Trainer and writer John Charlton appreciates the approach taken by Angel Productions in its latest video  

Anyone who has spent time in the armed forces will tell you that noncommissioned officers are the line managers who ensure the troops perform. But too often, line managers are from the Sergeant Bilko or Corporal Hitler brigade - bumbling clowns or over-bearing disciplinarians. What can you do?  

Apart from having them shot at dawn, the answer is to re-mould them through training. Find Your Voice - a training package from Angel Productions - aims to do just that. It has two videos, a manual, hand-outs and guidance on the themes of VOICE (vision, organisation, involvement, communication and enquiring), which sum up the essential skills of managing people.  

They are explored through the dispatch department of a pharmaceutical firm, where stereotyping, poor management and inappropriate behaviour are displayed against a backdrop of forklift trucks and large boxes.  

The cast includes dispatch manager Martin and his nanosecond fuse, his dim assistant Judi and college boy Ben, the forklift truck driver who is just killing time until something better comes along. Smoothie Darshan is the office captain, a man with the wisdom and demeanour of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Prozac.  

The scenarios are straightforward. For example, Martin is the classic 'raging bull', with no idea how to manage people. But once Darshan shows him the way, he's soon walking it.  

Will this package help your line managers do the same? Maybe, if you deal with non-graduate line managers who are relatively new to the job and responsible for a largely semi-skilled workforce. It's of even more relevance if your company is multi-cultural, as diversity issues feature highly.  

It has just about everything a trainer needs. The hand-outs and exercises are as clear as the message they convey. And the 'vox pops' of members of the public talking about their experiences of managers is a nice touch.
■ Find Your Voice, by Angel Productions. Two videos and manual £795, plus vat. Training magazine rating: ■ ■ ■ ■
Training Magazine July 2004