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HR Essentials: Leadership Skills Development For Managers

Ever considered poor leadership skills among your managers could be a limiting factor holding the company back?

After all, it’s one thing for a department to achieve targets.

But it’s another to see how individual members respond to shared successes and failures.

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Lucky tomorrow is payday.

If you’ve noticed employees demonstrating zero emotional investment in the team’s performance (especially as long as they’re not personally at fault), it’s possible the team is suffering at the hands of a manager who lacks leadership skills.

Said manager may not even realise their impact. Often, managers themselves are not given the right training to develop into leaders due to a very common oversight.

The Manager vs Leader Misconception

It’s sometimes thought managers and leaders are two distinct roles with different qualities – not quite!

To be a successful manager in the long run, leadership skills are non-negotiable.

Managers must be able to create a team environment that fosters transparency, empathy, and a shared desire to head towards goals and targets. That right there is what great leaders do, so in practice there’s no real difference between the two roles.

Unfortunately, due to individual or environmental constraints, not every manager naturally develops the right leadership skills. Companies also don’t always recognise the need for leadership training and development for their managers. This absolutely leaves potential growth untapped.

When a manager cannot lead

Let’s get one thing clear: even a manager with zero leadership skills can still get things done.

On the surface, deliverables are always on time and clients are happy.

The question is at what cost, and the answer is at the expense of high performing team members.

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Key outcomes include:

  • Low morale: Without proper support, employees slowly become disengaged. The emotional detachment from work means performing the bare minimum to keep their job – it’s just a paycheck now.
  • Workforce stagnation: This lack of initiative means no impromptu collaboration, no knowledge transfer, and no connecting of the dots necessary to truly integrate into the company. The person you hire today will still be a stranger a year later.
  • High turnover: Of course, they may not even stay the full 12 months. People who need more meaningful experiences at work will look elsewhere for opportunities. The only team members left will be those happy to keep doing the bare minimum or those other companies don’t want.
  • Difficulty attracting new talent: Job portals companies use to advertise vacancies frequently allow reviews from current and former employees. If every review talks about abusive conditions at the office, good luck being anyone’s top pick.

Environments where results are constantly prioritised over employee wellbeing are self-limiting in the long run. Without employee wellbeing, there can be no results. Unless the manager is careful, this can also increase the risk of violating employee rights such as mandatory leave and overtime.

Not very nice, is it?

Let’s see what happens when that manager is given proper leadership training and development.

When a manager is a capable leader

That same manager equipped with leadership skills still gets things done.

However, the thoughts, ideas and circumstances of their team members are a major consideration.

This manager not only knows how to be compassionate, but how to be seen as compassionate so that bitter pills (working on holidays, cutting leave short, no promotion this year) are easier to swallow and genuine praise carries more weight.

To be clear, they are not friends with their team members, nor do they need to believe that.

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This never happens.

Instead, the team is…an actual team!

Healthy disagreements are encouraged, communication does not need sugar-coating, and there is mutual trust that everyone is doing their best (because they are).

The cumulative effect is the exact opposite of the previous situation:

  • High morale: Feeling properly supported, employees lower their guard and engage in frequent productive discussions related to work.
  • Workforce Innovation: This initiative means more impromptu collaboration, more knowledge transfer, and familiarisation with the company DNA. The person you hire today will be ripe for promotion in a year.
  • Low turnover: Of course, they may not get the chance because people who joined the company years ago are still part of the team. Staff turnover is so low that vacancies are only for new positions.
  • Difficulty picking out new talent: When you develop a reputation for truly caring about employee wellbeing, you become the top pick for many high quality employees.

Doesn’t that sound better?

Why Leadership Training & Development for Managers is Important

To produce managers with the leadership skills to support a team, those managers must first feel supported by the organisation. Left to their own devices, people tend to fall back on instinct and their subconscious biases.

This will inevitably lead to very different leadership styles across the management team with no rhyme or reason. You may notice staff members constantly requesting a transfer to or from certain managers, which in turn leads to uncomfortable power dynamics.

An intentional and needs-based training program to develop leadership skills among managers ensures that the entire management team develops the needed competencies. They should all be equally capable.

Leadership Training & Development With MISHU

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MISHU understands the importance of developing people at every level of an organisation. This means providing training programs to identify gaps, address needs, set measurable success metrics and reduce employee turnover rates. If you too place a high importance on growing your people, our experts are ready to help craft the perfect training and development program for your company.

And yes, we’re HRDF-certified!

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