Ideas on People and Performance, Team Building, Motivation and Innovation

The Elephant in the Room – Line Managers are the Trainers (All others fail)

More and more, I am  convinced that the KEY training people in organizations do not reside in the HR or Training Departments –they are the ranks of the line managers.

Managers are responsible for performance. Managers are responsible for quality and service. Managers are responsible for productivity and results. And, more and more, the continued budget cuts in these “training departments” are now more focused on issues of basic skills training, orientation training, and similar kinds of outcomes.

So, what are we doing to provide managers with the skills they need to function as organizational performance improvement consultants, coaches for identifying best practices and communicating and implementing changes and improvements? Are most managers involving and engaging people, or just wasting time and energy?

This could be brainstorming and an action to involve and engage people in workplace improvement. Or, it might represent another “Yell and Tell” training session.

My belief, as so much data shows, is that people are NOT involved and engaged by the acts and actions of most managers — sure, the BEST Bosses are good at leading people forward, building ownership and engaging people in teamwork and process improvement. But it is still true, in most organizations, that BOSS spelled backwards is self-explanatory (email me and I will explain privately, if this euphemism is not immediately understood!).

What do they need to do to shift the energy of these meetings from negative to positive? One solution is to use better tools and an approach that is facilitative rather than confrontational.

Asking is a much better approach than Telling. Engaging is a much better approach than generating resistance to change. Generate SMILES, not frowns.

For the past 20 years, I have been developing simple but powerful tools for involving and engaging people and generating ownership and performance improvement. If you have any questions, drift around randomly through the PMC website and generate your own thoughts on how people can be more intrinsically motivated and build a better sense of team and US.

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People have ideas for improvement and supervisors can do such a better job of asking and engaging and implementing, don’t you think. Could people simply choose to do things better and more efficiently?
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Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
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1 Comment

  1. I like the image of elephants as trainers. And you pose a good question.
    I think managers need to do one critically important thing:

    Identify the goal for this session or series of training sessions. Is the primary goal to improve performance or to educate? The answer makes a difference. If the goal is education then learning from what we do is the most important thing, and performance is simply the vehicle for getting there. So, managers who want to educate first (which seems to be the purpose of training, after all) need to choose projects, discussion topics, etc. in which it is OK for participants to not succeed. If the primary goal is performance then don’t hide that fact behind the veneer of education.

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