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Questions for a training manager on management development – Niall Gavin


Niall GavinNiall Gavin, FIITT, DipMan, IT Training Manager for Sussex Police, gives his annswers to our questions.

1. What do you think are the crucial generic management skills?

Financial management - revenue and capital budget management - being able to measure and/or evidence return on investment for budget building

People/Communication skills - listening, emotional intelligence, reflecting,

2. Do you think that all management skills can be taught?


3. How do you see the relation between management and leadership?

Two quotes I picked up from studying for the Chartered Management Institute Diploma in Management at the University of Brighton this year, sum up my feelings about this one...

"Leading is a function of management - Management is not a function of leadership" and "Leadership is the inspirational part of management - Management is the administrative part of leadership".

4. How can leadership be developed?

By example / by setting standards and processes for achieving them / by accepting the responsibilities that go with the role / by pursuing continuing professional development opportunities

5. Management in the UK is getting a bad press at the moment. What are currently the main challenges for managers?

To be visible, responsible and accountable.

6. Do you think formal training should be available to all levels of management?

Yes, but targeted at the competency levels of the supervisory role held or aspired to.

7. What style(s) of management development does your organisation use?

We have a "Leadership Charter" which guides both leaders in their work but also staff in what to expect of their leaders. We have an in-house Management Development Unit, running courses open to both Police Officers and Support Staff. We also support external development programmes such as my own CMI Diploma in Management at the University of Brighton this year.

8. What do you look for in choosing management development programmes?

I do not have responsibility for organisational management development.

9. How do you focus management development on individual needs?

All development needs in Sussex Police are captured by our Professional Development Review system (PDR).

10. Is it all about managers, or do employees sometimes need to learn to be managed?

I manage a team of committed trainers who used to try to be the "rescuers", fixing everyone's problems - from the organisation down to the individual. I have helped them (via their PDR and our own Leadership Charter) to focus their energies and activities in the areas where they can make a difference, by ensuring that their direction and objectives are always aligned with our organisational plans.

Niall Gavin, FIITT, DipMan
IT Training Manager
Sussex Police

You can read other views from training managers on management development:

Janis Cording

Alexandra Sneyd

Steve Mosley

What is your experience of management development? Post your comments below, or email us to answer these questions or submit a contribution.


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