Three quarters of new managers lack skills to do their job

Jul 02 2008 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Barely a quarter of new managers in America get the training they need to do their job properly - meaning that organizations are stuffed full of people who do not feel confident in their management abilities.

We've all heard stories of people who are great at what they do, get promoted into management and then flounder because the role is so completely different.

Sadly, according to new research, it's often not just stories but the reality of modern-day management.

While it's never easy to make the transition into a management role, employers are not helping by failing to offer new managers the sort of first-line management coaching they need to hit the ground running.

Barely a quarter of new managers – 23 per cent – get effective coaching or training when they step up into a leadership role, according to the poll by US HR consultancy Right Management.

Its survey of 656 HR professionals in North America found that while organisations did consistently provide coaching to employees as part of leadership development initiatives, it was normally focused on just a lucky few.

Just under three out of 10 "developing leaders", or vice-presidents, directors and managers received coaching, rising to 35 per cent of chief executive officers, department heads and senior vice presidents, it added.

"While organisations see value in providing coaching to strategic and developing leaders, coaching is not offered as frequently to new leaders," argued Steve Cohen, senior vice-president of global project management for Right Management's leadership consulting practice.

"Most new leaders advance in their careers due to their proficiency with technical skills, but they don't necessarily have the leadership abilities needed for success in their higher-level positions," he added.

What new leaders and managers therefore needed was coaching and training in how to think strategically and how to lead and challenge the people beneath them.

"They are the future leaders of the organisation. Smart organisations focus their resources to develop these individuals and ensure they deliver on their much-anticipated success," said Cohen.

Coaching in emotional intelligence skills could also pay dividends, he argued.

"Coaching in emotional intelligence provides self-awareness, builds management and social skills, and assists one to become more empathetic toward others and more understanding of oneself," Cohen said.

"New leaders don't need coaching in technical skills as much as they need guidance in how to treat others," he added.