Skip main navigation

Beyond the template manager

Martin Bicknell, lead educator of the University of Reading’s free online course, ‘Managing People: Engaging Your Workforce, discusses the importance of successful management in the workplace.

Managing People: engaging your workforce

It’s always an interesting time when something you’ve been thinking about for ages comes close to fruition.  Our course on managing people started on Monday and so it’s a good time to share my hopes with you.  Firstly, I do hope that you will continue to recommend the course to friends and colleagues, and share your progress with them.  Secondly, I look forward to working with you to push this new and exciting form of management development to its limits so that together we can create a relevant and enjoyable learning experience that will help your broader development.

Over my own career I’ve seen the best and the worst of management practices. Bad practice has consequences for organisations but, even more importantly to me, it can ruin lives.  I passionately believe that this should not and need not happen.

I fully admit that managing people is very difficult.  In this course, we will not be offering any magic bullets.  Indeed, I would go so far as to say that it is an insult to suggest that managing people can be reduced to a few generic checklists or simple solutions that can be applied by anyone without thinking.  We can’t rely on templates when we’re dealing with people.

So, if not providing templates, what is the course trying to achieve?

As a community of managers and would-be managers, we will do our job better if:

  • We think about people and situations.
  • We share experience; we seek out good practice and learn from it
  • We are open to, and explore, new ways of thinking about problems.
  • We are never complacent.

Understanding this will give you more of a feel for the nature of the course and the way we’ve designed it.  Yes, we are exploring concepts and ideas but we need to then work to move theory into practice – and we will do that through reflection and discussion with colleagues and others on the course.  If you want to get the most out of the course, it is really important to engage with the ideas, and discuss with others how they can be applied to the real world.  These discussions will be exciting and informative, and the team and I really look forward to joining in.

Many organisations already have many participants on the course.   If you work for a large organisation please encourage others to join by sending them the link /courses/managing-people.  Getting a group together from one organisation is a really effective way of using the course.  You can explore shared concerns and look for common solutions.  If you also participate in the general discussions you will get the best of both worlds – the broad outlook that comes from different perspectives, and the ability to focus on shared issues.

Everyone who has or will have a management role has a responsibility to promote good management practice.  I’m looking forward to playing my own part in supporting your own personal endeavour in this regard.

FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education

Related stories on FutureLearn