What’s the best management course to take?
Everywhere we look, we see management courses on nearly every topic imaginable along our corporate development career path - and as someone who’s dedicated to developing managers, I can attest that there’s a lot of great stuff out there.
For any manager, professional courses can be be divided into two approaches: those that focus on broadening your strengths and those that help you develop your weaknesses. If you’re looking to advance in your corporate development career path, it’s important to decide which approach is better for you.
With the first approach, you decide on something you’re very good at and then try to become excellent at it. Sounds great, right? Not only do you get to immerse yourself in something you probably like, you also come out even better at it. For example, let’s say you’re a master at rapid decision making - a key skill in today’s dynamic business world. In fact, you might even owe your current position to this important ability. Naturally, you’d think that to get further promotions, it would be crucial to further perfect your decision making. But there’s a problem with this logic - and here I’ll quote Voltaire: “Better is the enemy of good.”
“Too much of a good thing…”
I’ll illustrate Voltaire’s wisdom with my famous cake example. We all know that the more sugar you add to a cake recipe, the sweeter the cake. But can a cake be too sweet? You bet. Just double the amount of sugar in any cake recipe and you’ll get something so sickly sweet that it’s nearly inedible. From this simple example, we learn that too much of a good thing, even a management skill, can be ruinous. In our example, being “too good” at decision making could lead to making rapid conclusions that result in detrimental consequences. So ironically, over training some of our management muscles could eventually turn what were once strengths into weaknesses.
Now back to our cake. How can we still get a delicious cake without ruining it with too much sugar? By changing some of the other ingredients. For example, the bakers among us know that if a cake’s not sweet enough, we reduce the salt, thus allowing for the sugar to express its full sweetness.
And it’s the same with our management competencies. We want to balance out one competency with others so as to arrive at a purposeful managerial approach. For example, in terms of decisionmaking, rather than measuring effectiveness according to speed, consider other factors such as how many others you involve in the decision. Involving others creates commitment to a decision. And creating commitment is a key skill for senior managers. Involving others, of course, might be something new to you and require practice. But on the upside, the quality of your decision will be much better than if you’d made it alone.
So I hope you see what I’m getting at when it comes to self-development. Rather than remaining in your comfort zone, seek undeveloped pastures so that you can become a more well rounded manager. Working on something you haven’t always excelled at will earn you the recognition of others and pave the way for your next promotion.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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