Establish a manager growth program — build the knowledge base

By | February 24, 2010

I am hearing from some executives that growth in this economy just isn’t going to happen in their industry so what can they do to maintain the growth mentality in the organization? If you are in one of those industries that are significantly stagnant you must maintain the growth culture in other ways, such as knowledge growth, specifically in your managers.

The managers are going to always set the tone for the rest of the employees, whether it is a positive outlook, a negative outlook or a growth outlook. In order to keep your managers fresh, keep them growing and keep them in the right frame of mind, provide a book study that will improve their skills.

I’ve had a number of clients in the finance industry this year order my Russell’s Rules book for their managers to study and discuss in their weekly meetings. The rules are short, simple, to the point and have implementation action steps that are easy to do. By using practical application leadership books, you keep the knowledge base growing, the positive discussion active and the workforce happy with better leadership approaches being used with them.

Some basic steps for knowledge growth:

1. Make sure the book is something your managers will actually read.

I consider Peter Drucker one of the best leadership authors of all time, but unless your manager team is deep into the science of leadership and business, they will not finish a Drucker tome. Short, to the point and immediately applicable books might not make the best seller list, but your managers will make it to the back cover.

2. Have meaningful conversations about what was to be covered for the week and how these tools are going to actually be put into practice.

The discussions will allow people to offer their spin on the information and how they plan to use it. If the group truly is interested in growing on a personal level the conversation will truly be beneficial to the organization. As the executive you will also see who is making the effort to make a difference and who is going through the motions just to follow along. This information becomes your growth as you better learn who cares and who doesn’t and who may be dragging down your team and who may be the best selection for your succession plan.

Reading leadership information without putting it into practice is not going to give you the return on your time investment; therefore, be sure to build in accountability to putting these things into practice.

3. Make it fun.

If this becomes a chore for your managers or an addendum to your weekly manager meetings, it will take on an air of unimportance and a necessary evil. Have fun with it, get people involved. Use the book you’ve selected as a way to talk about the parts of your organization you want to grow. Even when the economy isn’t facilitating market growth, the growth inside the organization should always continue.

Check out this video for a piece of managerial growth education.

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