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Training Managers Who Walk the Walk


Identifying and training role models in your business or practice is key to creating a positive, productive work environment.

Identification of Role Models as Part of Your Company’s Interactive Training Function

Which managers should you cultivate as role models to lead your organization? In-depth discussions about a worker’s management style, problem-solving techniques, and strategic propensities are crucial to identifying the best role models for your business. These conversations may occur at management retreats, lunches, weekly management meetings, and/or in informal settings like office social functions. The focus on information-gathering sessions is to turn the traditional training paradigm on its head. Instead of a presenter delivering information to the group, the emphasis is on the interaction of group members to determine how each person confronts challenges and creates synergy to achieve a common goal. These forums are opportunities for senior managers to listen and learn about how their reports analyze and resolve problems. Understand that successful managers who inspire and motivate may have a multitude of different styles and approaches. The goal is not homogeneity; rather, the mission is for you and your senior managers to learn about the people who manage your business in order to identify productive leaders regardless of style.

Identifying Leaders

What does a good role model look like? The traditional character traits mentioned in leadership studies still apply. You are of course looking for managers with integrity, vision, tenacity, energy, and cognitive skills. But a great leader is not necessarily a good teacher and developer of employees. Three characteristics important to consider in identifying those most likely to be successful role models are as follows:

  1. Good role models are good communicators. They are able to convey complex concepts simply and clearly to employees in both oral and written presentations.

  2. Good role models are knowledgeable about the subject matter that is the focus of their daily work and they are lifetime learners who make it their business to continue to grow their knowledge in their field of endeavor. Ask yourself who employees go to when they have subject-matter questions in your office - these people are good teachers, willing to take time to show their reports on how to successfully analyze challenges and problems. 

  3. Good role models have the ability to relate to and empathize with their reports. Studies often refer to this trait as emotional intelligence. These leaders have humility. These managers understand that learning goes both ways from supervisor to worker and from worker to supervisor. Hopefully, you have hired workers that as a group have diverse experiences in their collective work histories and educations. A manager who can successfully encourage the exchange of employees’ knowledge and ideas by extracting the relevant nuggets of information from each worker’s individual experience creates the synergy that is the lifeblood of every highly productive work environment.

Training and Encouraging Role Models

Interactive teaching and learning are the keys. The same interactive process described above that assists you and senior managers in identifying the supervisors most likely to be successful role models is also the best practice for training and teaching manager/role models. 

Training should focus on teaching managers: 1) how to elicit meaningful discussion between and among employees on subject-matter and strategic topics; 2) how to give positive-reinforcement feedback to foster maximum idea-flow and innovation; and, 3) the various approaches to issue identification and problem-solving.

Train your managers to be mentors. Developing employees to their maximum potential through encouragement, on-the-job training, observation, and formal subject-matter training promotes maximum employee creativity and lowers turnover. Studies show that job seekers and employees value coaching and personal growth and development as critical to their careers and thus, their long-term success and happiness at their jobs.


Wells Law, LLC is here to assist you in the development of cost-efficient, compliant policies and procedures for your professional practice or business. We can also assist with workplace investigations and management training.  Click on the hyperlink to contact us or to learn more about the services we can provide for you and your business.


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