HomeJuly 2011Power up your mind

Power up your mind

The informal or unstructured process of management development in many cases must come from the manager themselves, but often they don’t know where to begin writes Keith McCarthy.

Keith McCarthy

The all encompassing title of management development means different things to different people. It can encompass a wide range of varied activities and interventions aimed at developing managers to give them the skills, knowledge and experience to be able to undertake their role to the highest standard. Management development can be a planned process that includes the identification of managers through succession planning and then the provision of coaching, mentoring, training, professional development and skill enhancement to help them in their role. Some organisations put these comprehensive systems and supports in place to develop their managers, recognising the potential that it can harness. They also demand high levels of performance as an outcome. Other organisations can be quite haphazard in their approach, viewing it as a necessary evil and as we navigate our way through the choppy waters of economic turbulence it goes further out to sea.

Management development, however, can also be an informal process. Sometimes, managers depend on the provision of development and learning from the organisation within which they work. Sure, it is their responsibility to develop me? Probably, but development must also begin with yourself. The informal or unstructured process of management development in many cases, must come from the manager themselves, but often they don’t know where to begin. That’s the first excuse. The second, is the ever diminishing time that people do not have. Bear in mind, if you think you don’t have time, you won’t! The process of allocating time to your development is as important as any other work activity. Think about the last meeting you went to that added no value at all, an hour wasted. Could that hour have been better spent developing yourself or planning for your department. The other is more tangible. Right? A meeting ticks a box!

The power of 15 minutes of development on a regular basis should not be understated

It doesn’t matter what your budget or time limitations, making the effort to better yourself with management development can be as simple as reading a few management articles, to earning a degree. The latter is the perspective for now. If you are trying to put a path in place for your own development where would you start? Here is a quick guide:

Give it time

Allocate some time each week or day if you can. Even 15 or 20 minutes would be enough. This needs to be protected time in an undisturbed area.

What might help?
Come in 15 minutes earlier and go to the canteen – what better way to start the morning!

Identify learning and development needs

Think of the learning and development needs that you have.

  • Do you have a skills or knowledge gap that you are aware of?
  • Are there areas that you want to know more about?
  • What would help you do your job better?
  • Was there an episode in the recent past that you were uncertain how to handle?
  • Have you completed any exercises in the recent past that identified gaps?
  • What are the people issues you are currently facing?

What might help?
Rate your self (1-10) on your knowledge and experience of the core management competencies?

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Motivation
  • Problem Solving
  • Decision-making
  • Managing change

If you don’t know much about some of them that is a good place to start. Research.

Tap resources

There are infinite amounts of resources that can be tapped from a number of different resources.

  • There is the good old world-wide web which provides a huge amount of valuable and insightful information on any management or skill area.
  • Management or other related magazines can be excellent in helping with good and interesting articles. A good article will only take you approximately 15-20 minutes to read. Flick through the magazine afterwards and see what else is of interest.
  • elearning resources are often undervalued. The web is full of freebies but some organisations have free eLearning tools on their intranet. They can help with building a knowledge and skill base depending on the resource.
  • Books can be a valuable source of information and background understanding. If you are not a good reader, identify books that are practical and easy to read i.e. not too heavy.
  • Attending workshops or seminars that are held in your organisation or outside can be very useful. They are often informal but there can often be little gems of information that can be useful in your role as a manager.
  • Recommendations! Keep your ear to the ground. Other people often recommend good books or resources that they have found useful. Write it down and hunt it out.

What might help?

Some useful websites:

Some useful magazines:

  • People management (CIPD)
  • People Focus (IITD)

Some useful books:

  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
  • The One Minute Manager – Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson
  • The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Management Briefs – A Series of Irish Management books (www.managementbriefs.com)
  • Power up your mind – Bill Lucas
  • A useful place to buy books:
  • www.thebookdepository.co.uk
Articulate the learning

Reading an article or attending a seminar is one thing but transforming that into action is quite another. It is important to see if your new found knowledge will in fact be of value to you, your team or your department.

Using the three questions on the right will help with this. The last one ‘now what’ is always the challenge!!

What might help?

Ask the questions:

  • What?: What did you learn? What was of interest?
  • So what?: What does it mean for yourself or your team?
  • Now what?: What are your going to do with the new information, knowledge or skill?

The responsibility for management development in many cases is in your hands. Even attendance at a management development course is something about which managers in many cases have discretion. The power of 15 minutes of development on a regular basis should not be understated. It’s not the 15 minutes itself but the ability to articulate and implement this learning into the work environment.

Power up your mind!!

Keith McCarthy
Management Consultant
shrc limited

HMI’s Core Skills in Management Programme (16 days)

If you are interested and need more formal management development check out the HMI’s Core Skills in Management Programme starting in October 2011. A practical and engaging programme you can be assured that your development is in no better hands. This programme is highly recommended by all participants to date. Join the growing numbers of managers developing their skills through Health Management Institute courses and programmes. View programme info.

Check it out at www.hmi.ie