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Training Session on Managing Managers

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The question was posted by Rebecca on 18/02/2018 09:46:43

Hi Trainers Library Gang,! I am in need once again of your help. As part of a leadership course for Senior Managers, I've been asked to include a session on how to manage Managers. the main issues seem to be that some managers tend to hide behind the md when there is a difficult message to be delivered and not wanting to deal with some of the thornier issues. Has anyone ever delivered a session l this before? I wonder if anyone would be willing to share some ideas with me?

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Hi Rebecca

From the above, it sounds like managers aren't being held accountable for a leadership role. Given that I would almost be tempted to focus on basics with your senior managers - setting SMART goals, evaluating performance, giving feedback - using the specific examples in the organisation, and how you can do this effectively for a management role. You could also use a model like the Leadership Pipeline or 4 Stages of Contribution to talk about how roles shift at different levels. Use this to help them discuss whether they are holding managers responsible for the shift in role from contributor to manager, but also to reflect on whether they have taken the step up into a true business leader role, or are still being the day to day manager.
Hi Rebecca

We have a couple of good exercises that will enable you to explore delivering difficult messages. They are We Need to Talk ( and Difficult Conversations ( Both the scenarios are quite thought provoking in exploring the importance to speaking up, even when it might feel difficult to do so.

You could also adapt Managing Challenges ( to give people an opportunity to discuss the type of direct reports your senior managers struggle with the most.

Finally, you might find the case studies Colin Breaks the Rules ( and Country Kitchen ( useful. They both feature the repercussions of not managing a manager very well...

I hope that these ideas help Rebecca.

All the best

Hi Rebecca, you could introduce them to the Emotional Leadership Styles of daniel goleman (6 of them) - get them to review the pros and cons of each and then give them case studies to use them in action and which style fits - then weave in a case study that has this particular situation - which style would be best in this situation? (eg Directive Style)... (has great infographics on them).

i'll have a think some more too.

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