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SunTrust Bank is the flagship subsidiary of SunTrust Banks, Inc., and provides deposit, credit, trust and investment services to a broad range of retail, business, and institutional clients. Throughout its successful history, SunTrust has relied on its leaders to negotiate turbulent financial times.  Amidst the recession, SunTrust recognized the need to invest strategically in its people, especially its frontline leaders, to help drive engagement and create a competitive leadership brand that would continue to attract and retain the right people. To address these needs, SunTrust’s HR team launched Manager Academy to develop the skills of its frontline leaders.


Manager Academy offers six courses from DDI’s Interaction Management®: Exceptional Leaders (IM: ExLSM) Series.  The courses, which feature highly interactive learning activities, develop the leadership behaviors critical for effective management interactions. With the help of DDI-trained facilitators, managers evaluate their own skill sets and learn new and better behaviors to coach and engage teammates.

SunTrust’s HR team engages mid-level managers to identify direct-report participants for the next sessions of the Academy. This creates a positive dynamic from the outset; both leaders and their managers are immediately on board and committed to the leaders’ development. Once leaders register to participate, their managers are automatically enrolled in Supporting Manager Development, an online overview of Manager Academy that provides the tools and rationale for championing their reports before, during, and after they complete the Academy curriculum.

Manager Academy is offered quarterly at multiple locations. Each session includes frontline leaders drawn from retail, commercial, and functional areas.  At the end of each course, participants formulate a personal plan of action. They identify one or two items that they wish to work on and share with their managers.


  • Engagement surveys revealed a 16-percent increase in teammate engagement over just two years.
  • On a post-training survey, participants rated the overall program a 4.7 out of 5.
  • Feedback from participants shows that they are applying the skills on the job and feeling more confident and capable in their roles.
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