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Training Activities Wanted


I'm going to run a training program for newly promoted managers. Obviously I need to clarify with them what are their roles and responsibilities as a manager to help them transition their mindset from a worker to a manager. However, delivering this part through lecture or simply ask them to discuss seems a bit dry, particularly this group of people in our company are kind of dull and quiet (typical traditional Chinese people). Would appreciate if anyone could share with me any lively activities for this part.

Great thanks,
Alice Ma

6 Responses

  1. Activities…
    Hi Alice
    There’s an activity called What Makes a Manager?
    It’s good for making delegates think and discuss – there’s no jumping about though!
    I can send you the full writeup and costs if it’s of interest.
    01884 821870

  2. Use their previous experience
    Hi Alice

    Put up 2 pieces of flipchart, one with the heading roles and one responsibilities.

    Get them to visit each one and from their previous experience of being managed, write up what they think their managers did under each category. You could further split it by having 2 flips for each category, one for good managers and one for bad managers.

    These should then give the basis for some good discussions.



  3. Pictures, not words?
    Hi Alice

    Sometimes delegates can have more fun with pictures.

    You could ask delegates to form groups of 3 – 4 and ask each of them: ‘What is the purpose of a Manager?’ (Be careful here as many people start to think of their ‘responsibilities’ not purpose). This should help focus them on the reason why their role exists.

    Once they have decided their purpose you then ask them to construct a visual metaphor that would represent their thoughts; this will be a drawing on a flip chart sheet.

    Once all groups have completed the task then you can have an ‘Art Gallery’ session when each group must interpret what the other groups’ drawings are trying to communicate. People always have fun with the images and, occasionally, quite profound things emerge from the pictures.

    The good part of this exercise is that the images stay in people’s heads much longer than just a list of words on a flip chart and you, as the trainer, will find yourself constantly going back to the images in later sections of the course.

    Prepare yourself for the look of horror when you state that they will draw their metaphors. It’s a grown-up thing…


  4. What is a Manager?
    What a super challenge! And in my experience, competely culturally sensitive.

    Having managed companies across the globe, I wouldn’t dare to presume a ‘right answer’ here. (This may come as a shock to many maqnagement gurus? – but that is my experience and I stand by it!)

    I wouldn’t claim to know a ‘typical Chinese person’ (Alice, your words, not mine) and I’ll bet your delegates will all be different anyway?

    So why not start off with some exercises relating to the ‘the best manager you ever had’ – and why? What was good?- and what could have been ever better?

    In any country, I know that managing great process workers is very different from managing wonderful software engineers for example, or a distribution team or adminstrative staff. So let them tell you?

    Then, what about some role plays? Real live case studies which you will need to research perhaps, on the basis of what would a great manager do? They could be simple, or quite challenging, as you see fit. (Ethical dilemmas are often a good field to explore, such as the tension between meeting company targets and satisfying a difficult customer; or managing a great member of staff with new ideas outside their job description?)

    And finally, some self-analysis may always be helpful, if only to understand others better?

    Even when ‘saving face’ is very important, as I understand may apply here, which is not a concept the West may understand very well, great managers may still behave very differently from others.

    Can you get your participants to tease out these differences for themselves? Far more effective than you telling them!

    Best wishes


  5. Thanks for suggestions
    Hi Jeremy and other members,

    Thanks so much for all your advice and suggestions. I particularly find Jeremy’s ideas better suited to our colleagues by guiding them to explore for the answers. I’m going to incorporate some of the suggestions here.

    Thanks for the sharing again and best regards,


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