Aalto University’s training proves helpful for new supervisors, team leaders and project managers

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The role of a supervisor or a project manager requires a diverse set of skills that are usually learned through years of work and experience. Still, working life has a lot of career changers or newly graduated who are just starting their journey to become supervisors, team leaders or project managers.

What are the skills and knowledge that a person starting in their first managerial position should have?

This is a question that the newly launched First time manager training by Aalto University aims to answer. The training includes workshops, assignments based on personal reflection, and peer-to-peer work in small groups, and it supports the students’ development in leadership work.

”Investment on education increases interest when the workplace culture is in shape”
The need and idea for the training came originally from Aalto University’s alumni, and First time manager began as a pilot in 2020. The training was a success, so it was organised again for 120 people through Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland (TEK). Now the training is open for everyone, and it is offered as part of Aalto University’s Lifewide Learning study offering.

During the First time manager training, participants take a look at leadership from different perspectives and reflect on their vision for leadership and managerial work. Thanks to the length of the training, there is enough time and possibilities to think about one’s ways of working as a leader.

“The goal of the training is to learn to reflect on each participant’s unique situation at the workplace. We don’t just teach best practices and working methods but instead we aim to build ground knowledge that can be applied with different tools”, says programme instructor, Dr. Jari Ylitalo.

He adds that it is important that workplaces have a culture of continuous learning and make sure that new managers get the support they need.

“Courses are beneficial for sure, but not enough just on their own. Workplaces need to continuously develop and maintain methods and culture around learning, and the course topics should be discussed with co-workers after the training. Other support activities, such as mentoring, should also be available. When the workplace culture is in good shape, the investments made in education start to increase interest.”

The training doesn’t offer direct answers about how to be a great boss, but it gives you the tools to develop yourself towards that goal.

Participant feedback from the First time manager training
Next training will start in autumn
The next implementation of First time manager will begin on 14 September 2023. Application to the programme is already open and the Early Bird fee is valid until 31 May 2023.