It seems perfectly obvious to me, as an L&D professional, that when someone is promoted into a management role there is quite a high chance that they will not have the skills or knowledge required to hit the ground running and be able to effectively manage their teams. Yet, especially during the recession, when people were trying to do more with less, newly promoted managers were and still are expected to intuitively know or guess how to manage their teams and the added challenge of a team workload.
Even more surprising is when an organisation starts to creak at the seams, or in some cases, fall apart at the seams. People do not think to ask, ‘can our people do the job and do they have the tools to help them?’.
At every stage of a management career, leadership and management skills are important but probably never more so than right at the start. It is at that point that habits are formed and good and poor practice established.
If you have managers that are newly promoted and want to get these fundamental skills under their belt where do they start? The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) 2020 Vision: future trends in leadership & management report has some interesting findings.
It has found that there are three key areas that all managers need to consider in order to face the challenges of 2020. Not surprisingly one of those areas was that the acquisition of core management skills was vital. The others were managing flexible working, and the power of relationships. You can check out the core skills in our recent infographic.
What was also interesting was that it is not only the acquisition of those core skills that was important but the ability to apply them in increasingly challenging situations.
For me that means there are no short cuts. Having a good role model will help, reading up on the latest business gurus will widen knowledge but actually learning the skills, practicing them and considering how they can be applied in the workplace is what will make the real difference.
There are lots of development programmes on the market today to assist managers with their new roles in many different ways. For example, our Foundation Leadership Programme really helps learners hone their skills by practicing some of the key coaching and communication skills with actors. It challenges them to apply the learning and enables them to get feedback there and then. This style of learning is paramount to the early development of managers.
So how can you secure that development for yourself, your team or your department?
- Face facts! What is actually happening? There is a big difference between people being very busy and those who cannot manage their time or cannot plan effectively. Stop looking at the symptoms and brushing them aside and start to identify the core issues.
- Work out how much it is costing the business. Just one small miscommunication or under motivated team member will result in less performance. Get into the habit of working out what that actually costs. Even the wasted salary of slowing down the process is a cost. Once you start to add that up, it starts to become obvious that something needs to change
- Stay objective. It might feel like certain people are beyond hope, but is that really true? Are they perhaps doing what they (wrongly) think is the best thing, just because they do not know any different?
- Take action. Consider skills sessions, peer coaching, or something more formal, like a development programme to improve the situation.
Use your common sense and stop ignoring the obvious. The only thing you have to worry about is improved performance, happier employees, and greater results!
Contact us to discuss how we can help equip your people to make the journey from team member to manager.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
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