Your manager is most likely a bad fit for being in a managerial role. I was a bad fit too when I got promoted to management as nobody told me that management is a completely different role that requires a new set of skills.
People get promoted to management when they are good at their current jobs. I got promoted to management this way too. However, this is a flawed strategy, and it leads to multiple problems in the future. Both new managers and their teams tend to suffer a lack of happiness and productivity when that happens.
Promoting people based on their success in their previous role fails because of three main reasons.
1. Management is a Totally Different Role
Management is a different role altogether, not an extension of your current “individual contributor” role. Yet, most people are promoted or rewarded with a “management role” for succeeding in their previous role. Organisations must recognise the difference between being a manager and being good at a certain role, and that the skills required for both are completely different.
According to Gallup, the best managers have a unique set of skills. They know how to make sound decisions, build trusting relationships, motivate their team, overcome obstacles, and create a culture of accountability. Managers without these skills often turn to manipulative tactics and unhealthy office politics when they face challenges in the workplace.
Transitioning from an individual role to a manager is one of the most challenging moves you can make in the corporate world. Becoming a manager comes with new responsibilities and requires a new perspective about work and the people involved. It also requires you to form new types of relationships with your former peers, your new colleagues, and other stakeholders.
2. New Managers Rarely Have a Clue What Good Management Looks Like
New managers usually have no idea what it means to be a manager and only have bad examples to follow from their own untrained managers. According to a study by Grovo, a whopping 98% of managers feel that they need the training to learn how to handle critical issues such as conflict resolution, professional development, time management, employee turnover, and project management. 87% of middle managers who participated in the study wish they had been trained after landing their first management role.
A manager wears many hats in the workplace, depending on the situation. Therefore, being a manager calls for an entirely different set of skills as opposed to technical ones. Leaders should stop underestimating the complexity of the role.
As long as organisations think they can throw in anyone into a management role without preparation, both new managers and their teams will continue to suffer. This results in a lack of trust, high levels of stress and conflict, and a negative impact on workplace culture and productivity.
3. Most Managers are Never Trained
Managers (new and old) never learn the skills required for their new role before getting promoted. Nobody shows them how to develop a leadership style that is authentic as well as results-driven. Such disregard for management skills can derail an individual’s career and negatively affect the organisation’s productivity.
It’s no wonder that most managers who receive no training fail or struggle in their first few years. Those who are lucky to survive pick up undesirable habits that are often difficult to change later on. These habits could hinder their teams’ productivity as well as well-being.
If an organisation trusts you enough to offer you a managerial position, it should also provide you with the right training and support to help you succeed in the role. Management fundamentals such as motivating people, assigning responsibilities, growing your team members professionally, coaching them, decision-making, giving and asking for feedback, team-building, and evaluating performance, can be easily passed down from experienced managers to new ones.
What Should Happen Instead?
Traditional methods of promoting managers create disengaged managers and frustrated teams. Engagement is strongly linked to business outcomes, including profitability, productivity, and customer ratings. Engaged employees are more likely to foster innovation and promote growth in a company.
So what should be done instead when it comes to promoting new managers? There are 3 steps organisations and leaders can take to make sure new managers start on the right footing:-
1. Management Roles Should Not Be Handed Out As A “Reward”
A popular myth is that if an employee is good at their current job, they will naturally succeed at managing others doing the same job. Nothing could be further from the truth. You need a different skillset from that of a persuasive salesman to become a good sales manager, for example.
Of course, top performers need to be rewarded for their work. But they don’t necessarily have to be rewarded with managerial roles. Top performers are vital to a company’s performance. They deserve rewards like higher pay and bonuses, whether they serve as managers or in front-line roles.
There is nothing wrong if they get more pay than their own managers in higher positions. When organisations associate compensation with managerial status, they back themselves into a corner since employees will start competing for roles for which they don’t qualify.
Dangling the managerial role as a carrot result in skewed incentives. People who have no interest or talent for building strong teams will end up in management roles. This leads to a vicious cycle of bad management, poor workplace culture, and limited employee performance.
2. Those Who Wish To Be Managers Should Get Trained To Understand What Is Good Management
The organisation should train and educate people interested in management to understand what makes a good manager. A management role should not be seen as the end result of good performance, which usually leads to a fixed mindset and overconfidence. Instead, it should be seen as a new beginning with lots of learning ahead. New managers should be humble. curious, and approach their new roles with a growth mindset.
Companies should invest in their managers by providing them with the right tools, resources, and support they need to hone their management skills and refine their strengths. Good managers are always looking to improve themselves, and organisations should provide the right environment for growth. This can be done through mentorship, coaching, conferences, or providing opportunities for online learning.
New managers often try to prove they deserve the promotion. But since they are new at it, they’re usually not sure how to do this. They will thus concentrate on doing as much as possible on their own, just like they did in their previous role.
But the DIY attitude is a mark of poor leadership and leads to burnouts. To be a successful manager, first-timers must be taught to let go of their old habits. The best manager succeeds by empowering their team and delegating work, thus creating trust and autonomy in the team.
A new manager must listen to and acknowledge their team members’ needs. They need to lead by example and continuously strive to create an environment that allows their teams to do the best work possible.
3. Workers Who Exhibit Managerial Traits Should Get Promoted
Organisations that hire/promote people to management roles based on strong desire and relevant skills have a better chance of ensuring success. These managers would be better at engaging employees to create productive teams as they will be using skills which they are already good at, instead of learning them from scratch..
Therefore, people who want to move into management and show strength in relevant skills should get management positions. These skills are motivating people, clear communication, overcoming challenges and obstacles, fostering accountability, building strong relationships, and good decision making.
A talented manager will motivate themselves and members of their team to continually become better and deliver higher results. When challenges and obstacles emerge along the way, they will overcome them by learning new skills and humbly acknowledging their mistakes when required.
They will take responsibility for the successes and failures of their team and develop structures and processes to hold their people accountable. They understand the importance of building strong relationships with and among their team members.
Instead of following their intuition when dealing with complex issues, they will analyse, think ahead, and successfully balance competing interests to arrive at a decision. They will end up not only creating better business results, but also a growth-oriented culture and strong relationships on the way.
Organizations should desist from promoting their managers based on the level of experience they have in the company or the success they had in previous roles. Instead, people who exhibit the unique skills and desire to be a manager should get the job.
Management is a special responsibility that requires abilities different from other roles. This includes strong communication skills, making sound decisions, building relationships, being accountable, and motivating others.
Organisations should not assume that new managers know what they are doing because they were good at their previous job. Instead, they should continually educate their managers and help them overcome the challenges they may be going through in their new roles.