manager trainingAn article in the Harvard Business Review titled, “New Managers: Embrace Your Rookie Status,” is about the struggles new managers have when they first take on the manager role. While this blog raises an important issue and discusses a little about why new managers are so ineffective, it misses a key reason as to exactly why they are ineffective and it didn’t provide a remedy for this situation.   The article suggested that humility about being a manager is the best way for managers to quickly become more effective.  If a new manager is humble about what they know and don’t know, argues this article, they will be more open to learning how to manage. This is certainly a good start, but it really doesn’t do much good if they’re not being systematically trained or supported.   Humility alone means that the new managers’ development is open to learning but also means that the learning is essentially ad hoc. Lacking more focused and directed support, new managers continue to act as individual contributors or revert to old school command and control management. Humility may help them past these challenges faster, but humility alone isn’t enough.   Clearly, one of the main reasons new managers struggle is because they receive little or no training on how to be a leader – not just a manager.   Many of our clients offer “New Manager Training,” which can be best described as how to administer a team – it’s all about legal and policy issues. This content is important, because mishandling a wide variety of issues from a hiring process to workplace violence can have significant consequences for the manager and the organization. Even though this content can be incredibly boring, new managers have to know about it. Unfortunately, that’s where development stops.   We have found very few meaningful or good programs for newly appointed managers. Instead, there’s a tendency to simply dump people into the job and let them go. After all, they get the job because they were really great, so they should be good here as well. We have seen this approach or… non-approach for everything from first line supervisors, call centers and manufacturing, to team leaders in technology and to store managers in retail. The pattern has always been the same – minimal training and ineffective support.   About 40 percent of our programs are now for some form of first line supervisor. Our programs also include grooming individual contributors for the role and supporting people from the minute they take on the manager role.   We follow our usual process, which begins with identifying the top managers in that first line role. Then we discover what makes them great. Next, we put the new managers through a 4-5 month development program that uses the latest neuroscience of learning, including social learning to train and support them. At the end of 4-5 months, the new hires consistently think and act like the stars with hardly any disruptions or hiccups.   Certainly, being open to learning is critical, but let’s take advantage of that by giving people good development programs and support from the start!  ]]>

Share this...