Do You Develop Leadership Skills?
There’s something odd about the approach many companies take with employee development. New employees are trained in the details of their job, including training on equipment operation, the technical details of the job, and the various requirements levied by governments. When an employee is promoted to a new position, they usually receive whatever additional technical training is necessary. Some companies even invest in their employee’s future by sending them back to school for an advanced degree. But, when an employee is promoted to a management position, they almost never receive training in the one critical area that can make the difference between great success and mediocrity, or even failure.
They seldom receive training in the leadership skills necessary to effectively lead and manage the people they are now responsible for.
Liane Hornsey, Vice President of People Operations at Google mentioned in an interview that she was in management positions for 15 years before she really understood how to manage people. She has learned, through her own hard experience, that leadership skills must be developed just like any other skill. That’s why she ensures Google makes a real effort to develop leadership skills in their managers.
It would seem that Google is an exception. A study by Emerge Leadership Group found that 50% of the leaders surveyed felt they were not provided with the necessary skills to succeed. Further, Academy Leadership, a leadership development company, has found that only about 5% of upper level managers have received any training in leadership skills.
Consider two facts. First, supervisors up to mid-level managers have more day-to-day, face-to-face contact with employees than any senior executives. They are the ones who deal with worker problems and issues as they arise. They are the ones who must ensure production schedules are met, safety standards are followed, and interpersonal relations don’t get out of hand. They are responsible for the most valuable and complex resource in the company – the human.
Wouldn’t it make sense to provide some training in how to get the most from them?
Second, those same supervisors and managers are the ones who are watched and considered for increased responsibility and may be sitting in the C-suite one day. Once there they are expected to be leaders with all the necessary skills; like the leadership skills they were not taught back when they most needed them.
Think about your own company. Do you have high employee turnover, low productivity, low employee engagement and moral, high shrinkage, and labor disputes? If so, they can probably be tied to a lack of leadership skills at the supervisory and management level. What are you doing to prevent these problems?