The Skillful Leader:
Skills Development for Managers

“The major challenge for CEO’s over the next 20 years will be the effective deployment of human assets… It’s about getting one or more individual to be more productive, more focused, more fulfilled than he was yesterday.”

Marcus Buckingham, researcher and author of management books including
First Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths

Management Development for a Competitive Edge

Every organization seeks a sustainable advantage!
Companies strive to grow their business and remain a step ahead of their market rivals. Non-profit and public organizations seek to exceed their stakeholders’ ever-increasing expectations.

Outstanding leadership at the top, says the research, is certainly a key factor…but it alone is not enough!
Without strong leadership at all levels of your management ranks you will not have engaged employees who–individually and collaboratively– deliver strong performance year after year.

It’s your mid-level management group that ultimately transforms the organization’s vision into action and results.
They are the ones who create an environment that motivates your employees. They are the ones who draw from their staff a commitment to high performance and ensure that the agreed upon level of results is met.

The Skillful Leader Program

We customize a program for you from among a number of core learning modules that present the managerial skills essential for creating a workforce that produces superior results. Every program promotes interpersonal effectiveness, personal accountability, and a strong orientation toward achieving results. Programs typically last 2-4 days, depending on how much material you want yours to cover.

Topic modules:

Communications-the Fundamentals

  • Reading how people communicate
  • The role of perceptions
  • Using questions and then actively listening
  • Coming across assertively

The Leadership Part of Managing

  • What it means to be a “leader”
  • The Pygmalion Effect (the self-fulfilling prophecy)
  • Employee motivation-understand it, work with it
  • Your leadership style (using Situational Leadership®)
  • Create a vision for your unit

Managing Employee Performance

  • What is “performance”?
  • “Parent, Adult, and Child” mindsets
  • Set clear expectations
  • Regular, ongoing conversations
  • Deliver both positive and corrective feedback
  • Foster accountability with the non-directive approach

Addressing Marginal and Unsatisfactory Performance

  • What to do when performance slips
  • Deal effectively with resistance
  • Diffuse difficult or explosive situations
  • Respond to a negative employee
  • The “2-minute challenge” technique

Keeping Yourself Productive

  • Delegate tasks and accountability
  • Identify your key priorities
  • Manage your time, attention and energy

Your managers will be able to:

  1. Generate greater results from their unit.
  2. Focus on their business priorities.
  3. Leverage their own leadership strengths.
  4. Inspire others to action.
  5. Align employees’ activity with your organization’s strategy.
  6. Foster a culture of engagement and personal accountability.
  7. Delegate appropriately and with confidence.
  8. Tap into and develop the potential of their direct reports.
  9. Discuss performance in a way that motivates, vs. demoralizes, their people.
  10. Engage effectively with a wider variety of personality types.

Program Features

Each workshop employs a rich variety of learning techniques, including:

  • Theory/concept presentations
  • Stories and examples
  • Hands-on skill practice
  • Skill demonstration by the presenter
  • Coaching in class
  • Videos demonstrating how to do (or not to do) certain skills
  • Small group discussions
  • Individual reflection
  • Problem-solving on real situations from participants’ workplace
  • Role-playing
  • Simulations
  • Concrete action planning for back at work

Options to Reinforce Application Back-at-Work

There are a number of ways that we can work with you, post-program, to ensure that skills your people learn at the workshop become a permanent part of how they manage. Here are five:

  1. Executive debrief
    We meet with your senior leadership team to share our observations about the group and discuss ways in which you can support the transformation from skills to permanent behavior.
  2. Reinforcer emails
    For a number of months following the program participants receive a monthly email short article that highlights a key session from the course and introduces new ideas and tips not presented in class.
  3. On-site group coaching sessions
    Our presenter conducts 2-hour sessions with groups of 4-6 participants each. The purpose is to address specific issues and questions they have around applying what they learned. This offers scalpel-like attention to what each person needs. While the instructor coaches an individual, the others observe, learn, and offer suggestions.
  4. One-on-one phone coaching
    For select participants who will particularly benefit, a series of weekly or bi-weekly coaching conversations can be arranged with the presenter. These calls focus on particular challenges and opportunities for the individual around applying skills learned in the program and becoming an all-round more effective manager.
  5. Structured involvement from their managers
    We will set up a structured process with the bosses of the program attendees to help them support the transfer of learning from the classroom to the workplace. This will typically include an on-site coaching session with the the bosses, along with some templates and guidelines for having periodic supportive conversations and follow up with those who attended.


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