While many of the methods used to train first-level employees are also used to train managers and supervisors, there are other methods that tend to be reserved for management development.
(A) On the Job Development:
Methods of providing on the job experiences include the following:
2. Understudy Assignments
3. Job Rotation
4. Special Projects and Junior boards
5. Actual Learning
6. Planned Career Progression
Coaching involves a continuing flow of instructions, comments and suggestions from the manager to the subordinate.
2. Understudy Assignment:
Understudy assignment groom an individual to take over a manager’s job by gaining experience in handling important functions of the job.
3. Job Rotation:
Job rotation can be either horizontal or vertical. Vertical job rotation is nothing more than promoting a worker into a new position. Horizontal job rotation is also known as lateral transfer.
Job rotation proves to be an excellent method for broadening the manager or potential manager. It turns specialists into generalists. Job rotation increases the manager’s experience and permits the manager to absorb new knowledge and information.
Job rotation also decreases the boredom arising from performing the single task and stimulates the development of new ideas. It provides opportunities for a more comprehensive and trustworthy evaluation of the manager by his supervisors.
There can be two broad bases of horizontal job rotations:
I. Planned Basis:
Horizontal job transfers can be done on a planned basis by means of a development program whereby the employee spends two or three months in an activity and is then moved on;
II. Situational Basis:
This is done by moving the person to another activity when the first remains no longer challenging to him, or to meet the needs of work scheduling. People may be in a continual transfer mode. Many large organizations use horizontal job rotations in their programs to develop managerial talent including moving people between line and staff positions, often closely coordinated with understudy assignments.
The job rotation possesses advantages as shown below:
Advantages of Job Rotation:
a. Broadens employees and increases their experiences.
b. Reduces boredom and monotony
c. Enables a greater understanding of other activities within the organization
d. Prepares people to assume greater responsibilities, especially at the higher levels.
e. Permits people to understand the intricacies and interrelationships of activities
f. Makes employees acquire quickly different abilities by moving about within the organization.
The job rotation also shares its drawbacks.
Drawbacks of Job Rotation:
a. Increases development costs.
b. Reduces productivity by moving a worker into a new position just when his efficiency at the previous job was turning organizational economies.
c. Can result in having a large number of employees situated in a position where their job knowledge is very limited.
d. Can put inexperienced personnel to perform new tasks.
e. When rotated managers may make decisions based on little knowledge of the activity at hand.
f. Can de-motivate intelligent and aggressive trainees who seek specific responsibility in their chosen specialization.
4. Committee Assignments:
Committee assignment can provide an opportunity for the employee to share in managerial decision-making, to learn by watching others, and to investigate specific organizational problems.
Ad-hoc committees often take on task force activities aimed to delve into a particular problem, identify alternative solutions, and recommend to implement a solution. These temporary assignments can provide employees both interesting and rewarding to the employee’s growth.
Serving on permanent committees exposes the employee to other members of the organization, increases his understanding and gives him an opportunity to grow and make recommendations under the scrutiny of senior committee members.
5. Action Learning:
Action learning gives managers release time to work full- time on projects with other in the organization. In some cases, action learning is combined with classroom instruction, discussions, and conferences.
6. Planned Career Progression:
This method utilize all these different methods to provide employees with the training and development necessary to progress through a series of jobs requiring higher and higher levels of knowledge and/ or skills.
(B) Off-the Job Development:
While on-the-job experiences constitute the core of management training and development, other off-the-job methods of development can be used to supplement these experiences.
Off-the-job methods include:
1. Seminars and Conferences:
Seminar is an established method for training. It is conducted in several ways:
(a) It may be based on a paper prepared by one or more trainees on a subject selected in consultation with the person in charge of the discussion. It may be a part of a study or related to theoretical studies or practical problems. The trainees read their papers, and this is followed by a critical discussion. The chairman of the seminar summarizes the contents of the papers and the discussions which follow their reading.
(b) It may be based on the statement by the person in charge of the seminar or on a document prepared by an expert, who is invited to participate in the discussion.
(c) The person in charge of the group discussion distributes in advance the material to be analyzed in the form of required readings. The seminar compares the reactions of trainees, encourages discussion, defines the general trends and guides the participants to certain conclusions.
(d) Valuable working material may be provided to the trainees by actual files. The trainees may consult the files and bring these to the seminar where they may study in detail the various aspects, ramifications and complexities of a particular job or work or task.
2. Management Games:
The development of management games have brought training experiences to life and made them more interesting. In management games trainees face the task of making a series of decisions affecting a hypothetical organization. The effects that every decision has on each area within the organization can be simulated with a computer programmed for the game. This technique requires a high degree of participation.
Games are now widely used as a management development method. Many of them have been designed for general use but more recently have been adapted specific industries. As the development of industry specific games has increased, there are now simulations for a wide variety of organizations.
Some are using simulations of organization dynamics as tools for change. Practitioners in the area of management training have come to realize that extensive preparation, planning, and debriefing are needed to realize the potential benefits of management games.
3. Behavior Modeling:
Behavior modeling technique combines several different training methods and multiple principles of learning.
Behavior modeling involves four basic components:
(a) Learning points:
At the beginning of instruction, the essential goals and objectives of the program are enumerated. In some cases, the learning points are a sequence of behaviors that are to be taught. For example, the learning points might explain the recommended steps for giving employees feedback.
Participants see films or videotapes that portray a model manager dealing with an employee in an effort to improve his performance. The model exhibits specifically the way to deal with the situation and demonstrates the learning points.
(c) Practice and Role Play:
Learners participate in extensive rehearsal of the behaviors models demonstrate. The greatest percentage of training time is spent in these skill-practice sessions.
(d) Feedback and Reinforcement:
As the trainee’s behavior increasingly resembles that of the model, the trainer and other trainees provide social reinforces such as praise, approval, encouragement, and attention. Videotaping behavior rehearsals provides back and reinforcement. Throughout the training emphasis is placed on transferring the training to the job.
4. Sensitivity Training:
Around 1947, in US, a group of social scientists carried out a unique experiment, in an effort to translate theory and knowledge about human behavior and group interaction into a new system of learning. They called it T- Group learning, which later came to be known as sensitivity training. This group comprised Kurt Lewin, Ronald Lippet, Ken Benne, Leland Bradford and their associates.
Sensitivity training laboratory also known as T-Group learning, D- Group learning (development) or laboratory training, is an experience-based, unstructured form of learning where learning or development takes place by sharing experiences, particularly those generated in the group. It is a participant centered learning oriented towards participants’ know-how. It accepts the participants as they are and draws upon them as resources for working in the lab.
The belief is that effective learning influences the attitudes and behavior and it comes through emotional and intellectual involvement. The goal of this lab is personal growth through increased self-awareness and interpersonal competence. It also aims to make the group members more sensitive to the emotions of others and themselves, so that they learn about the consequences of their own actions by focusing on their own actions and the feelings of others.
As they work in a group they recognize the various undercurrents at work – consider the fact that the facilitator is present only to mediate and that too in a limited capacity. The participants are on their own so far as individual decision-making is concerned. Their unadulterated feelings and basic emotions are the only mainstay of their judgment- making process. In other words, they constantly run the risk of over or undervaluing the sentiments and actions of their peers, thereby diluting or concentrating the density of their inferences in the process.
This leads them to recognize their inherent leadership- styles, their innate sensitivity to others and their overall ability to hone their emotions so as to subsume the views and biases of their peers, in their analysis. They have a better overall understanding of their perceptions of other people as well as peer- perceptions regarding them.
The aim is to harmonize group-behavior and bring the members into congruence, as well as enable them to harness the power of this enhanced understanding to increase the efficacy of their roles as team players and managers.
In the beginning as the group meets in an informal atmosphere with the trainer there is intentional lack of leadership and any formal agenda like the way one is used to in other systems of learning. As the trainer does not comply with the traditional expectations of the participants from the teacher, there is a complete vacuum. People look askance and find means to fill this vacuum. This brings in focus the interaction processes in the group. And each one starts forming his role in the group.
Now as the group moves forward the trainer becomes open and empathetic and expresses his feelings in a minimal way. But the major involvement is from the group. The feedback is received from the members who come to know about their own behavior. And thus new patterns of relationships emerge.
The members serve as resources to one another and facilitate experimentation with personal, interpersonal and collaborative behavior. The group discovers new ways of handling problems as a whole. Thing like who is a listener, leader, helper emerges. There are underlying emotional issues.
There are questions like- who am I in this group (identity), what are my goals and needs (what do I want?), how much power and control do I have, how much do I trust others and generate that trust, do I resist authority, do I assert personal dominance, do I seek support from the others and so on all these and more issues come to the fore front.
And in the final phase all these issues are explored in the relevance of the experience back home. Thus this period of about 7 days aims towards personal growth and understanding of self and environment there is continuous feedback during the whole process. The whole process is full of stress for the trainer as well as the people involved. But the outcome is one that may relieve stress as a whole.
Sensitivity training is applied in wide variety of situations and to a wide class of people- from the middle and top-level management to professional helpers like social workers, teachers and even students. This not only helps in their personal growth, but it also aims to make them aware of the processes at work as they interact with people, thus developing their team building capabilities.
Organizations use this training for OD intervention. Family laboratories and cousin labs are used to initiate organizational change and reduce conflict in the work place. It is also a useful tool to develop team spirit in the people. This can also be used to enhance the sensitivities of the people to the processes at work and the emotions of the colleagues and others that work with them. Organizations today are using this tool along with others to achieve the-above-mentioned goals.
However one important thing is that for this training to be really beneficial and to bring about a lasting change in the members is has to have a system of continuous follow up among the members. Also the members have to consciously make the attempt to implement the learning is their practical lives. But this tool is a powerful one that organizations in all spheres and all over the world can use to increase the overall organizational effectiveness.
5. Transaction Analysis:
Transactional Analysis is a theory developed by Dr. Eric Berne in the 1950’s. It is both an approach for defining and analyzing communication interaction between people and a theory of personality. TA outlines how we have developed and treats ourselves, how we relate and communicate with others, and offers suggestions and interventions which will enable us to change and grow.
Today Transactional Analysis is used in psychotherapy, organizations, educational and religious settings. The fundamental theory underlying TA holds that an individual’s personality consists of three ego states – the parent, the child, and the adult.
Parent Ego State:
This is a set of feelings, thinking and behavior that we have copied from our parents and significant others. So we grow up we take in ideas, beliefs, feelings and behaviors from our parents and caretakers. The parent state is made of one’s attitudes and behavior incorporated from external sources. It is an ego state of authority and superiority. A person acting in a parent state is usually dominant, scolding, and otherwise authoritative.
Adult Ego State:
The adult ego state is objective and rational. It deals with reality and objectively gathers information. The Adult ego state is about being spontaneous and aware with the capacity for intimacy. When in our Adult we are able to see people as they are, rather than what we project onto them.
We ask for information rather than stay scared and rather than make assumptions. Taking the best from the past and using it appropriately in the present is an integration of the positive aspects of both our Parent and Child ego states. So this can be called the Integrating Adult. Integrating Adult means that we are constantly updating ourselves through our everyday experiences and are using them to inform us.
Child Ego State:
The Child ego state is a set of behaviors, thoughts and feelings which are replayed from our own childhood. The child contains all the impulses that are natural to an infant. Acting in this state, the person can be obedient or manipulative; charming at one moment and repulsive the next. Of course, not everything in the Child ego state is negative.
In TA theory, the parent and child ego states feel and react directly, while the adult state thinks or processes transactional data logically before acting. In most situations, therefore, the ideal interaction is an adult stimulus, followed by an adult response. The process of analyzing personality in terms of ego states is called structural analysis.
The way we structure our time is also influenced by our script.
6. Simulation Exercises:
Simulations were introduced as a training technique. They are probably even more popular for management development. The more widely used simulation exercises include case study, decision games, and role plays.
(a) Case Study:
The case method is usually employed to enhance participation and interest among trainees. In-basket method, a variation of the case method, is used as a test as well as a training and development device. This method involves letters, notes, documents and reports purporting to provide on the job reality of the manager’s in basket.
It purports to develop and measure decision-making ability of managers. At the very outset attempts are made to provide the trainees with background information regarding a simulated enterprise and its products, organization and key personnel.
(b) Role Play:
The role play is another group training method involving acceptance and playing of a role in real life drama. The major limitation of role playing for managerial development is that senior executives avoid responsibility and act only as observers and critics, while the junior executives become unduly concerned.
To avoid this, the group should consist of individuals of the same general status and participation should be voluntary. This method enables the participants to become aware of the problems and perspectives of others with whom they deal.
(c) Decision Games:
Business games are classroom simulation exercises in which teams of individuals compete against one another or against an environment in order to achieve given objectives. These games are designed to be representative of real life conditions.
Under these, an atmosphere is created in which the participants play a dynamic role, and enrich their skills through involvement and simulated experience. Most business games are expressed in the form of a mathematical model controlled and manipulated by an electric computer, while others can be played manually.
Decision games are intended to teach trainees how to take management decisions in an integrated manner. The participants learn by analyzing problems and by making trial and error decisions. Such games illustrate the existence of various group processes including communication, the resolution of conflicts, the emergence of leadership and the development of ties of friendship.