Management development program is more future oriented and more concerned with education than is employee assisting or training a person to become a better performer. By education, we mean that management development activities attempt to instill sound reasoning processes to enhance one’s ability to interpret and understand the knowledge rather than imparting a body of following facts or teaching a particular set of motor skills. Development, therefore, focuses more on the employee’s personal growth. Successful managers have analytical, human, conceptual and expertise. They can think and understand. Training per se cannot overcome a manager’s or a potential manager’s inability to understand cause-and-effect relationships, to synthesis from experience, visualize relationships or to think logically. As a result, it is suggested that management development be an education process rather than a training process.
The flexibility and dynamism of the organisation offer all possible development opportunities on the job, which is witnessed by the encouragement given to on-the-job training and development initiatives, job rotation opportunities provided, designing challenging roles and assisting employees to achieve challenging goals. The development of a manager’s abilities can take place on the job. We will review some of the favorite on-the-job development techniques.
1. Coaching: When a manager takes an active role in guiding another manager, we refer this activity as coaching. The manager gives guidance through direction, advice, criticism, and suggestions in an attempt to aid the growth of the employee. The technique of executives coaching other managers has the advantages that go with learning by doing, particularly the opportunities for high interaction and rapid feedback on performance. However, its two disadvantages are:
1. The tendency to perpetuate the current managerial styles and practices in the organization.
2. Heavy reliance on the coach’s ability to be a good teacher. As a staff assistant to a manager, the understudy gets the opportunity to learn the manager’s job. However, it is not usual that this merely becomes performing the “paper shuffling” chores. Should this be the case or should the manager be threatened by the understudy, the learning experience becomes quite limited. In contrast, in those organizations where managers recognize that their own promotion and advancement depends on preparing underlings to move into their jobs satisfactorily, managers are motivated to prepare their understudies for their current jobs.
2. Job circle: Job circle or rotation is a management routine that assigns trainees to various jobs and departments over a period of a few years. In addition to increasing the manager’s experience and allowing the manager to absorb new information, it can reduce boredom and stimulate the development of new ideas. It can also provide opportunities for a more comprehensive and reliable evaluation of the manager by his or her supervisors.
3. Committee Assignments: Assignment to a committee can provide an opportunity for the employee to share in managerial decision-making, to learn by watching others and to investigate specific organizational problems. When committees are of an ad hoc or temporary nature, they often take on taskforce activities designed to delve into a particular problem, ascertain alternative solutions and make a recommendation for implementing a solution. These temporary assignments can be both exciting and rewarding to the employee’s growth.
There are many management development program or techniques that personnel can partake off the job. Some more modern ones like sensitivity training, transnational analysis, lecture courses and simulation exercises are discussed here.
1. Sensation training: Sensation training in encounter groups is a method of changing behavior through group processes in management development program. Usually referred to as laboratory training, it influences the participants through unstructured group interaction. Members are brought together in an open and free environment in which participants interact with each other and discuss themselves, loosely facilitated by a professional behavioral scientist. This professional then creates the opportunity for the participants to express their ideas, beliefs, and attitudes. the objectives of sensation training are to provide managers with increased awareness of their behavior and of how others perceive them, greater sensitivity to the reactions of others and increased understanding of group processes. Concrete results sought include increased the ability to emphasize with others, improved listening skills, greater openness, increased tolerance for individual differences and improved conflict resolution skills.
2. Transactional analysis: The transnational analysis experience may help managers understand others better and assist them in altering their responses to produce more efficient results.
3. Lecture courses: Formal lecture courses offer an opportunity for potential managers or managers to acquire knowledge and develop their analytical abilities and conceptual. In most of the organizations, these lecture courses may be offered in-house by the organization itself and supported by outside college coursework. Small organizations will utilize courses offered in development programs at universities and colleges through consulting organizations.
4. Simulation exercises: Simulations were introduced as a training technique. They are probably even more famous for management development. The more widely used simulation exercises include case study, decision games and role-plays.
i. Case study analysis approach to management development was popularized at the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Taken from the actual experiences of organizations, these cases represent attempts to describe, as accurately as possible, real problems that managers have faced. Trainees study the cases to determine problems, analyze causes, develop alternative solutions, select what they believe to be the best solution and implement it. The case study can provide stimulating discussions among participants, as well as excellent opportunities for individuals to defend their analytical and judgmental abilities. It appears to be a rather effective method for improving decision-making skills within the constraints of limited information.
ii. Simulated decision games and role playing exercises put individuals in the role of acting out managerial problems. Games, which are frequently played on a computer that has been programmed for the particular play, provide opportunities for individuals to make decisions and to consider the implications of a decision on other segments of the organization.
iii. Role-playing allows the participants to act out problems and deal with real people. Participants are assigned roles and are asked to react to one another, as they would have to do in their managerial jobs. Role-playing has become increasingly popular as a management development program.
The advantages to simulation are the opportunities to attempt to create an environment similar to real situations the managers incur, without the high costs involved, should the actions prove undesirable. Of course, the disadvantages are the reverse of this. It’s hard to duplicate the pressures and realities of actual decision-making on the job, and individuals often act differently in real-life situations than they do in acting out a simulated exercise.