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Seb Anthony

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As your manager, my job is to make you better at your job!


I was wondering about something.

If you run training courses, if you were to ask your delegates whether they had been briefed or whether they were likely to be debriefed, what percentage would have received little noteworthy management support?

Has this changed in the last 20 years?

I wonder how many managers are motivated by the thought, ‘As your manager, my job is to make you better at your job?’

In the world of organisational learning, is it still perhaps the biggest challenge to make managers understand their role and accept responsibility for the training and development of their staff?

Graeme Kerr

3 Responses

  1. It’s never black and white
    First of all, I’d qualify your statement and argue that it’s a manager’s responsibility to enable learning in their team. That said, it’s also up to individuals to take responsibility for their own learning – the days of “I’m here because my manager sent me” have to be well seen off.

    Is the %age getting briefed/debriefed getting better with time ? Who knows. Not sure it matters too much as there is so much more to managers’ enabling learning.

  2. not all managers or organisations are equal

    My primary client at present DOES insist that delegates and their managers discuss the course before and as well as one and three months after the event…they are a commercial professional consultancy.

    My previous major client was a government agency ….a sustantial minority of delegates cancelled at the last minute, few did the pre learning and fewer still got any support from their managers……

    Not all managers see staff development (or even the management of staff, rather than operational duties)as paramount in their role…but some do.

    Some employers do as well.


  3. Line Manager support
    The best managers have been supporting their staff – in their learning and in other ways – for years. But, undoubtedly, the culture in some organisations mitigates against this, and many managers are busier than ever before.
    I am convinced by the evidence that learners benefit from a clarity of purpose as to what and why they need to learn. And that supported consolidation, application and cascade makes a big difference to the value individuals and the organisation can get from the learning.
    What I am less convinced about are the mechanisms we in L&D impose on reticent and busy managers. All too often they don’t work or are ignored and we revert to blaming the managers. I don’t have a magic solution but I believe we are more likely to help the positive transfer of learning if we have a deeper understanding of the context and the psychology of the manager and the learner in their work situation.
    We need to win hearts as well as minds, have bespoke and flexible systems that nurture good practice, we need to promote and reward that practice, and expend more energy in this whole issue of transfer than is typically the case.
    This is not an easy problem with a quick solution. But it is something we should be continually trying to get under the skin of, for without effective transfer of learning there is no added value, only cost.


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