What Is Management Development?

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  • Written By: M. McGee
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 06 March 2020
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Management development is the process of learning to be a better manager and leader. The skill of a person leading a department or team is widely seen as one of the largest contributing factors to success. When a team leader is skilled, projects are more likely to finish on time and within budget. There are two main forms of management development: informal, often on the job, or formal, usually called coaching. While many of the basic areas of management training are simple to learn while working, many advanced forms will likely require assistance from a mentor or coach.

The concepts of management development began in the mid-20th century, but didn’t really begin to enter the mainstream business world until the later part of the century. These concepts came to the forefront as competition between firms increased with global economies and technology improvements. In the past, if a large program took longer to complete than estimated, it didn’t cause a problem. Now that same project may be made obsolete or redundant in the same small time window.

Since efficiency in the workplace is so much more important today, concepts of management development are crucial to the success of a firm. In a modern office, a manager or team leader is assumed to be constantly improving their skills. This is often accomplished simply by leading other people and running the day-to-day affairs of the team. Some companies will require periodic evaluations to help quantify improvements from one period to another.


When informal management development is impossible, or a more specific type of information is required, a company will often use a business coach. These coaches will assist managers with their jobs, finding places where they are strong and where they need improvement. Coaches will also teach targeted skills that apply to a specific task or industry. By using a coach, a relatively new manager can be improved radically in a very short time.

As the ideas behind management development become more common, specified management certifications are cropping up as well. These certifications denote that a person has had formal management training, allowing him to bypass the experience or age requirements that were common in the past. Since these certifications are almost always bestowed by an organization, these are usually a form of formal training.

The concepts involved in management development are more common in school settings than they were in the past. Opportunities to take focused management training have appeared in most business schools. These classes will both give the student a good grounding in management practices and allow him to be a business coach as well.



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