Here’s a shocking fact of U.S. businesses: Leadership training doesn’t typically happen until managers have been on the job for some 10 years.
I think it’s easy to understand why this is so. Very often individuals sort of “morph” or evolve into management positions. It can happen several different ways:
- The organization grows and a successful employee in a given department assumes a leadership position.
- A manager needs someone to fill in and eventually the “fill in” turns permanent.
- One department borrows a star employee from another department and that evolves into a leadership position.
You can probably think of other scenarios where employees find themselves in leadership or management positions without having gone through any kind of formal preparation for their new roles.
I wonder if this phenomenon is behind the fact that the number one reason people quit jobs is because they don’t get along with their managers.
What do you think? Mere coincidence? I doubt it.
It’s important to note that people “evolve” into management positions for good reasons: they have excelled at their jobs and have been noticed by leaders within the company. However, this could be an example of no good deed goes unpunished, if it ends up creating managers whose people skills and leadership skills aren’t up to the demands of their positions.
Don’t let your good nature and desire to recognize high achieving employees devolve into a negative situation. Prepare your fledgling managers with enough training to get them started off on the right foot. There are a number of free and paid courses you can tap for this if you don’t want to create your own training materials.
Some of the free online college and university courses are:
- Leadership and Management from the University of Northampton via Open Education by Blackboard.
- People Management from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore via
- Organizational Behaviour from The University of British Columbia via
The American Management Association offers some paid courses, including Management Skills for New Supervisors, which is a three-day class offered in various cities around the country. AMA has other management-level offerings that might interest you as well.
But let me warn you that putting a new manager through a quick course is only the first step you need to take. Pairing your new managers up with proven leaders in mentoring or coaching relationships is critical. Failing to do this is like writing a few lines down on an index card and then sending your newbie out to win over a potentially hostile crowd.
Of course, choosing a good mentor is something of an art. The mentor needs to have the necessary knowledge and the right disposition to properly mentor or coach a young manager. Anyone who would feel threatened by young talent should be excluded. In fact, successful mentors want their charges to excel beyond what they themselves have been able to achieve in their careers.
So don’t wait 10 years to give your managers the training they need to drive your business forward. Start giving them the knowledge and skills they need from day one…or before.