How to Ensure New Managers Have the Skills They Need to Lead & Succeed

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In a recent article for Forbes, leadership strategist Victor Lipman writes that new managers making the transition into their first leadership roles are in need of more training than anyone else in the organization, and yet these young rising stars often have little to no support. 

I believe you can reasonably make the case that the transition to new manager is often more difficult than the transition to CEO. Not to say it’s a harder or more important job, of course. But to say that many new managers are less ready for it. CEOs generally move into the position with a formidable institutional support system in place: an experienced C-suite of capable lieutenants, an HR department and legal assistance to help with thorny and delicate issues – plus years of leadership development training and perhaps an MBA or other advanced degree behind them. New managers, on the other hand, are often just tossed into the role with limited guidance and training and sometimes without any preparation whatsoever.

Victor Lipman, in Forbes

As a result of this failure to train young leaders, research from CEB has found that 60 percent of new managers underperform in their first few years. Those who survive, according to HBS professor Linda Hill, may end up with negative leadership habits that haunt them throughout their careers.

Why is it that new managers so rarely receive the training they need?

It likely comes down to cost. As we know, leadership training is traditionally wildly expensive, with little opportunity to identify ROI. Organizations are reticent to offer it too early in young employees’ tenure for fear that the investment in training will just benefit some other company in a year or two when the employee moves on.

But while this cost-saving mentality is understandable, it’s also short-sighted. Research has shown over and over that training opportunities are a critical path to improving employee engagement and loyalty. In fact, a recent Deloitte study found that, among the millennials planning to leave their jobs within the next two years (a whopping 66 percent), 70 percent of those cite a lack of leadership development opportunities as the main reason. Investing in these young leaders now—showing them they’re valued and worth the investment—is actually a powerful way to retain them later. (Not to mention, think of all the costly mistakes you’ll prevent by offering new managers guidance rather than simply throwing them in the deep end!)

So how can organizations provide effective new-manager training without busting the budget?

Of course, for many organizations—even those with the right mindset toward training—cost is still a factor. It’s impractical to bring in leadership coaches for every new manager, and less costly options like workshops and leadership retreats tend to be too generic to have much lasting impact.

Fortunately, developments in automation technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning have led to a proliferation of new training opportunities that provide high-touch, personalized learning at a fraction of the cost of a traditional coach.

At Quantified, we believe the foundation of leadership is communication, and we’re working in the AI-driven learning space to offer world-class, communication-oriented leadership development. Our data-driven communication evaluations offer leaders and potential leaders the same quality training they’d get from individual executive coaches — with the added benefit of tracking capabilities that enable learners to measure progress and update action plans for maximum impact. And all without busting the L&D budget.

Limited resources have long made it difficult for organizations to provide new-manager training. But if development opportunities are the key to employee retention—and to developing successful leaders—shouldn’t that training be a top priority? Now, it can.