by Bill Gentry, Director, Leadership Insights & Analytics and Senior Research Scientist
A professional getting promoted into his or her first formal leadership position in an organization is one of the biggest and most difficult transitions for any leader.
Far too often, the leader and the organization take for granted just how difficult that transition is.
The numbers prove it: No wonder 50% of managers in organizations are ineffective.
Their ineffectiveness may be the result of not realizing what they are getting themselves into when it comes to leading others, not being supported in their new leadership role, and not being given the opportunity for training and development early enough in their careers as leaders.
Think of the time and money that has to be spent on replacing these ineffective leaders—not to mention dealing with the low morale and disengagement of employees working under these ineffective leaders.
This inevitably hurts your leadership pipeline and may eventually hurt your organization’s bottom line.
First-time managers have as much of a right for leadership development as others, but their voices, time and time again, go unheard. They want to do well but so often are struggling at making the transition from individual contributor or professional who does the work and does it well, to a leader who must continue to do the work and more importantly, leads others doing their work.
Many first-time managers feel that no one understands what they are going through.
So what can you do to help?
Understand the struggles first-time managers have and help them overcome the challenges relevant to their new leadership role.
For example, consider a first-time manager who now manages former peers, and who in some instances are friends inside and outside the workplace. How can they gain respect and authority while balancing the relationship they had before?
Organizations should encourage their first-time managers to: …while also helping their first-time managers manage their stress better.
Understand the perspective of first-time managers and their struggles.
You can use the information to support first-time managers in the most difficult transition they have made so far in their careers--developing them as leaders, and ultimately, strengthening your leadership pipeline.
Do not underestimate how effective one to one coaching with a qualified, experienced neutral outsider is for first time managers in conjunction with leadership development.