The Top 2 Manager Training Topics Organizations Are Asking For

A person paddles a kayak on the ocean towards the sunset.

We believe that organizations that put unprepared and untrained people in managerial roles are irresponsible.

We know it’s harsh but time and time again we’ve seen managers fail due to a lack of training and support from the organizations who claim that their people are their biggest assets.

However, many companies are recognizing the importance of manager training and are investing heavily in manager development programs to ensure that their emerging leaders are well-prepared to navigate the challenges of their new role. 

Among the myriad of management training topics, two have emerged as the most sought-after by organizations.

Top-of-Mind Topics for Managers and Organizations

1. From Bud to Boss: Transitioning from an Individual Contributor to a First-Time Manager

One of the most significant challenges many employees face in their careers is making the transition from being a successful individual contributor to becoming an effective manager and leader. The skill set required for individual success often differs significantly from the skills needed to lead and manage a team. This transition can be overwhelming, as new managers find themselves in uncharted territory, balancing the responsibility of overseeing others while maintaining their performance.

Managers and organizations are seeking training to ensure an effective transition. 

In ORCA’s Manager Academy©, a holistic training program for front-line managers focusing on skills development, self-awareness, and self-management, we call this top-of-mind training topic “From Bud to Boss.”  The “From Bud to Boss” module addresses this crucial career juncture and equips new managers with the tools and knowledge they need to excel in their leadership roles. 

Key topics covered in this training include:

  • New manager mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Key competencies of management and leadership
  • Challenges and opportunities for the new manager in any organization
  • Standard practices that can encourage mutual respect between the employee and manager

2. Being Resilient in the Midst of Change: Managing People in a VUCA World

The second top-of-mind training topic revolves around how managers, of all levels, can work within the confines of a rapidly changing world. Volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous have become the descriptors for normal life rather than the exception. Rapid technological advancements, market fluctuations, and unforeseen events have made change a constant factor in organizational life. As managers face the daunting task of leading their teams through turbulent times, they must cultivate personal resilience to adapt and thrive amidst uncertainty.

In ORCA’s Manager Academy©, this topic is called, “Being Resilient in the Midst of Change,” a capability module empowering managers with the skills to navigate through challenging times while supporting their teams effectively. 

Key topics covered in this training include:

  • A clear understanding of what it means to lead in a VUCA ( Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world
  • The impacts of transformational change
  • The emotional stages of change and how to address them
  • The tools to build a resiliency mindset for you and your team
  • The six elements of well-being and why they are important

The 5 Components of an Effective Manager Development Program

Although important, these top-of-mind manager development topics only scratch the surface when thinking about a well-rounded and comprehensive development program. 

In fact, there are five critical components of a good program. All of these are necessary and individually they are inadequate: 

  1. Insights: What do I need to work on? Assessments give insight into how others see me and how I see myself. A good program starts with the new manager taking an assessment that raises their awareness of their own strengths that they can use to manage more effectively. It also gives them insights into their areas for development and the blindspots that they need to watch out for in a managing position.

  2. Motivation: Do I want to do it? Pinpoints my motivations, connects to my challenges and reflects who I want to be. 

  3. Capability Modules: How do I do it? Training increases my capabilities through tools, frameworks, and concepts. This is where the training topics like “Bud to Boss” and “Being Resilient in the Midst of Change” come into play. 

  4. Real-World Application: Try it out. On the job application let me practice what I’ve learned. 

  5. Accountability & Support: Improve performance. Coaching, measurement, support from my manager, and mentorship ensures continued growth. 

The 3 Focus Areas for Manager Capabilities Training

Since we are talking about top-of-mind training topics (or as we like to call it capabilities training and modules), we should note that there are three fundamental focus areas that these capability modules should discuss. 

These include Managing Self, Managing Teams, and Managing Across the Enterprise. 

Within ORCA’s Manager Academy© program, each focus area is further broken down into relevant sub-modules that provide training, tips, and tools that can be easily applied going forward.

Focus Area #1: Managing Self

We’ve built our business on the idea that good leadership comes from expanding the consciousness of leaders, managers, and individuals through self-awareness. That’s why the first pillar is foundational to a good program; one must understand the self before they manage others.

This pillar emphasizes self-awareness, self-improvement, and personal development. Things like emotional intelligence and developing coaching skills are covered. 

In ORCA’s Manager Academy©, insights such as assessments and debriefing are incorporated so that managers can understand their own roadblocks to success and work toward self-improvement. Effective managers must understand their strengths, weaknesses, and leadership style to lead authentically.

Focus Area #2: Managing Teams

This focus area has multiple components. It starts with how to hire great talent and then once that talent is on your team, how to engage them so they stay. This area also discusses how to align your team with the organization’s business results by learning how to set clear goals, give clear expectations and feedback, managing performance, and handling difficult conversations.

Other aspects of developing people management skills are covered such as building a motivational environment through practicing relationship strategies that build trust. It involves empowering employees, fostering growth, and creating a positive work environment.

Focus Area #3: Managing Across the Enterprise

Lastly, managers must grasp the broader organizational context which is often complex in order to effectively collaborate with other teams and departments. This focus area dives into cross-functional communication, managing remote teams, managing change and understanding the interplay of different departments.

Creating a manager development program that works

Organizations recognize the immense value of investing in manager training programs to develop strong and resilient leaders. 

“From Bud to Boss” addresses the challenges of transitioning to a managerial role, while “Being Resilient in the Midst of Change” equips managers to navigate uncertain times successfully. 

However, these are just two topics. Without developing a holistic development program that includes insights, motivation, capability modules, real-world application, and accountability and support, the manager cannot be successful. 

If you’re developing a manager development program, ensure that your training topics (capability modules) have three overarching focus areas including Managing Self, Managing Teams, and Managing Across the Enterprise. This ensures well-rounded leaders capable of steering and supporting their teams through the dynamic and unpredictable world of modern business. 

As organizations continue to adapt and grow, nurturing effective managers becomes a strategic imperative for sustainable success.

About ORCA’s Manager Academy©

To help high-growth organizations thrive, ORCA’s Manager Academy© is a customized program designed with both managers and organizations in mind. 

To learn more about ORCA’s Manager Academy© and how your organization can benefit from this training, book a meeting with our experts at

Ask about our upcoming Manager Academy© webinar to learn more about our program!

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