We’ve all heard this phrase – the sarcastic jab at someone who is self-promoting in a position of authority they probably didn’t earn. Most of the time it’s in good fun, or in a humorous context, but like my dad always said, “there’s always a bit of truth in humor.”
So, when it comes to the workplace, who exactly is the boss and how did they end up in that position? In a recent article in Forbes Magazine titled “How Bad Bosses Compel Good Employees To Leave,” Terina Allen provides a laundry list of bad management behaviors that I’m sure we’ve all encountered at one time or another during our careers. The article is littered with phrases such as “they take credit for success and blame others for mistakes” or “they lack cultural competence” and “they neglect to solicit input and cause employees to disengage.” You get the picture. So, why is bad management such an epidemic in the workplace? In some cases, it may just be that the boss really just isn't cut out for the job, but what if the real issue is that the “boss” is someone who ended up in the role unexpectedly and had little or no training on how to be good at it? We have to consider that maybe the fault is not entirely theirs.
For small companies, this is a particularly common problem. Small organizations that experience fast and sometimes chaotic growth often scramble to keep up with creating internal structure, and in doing so they randomly choose “the nice guy” or “the really hard worker” and decide that they should be the one to lead the team. Don’t get me wrong – nice and hard-working are great attributes, but they do not guarantee success in a management role. First and foremost, the company should determine if the person even wants to be a manager. (You’d be surprised how often people are not asked that question.) If the answer is yes, the next step is to ensure they understand exactly what being a manager means within the organization. That means you, the employer, have to be able to articulate and outline what it means. Getting to “yes” is just the start.
New managers need to learn how to communicate, educate, facilitate and motivate the people they manage. To be successful, they need guidance, training, support and encouragement from the company. Here a few questions to consider. Think about whether your managers could answer these if asked.
If you can't say for certain that your managers could answer each of these questions, you could be at risk. Leaving them to figure it out on their own can be demotivating for them, frustrating for the people they manage, and downright dangerous for your business.
When you give employees the support and education they need to develop good management skills from the get-go, you are empowering them to be successful. It’s an investment, but it’s worth it. Equipping your new managers doesn’t have to be burden of time and finances. The most important thing you can do is show your commitment to their success from the start by investing in incremental training (both on-the-job and external) and ensuring they are given regular opportunities to build on their skill set. Education leads to confidence, which fosters better leadership, which in turn promotes healthier employee / manager relationships. That will boost your bottom line.
Ready to get started? Check out our Training & Development page or reach out directly to firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help your company on the road to managerial success.