LVW Group is a supplier and distributor of automotive parts based in Birkenhead on the Wirral. The company was founded in 1946 as L.V Walsh and now employs around 100 staff at locations across Merseyside, North Wales and Shropshire. Many of the staff have been with the company for some time and have been promoted into supervisory or management positions from the shop floor.

Because of the growth of the company and the fact that it now operates from six locations, there was a need to establish some consistency across the group in terms of leadership and management standards and practice. Angela Bowen, the company’s HR Manager invited a number of training providers to come in and discuss their approach to providing the required leadership and management training with the Directors.

Angela said:

“We weren’t particularly looking for accredited training, we were more concerned with ensuring that the training met our requirements. The Skills Company really listened to what we wanted, and were totally prepared to customise the training to deliver our needs. We were impressed with their flexibility, and their experience of industry, as well as of training.”

“We wanted to take the training out of the workplace so that our staff could really concentrate on the programme without distractions, and we also wanted to have a mix of staff from our different locations so that they would get a better understanding of how different parts of the business operate, and that worked very well.”

“We agreed with Dee McManus, who delivered the training, a clear set of objectives for the programme. These were:

  • To provide consistency for supervisors across the group
  • To help staff understand their responsibilities within their business units
  • To build confidence in their roles
  • To become more effective people managers
  • To improve communication skills with their subordinates, peers, managers and directors
  • To develop influencing language
  • To effectively manage tasks for maximum business benefit

“We wanted a practical approach, with a mix of ‘chalk and talk’, role play, case studies and some self-study, and we wanted the sessions to be highly interactive so that everyone had the opportunity to get involved.”

“Dee immediately struck up a good rapport with each group, who recognised her experience as a trainer, and her general understanding of business. We have a predominantly male workforce, and Dee used a football analogy that really resonated with the groups. She said that through this training, we wanted to ‘tackle more and pass less’. In other words, supervisors and managers should take responsibility and tackle issue themselves, rather than ignoring them or passing them on to others.”

“The training was a comprehensive package and covered many subjects including: identifying own strengths and areas for development; effective communication skills; skills of effective leaders; body language; observing performance; skills for dealing with conflict; delegation and recognising good performance.”

“The training was very well received, and when we carried out an evaluation three months later, the benefits were really coming through. Among the comments on the evaluation forms were:

‘My listening skills have improved, which has helped me to diffuse situations.’

‘Now I don’t think I’m better off doing everything by myself.’

‘I felt the training was like taking a nice deep breath!’

‘I now treat work as if it was my own business, and I know what it feels like to be a customer.’

‘I would recommend the course to anyone. Once a month, I go back through the course material to help re-motivate myself and re-focus.’

‘I thought Dee was very professional. She’s obviously very experienced and knowledgeable but didn’t ‘big herself up’. ‘

Angela added:

“The positive experience of this training has meant that the staff are now much more open to further training. As an organisation, we are always looking at how we can develop the skills of our workforce, and since this training took place, we’ve now got some new supervisors who we would like to put through a similar programme.”