Managers' Conference

Being an effective manager in the modern practice

This conference provides an opportunity for managers to develop their current skill set and focus their attention on the non-technical aspects of their role. It will cover specific techniques to support them in managing themselves, their teams and their clients more effectively.


Who should attend the conference

Mercia's Managers' Conference is a must-attend event for any manager wanting to improve their managerial and leadership skills.

Through this one-day virtual conference, you will get practical advice about managing and leading your team. Hear from experts on how you can add value to your employees and working environment.

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Full conference agenda

Louise Dunford, LD Consultancy Ltd

This is a practical and fast moving hour, discussing how to handle staff absence with a particular focus on sickness.

  • Overview and importance of positive absence management
  • Employer policies and back to work interviews
  • Sickness absence, long term and short term
  • The impact of disability discrimination
  • Getting medical information – the issues
  • Common mistakes and pitfalls.

Elizabeth Goldsmith, Wilmington PLC

A key part of the role of a manager is to get the best out of the people in your team, which can include addressing any poor performance within the team. Managing performance effectively is vital to ensuring individuals and teams are effectively contributing to the organisation’s objectives.

In this short session, we will look at some of the key areas to consider when managing poor performance.

Topics include:

  • Identifying poor performance
  • Delivering effective feedback
  • Holding performance-related discussions
  • Overcoming barriers to success
  • Dealing potential issues that may arise during managing performance
  • Performance improvement plans.

Graeme Miller, Haines Watts

In this session you will be provided with the perspective from a managing partner, who will enlighten you with stories of his challenges and successes.

The session will give advice on how to be a good leader, focusing on:

  • Culture
  • Authenticity
  • Setting the direction of travel
  • Team development
  • Managing expectations of others.

Bob Bannister, iManage Performance Ltd

Leadership is not one-size-fits-all - the most effective leaders are able to adapt their style to fit the needs of the situation and the individuals they are leading. In this 1-hour workshop, we will explore the principles of situational leadership and learn how to assess the competence and commitment level of team members in order to determine the most appropriate leadership style for a given situation. We will discuss the four main leadership styles - directing, supporting, Involving, and delegating - and when to apply each style. With the right approach, you can become more flexible and responsive as a leader. You'll learn how to diagnose the needs of a situation, adjust your style accordingly and guide your team to success.

Louise Conner, Mercia Group Ltd

The working world has changed, and we have very quickly had to adapt to home and hybrid working being our new normal.

Employees may sometimes feel they have the power over employers when it comes to how and where they want to work.

People also take career breaks for a number of reasons such as parental leave, illness, moving abroad or starting a family, which can all account for time spent away from the workplace.
Returning to work after such a break can be challenging as the once so familiar office may now look unrecognisable due to changing and evolving practices and technologies.

Getting people back into the office may seem like a never-ending battle, but this is where managers play a crucial role in guiding returners back into work, ensuring they integrate successfully within the team and receive the support they need.

Topics will include:

  • Communication
  • How to provide adequate resources
  • Implementing support systems
  • Understanding how we can become more flexible.

Conference speakers

Louise Connor

Louise Conner is Mercia’s Management and Skills Trainer.

She has worked in the financial services industry for twenty-two years, eighteen of which have been within the Learning and Development arena.

This experience has allowed Louise to perfect her motivational coaching model. She has a diverse range of courses, focusing on transferable skills within the workplace.

Louise always aims to make her courses as interactive as possible to keep them fun and engaging. Her passion lies within training, and she always gets great job satisfaction from seeing people grow and develop along their career paths.


Louise Dunford

Louise has been continuously involved in training and consultancy since 1987, both for professional firms and for commercial organisations. She also worked as an associate senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. Louise specialises mainly in aspects of practical employment law, company law and on professional negligence, and has published widely in leading academic and professional journals.

She is an associate of Complete HR Ltd, providing practical and pro-active assistance with employment and HR issues for SMEs.


Elizabeth brings a wealth of experience in human resources management to help companies thrive. She has a strong commitment to fostering a positive workplace culture and optimising employee performance. Her areas of expertise include conflict resolution, employee relations, performance management, organisational change and compliance.

Graeme is a Managing Partner of Haines Watts Scotland, qualified CTA with 25 years’ experience in both Edinburgh and London advising entrepreneurial business owners on growth, remuneration, succession and exit planning. He is a former professional footballer who understands the need for a high-performing team culture.

With four decades of experience driving growth and innovation, Bob Bannister is a veteran business leader. As founder and Managing Director of iManage Performance Ltd., Bob provides strategic oversight and hands-on leadership in business development, consulting, training and coaching.

Bob began his career as an engineer, completing an apprenticeship and working with leading manufacturers like Qualcast, DuPont and Philips. He later served as Senior Consultant at a specialist procurement consultancy before founding the training consultancy iManage. As a mature student, Bob earned an MBA from the University of Brighton - a pivotal moment that catalysed his entrepreneurial journey. 

Even while managing a thriving company, Bob remains deeply involved in service delivery and client relationships. His enduring enthusiasm for learning shines through in his work. 

Beyond the office, you may find Bob racing to the podium in amateur circuits or laying down bass lines with his bandmates. In his empty nest years, he brings a wealth of experience, energy and wisdom to every endeavour. Though decades into his career, Bob tackles each day with youthful exuberance, continuing to grow his business and himself.

One Day Conference
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Mercia Conferences

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