How to Manage without Management Training

Is it possible to manage people without having experienced a formal training process?  Of course it is!  I would guess that 70% or more of today’s managers began managing without being trained, and many have yet to ever receive training.  Are they any good?  Some are and yet many more are not.

Back in the day I was promoted to a management role because I was a subject matter expert.  I knew how to perform the duties of the position, yet I had never managed a staff.  How hard could that be?  I found out that it was the hardest part of the new job!

Over the years prior to the first management promotion I had been lucky to have worked for several really good managers.  I tried to figure out what made their management style work and kind of fashioned my own style from the best of the best.  I also over the years have worked for some really awful managers.  The ones that Hell released back into the workforce to wreak havoc on society.  I probably learned more from these wonders about what to avoid.  Meshing the two sets of traits, I got by.

Years later I found myself in a trainer role at a bank that prided itself on employee development.  We developed operational skills, sales and service and technical skills.  But we also spent a lot of time on interpersonal communications and management/leadership development.  I loved this kind of training because it gave what I had tried to figure out on my own, some order and process.

Later I found myself moving from the individual contributor role in training to a chance to lead a training function as the Chief Learning Officer.  I never gave the managing part of the job a second thought.  Once in the role, my early background and time training others, all came together.  I had a great team of people in training, and we pulled many a rabbit out of the hat because we supported each other.

Can you manage without management training? Yes, but I have to ask you, why would you want to do it the hard way like I did?


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