Management skills development through mentoring.

West Beach, Littlehampton

Management skills development is essential for organisational development and team success.  It can make the difference between a team thriving or not. But when and how should it be accessed?

The Problem

Staff often get promoted into management positions because they are great at something completely different; the chief widget maker becomes the Head of Widget Making. And then the problems begin. Why? Because management skills are a very different skill set. But they can be learnt.

Traditionally new managers are sent on a course to develop these management skills.  This can be a good starting point. However, there are a number of potential difficulties with this approach:

  1. You might have to wait for a good course to become available.
  2. Such a course covers what it has been designed to cover, when it has been designed to cover it. This may not meet the manager’s needs.
  3. A course doesn’t take into account the skills that the manager already has.
  4. There is little or no support to help the learner develop these skills once the course is over.
  5. There is no on-going advice on specific problems, just general principles

The answer to really effective management skills development is to use a mentor, with a vast array of experience and knowledge, to provide bespoke support and training. Good learning comes with input, practice, reflection and repeat, spaced over a period of time. Bespoke training delivered through mentoring can do this.

West Beach, Littlehampton; a great place for skills development
Mentoring – a place to learn, to reflect and to breathe.

Mentoring can also give clarity and space for reflection. Problems can be dealt with as they arise.

This is one of the services that I offer.

 

Management or Leadership Development?

What’s best, management or leadership development? Where should I put my energies?

Good leaders are really important. They give an organisation drive, focus, spirit and hope. But good leadership can’t make up for poor management. If the boss is terrific at cheering on the team, but incapable of dealing with an individual’s poor performance, then the whole team suffers. Or if the boss is great at inspiring followers but hopeless at communicating what actually needs to be done, then nothing gets done. An inspiring vision wont help a team that is at loggerheads.

Peter Drucker is quoted as saying

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Management is often seen as a poor relation to leadership – certainly the price tag of leadership training and coaching would suggest that. But fundamentally managers need to manage well; to do things right. The right things, yes, but in the right place, in the right way, at the right time.

And they need to be able to manage themselves; manage their time, their critical thinking, their communication and their assertiveness.

What’s the Answer for Janet Webb Consulting?

Excellence in management can have a significant impact.

So I have nailed my colours to the mast and decided to concentrate on helping managers be great managers.

Yacht masts decorated with colourful bunting.
Yacht masts decorated with colourful bunting.

How I do that I’ve written about in various places, including here.  They’ll almost certainly pick up some good leadership skills along the way; if they are concerned about managing well, then they’re half way there.

I’ve worked for really amazing managers who were shy and unassuming. And I’ve worked for poor managers who had an excess of charisma and passion. I know which I preferred and I know which environment I thrived in. It certainly wasn’t the one where we got a daily dose of guano; manure is really only good for the roses.

Taking Risks To Grow – What Can We Learn From A Hermit Crab?

I absolutely love hermit crabs; I have since childhood.  They are so intriguing and they have a lot to teach us about taking risks in order to grow.

A hermit crab not taking risks but staying put.
Herman Hermit in a compact and bijou “house.”

A Hermit Crab’s Life

Unlike other crustaceans, Hermit Crabs don’t grow their own shells when it is time to expand. Instead, they take up lodgings in a shell that has been cast off, such as a snail shell. It’s an efficient system, made more so by a procedure of co-operation and management of resources. This BBC video, narrated by the wonderful Sir David Attenborough, shows how a housing chain is set up when a large “des res” becomes available.

 

All the time that the Hermit Crab remains in its shell it is safe, but it will eventually need to take a risk and move to a new house, if it is to grow.  Whilst it is moving to another shell it is vulnerable to attack. However, if it doesn’t move it will die, as the shell becomes too small for it.

What Can We learn?

Our Hermit Crab taking a risk and moving house
Herman is taking the risk and making his move.

To grow, survive and thrive, we have to face up to taking risks:

  • to try something new
  • to say no to a request when we usually say yes
  • to say yes to an opportunity when we usually say no
  • to change jobs
  • to leave a relationship
  • to challenge bad behaviour
  • to move house

All these things take a certain amount of risk as we step outside of what is familiar and safe. Taking a risk stimulates our Limbic system and we feel fear – as if we were under threat of death.  I’ve written about some of this here.

But unless we face these things, we stagnate, shrink even. Our outlook shrinks, our options shrink and our opportunities shrink. To make the most of what we have, we need to take chances and risk what we have. Sometimes we lose, but even if we lose, we gain learning.

 

So What If We Do Lose?

Mark Twain said

“Good judgement is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgement.”

When we get things wrong we learn. When we get things right we grow. But if we never try we gain nothing.

Our Hermit Crab settled into a new house
Hooray! Herman has moved in and loving his new life.

A Hermit Crab hides in its shell for safety, but sometimes it leaves that safety in order to gain something new and of value. We could learn a lot.

 

 

 

Cartoons by Janet Webb, who had a go at something new.

Welcome…

… to Janet Webb Consulting. I’m an independent learning & development consultant, specialising in developing leadership and management skills, in the secular and in the spiritual arena. I help people find poise – that characteristic of being balanced, secure, sure-footed. It comes from having confidence in self, mastery of skill and inner strength. It allows humility, resilience, authenticity and wisdom.

Streams of how I provide development include:

  1. Mentoring senior leaders who don’t need management training but do need some help.
  2. Developing new managers who are exploring a whole new skill set.
  3. Helping individuals tackle whatever is daunting – presentations, giving feedback, networking.
  4. Working with those called to spiritual ministry, who have been trained well in interpretation of spiritual texts but struggle with being assertive, running a meeting or managing staff.

I am interested in how our brains work, where emotions come from and what has an impact on how we behave.

I help people to think better.

A photo of Janet Webb, leadership and development trainer, coach, mentor.My job is to help you and your team to do your stuff, by doing my stuff.

And so what is my stuff?

  • Supporting leaders and managers at all levels through transition
  • Facilitation
  • Team building and strategy days
  • Coaching people in public speaking and other high octane situations
  • Psychometric testing for development and stretch
  • Sometimes, it’s helping people to do the things that they thought that they couldn’t.

You can find out more about me here.

My LinkedIn profile will give you more information about my professional background.

Here you’ll find a different sort of CV with the words of those who have worked with me in many ways, not just leadership and management development.

You can find my blog here on my Damp Ink Page.

And my occasional spiritual blog you can find here.

What do you need? Share your story with me and let me help you explore where you are and where you are going. Call me for a chat and let’s see where it takes us.