The Importance of Professional Development for Managers

Mitchell_manager development March 2, 2023 By: Barbara Mitchell

A bad manager can ruin an employee’s workplace experience, so organizations need to prioritize training and development for their staff supervisors. A look at what that entails.

Q: It’s been a few years since Gallup research said people don’t leave organizations; they leave managers. If that’s the case, it seems to me that we need to focus our attention on our supervisors and managers to ensure their skills are updated. How can organizations do that?

A: Gallup is right: supervisors and managers play a huge role in engaging and retaining good people.

While there are usually other factors in an employee’s decision to resign, the impact of a direct supervisor can’t be overlooked.

Since managers have a can make or break a staff member’s experience, investing in them makes sense.  Here are some of the skills to focus on:

  • Communication. Do managers listen to their staff, and do they keep their people updated on the organization’s plans and procedures? Are meetings effective or just something you think you need to do?
  • Expectations. Do managers clearly outline what they expect from employees, and do they hold employees accountable if those expectations are not met? If an employee is not performing, do managers understand the importance of taking action to help that employee improve?
  • Approachability. Are supervisors available when their people need them? Do they meet with their teams as a group but also take time to meet individually?
  • Reward and recognition. Do managers say thank you and provide feedback as often as needed?
  • Skill development. Do managers ensure they provide training and other development opportunities for their direct reports?
  • Hiring skills. Do managers know how to interview potential employees and evaluate their fit for your organization?

Investing development in the above areas will go a long way toward ensuring your valued employees will want to stay working for their manager and for your organization.

Supervisors and managers play a huge role in engaging and retaining good people.
In addition to the areas addressed above, there are countless webinars and podcasts that you can recommend they listen to and register for. You can also provide mentoring for each of the management team. In addition, consider using peer coaching to educate your new and less experienced supervisors. There are good books and articles available to share with your managers too.

I encourage you to make skill development for your supervisors and managers a high priority so that you don’t lose good people.

Barbara Mitchell

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, and the newest, The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book. Do you have a question you'd like her to answer? Send it to