By Michael Gunther
After speaking at a conference about leaders’ impact on building a strong team, numerous people shared their particular issues. I noticed there seemed to be a common theme. These individuals received a promotion to management, but had no formal training or guidance on being an effective manager or leader. In addition, I spoke with several individuals who managed a team for a decade or more, and they expressed not having received any management training when promoted.
After hearing about these stories I started to reflect on my consulting clients and their teams as well as friends who have been in management positions. I decided to reach out to some folks and see what their experiences have been. The pattern was the same: little to no training when becoming managers.
No wonder corporate America is having a “lack of employee engagement” epidemic. There has been a tendency to promote individuals and assume they know how to manage, communicate and lead effectively. Would a sports team promote a player from the minor league to the major league and say “go play and do your best” and hope that the individual steps up to the plate? Of course not. This individual will continue to receive coaching; they would practice and train continuously. Even when they become a top player, the coaching and practice never ends.
Why do we promote individuals within a business and assume they can just jump in and make it work without any coaching and training? Are we just repeating a pattern over and over because as leaders that is how we were promoted? This is a cycle that needs to break.
We all know bad management impacts employee retention, as well as the bottom line. Leaders today seem to think management is a quick fix. Sending an individual to a management training without any ongoing training and coaching afterward just doesn’t work. Yet, I witness the cycle continue with most businesses.
As leaders, I challenge you and your organization to be the group that breaks the cycle. If you are going to invest in management training, make sure that it also includes ongoing coaching and development as part of the program. Be patient and let your managers make mistakes. This will allow them to learn and evolve as leaders. The investment, along with a coaching philosophy from you as the leader, will certainly allow managers to thrive and grow. Nothing will impact your business quicker and longer than a strong management team that can help their employees achieve stronger outcomes.
Knowledge is valuable, but only through solid implementation does knowledge become profitable. Invest in your management team and teach them to be the best managers they can be. This is one investment you will never regret as long as you continue to coach and assist with the implementation and development of their skills.