Depending on what you need to learn there are a range of alternatives to attending the ubiquitous management training course.  Firstly think about what it is you need to develop by asking yourself some simple questions, for example:

  • To do all aspects of my current job well, what do I need to be better at?
  • I would resolve an ongoing problem if I improved my skills and ability in the following areas?
  • In my appraisals and other feedback (e.g. from my team) I have been told that I could improve the following?
  • In my next likely roles I need to be good at?

Take the example of improving your self management and planning skills.  Rather than going on a management training course on time management consider the following:

  • Prepare a personal vision for yourself. Many people who struggle to manage their time because they are not clear about their own priorities. Your vision should be an expression of your preferred future, something you feel passionately about. Write it down and break it down into key goals and timings.Include a small activity each week in your diary to take you towards your vision.
  • Use ‘To Do’ lists and prioritise the urgency and importance of the task.Cross tasks off once complete.
  • Use a diary more effectively. Record your time for 2 weeks. What does this tell you?How much time did you spend reacting to events? How much time was spent on planned events? How can you plan your time differently?
  • Demonstrate commitment to yourself and your development by making time for yourself every week to reflect on what you have learned and what you want to focus on next.
  • Do not take responsibility for other people’s roles. Be clear with them what you are responsible for and what they are responsible for.
  • Do not completely fill your diary keep slots free for unplanned events.
  • Spend 5 minutes every day visualising yourself obtaining your goals.
  • Be proactive. Listen to your language and the language of those around you.
  • How often do you use or hear, ‘If only’, ‘I cannot’, or ‘I have to’?
  • Work on ways of eliminating negativity from your language. Act as a role model to others.
  • Read a book such as The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey or Self Defeating Behaviours by Cudney, Milton and Hardy.

By thinking more deeply about what it is you need to learn you will be able to identify some simple actions that you can take on a daily basis to improve your management skills.  While a management training course may ultimately be the right approach, don’t simply assume that it is the answer to all your development needs.