Training managers typically come into the instructional world following one of two paths. In one case, a person advances within the training department, perhaps acting as a subject-matter expert, then a training analyst, then a trainer, then an instructional designer and, finally, with a broad background in training skills, the trainer moves into the training manager position. On the second path, a person with a track record for effective management, possibly with no training background, becomes the training department manager or director. Both paths have their own challenges.
In the first situation, a trainer must get up-to-speed as a manager. In the second instance, a manager must quickly get to know the training world.
The trainer who becomes a manager needs a mentor in the complicated world of organizational politics. The mentor may be the outgoing training manager, a senior member of the department, the person the new training manager reports to, or some other colleague within—or external to—the organization.
What might a new training manager discover or discuss with the mentor?
- Working relationships at the management level within the organization.
- Insights into key personalities within the organization, especially of the person the new training manager will be reporting to.
- Common problems for new managers.
- Budget development.
- Status of ongoing projects and priorities at a strategic level, as well as within the training department.
The new training manager, without a training background, needs to be brought up-to-speed on the world of training, the areas identified above, and so much more. Again, a mentor might be the outgoing manager, a training department member, or the person they are now reporting to. Their discussions might include:
- Alignment of training department mission statement and priorities with the organization’s mission and objectives.
- Departmental politics.
- Existing training budget.
- Relationships within the department.
- Existing or required training department policies.
- Role of training within the organization.
- Major functions and capabilities of the department.
- Collaborative nature of training within the organization and within the department.
- Timelines associated with instructional design or delivery.
- Needs analysis process.
- When to say “no” to a training request.
- Personalities of the training department members.
- Personnel challenges within the department.
- Resources to draw upon to further various training department projects.
In either case, the new training manager has a lot on his or her plate. Getting up-to-speed on new responsibilities means a busy time with focused energy and the goal to get off to a good start.
To learn how to create and manage a high-performance training function and how to align training with organizational needs to deliver cost-effective, first-class training, check out The Successful Training Manager workshop.