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The 4 Fatal Flaws of “Management Training” (and How We’re Fixing Them)

I’ve sat through my fair share of external management training programs, most of them forced on me by an employer. To be clear, not all of them were bad.

But most of them were.

The example that sticks with me the most is the time my colleagues and I “got” to have a six-hour session with a time-management guru. The guy was nice, but we could barely repress our eyerolls as he showed us 100+ slides of stuff we already knew.

Of course, the biggest irony was that this consultant (who was supposed to teach us to manage time) was destroying a whole day of productivity.

As we architected our MGR360 manager-training workshop, I thought a lot about that session. The last thing we want to do is bore people, tell them what they already know, or—worst of all—waste their time.

At MGR360, we believe that great people managers make a gigantic difference:

(a) in their companies and

(b) in the lives of their direct reports.

Our goal is to give managers a framework to customize for their team and more management tools to add to their toolbox.

Our goal isn’t for you to check the “management training complete” box or be impressed by our theoretical frameworks. (To be fair, you do get to do both of these at our training, but that’s not the goal.)

Here’s how we FIXED training:

Why Most Training Sucks

1. The time investment isn’t worth it.

The most obvious problem with most management training programs is that you don’t get your time’s worth. No one has a whole day or more to spend in a conference room (or Zoom session) while our workload piles up.

At every point in developing the MGR360 workshop, we asked “How does this save people time?”

For us, it comes down to giving people a clear people-management framework to implement. With that clarity—knowing you’ve got your bases covered—you can be proactive and do more of what’s important instead of doing what feels urgent.

2. It’s just someone lecturing at you.

The assumption behind traditional management training is that the instructor knows something that he or she needs to impart to the trainee. Too often, this turns into trying to cram as much information into the sessions as possible with no interaction and no personality or connection. How does this apply to me and how will I implement this with my team when I get back to the office tomorrow?

Our approach isn’t “throw a ton of information at you and hope it sticks.” We first want to learn about you and your team: What are your current struggles with people management? What are you most interested in getting better at?

From there, we equip you with practical tools and strategies to use in your particular circumstance—not just general knowledge we think you should have.

3. You don’t gain confidence.

Unlike a lot of programs, we won’t send you back to your job and say, “OK, give it a try. Good luck!” Our MGR360 trainers work with you right there in the room to practice essential skills.

Unsure how to set the right goals for your team? We’ll work with you to hash them out.

Been avoiding a difficult conversation with an employee? We’ll get you practicing what you need to say and the best way to say it, right there in training too.

Confidence comes from practice, and we make time for practice.

4. There’s no follow-through.

There’s no good way to study this, but I would guess that the vast majority of information taught in an external “management training program” environment is never applied once you are back in the office.

That makes training pointless and a complete waste of time and money. Once you or your team complete a MGR360 training workshop, we stick with you over a six-week period. Not only do we co-create a customized plan with you to implement back at the office with your team—we also follow up on a weekly basis to address roadblocks you may have hit and give you additional tips.

Especially in this moment in history, nobody has time for training that doesn’t make a real difference.

Rest assured that when you schedule a MGR360 workshop for you or your whole management team, you’re going to work with a training team committed to creating value that you and your team will see and feel in the weeks, months, and years after you’re MGR360 certified. 

Picture of Alicia Thrasher

Alicia Thrasher

Alicia is cofounder and CEO of Manager360. Previously, she brought her leadership, vision, and strategic oversight to many executive positions, including leading programs for eBay/PayPal, Google, and Anheuser-Busch. She is the coauthor, with Joel Trammell, of The Manager's Playbook: Make Exceptional People Management Your Competitive Advantage.

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