<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Help Newly Promoted Managers Make the Transition
August 3, 2010
Dear Upward Mobility: Companies typically promote their best “doers” to management roles. This seems sensible, but supervisory jobs have very different requirements for success than doer jobs—and most of what makes people good at nonsupervisory jobs actually gets in the way when it comes to managing others who do that job. Few employers simply select people they believe to be the most qualified and let them fend for themselves. Instead, employers send the newly promoted to “supervisory training” programs that tell them the “dos and don'ts” in hiring, supervising, disciplining and terminating. They also provide training in the completion of various HR-required forms (job description, performance appraisal and disciplinary action, for instance). This first step reduces the risk of poor supervisory practices, but does little to improve the ability to lead. A further step involves selecting for success, often using competency models, helping new supervisors understand their job demands, and providing them with insight into their own capabilities. This approach is useful for helping new supervisors know what they need to focus on to make a difference. For example, a supervisor may be oriented toward establishing priorities and promulgating plans. A new manager with demonstrable strength at planning and communicating is likely to do well. But the manager's group might have a history of interpersonal friction. If this supervisor has a weakness in conflict management, this “flat spot” could be problematic. Customized training that is oriented around a new manager's competencies would address how to leverage strengths and deal with weaknesses. Forward-thinking companies take a further step toward creating real leaders. They ensure that new supervisors receive advanced coaching and mentoring beyond training. This approach builds a culture of leadership and corporate values through focus on successful implementation. These are the three levels of investment made in new supervisors. First, there is the good practice of providing supervisory training in the dos and don'ts. Better practice is to ensure there is successful job-person matching (using competency models). Finally, there is the broader (and more powerful) approach in which leadership development becomes an organizational “practice” and leadership itself is cultivated as a corporate asset and development is viewed as an investment. SOURCE: Norm Celotto, Hay Group, Philadelphia, June 8, 2010 LEARN MORE: Qualcomm believes its unusual approach to leadership training—there's no segmentation of the workforce into high- or low-potential leadership prospects—is a major contributor to its success. Workforce Management Online, August 2010 -- Register Now! The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.