Desk (2)

The need for companies to up skill their managers was a key issue highlighted in recent research from The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) who found that four out of five managers in Britain are what they term ‘Accidental Managers’ – people who have been promoted into more senior positions because they are excellent at their jobs.

Most of these managers will have come to the role without any training, many didn’t set out to become managers, they may not relish their new status and they have little knowledge or experience of how to lead and manage a team effectively.

Whilst they may have proven themselves in other areas and because they have done well they are asked to run bigger projects and manage teams, but most won’t have any formal management training. Essentially, these new managers lack the core skills needed to make a success of their new role.

Moving up the career ladder is something most people aspire to do but they must have the right skills and behaviours to take on a more senior role and this comes down to robust training, coaching and development plans to help make the transition.

Failure to do this can cause a lot of stress for the new manager and their team, but more seriously it can damage the organisation’s productivity. According to the Economist these ‘gifted amateurs’ are responsible for the UK’s poor productivity levels.

The CMI also believes these managers are a risk for any business and its employees. According to its research 75% of people consider their manager or boss to be the biggest influencer on their career. So, if managers get it wrong, the career prospects of the people they manage might suffer.

Research shows that a growing number of UK companies are investing more in training and coaching to address their skills gaps at a senior level. According to the CIPD’s Learning and Development report 2015, three-quarters of organisations currently offer coaching or mentoring and an additional 13% plan to offer it in the next year. Most expect to increase their use of coaching.

Coaching is a useful development tool to help people transition smoothly into a managerial or leadership position. One of the benefits of coaching is that it helps people’s emotional intelligence and gives them the confidence and capability to communicate more confidently with their teams, to ask the right questions of them and to better motivate them.

Any coaching programme will uncover where any skills gaps lie and help managers understand the fact they may need different skills now they have been promoted including key management competencies.

Learning to delegate well and wisely is an essential part of this and it can be complex. How much work should be delegated and to whom? What about decision making – how should that be delegated? How little or how much should a team be involved in the decision making process? Coaching can help managers take a step back and consider what strategy to put in place as well as how to delegate effectively and let go and trust a team to do things well.

It can also help people find their own, unique management style, whilst at the same time giving them the tools to become successful managers.

New managers not only need the ‘hard skills’ necessary to the job but also ‘soft skills’ which organisations are increasingly recognising are just as key to being a successful manager.

By Marielena Sabatier, CEO, Inspiring Potential