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It’s a classic business error. The best sales person is promoted to management, causing revenues to suffer as they divert attention from making their own sales to performing management activities ineffectively. And it doesn’t just happen in sales. The same scenario plays out:
Why does this keep happening?
Lawrence J. Peter called this phenomenon “The Peter Principle” and it occurs where employees are “promoted to their highest level of incompetence.” Sometimes the talents that make someone an excellent technician do not translate well into management. Managers need some technical expertise to work with the team, but the higher a person ascends in an organization, the less valuable these skills become. Patrick Lencioni recently articulated the three most valuable talents for any manager: Hard Working, Humble, and Smart. While these talents serve technicians as well, let’s explore them in the management development context.
Hard Working: A hard worker is eager to invest in professional development. Typically, when new to a role a person will be on a steep learning curve while getting accustomed to all they must do. Over time, they develop some expertise in the basics and become ready to hone their craft more deeply. Eventually, the learning curve flattens. When moving into a new management position, this learning curve again becomes very steep, but on completely different topics: motivation, staff development, performance management, planning, and collaboration. The hard worker is eager to take on the new challenge.
Humble: The best managers give credit to the team. They know that they are nothing without the people who report to them; after all, they don’t do anything. They “just manage”. But humble doesn’t end there. The best managers work as part of a management team. They understand that the management team is, in fact, their primary team. Less humble managers treat their division or silo as the most important in the company. They protect their direct reports and budgets– even when it does not promote the greater good of the organization. The best managers are humble to the organization’s greater needs and recognize that the management team is, in fact, their primary team. It is their job to work with their peers as well as their direct reports to get the best out of the company as a whole. .
Smart: This refers to being “people smart”. The best managers have a well-developed Emotional Quotient (EQ) that allows them to adapt quickly and manage any situation that comes up – even when it’s shocking or stressful.
Commit to an action plan right now to develop your management team before they become managers.
The most common failure of this program is in the coaching. Leaders often experience the catch-22 of having no time to develop their managers, while also feeling impatient for their managers to get up to speed so they can free more of their own time. If this sounds like you, Bellrock’s management training program can help. Drop us a line.