Improving Management Skills Remains a Priority During Pandemic, Says American Management Association Survey

June 4, 2020 04:07 PM

NEW YORK, NY—Has the COVID-19 crisis changed the way you work? In late April, the American Management Association (AMA) posed that question to its members.  Among the more than 500 respondents, an overwhelming majority—95.1%—answered YES. Nearly 70% had shifted to working remotely. During this time of transition and uncertainty, the majority continued to invest in professional training. 81% expressed an interest in attending webinars, and nearly a third said they would consider enrolling in multi-day online courses. More than 65% of those surveyed were in a management or executive management position.    

As this survey affirms, business leaders remain committed to professional development during the pandemic. In this time of rampant disruption, effective management is more important than ever to maintaining peak performance, teamwork, and morale. As working from home, whether daily or part of the week, becomes the new normal for many companies, managers are seeking out web-based training to help them build critical skills to meet the new demands of doing their job in a virtual environment.

In response to this urgent need, AMA offers a timely online series for managers, Ask the Expert. In each web session, a respected thought leader on AMA’s faculty discusses a vital aspect of managing individuals and teams remotely. Ask the Expert addresses four management topics with targeted advice on virtual challenges:         

Motivation: Learn tactics and tips to energize and inspire team members from a distance.

  • Take the time to learn what motivates an individual who is working from home, and understand that everyone is different.
  • Be intentional and clear about engagements, using open communication.

Delegation: Dive into the differences between delegating in a virtual work environment and a face-to-face workplace.

  • Invest in building trust, with an awareness of how lack of real in-person communication can lead to crossed signals and unclear expectations.
  • Establish a standard four-step process: Describe the assignment. Confirm understanding. Contract for collaboration. Identify potential problems.   

Communication: Explore and overcome obstacles to communicating effectively when your team is physically separated.

  • Align the right method to the message. For example, when giving corrective feedback, avoid email. A phone call ensures clarity and conveys empathy.
  • Stay in touch, virtually. Communicate often to share information, monitor performance, or even just check in.     

Coaching: Learn how to adapt and excel at guiding team members toward improved performance while working remotely.

  • Recognize the challenge of not being able to see the process of achieving but only what is achieved. Set benchmarks to monitor progress.
  • Master the elements of a virtual coaching conversation. First, show and tell: teach, demonstrate, describe. Then, coach: ask questions, listen, encourage. Finally, entrust: state the results needed and empower.  

“Strong people-management skills have become essential in the new way we work,” says AMA president and CEO, Manny Avramidis. “Managers must quickly learn to adapt these skills to a virtual setting, and AMA can help bring them up to speed.”   

As business as usual continues to change, managers have to change with it—if they want to advance their career. Free to members and available on demand, AMA’s Ask the Expert series is a valuable resource for managers who are determined to keep learning and thriving, even in a pandemic. Learn more at

About AMA

American Management Association (AMA) is globally recognized as a leader in professional development and consistently cited by industry sources as among the world’s top training organizations. For nearly 100 years, it has helped millions of people bring about positive change in their performance in order to improve results. AMA’s learn-by-doing instructor-led methods, extensive content, and flexible learning formats are proven effective—and consistently evolve to meet individuals’ and organizations’ changing needs. The world’s foremost organizations rely on AMA’s years of experience, expert guidance, vast award-winning learning resources, and global capabilities. AMA supports the goals of individuals, organizations, and government agencies with a complete range of corporate talent solutions, with both live and digital learning capabilities.


Piera Palazzolo | VP, Digital Marketing

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