Belfast Telegraph

The lessons of success

Tim Devine, from Department for Employment and Learning – a Belfast Telegraph Business Awards sponsor – describes the importance of management training to companies

Why has the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) chosen to sponsor the Excellence in Management and Leadership award?

Strong leadership and management skills are vital to improving the performance of Northern Ireland businesses and achieving overall economic growth.

Leadership and management skills are proven worldwide to be a highly effective way for companies to gain the competitive edge and we need more companies to invest in training their managers to maximise their full potential.

This award recognises the importance of developing a culture of strong and inspirational leadership, not only for individual business success, but ultimately the success of the Northern Ireland economy.

Can an organisation thrive in the current climate without strong management and leadership?

There is no doubt that an organisation can survive, but research has shown that even basic leadership and management training can reduce the rate of business failures, improve performance, and increase the productivity rate.

Strong leadership and management is therefore critical for an organisation to thrive in today's ever more challenging business environment.

A lot of firms are so busy keeping their heads above water that they don't take time to look at the help that exists to develop their managers.

What help is available to meet the management and leadership needs of Northern Ireland business?

DEL's management development branch offers a wide range of part-funded programmes, designed in consultation with Northern Ireland companies to meet real business needs.

These range from the management analysis and planning or 'MAP' programme to improve business performance, to the management and leadership development programme or 'MLDP' which consists of stand-alone courses to improve an individual manager's leadership and management skills.

Some programmes focus on generic management and leadership skills while others look at specific topics such as exporting and sales leadership skills. More information can be found at .

There is also a free online diagnostic tool, the 'leadership and management skills assessment', through which an individual manager answers questions in the key areas of leadership, managing performance, resource management and people and teams to assess his or her skills and priority learning needs. A full colour, personalised report is generated which gives a self-assessed rating, and identifies areas for development, along with advice and signposting to relevant training resources and events. It can be found on

How have DEL management and leadership courses impacted on the organisations that have participated in them?

In addition to the very real business outputs mentioned above such as increased productivity, and improvements to performance and the bottom line, companies and individual managers we've worked with have in many cases referred to an overall improved company culture as well as a greater understanding of the training needs of their staff.

Some have as a result radically altered their approach to staff motivation and development. One organisation said that the training they received actually saved the business. You can't get a better endorsement than that.

Are awards like the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards important in difficult economic times?

Absolutely. Awards such as these are an excellent way for businesses to showcase the work they do and gain recognition for their successes during what has been a prolonged period of economic difficulty. They are a good way for organisations to reward their staff, and let existing and potential new customers know about their products and services.

Belfast Telegraph Business Awards

Closing date for entries: Thursday February 28 2013

Link: (for entry form)

Event: Wednesday April 17 – Culloden Hotel

Tickets: £100+vat or Table of 10 £900 + Vat

Email: or Tel JPR 02890760066

Belfast Telegraph