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It starts at the top and flows down

A while ago, a friend sent me a cartoon and said it described their organisation’s management approach and skills perfectly. It had a series of perches with progressively more birds on each lower perch, what was flowing from the top down was what birds do naturally, you can guess what that is.

 

 

The top management set the style, and it flowed to the bottom. My friend quickly moved on to another organisation that was supportive and invested in everyone. The result, higher performance for them, their team and great development. It’s no surprise they are still with that organisation.

In this article, you’ll get an outline of an approach that works, a complete list of the behaviours of a great manager and a real-life example of an organisation whose people team are working together with innovative partners to drive the performance of their managers at every level, incorporating an effective online manager course programme.

Find out more about our Managing People course.

The key to a high performing team

Having skilled managers at every level isn’t just nice to have, it’s the key to high performing teams and making a real difference in the lives of your people. When every manager is equipped to excel, the benefits ripple throughout the organisation, from the new and aspiring managers to the senior team, creating a more dynamic, supportive, and thriving workplace. However, just like a chain, it’s only as good as its weakest link. Every manager, at every level, must have the skills they need. Taking a holistic view in development and ensure it all links and is aligned delivers the very best outcomes.

The impact of not getting it right

Imagine a project where deadlines are missed, not because the team isn’t working hard but because managers at different levels aren’t following the same approach. The project manager is great at planning but needs to improve at communicating. The project’s senior manager is focused on results but overlooks the team’s morale and cohesion. This disconnect leads to confusion, frustration, and a demotivated team, highlighting the cascading effects of gaps in managerial skills.

Building a common ground

It starts with all managers having a core set of competencies to master, tailored to their position and experience. These aren’t just skills. They’re the pillars of effective management:

These are the essentials, but the proficiency level must match the manager’s role and seniority. You can get our 69 behaviours for these competencies here.

Manager courses that value time and efficiency

In our fast-paced world, time is indeed money. Every minute spent completing manager courses needs to count, focusing on what’s most effective and impactful. Focused, well-researched and planned senior group sessions can be powerful. Online learning offers flexibility and efficiency, allowing managers to develop at their own pace. Then, when we bring people together to develop, it’s to leverage the unique benefits of team-based learning – solving real-world problems, enhancing collaboration, and building relationships.

Simplifying the path to mastery

Gaining knowledge is just the start. Real growth happens when this knowledge is applied – practising skills in real scenarios, learning from feedback, and building the confidence to implement changes. This process is about turning theory into action, ensuring continuous improvement and readiness to adapt. That needs help and support from peers and experts, and it’s ongoing.

A unified approach for lasting success

In conclusion, developing great leaders and managers has to be continuous, and all time spent has to be focused on the ‘now’ needs. It’s about more than just individual achievement. It’s about building a cohesive, skilled team capable of confidently working to deliver the organisation’s strategy. When every manager, from junior to senior, shares a commitment to excellence and a common set of competencies, the organisation is poised to navigate today’s challenges and shape tomorrow’s opportunities.

This unity in skill and purpose sets truly successful organisations apart, ensuring they are led by individuals who are capable of managing and are inspired to lead.

Channel Islands Co-op: joined-up thinking

  • "The future of work is moving at a rapid pace and having the best managers and leaders on board is paramount to the growth and future success of our Society. That’s why we’re committed to investing in our colleagues by providing them with the best learning and development opportunities to enhance their skills and support them in reaching their full potential."

    Mark Cox, Chief Executive Officer

In its quiet pursuit of excellence, Channel Islands Coop, under the thoughtful guidance of Chief People Officer Natalie Clare, embarked on an ambitious journey: to redefine leadership and management development across the organisation. With a keen eye for what truly matters in development, the Coop looked for innovative partners and selected Resonance Global for enriching its senior leadership and Upskill People for bolstering managerial skills from aspiring managers to those with quite a few years of experience but weren’t at the c-suite.

  • “We know leading a team is a big deal. That’s why we’re focused on offering real, practical support and opportunities for growth to our managers and leaders. This way, they can truly guide, motivate, and inspire their teams.”

    Natalie Clare, Chief People Officer

Resonance Global, focused development for the senior team

Choosing Resonance Global was less about fanfare and more about finding a nuanced approach that resonated with the depth and complexity of senior leadership challenges. Channel Islands Coop aimed for a programme that reflected its ethos: substance over show. The series of masterclasses designed in collaboration with Resonance Global wasn’t just an educational exercise but a deliberate step towards actionable leadership excellence, emphasising competencies like empowerment, accountability, and innovation. It reflected the Coop’s pragmatic approach to achieving real-world impact.

  • “As a consequence of the leadership journey and coaching, I have definitely seen a good improvement in my presence with the team and overall communication – I now have better understanding of how I can interact better with my team and other key stakeholders. David’s guidance has proved really valuable for me, and has helped me understand how to better lead and empower my team.”

    Kenny McDonald, Head of Retail Operations
  • “The impact of the leadership journey and coaching with David has been enormous on both my relationships at work and at home. We now work better as a team and the team is a stronger group.”

    Daphne East, Head of Category & Local Sourcing

Watch David Joshua of Resonance Global talking about his approach with Pete Fullard of Upskill People

Transcript

[Pete] David, thanks very much for joining us. Since I knew of the work you’re doing with Channel Islands Coop, alongside what we’re doing, I’ve been really interested to find out about your approach, why they picked you. So, let’s get straight into it. Tell me, first of all, Natalie and the team at Channel Islands Coop, what did they come to you looking to achieve?

[David] Sure Pete. Well, what most cultural guardians want is precisely what the Coop and Natalie wanted, which is to align behaviours with organisational values. So that we can increase performance, innovation and engagement by improving core leadership competencies.

[Pete] Sounds like a really easy job then David.

[David] Simple. But the simple things are always the most difficult.

[Pete] Why did they say they chose you? Because I know they look around at a whole range of suppliers whenever they’re trying to achieve something.”

[David] Absolutely. Well, Natalie said that she wanted the ability to have bespoke training that was tailored specifically to their leadership and their needs, which is what I do. She also valued the ability to create alignment, motivation and buy in through what I do at the beginning, which is a visioning session to get that alignment. And finally, I have an experiential training approach, which means the behaviours that we’re seeking to instil, the leaders actually get to try out and model during our time together, which means they leave the classroom better than they entered it.

[Pete] And that’s something I think’s fascinating. Tell me a little bit more about the approach and the practical application of it.

[David] Sure. Well, you know, once we’ve agreed what we want to do and what needs to change, then it’s my role to facilitate that through the head, the heart and the hands. So, the head is where most people start and stop, and that’s giving people the frameworks, theories, tools and understanding. But what’s then really important is to operate on the emotional level, which is the motivation as well as actually feeling the difference. And then finally making it real by giving people experiential learning. So knowing what good feels like and then asking them to model it both in the classroom and then with their teams.

[Pete] And David, the question every CEO asks, how do they know they’re getting a return on their investment, not just in the investment with yourself, but also the investment in their teams’ time, which is very costly and valuable.

[David] Well, precisely. So, along with the performance and engagement metrics, the three I care most about and I ask after every engagement with the leadership team, is was it a good use of your time? Was it relevant to your role, career and wider life? And number three, did you get a chance to improve experientially during the session?” So, as you noted, leaders value their time and energy more than anything else. And during the seven half day modules I did with Natalie and the Coop leadership, 94% of the leaders agreed it was a great use of their time and that they’d also experienced a shift in behaviour during our time together.

[Pete] And that’s really interesting. So you actually see an improvement in the sessions. You don’t have to wait or go and do some complicated measurement later.

[David] Yeah, that’s exactly what we’re looking for. We’re looking for people to feel like their time is valuable, but also they improved in real time. And I think I’d like to leave you with a quote from a senior leader I worked with at the Coop, which was. “The impact of the leadership journey and coaching with David, has been enormous on both my relationships at work and at home.” And that’s because in leadership we’re dealing with a few core principles and if we can get them right, then not only do we get better as individuals, our team performance gets better, but every dimension of life improves. And that’s why I’m incredibly grateful for this work with Natalie and the Coop and widely to help leaders become who they could be.

[Pete] That’s brilliant, David, and I’m personally very appreciative of what you’ve done because what you’re doing at the top feeds into what we do with all the other layers of management. It’s no good having just one part of the team really skilled. You have to have the whole thing. So, together, I think the sum is greater than our parts. Thanks very much for sharing that with us and we’ll certainly look forward to working together with you again soon.

[David] Thank you Pete. And thanks for all the work you do. I appreciate you.

Upskill People, a contemporary development approach

In its quest for the most effective managerial training with clear outcome measurement, Channel Islands Coop’s decision to partner with Upskill People was driven by practicality and track record. The organisation sought an online learning experience that was engaging and reflective of realistic daily managerial challenges and opportunities. Upskill People’s scenario-based management courses are combined with a fully integrated and unique competency measurement tool. All endorsed by the Institute of Leadership.

 

  • “Upskill People's innovation and creativity in online management training has delivered measurable outcomes. This approach suits our colleagues, whether aspiring managers or more experienced ones continuing to develop their people skills. The flexibility to complete the training at a time that suits, in bite-size hits, and the realistic nature of the courses means we see tangible outcomes that result in improved performance.”

    Natalie Clare, Chief People Officer

Measuring the impact

The choice of the online courses and built in measurement underscored the Coop’s belief in meaningful investment in its people, ensuring managers at all levels were well-prepared to contribute to the company’s collective success and that they have the data to show it works.

 

  • "I now know how to identify stress in myself and others"

    Manager
  • "This will make colleagues more aware of signs to act on"

    Area Manager
  • "Excellent, very informative"

    Assistant Manager
  • "Relevant and important to all of us"

    Area Manager
  • "Info can be put into use at work with struggling colleagues"

    Manager
  • ”For us, measuring outcomes and impact is vital to know what's making a difference and where to do more work. Simply put, we need to show a return on our investment. The data we've had back from the Upskill People platform's competency measurement tools and feedback from our managers and leaders have been invaluable. We're noticing positive changes – from sharing encouraging comments to how managers are working better with their teams.”

    Natalie Clare, Chief People Officer

Channel Islands Coop: Reaping the rewards

 

Channel Islands Coop’s engagement with Resonance Global and Upskill People highlights a strategic approach to leadership and management enhancement, emphasising the pursuit of excellence and the tangible benefits of continuous development. Central to this initiative is the commitment to ensuring that the training meets the highest standards of efficiency and value and incorporates robust mechanisms for measuring its effectiveness.

 

  • “We engaged David Joshua, of Resonance Global to support the development of our leadership team. David very quickly established psychological safety with the team and built rapport, creating a solid connection that really opened up the best learning opportunities.”

    Natalie Clare, Chief People Officer

This ongoing focus on development is underscored by the Coop’s determination to select partners that offer something beyond the norm, ensuring that the organisation’s investment in its people leads to real, positive change. Coop’s forward-thinking strategy prioritises practical, actionable, and lasting growth for managers at all levels.

By integrating continuous learning with a strong emphasis on assessment and feedback, Channel Islands Coop strives to ensure that their development programmes at all levels are sustainable and aligned with organisational goals. This approach shows that seeing and building on progress is the key to lasting success.

  • “We aim to be the top choice for the best talent, fostering a culture where determination and pride are recognised and rewarded, ensuring everyone feels valued and can contribute. Our 'Voice' survey highlights Learning and Development as a key priority, a central pillar of our strategy. We're building on our approach and are truly committed to ongoing evolution and improvement in our development programmes.”

    Natalie Clare, Chief People Officer

Ready to upskill your managers at every level?

Having an approach in place that taps into managers at every level of their development journey allows everyone within the team to pull in the same direction. If you want to grow a motivated and skilled team, much like Channel Islands Coop are continually working towards, talk to Resonance Global, and get in touch about our manager courses and assessment tools.