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Emory Management Certificate teaches new approaches to collaboration


Nancy Colter knows what it takes to be a successful manager. “It’s somebody that builds an environment of collaborative trust,” she said. “You don’t have to have all the answers, but you need to build an environment that works both ways. If I'm the manager, I give you feedback, but you also provide me with feedback. We build this environment together,” she said. 
As the head of Nancy Colter Consulting LLC in Alpharetta, and an instructor in Emory’s Management Certificate program, Colter says this is an approach that managers can learn — and should, especially in today’s rapidly-changing work environment. 
The dramatic changes sparked by the pandemic have spurred an urgent need for even seasoned managers to refresh their toolkits. “We’re not like we used to be,” Colter said. “Maybe we knew virtual work was coming, that this was a market trend. But normally we ease into market trends, and Covid just forced this into the forefront many years before people were really ready for it.” 
Managers had to learn how to lead remote teams, and they’ve also had to deal with what some call the great resignation — what Colter refers to as the great realization: The sense that people now want something different and better from their working lives. Most managers will need new training, she said, in order to adapt to these changing expectations. 
Emory’s management classes aim to help business leaders improve their people skills. Students may be new to the managerial role, or they may be experienced managers looking to up their game. “We have a lot of people who just want to improve their own individual skills, so that they can better interact with their team members,” Colter said. 
Often, people find themselves promoted into management roles will little or no training, beyond the job-specific success that got them noticed. They may be good at what they do, but unprepared to lead others in doing it too. Many had bad bosses in the past: They know what not to do, but they don’t really know what good management looks like. 
While the Emory program addresses this in a number of ways, the core message is about communication and interpersonal skills. 
“We can teach you how to build trust, how to give and receive feedback,” Colter said. “You’ll learn how to hold difficult conversations, how to provide coaching and mentoring. It’s all about understanding your role as a leader, and doing it more effectively.” 
An evolving format 

In line with recent workplace changes, Emory’s management program is also evolving, with a new means of course delivery that aims to support the shift in students’ working lives. 
“What we've learned from COVID is that ‘one way’ doesn't always work. So, we’re going to take the best of our asynchronous learning —online learning on demand, so people can do it on their own time, at their own pace — and combine that with the live synchronous learning. People want that combination and we’re going to hit the ground running with that in some of our core classes,” Colter said. “We still have classes that are all in-person or all online, but we’re also going to have this middle road that has the best of both worlds.” 
Coursework in the program covers a range of topics including coaching, delegation, performance development, time management, and having those “difficult conversations.” 
In Colter’s experience, this higher level of training can have an immediate impact on a manager’s success in the workplace. “I have many people that get sent to my class because something has escalated: Somebody's going to leave, or somebody did leave, or they are just stressed out at work,” she said. “They walk away with skills that they can actually use and apply every day.” 
Students leverage those new skills to improve their work performance, raise their job prospects, and elevate their careers. They pick up practical strategies from the instructors and, in line with Colter’s emphasis on a collaborative culture, they also learn from one another’s experiences. “Part of our role as facilitators is not only to provide those best practices, but to also allow conversations as to what's worked in other workplaces,” she said. “In these courses, you’ll also learn what other people do that is successful in the real world.” 

Learn more about our Essentials of Management Certificate.

Emory Continuing Education is a division of Emory Academic Innovation.