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Aspiring Managers


We currently have a fairly comprehensive programme for New Managers at my organisation but regularly get requests from those who are hoping to move into management in the future for some management skills training. I am conscious that training people in skills that they can't use in their current role is not cost effective as chances are by the time they reach a management position they will want to do it all again as they then have a context to apply it in. However, we are also keen to give people the opportunity to move into management roles internally but know they will be competing against external people who may already have management skills. We are considering running an 'Aspiring Managers' programme which would look at what skills a manager needs and potential how they could start developing some of these within their current role. Does anybody run an 'Aspiring Managers' workshop/programme and if so would they mind sharing some of the ideas they have on this? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Becky

7 Responses

  1. Aspiring Managers


    Hi Becky,
    I can appreciate the quandary, development can sometimes lead to dissatisfaction, de-motivation and in the worse case scenario, people moving on if their expectations are raised and not met. One suggestion that I have used with clients is to run small assessment/development centres with a view to using the delegates’ results as part of a succession planning process. Departments that have opted to be included in succession planning then make opportunities for the delegates to head up small scale projects to develop their skills further and they can then take part in additional management skills training as and when required. One organisation even used short term internal secondments. For this to work there needs to be agreement for this strategy across the whole organisation with buy-in at the highest level.
    If you are looking for external help with this, please contact me.
  2. Aspiring manager programme
    Hi Becky
    I would suggest developing some core skills of managers that they can use in their existing (non management) jobs. For example, influencing skills, task prioritisation and delegation (as they can ask colleagues to help them out at times). Use behavioural examples and role plays in the context of management and non-management work.

    Also, make use of experienced managers to give short talks on the sorts of challenges they have faced, and how they overcame them.

    Hope that helps.
    Happy Days!

  3. Helping aspiring managers


    Have you given any consideration to the use of informal learning to support the request of your wanna be managers? If the organisation is considering a full-on ‘succession planning’ approach to developing aspiring managers it may not be appropriate as the main mechanism, but can certainly form part of a blended solution.

    Alternatively if you are looking to answer the requests of some employees by providing relevant and cost effective resources to introduce them to management skills, there are definitely informal learning tools out there that provide the correct balance. In having these resources available a self study approach could be introduced. Depending on your approach you could then still monitor the use of the resources and consult with the individuals direct manager to stay up to date on any changes in performance since their self-study began.

    If you would like to discuss this idea further or hear more on other organisations that this has worked for please get in touch.




  4. Aspiring managers and the Peter Principle
    Hi Becky

    I’m afraid that this isn’t a straightforward answer to your question but a quasi-philosophical, hopefully thought provoking, musing.

    The Peter Principle holds that people get promoted to their level on incompetence on the grounds that they were competent at one job and thus were promoted to a higher job. Traditionally this is a management job where the individual is out of his or her depth and possibly his or her desires.

    An effective way to avoid this problem should therefore be to train and assess people for the higher role before asking/offering them the role. (Acting promotion or a probationary period is all very well but discovering that the individual has reached their level of incompetence in an acting role is still painful to undo)

    Consequently whilst in the short term it is not seen as cost effective to train people to the level “higher” than that which they currently are employed at, it is a logical methodology, it also provides higher managers with a greater degree of confidence, prevents new managers from making the “early days” mistakes which are so common, prevents followers from being so badly managed (so often) and provides a ready promotional resource for the succession planners, reducing the reliance on expensive external sourcing.

    Just a thought

  5. ‘Aspiring Managers’
    The thing all managers need is good interpersonal skills. This can cover a lot of subjects and the main ones for me are:

    Self analysis – if a manager can anlyse their own performance effectively they can develop in the role quickly.

    Knowing something about why other people think and feel differently to you – I use learning styles as they are a quick and effective way to show why you immediatley hit it off with some people and others drive you up the wall. This is helpful for managers and allows them to adapt their style to the poeple they manage.

    This has a double benefit as most people do not know their ownlearning style.

    Rapport – basic listening skills and learning about what people mean from the way they say things.

    Flexibility – how to generate options to respond when faced with unexpected or difficult situations.

    People focused goal planning techniques which take the imapct and potential consequences of your possible actions into account.



  6. There’s a book…

    There is a fantastic book called "Just About Managing" – it’s actually aimed at the voluntary and community sector – but the issues are the same in any organisation.

    It really is a management bible and particularly well suited to new managers. You can read about it Amazon here

    But you can buy it cheaper direct from the author here

    At £25 a throw – it’s a real bargain.  I’ve had mine for decades – and I still refer it.

    It would also make a good basis for an Aspiring managers course.





  7. aspiring managers

    Hi Becky,

    Perhaps you could turn the question on its head and identify in your existing programme for new managers, what components would not work with your aspiring managers, then replace them with some good old fashioned refresher training for these people, in terms of making applications for management posts together with videoed interviewing practice. (This would fit well with a training session on best practice for recruitment and selection.)

    Rather than go for day long training why not have a series of drop-in, top-up training sessions, during a lunch period and focusing on one issue related to management. (obviously this will depend upon your organisation’s culture and people’s willingness to give up their lunch break).  This might cut down costs in terms of training time and time away from desks/post.

    Perhaps an in-house project that encourages your existing managers to formally delegate some of their responsibilities to aspiring managers which would contribute to their cpd and their cv/experience. (Organisation- culture dependent again.)

    Finally, setting mini work-related projects for aspiring managers to complete. (so as not to overload aspiring manager) These would be linked to management behaviours/roles (eg: managing change, problem-solving, developing others, etc.)  On completion of the project, participants make a 10minute presention  of  their learning journey in terms of their management skills and behaviours. (Could do this to a senior team to raise their profile!)

    Hope some of this might be of help.

    good luck,


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