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The future of management – resurgent or side-lined?

In the nineties and noughties we did something terrible: we stopped, or significantly reduced, investment in management training – and now we are reaping the consequences! In some cases, the maintenance of that critical management link between leaders and staff has become a lost art; just watch the engagement scores tumble! The antidote is competent management that constructively challenges those above and holds staff to account.


In a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world we face unparalleled challenges:

  • As companies and organisations struggle to find the answers to the unanswerable, their organisational energy can reduce greatly. Great management can alleviate the pain by giving context to the staff.
  • Managers face the classic dilemma of being the ‘filling in the sandwich’. They are berated by leaders for their perceived slowness in implementing transformational projects and moaned at by the rank and file who feel increasingly displaced by digitalisation.
  • There is an adage that people join an organisation for reward and career progression and leave because they cannot get on with their manager. This idea is even more pertinent as different generations and cultures demand fluidity in management style. Moreover, in a period of accelerating change, good management can make the difference.
  • By setting and modelling adherence to standards, managers have those difficult conversations in an objective and respectful way. Good managers can confer energy, commitment and loyalty to frontline staff – so they in turn can delight customers.
  • We live in a world of scandal and revelations where one incident can ignite a social media feeding frenzy and destroy reputation in a nano-second! Great managers set the tone and the standards that underpin a culture of truth, honesty and integrity.

It certainly is hard to be a good manager!

At Henley Business School we welcome all sorts of managers to our Developing Management Practice (DMP) programme, from first-time managers to seasoned professionals looking to reappraise their approach and sharpen their tools, to those who feel training has entirely passed them by.

This programme addresses all the key challenges outlined above and ticks all the boxes for creating better managers; the programme is designed to enable you to become the best possible manager you can be. The design of the programme is highly practical and experiential. As well as explaining the core role requirements of being a manager, it also creates an environment of safety in which delegates can define what they stand for and enhance their personal brand.

What sets Henley’s DMP programme apart from the rest is its grounded 3+2-day format allowing for practice and reflection. Experienced tutors, expertise from the University of Reading, along with valued external contributors are all blended to provide a rich cocktail of support and challenge. New and innovative ways of managing change complete this action-packed programme. The experience is complemented by a world-class setting in which riverside walks offer ample opportunity for those deep conversations that can shape your practice. For those organisations prepared to invest in management training, the benefits offered by the Developing Management Practice programme at Henley Business School are clear.

Find out more about the Development Management Practice programme.

Article by Ian Williams, a tutor on the Development Management Practice programme.

Published 22 February 2018

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