One of the interesting observations made by users of Profiles for People is that managers tend to have only a moderate interest in their own development, and the development of their subordinates. Some respondents can be conservative to the point of being downright reactionary.
Those managers who do register a higher than moderate interest in developmental growth are observed to stimulate others and to enliven their environment. Not all of them, however, have supporting performance factors to ensure their success.
These comments lead to two points:
- If you wait for managers to learn of their own volition, be prepared to wait a long time in many cases.
- Those who will learn voluntarily need some means of defining their behavioural learning needs, partly because of their personal learning styles, and partly because of hidden or unspecified performance deficiencies.
In the first situation, where managers do not learn voluntarily, those who lead the organisation must be concerned enough to ensure the level of skills is better than “adequate” to meet the organisation’s needs now and in the future. This means, in practical terms, that these leaders need to be directive in their approach to skills development, and not rely entirely on individual initiative.
With the second group, (those who are likely to learn voluntarily), their enthusiasm and energy should be channelled into appropriate learning programmes that satisfy their desire to grow, yet meet the organisation’s needs for skills and competence.
One of the strong contributions Profiles for People makes is its direct relationship between managerial action and learning needs. For example, the Activity Interests profile indicates learning needs in problem solving, managing, verbal and numerical communication, and negotiating.
Profiles for People’s performance improvement Advisory Notes provide an outline of training content, or support developmental counselling.
And of course, you will expect to find change reflected in measures of changed personal and group behaviors after training and on-job application have happened.