7 min read

What is Leadership Training for Managers?

What is Leadership Training for Managers?

The fact is that managers who receive little to no leadership training and lack the skills they need to lead effectively are costly. Gallup estimates the cost of poor management and their impact on lost productivity of their employees approaches $7 trillion globally - which equates to 9%-10% of the world’s GDP.

The case is clear: leadership training is not a nice to have nice; it’s a must-have, and time is of the essence. However, searching for leadership training on Google will leave you overwhelmed with options as it produces over two billion results and no clear direction on where to get your questions answered.

That’s why we created this article, to answer the most frequently asked questions in one place. In it, you’ll find information on what leadership training is for managers, the types of training managers need, the different ways to train managers, and options for online leadership training.


Jump To:

  1. What is leadership training for managers?
  2. What are the top 10 management skills?
  3. What type of training do managers need?
  4. How do managers get trained?
  5. How can I learn leadership skills online?


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What is Leadership Training for Managers?

At its core, leadership training for managers is a targeted and thoughtful development process designed to equip managers with the skills, knowledge, tools, and techniques needed to be effective leaders. 

Leadership training goes beyond what one would find in traditional management education, as it focuses on cultivating key leadership competencies, such as emotional intelligence, communication, strategic thinking, adaptability, implementing change, coaching, feedback, high-performance teams, developing employees, and performance management.

Through various training methods, including attending leadership programs and workshops, working with a professional coach, and being mentored by a senior leader, managers acquire new skills to lead with confidence, resilience, and vision.


What is leadership training for managers? Niagara Institute




What Are The Top 10 Management Skills?

When teams are led by skillful and talented frontline managers, the benefits are undeniable. Gallup uncovered that these managers realize a 48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity, and a 30% increase in employee engagement scores compared to their unskilled peers.

Whether you're a seasoned manager looking to refine your skills or an aspiring leader taking your first steps in preparing for management, honing these top 10 management skills will undoubtedly set you on a path to management success and be a leader others want to follow.

Top 10 Management Skills

  1. Social Adeptness
  2. Communication and Listening
  3. Adaptability and Resilience
  4. Coaching
  5. Collaboration
  6. Growth Mindset and Learning
  7. Innovation and Agility
  8. Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Decision Making
  9. Financial Acumen
  10. Enterprise Mindset


Top 10 Management Skills (1)


This top 10 management skills list comprises human and technical skills, as managers need to strike a delicate balance between the two to succeed. While technical skills provide the foundation for informed decisions, human skills drive collaboration, innovation, and team synergy. Mastering both areas equips managers to meet their goals and create a harmonious and productive work environment.


Human Skills in Management

When asked about human skills in a 2022 survey, 93% of HR professionals agreed that these skills are critically important to leadership and corporate success. These soft skills, or interpersonal skills, are critical for any manager to build strong relationships, foster teamwork, and lead their team in a positive work environment.


Top Human Skills in Management

  • Social Adeptness
  • Communication and Listening
  • Adaptability and Resilience
  • Coaching
  • Collaboration
  • Growth Mindset and Learning
  • Innovation and Agility

Social Adeptness
Managers must have the ability to navigate interactions with superiors, peers, and employees with ease, grace, and sensitivity to build strong relationships at work. Social adeptness involves utilizing empathy, reading emotional cues, regulating reactions, and adapting behavior to fit the context and individual. 

Communicating and Listening
A cornerstone of management is the ability to clearly articulate ideas and expectations and actively listen. Doing so fosters a team environment where employees feel heard, acknowledged, and understood.

Adaptability and Resilience
In the rapidly changing business environment, from new ways of working, to changing employee expectations, to digital transformation, managers need to be adaptable, ready to embrace change and challenges, and lead their teams through continuous transitions.

According to Gartner, employees who have a manager that’s a great coach are 20% more likely to stay with their company and are 40% more engaged. Managers need coaching skills to facilitate performance management, deliver feedback, initiate career conversations, and develop and execute employee development plans.

Managers are pivotal in shaping their team's behaviors and how well they collaborate with others. By demonstrating collaboration skills in how they interact with other departments, leaders, peers, and employees, managers set an example for their team to follow. In addition, collaboration skills allow managers to navigate complexity by tapping into other departments, aligning and focusing on the greater goal, and creating an environment where the company can reap the rewards of cross-functional collaboration.

Growth Mindset and Learning
With the velocity of change, having a growth mindset, which is a belief that you can, and should learn new things, is a non-negotiable management skill. Managers who value continuous learning are better equipped to adapt to change, seize opportunities, capitalize on innovations, and inspire their teams to do the same.

Innovation and Agility
Creative thinking, exploration of new ideas, and being able to shift quickly are essential for individuals, teams, and organizational success. Managers with these skills inspire those around them to find new solutions and change rapidly in response to opportunities or emerging challenges.


Technical Skills in Management

Technical skills, often referred to as hard skills, are the competencies managers require to oversee projects, make informed decisions,  mitigate risks, and operate within the interconnected nature of the workplace.

Top Technical Skills in Management

  • Critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision making
  • Financial Acumen
  • Enterprise Mindset

Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Decision Making
Being able to think critically and quickly and effectively solve problems and make decisions is a critical skill for managers to be ready to address challenges as they arise, keeping projects on track and providing valuable leadership and guidance.

Financial Acumen
Understanding financial reports, budgeting, cost management, and how financial decisions interconnect across the organization allows managers to make economically sound decisions that benefit their team, department, and organization.

Enterprise Mindset
An enterprise mindset encourages managers to view their roles through a strategic, bigger-picture lens, where they consider the organization as a whole rather than just their immediate teams or departments. It’s the ability to think holistically about the organization's goals, strategies, interdependencies, and consequences when making decisions.



What Type of Training Do Managers Need?

In the article on most important leadership competencies, we addressed the 8 types of training managers need today. When looking for leadership training for managers, ensure it includes these management development training topics.


Types of Training Managers Need


What type of training do managers need?






Leading Teams


Building Relationships

  • Developing and utilizing empathy
  • Cultivating trust
  • Leading by example


Coaching and Developing Others


Delegation and Accountability

  • Understanding what to delegate and to whom
  • Gaining commitment from employees to accept and own accountabilities
  • Providing frequent checkpoints and feedback to help employees stay on track


Personal Development and Growth

Resilience, Courage, Adaptability, and Change

  • Embracing change as a catalyst for growth and innovation
  • Leading teams through organizational transformations
  • Fostering a culture of adaptability and resilience


Emotional Intelligence and Self-Awareness

  • Understanding the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership
  • Developing self-awareness and managing emotions in high-pressure situations
  • Maximizing strengths and overcoming challenges with greater self-awareness



How Do Managers Get Trained?

Whether through workshops, online programs, coaching, or job shadowing, investing in manager training yields immeasurable returns in the form of engaged teams, increased productivity, and increased likelihood of goal achievement. Here is a list of the types of training typically deployed for manager training.


Types of Leadership Training for Managers

  • Live leadership training for managers (synchronous)
  • Self-guided leadership training for managers (asynchronous)
  • Leadership Coaching and Assessments
  • Work Assignments and On-The-Job Training
  • Job Shadowing and Mentoring
  • Team Building and Retreats

Live Leadership Training for Managers
When leadership training for managers is live, it is often referred to as synchronous learning, which is when the manager and facilitator are in the same place at the same time. This type of leadership training can take place online or in-person. Typical forms of live leadership training include:

  • Open-enrollment programs: Managers from different organizations simultaneously attend leadership training for managers delivered by an external training organization.
  • Custom or team programs: Managers from the same organization attend a leadership program selected by their company which an external training organization delivers.


Self-Guided Leadership Training for Managers 
Self-guided leadership training for managers occurs asynchronously, where managers engage with web-based modules that are accessible anytime, anywhere. Typically, the learning experience consists of videos, readings, and quizzes.


Leadership Coaching and Assessments
Working with a professional coach, managers create and follow a personalized development plan where they learn and grow their leadership capabilities. Often, these engagements will start with an assessment that identifies strengths and areas for development. Typical forms of coaching for managers include:

  • One-on-one coaching: Each manager works individually with a leadership coach, following a personalized development plan.
  • Team or peer group coaching: A group of managers from the same organization work with a leadership coach to develop leadership skills.


Work Assignments and On-The-Job Training
Another way managers get trained is through work assignments or on-the-job training, where their leadership skills are put into practice. Providing opportunities where managers engage in real-time learning through hands-on experiences and challenges is an excellent complement to synchronous or asynchronous leadership training as they use the new skills they’ve learned, helping with competency adoption and retention.


Job Shadowing and Mentoring
Many leadership development plans for managers include a component where a senior leader mentors the individual. These mentoring opportunities often include an element where the manager shadows the leader, exposing the manager to various leadership situations.


Team Building and Retreats
Leadership training for managers will often start or conclude with a team-building exercise and retreat where managers attend an offsite event that combines leadership training with team bonding. These sessions aim to build relationships and promote collaboration among managers so they can tap into a network of leaders to problem-solve and provide encouragement.



How Can I Learn Leadership Skills Online?

There are many resources and options for learning leadership skills from the comfort of your desk. Most managers find online leadership training a flexible and acceptable way to gain valuable skills while holding up their personal and professional commitments.

Online Leadership Training Program for Managers
There is a wide range of online leadership courses and workshops that cover everything from basic leadership principles to more focused competency development, such as communication or financial literacy. For example, Niagara Institute’s widely popular Leadership Fundamentals, Advanced Leadership Development Program, and Speaking as a Leader are online, where you learn alongside your peers and facilitator in real time. 

Blogs, Ebooks, and Toolkits
With a quick Google search, you can find plenty of leadership articles for new managers, such as ebooks, blogs, and resources dedicated to leadership development. Niagara Institute has one of the largest (and free) resource hubs where you can find articles, templates, guides, quizzes, and infographics on almost every leadership topic.

Mentorship and Coaching
What once was a time-consuming task of traveling to a mentor or leadership coach is now mainly done online. These one-on-one interactions can provide you with self-awareness, tailored advice, and feedback to help you develop as a manager. 


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