Can managers teach management skills?

By | May 3, 2011

Julian RawelThis post also appears as a guest article on the Chartered Management Institute’s blog.

New research by the Forum of Private Business has found that most of their members are not investing in management skills, preferring to “teach themselves” or take informal advice or training. This is largely down to cutting costs in difficult times but could end up costing businesses more in the long run.

1. “Doing it yourself” in business is tempting in tough times

In difficult times, there is a danger that management training and education becomes a box ticking exercise rather than a real investment that will benefit the business. It is certainly tempting in difficult times to try and “do it yourself” but small businesses in particular should be equipping themselves now with the skills to be more productive and profitable when they come out of dark times.

2. Being a good manager doesn’t make you a good teacher

The fact is that just because you are a good manager and have a lot of knowledge of management techniques, doesn’t mean that you can impart that knowledge to colleagues – or that they will listen and learn. Academics at our Management School wouldn’t start doing our own catering because it is not what we are set up to do and would take us away from our core business of teaching and research – likewise, managers shouldn’t think that they are the best people to teach their staff.

3. Management training should be taken as seriously as any other qualification

Just as you wouldn’t hire a “self taught” senior accountant without credible qualifications, you shouldn’t promote staff into managerial positions without credible management training. If businesses are serious about developing their people, they need to be serious about how they do this and who delivers it – “doing it yourself” or signing up for an informal training session doesn’t send the right message to staff and won’t equip them with the necessary skills to increase productivity and grow the business in the long term. Cheap training is wasted money and “doing it yourself” is wasted time.

As director of executive education at a Management School you may be thinking “you would say that”. We don’t 100% guarantee increased profitability because as with all education students get out what they put in – but staff are more likely to put their all into it if you are investing in their future.

About Julian Rawel

Julian Rawel is Director of Executive Education at the School of Management. He has previously held positions of Groups Sales and Marketing Director, Eurocamp plc and Marketing Director, Royal Armouries Museum. Julian has been a non executive director of travel industry bodies ABTA and AITO. He has a BA in Geography from Leicester University and an MSc in Tourism Management from Manchester Metropolitan University. Julian is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Chartered Marketer.

Specialties:  Consumer and business marketing, Branding, General management, Management development

3 thoughts on “Can managers teach management skills?

  1. Ahmed Riaz

    I think the ability to teach management skills lies with the individual rather than managers in general (or not). Also, managing others is different in different businesses, cultures and industries; so teaching these skills is not so straightforward.
    Having finished my Business and Management Studies degree I have completed the Practice of Management Skills module. I feel this is not something people can learn in the “classroom” and can only be attained through practice and experience. This is less so for people with good interpersonal skills and for those who understand other peoples’ views.

  2. Paula

    True. All it takes is continuous training and practice of business management skills to become an excellent manager. And yes, aside from the fact that the works of a manager brings good result to the company, these managers can also serves as role models to their colleagues to develop a leadership ability too.

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