Per research by Harvard Business Review, the typical person steps into a manager role around the age of 30. Also, per this study, the typical manager receives her first formal leadership training around age 42. It can be concluded that the majority of today’s managers operate in leadership positions for over a decade without formal training and the necessary skills to succeed.
Why is this statistic so astounding? An ineffective manager has a ripple effect. Ill equipped managers become dissatisfied and cannot figure out how to increase effectiveness. Their contribution level is lower than expected by senior leadership. They become disengaged.
Employee engagement is closely linked to the manager’s relationships with the employee. People don’t quit their companies, they quit their managers. If a manager is not fully engaged and lacks the skills necessary to successfully lead her team, team mates will become disengaged – that is, not satisfied and not contributing to the organization’s goals. Furthermore, if this team interacts with various departments around the company the frustration spreads; hence the ripple effect.
This may be a worst case scenario, but it can – and does – happen. The irony is this scenario can be prevented with a proactive approach to developing leadership and high potential talent. Skills such as listening, communicating benefits, providing positive and constructive feedback, delegating, managing resistance and conflict and goal setting are all critical to a new leader’s future success.
Forming positive behaviors at the start of a leadership tenure will also have a ripple effect throughout the team and organization – this time the ripple effect is positive. This well trained and well coached manager knows the questions to ask, the goals to set, the feedback to provide, and so on.
Proper leadership development requires a proactive and multi-faceted approach: training, mentoring, coaching, goal setting and participating in stretch projects. Leadership development requires the right person in the right seat with the right senior manager who will invest the time and resources to grow the aspiring leader. The investment requires time and patience from both parties, but the ROI is worth it from both the individual’s and organization’s perspective!