticipated business needs. It also includes a get-results-now way for prioritizing the business needs once they are identified.


New manager training is designed to be highly engaging interactive and relevant

Many people loathe attending training because they have not been provided a value proposition that resonates with them. To make matters worse, many trainers use outdated and/or limited instructional delivery methods. In fact, the more technical the new manager role is, the more likely the person delivering the training is a technical expert who lacks knowledge and experience designing and delivering highly engaging training. This often results in a tortured and very boring training experience!

Module 2 of the certificate program is a carefully constructed road map for providing fail-proof ways of ensuring the training is designed to be engaging and transferable. By following the potent yet simple process, anyone can develop engaging training. With practice and effort, it’s entirely possible to create raving fans because of the experience that results from well-designed training.

New manager training covers the fundamentals of performance coaching

According to McLean and Company, 68 percent of managers claim they effectively coach employees, yet only 32 percent of their direct reports agree. The fact is, most supervisors (new and experienced) are not effectively coaching their employees primarily due to the fact that most managers are not rewarded for coaching—they are rewarded for the results they achieve. As such, almost all feedback and coaching is going to be on correcting bad performance. This leads to lower employee engagement and higher levels of voluntary attrition in the managers’ direct reports.


The certificate course provides a framework of guidelines of effective coaching. The experts who facilitate the course add additional value via their experience thereby enhancing the knowledge and skills of the participants, which reaffirms the true flexibility built into this engaging course’s design.

New manager training can demonstrate measurable impact to return on investment (ROI)

Most new manager training programs are never evaluated. Therefore, they are merely perceived as a necessary cost. If they are evaluated from a return basis, it is almost exclusively as a reaction to minimize risk to the organization and not to develop a high performing supervisor. As a result, most trainers of new manager training programs cannot articulate the significant value the investment in developing supervisors brings.

The certificate course provides an exceptionally easy process for measuring and demonstrating the ROI with relative ease. In fact, by following the entire process that is taught in this course, ROI is almost an inevitable outcome because during the design phase, the attendee is proactively thinking of ways to measure impact which can be used to develop a compelling value proposition for the investment of time, money, and resources.

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