Manager Training: The Stars Are Never Who You Think They Are, But They're Right In Front of You...

I'm blessed to live a portfolio life. In addition to being a CHRO and partner at the recruiting firm Kinetix, I get to veer from the recruiting/Talent Acquisition world in various HR consulting opportunities, as well as deliver leadership/manager training through my BOSS Leadership Training Series.

This week, I was onsite with a great company looking to help managers get better related to interviewing candidates and making the right selection for open positions Hr-consulting-splash

As the primary facilitator, I was both honored and humbled. Honored because the client was great, the people were authentic and we had a great day. Humbled because what managers have to do to be successful is incredibly hard. 

As you might expect, we did live practice with real candidates on the interviewing skills we trained on.  And there it was, the reality and lesson that's present every time I get to train managers of people on any module in the Boss series:

The Stars Are Never Who You Think They Are, But They're Right In Front of You

What do I mean by that?  Simple - You expect the most experienced people in any manager training class to do the best in role play or skill practice. At times, that's true - but WOW - the most gratifying part of any training class I do is when the more junior people in the class absolute ROCK IT.

It always happens. There are always 1-2 junior people in every training class I do that are superstars related to the tools we're providing.

Those less experienced, often younger stars blow me away by displaying the following in role play:

--They're completely ****ing natural when it comes to stage banter and building trust/relationships. They're fluid, natural and weave what they're trying to get out of the employee session into a conversation that puts the person in front of them with ease.

--They think on their feet. Conversations with people who report to you are never easy. Employees object. They sidetrack you. They try and generally screw up your game.  The stars I'm talking about have a natural ability to bring the conversation back to what's important.  They don't get lost.

--They are technically superior. Got a coaching tool? Behavioral interviewing technique? Doing goal setting? These stars can memorize the outline of the tool and they always make sure they get what they need - and more. 

The most gratifying part of doing leadership/managerial training is when these unexpected stars emerge. It happens in every class I teach, so much so it's unexpected yet expected. I go into the class saying to myself, "OK, who's going to be the underdog out of this cast of characters who kicks everyone's ass?"

I'll leave you with this - if you've done managerial training and haven't seen this trend emerge, you're likely not doing enough skill practice/role play. That's dangerous since people in your training must fail with you in class in order to have the confidence to attempt the new skills with their direct reports/teams. Adoption of the skills your teaching requires in class role play.  Yes, they hate it and will cheer if you don't make them do it. But your adoption rate of the skills you're teaching drops by over 50% if you don't do skill practice/role play as part of your training.

The best part of doing leadership/manager training is the underdog star who emerges. 

You're a superstar, kid. I hope your company realizes what they have. I know I told them who you are, so you got that going for you - which is nice.


They try and generally screw up your game. The stars I'm talking about have a natural ability to bring the conversation back to what's important.

bubble shooter

They are always ahead and all you have to do is keep trying every single day until you are one of them

Mary Johnson

It is good to have those around. Not just because they are that good, but because they make the rest of us feel uneasy and look for constant training and improvement, or at least we should! :)


In class role play is a must. Mostly underdog stars don't get limelight because of poor management but manager training can groom them better.

Artson Engineering

I think one must always keep on learning so that you get to learn and improve every time. And this could help underdog get the best out of them.

Garima Goyal

I completely agree with you. If given chances underdog can do much more to their acting skills and this is how they could get more opportunities in life.

Narendra Bhawan

This is also completely true, I mean this is really true a chance given to underdogs can help them get the best in their life.


I appreciate the hard work done for this blog. And also thank you for such information provided by the blog.

Kiran Ashri

That is true a manager training can help you groom better and also to know your ability and skills.

Digital Hive

A chance given to underdogs can prove their capability and also give the real superstars and also true stars of the future.

Gulshan Polyols Limited

A very well written blog which can give real information about real talent.

Great Eastern Idtech Pvt. Ltd

I agree with the blog and also the information provided in this blog.

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