5 Signs Your Managers Need Leadership Training

5-signs-2.pngA good manager manages. A great manager leads. Bridging the gap between a good manager and a great manager begins with identifying what needs to change.

Leadership training is essential to any organization who aims to give their managers the tools they need to deal with difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable workplace situations. Since the quality of managers account for up to 70% in variance of employee engagement, it is crucial to make sure yours are of the highest quality. If managers at your organization exhibit any of the following traits, you should consider developing their skills so they are better equipped to execute. Below are 5 common issues and signs that your managers need leadership training.


Issue 1: Poor Communication

Countless issues arise when there is poor communication within an organization. Communication drives efficiency, so inability to properly communicate can harm output. Building trust, cultivating a welcoming and comfortable environment, and encouraging input without judgment is tremendously important to the success of any business. Oftentimes, simple communication issues can snowball into much larger ones, as the core of the problem (miscommunication) isn’t a topic that ineffective communicators enjoy discussing.

There are countless barriers to good workplace communication, which include lack of listening skills, false expectations or prejudices, and general distrust between colleagues. These issues are not ones that leaders consciously exhibit, and can often be chalked up to habit. Fortunately, curbing these tendencies is relatively easy with the right preparation and practice.

To identify whether your managers are using effective communication skills, observe how they interact with those who report to them. Some common signs of poor workplace communication are:

  • Employees seem generally uncomfortable when speaking to management
  • Team members are hesitant to offer input
  • Assignments and tasks are consistently done incorrectly
  • Employees complain that they are confused about what to do
  • Meetings and conversations tend to be long and without clear direction
  • Managers fail to actively listen and ask clarifying questions
  • Managers speak with a condescending tone
  • Day-to-day feedback does not occur

If you notice these symptoms arise in your organization, you may be facing an issue of poor communication. Developing your managers’ foundational communication skills is a great place to start.


Issue 2: Coaching Without Giving Feedback

There is a huge difference between telling someone how to do something, and enabling them to do it. One of the crucial duties of a manager is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their employees, and give feedback accordingly. Lack of quality feedback is a common issue in organizations with high error rates and frequent quality issues.

The reason feedback is so crucial in the coaching process is because continuous growth is impossible without conscious improvement. A manager who coaches without giving feedback can easily be replaced with a binder full of instructions. Consistency, quality, and efficiency are far easier to achieve when everyone involved knows what they are doing well, what needs improvement, and why changes are made.

Employees tend to learn from their managers, so without proper feedback, bad habits tend to linger, even as the employee is promoted to higher ranks. One way to mitigate this is to have your managers frequently practice their coaching and feedback skills as part of a larger leadership development curriculum.


Issue 3: Inability to Motivate Team Members

The key to effective workplace motivation is to genuinely care for others. Everyone has had a different set of experiences, and thus different motivations and ambitions. If blanket incentives are issued in a company, only those who are motivated by the specific reward will strive to achieve it. Remember, there is a huge difference between motivation and incentive, and if your managers are simply incentivizing employees, they are failing to be a beacon of inspiration.

If managers are able to connect with their team members, learn about their specific motivations, and act accordingly, those employees will be far more likely to want to come into work every day. Being able to effectively motivate team-members is simply a function of good communication skills. If a manager is able to listen to her employees, learn more about their motivations and experiences, and do all that she can to create a more fulfilling workplace environment for that employee, moral is lifted and productivity increases.

The difference between compliance and commitment lies in the fact that commitment comes from within, and compliance is forced upon you. If employees simply comply, they are not motivated to produce quality work. A great leader is able to motivate those around them to commit fully to their goals and objectives.


Issue 4: Failure to Delegate

The overambitious manager is often seen as a huge asset to an organization. While your manager may think they’re doing the company a favor by biting off more than they can chew, they’re actually creating a bottleneck within the company and adding unnecessary inefficiencies. By recognizing the strengths of their team members, acknowledging that they themselves have weaknesses, and delegating accordingly, an effective manager can greatly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of those they oversee.

Being able to trust those who report to them is a big step for many managers to take. Improving workplace communication also improves the ability to delegate. By getting to know their employees, figuring out their strengths and weaknesses, and assigning tasks based on those traits, effective managers can increase productivity and trust within an organization.

Implementing strategic delegation helps team get more accomplished. Managers can use their own time more effectively and give team members valuable experience. Great managers use delegation skills to enhance the output of those around them. Developing the ability to delegate can transform your overambitious manager from a liability into an invaluable asset.


Issue 5: High Employee Turnover

The final sign of a poor manager often comes as a result of the preceding issues. According to a study released by Gallup, the #1 predictor of high turnover is the employees’ immediate manager.

Being able to retain quality talent is an increasingly important trait in today’s market. It takes an average of 52 days to fill a vacant position at any given company because of an ever-shrinking talent pool in many industries. Onboarding a new team member tends to be stressful, time consuming, and costly. High employee turnover is a major pain point of many organizations for this very reason.

If your managers fail to communicate effectively, provide, feedback, coach, motivate others, and delegate properly, this can seriously impact your employee retention. Quality talent won’t stick around unless there is also an abundance of quality management.


Managers play a critical role in most organizations, large and small. Investing in leadership training can be the most effective top-down decision that a business leader can make, as the skills developed can have a lasting impact on the success of the company’s operations. Vital Learning’s leadership development solutions help transform poor managers and deliver tangible results.


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