A note on the imperative of leadership training
Updated: Mar 8
A recent conversation with a good friend of mine has reaffirmed my worry that far too many businesses are prioritising promotion over training. To expand on this statement a little further; promotion of an individual in recognition of their hard work, loyalty, skills etc, but without providing them any tools or support in developing themselves as a leader or being successful in a new role.
Prioritising training to focus on task and not on the development of the individual, their leadership ability, confidence, people and analytical skill nor corporate compliance, is a common occurrence. Not only does it risk undermining the very skills and attributes that led to the promotion, it leaves a vacuum into which incompetency and ignorance happily reside.
The knock-on effects of this are often overlooked and could include;
the effect in the individual and their own output, wellbeing and productivity
the negative effect on the team they lead
the effect on other stakeholders that they engage with or depend on
the cost of non-compliance with statutory obligations that the individual is unaware of or ill-equipped to deal with
the cost of accidents or breaches that can have long-term consequences
legacy mistakes and missed opportunity due to processes or cultures that allow them continue into future generations
Taking an objective look at the common gripe that one’s manager is useless or doesn’t do anything, and whilst I don’t particularly like the term, but perception is reality rings true. It’s not difficult to imagine that if one considers somebody lazy, incompetent, disinterested, workshy or any other negative adjective, they are less likely to respect or wish to follow them – unless of course they aspire to the same attributes in which case there lies a greater fundamental problem. Further, if leaders or managers are exhibiting such traits, it can undermine the confidence and productivity of those they lead or manage by causing them frustration or teaching them to become indifferent. This then becomes ingrained in the corporate culture. I see it all too often, organisations are propelling people up the promotional ladder but are disappointed when increased productivity or desired changes do not transpire. Sadly, it is often the less experienced, new manager or others that takes the force of any backlash or mistakes. More often than not this talent is wasted, either destroyed emotionally or simply leaves for pastures new.
The great news is there are literally thousands of different avenues open to help new managers become great leaders. The online marketplace is huge (if not a bit of a jungle at times – not all ‘management courses’ are the same). There are also hundreds of group sessions available that cover the basics of managing others. Hascombes offer a somewhat more tailored service that aims to be specific to the person, their background and experience, but also applied within the context of the organisation that they work for. There are others that offer 1:1 training options too.
Regardless of the pathway deployed to develop new managers and leaders, businesses need to assess their existing management expertise and determine if they too need training or mentorship. There can be no excuse not to invest in management training, especially with so many different options available to suit the need and budget of any business. The cost of inaction is far greater than many will appreciate or perhaps consider - but consider it they must. The mountain of evidence of employees prioritising training when considering company satisfaction (PWC) is well documented, as too are the ethical, moral and cultural imperatives of healthy businesses in which to work and develop skills.
As for my friend, time will tell. They are committed to their own personal development and are keen to seek opportunities to grow and improve. It is entirely possible that when this happens and they quickly outgrow the role and organisation they currently work for.