I had a call the other day with someone who was struggling with her transition to a management role. She had been an amazing individual contributor for a few years, and had earned the bonuses and recognition that went along with that. She was hard working, loyal and dedicated. So of course, she got promoted.
A year into being in management, she’s really struggling. She’s gone from being a super star, to seriously under-performing against her targets. If her company hadn’t made up the difference in her bonus, her income would have taken a major hit. The whole thing is taking a toll on her self-esteem. It has her wondering if she’s cut out for management. Can she even do it? What happens if she can’t? How long will her company be able to support her, if her team isn’t producing?
Now she’s seeing some turnover on her team, which makes the problem even worse. It means she not only has to figure out her new management role, but also has to cover for the missing resource, and lead a search to find a replacement. She is now feeling truly overwhelmed.
Any time a new manager comes in, there’s likely to be a bit of turnover. However, when management skills aren’t there, it’s not just the poor performers who leave. Star performers are more likely to walk out the door if they aren’t getting the leadership support they want. That leaves the new and overwhelmed manager with the difficult or “meh” employees. Now any gaps in their management skills become an even bigger challenge.
The new leader I spoke with is not alone in her experience. A 2016 survey of 500 managers by Grovo found that 44% felt unprepared for their roles, and 87% wished that they had more training.
Unfortunately, most companies these days offer very little in the way of leadership development. A 2018 study by West Monroe Partners found that 59% of people managing 1 – 2 people, and 41% of those managing 3- 5 people had no training at all for those roles. Even among those with 10 years of management experience, nearly half had had only 9 hours of leadership development support. That’s not nearly enough to prepare someone to lead, particularly in the kind of challenging times we’re facing now.
As disappointing as it is, I’m not particularly surprised that companies aren’t investing in leadership development for their people. The “gig economy” philosophy is putting more and more emphasis on individual initiative and employee mobility. The tide is shifting from corporate support, to “everyone for themselves.” When it comes to leadership development, this may mean that the days of waiting for training to be offered are over. Enterprising managers will need to seek it out – and invest in it – for themselves.
That’s not entirely a bad thing. Investing in leadership development for yourself means that you can find a program that works for you – one that fits your style of learning, and incorporates the skills that you most need to learn. For less than it costs to take a family of 4 to Disney for a week, you can build a solid foundation for your career that will serve you for years to come.
It’s not worth waiting for your company to provide the training you need. If your performance is suffering, there’s simply no time to wait. The longer you wait, the more challenging the role will become. Can your career withstand that?.
If you’re ready to invest in yourself, so that you can become the leader you’re meant to be, let’s talk. We’ll explore your situation, and identify the major challenges you’re facing in your leadership. If I believe I can help you fill those gaps, I’ll let you know, and we’ll talk about what that would look like. If I’m not the right fit, I’ll tell you that, too, and point you to other programs and resources that might be a better fit. Either way, you’ll be taking an important step toward getting your career back on track. Find a time for us to talk here. I promise it will be worth your time.