Managers are just like dragons. They start out unruly...dangerous even...but if you're kind and helpful, and give them enough treats (positive reinforcement), you will most certainly be able to nonviolently subdue them into doing all the things you want them to do, in just the way you want them done. Right?
And here's how it works:
Step 1: Send them to a series of classes, over a series of days, with a series of people (who know nothing about your business). That, in and of itself, is a treat (they should love it!).
Step 2: Make sure they learn a bunch of new tricks - management theories, leadership models, triangles and squares and circles too.
[note to reader: I poke fun at myself as well...my own methodology has all three shapes...!]
They'll immediately see how to use these theories in their day-to-day chaos.
Step 3: Make sure they write down their new tricks, talk to their boss about them...and then get back to work to make up for all the time they missed. No need to follow up, they'll show their new tricks once and awhile all on their own...when there's a treat involved (like impressing a colleague...or you).
Because Managers are just like dragons. Or is it dogs? Sigh.
It's scary how common this approach is to developing Managers and I wish we could all just agree that it doesn't work. Fine in school, for passing the requisite tests and gaining some head knowledge (which most of us promptly forgot as soon as we were into the next semester). I'm a huge believer in education...it's just that Managing well isn't as much about knowing as it is about doing. Learning to manage well is like learning to play a musical instrument. If we actually want to build skill, we need knowledge delivered in context, we need repetition and we need application followed by feedback.
No one ever learned to play the piano by reading about it (or talking about it) in a classroom.
Learning how to manage is not a "one and done" exercise. You can't learn it in a classroom because Managing is a skill...in fact, not one skill but a system of skills that work together and depend on one another. Managers need the opportunity to learn the system of Management...
Meaning from within the system of your organization, through repetition, application, and feedback.
They are not dragons learning tricks. They are people building skills.