A perpetual problem that organizations face is how to support their "top performers" when transitioning them into management roles. Such "all-stars" have many skills, character traits, and other positive characteristics that have made them standouts in what they do. But what made them so successful in their previous roles is not what is needed to be successful as managers. It is unreasonable to expect anyone making that transition to not experience some bumps in the road (I can speak from personal experience!). A key need from an organization's learning and development function is to help minimize these bumps to ease the inevitable learning curve that such individuals face. And this need is only going to become more important as waves of managers in the Baby Boomer generation retire, replaced often by Gen X and Gen Y "top performers."
In the July 2009 issue of Talent Management magazine, there was a very good article on this subject, "Nine Ways to Make Top Performers Effective Managers." The nine guidelines shared are:
- Move from tactical to strategic.
- Defend the team.
- Build trusting relationships.
- Teach and mentor.
- Admit mistakes.
- Leverage others' strengths.
- Manage each employee.
- Take time to manage.
At Element K, we recognize the great importance of this transition phase in the development of an organization's management team. We have a range of e-Learning courses that touch on this topic, and a wealth of resources on the topic of "What Good Managers Do: The First 100 Days." These include a flagship e-Learning course in our Business Skills library, as well as a corresponding instructor-led training print courseware course. (Aside: Did you know that Element K creates formal learning content via a "single source" model that involves authoring in an XML environment in order to get multimedia-rich and engaging e-Learning, and professional print courseware for the classroom, all from one development cycle?)
But we have gone well beyond these foundational learning modalities, by:
- Providing additional "Blended Blueprint" guides that specifically indicate how organizations can integrate classroom training sessions on this topic with e-Learning modules and business simulations.
- Providing key concepts from the course as audio portions that can be listened to when convenient for the learner. These audio MP3 tracks can be played on iPods or smartphones as anytime, anywhere learning.
- Abstracting the key principle guidelines from the training content and providing them as a handy quick reference card. This is a great job-aid for new managers to refer to as needed.
- Enabling learners with collaborative, Web 2.0 features such as forums and blogs, so that they can learn from their cohorts who are making similar changes, or those who have made the same transition in the recent past.
- Providing an end-user "Management Knowledge Portal" that brings together learning assets that cover more advanced topics in management, as there is obviously much to learn beyond those first 100 days.
As your organization evolves, what are you doing to help support your all-star, top-performers who are making the critical next step in their careers? Are you enabling them with a range of learning assets, so they aren't learning everything by trial and error and by hitting the bumps in the road?