My friend works for a development department in a very specialized production company. When we recently met, he asked me about my job. I updated him and explained that I had also started to coach and train people who are new to leadership roles. When he heard that, he started to complain to me about the General Manager of his company. The company he works for is making a mistake I’ve seen many times before:
They promote people from within the company to management without making sure the individuals have either the skills or the training needed to succeed in their new roles.
The management team of that company has a clear idea about what their managers should look like, and they believe there is no way to find them outside the company. The reason is, top management feels their mid-level managers and team leaders need to have both great technical skills with background and understanding of their product, as well as great leadership skills. And when they promote successful individual contributors, it comes as a surprise to them that they often become unsuccessful team leads or managers.
My friend asked me if I could give him any materials he could show to his General Manager to persuade him that the company needs to support people it promotes with proper training and onboarding to the new role. But I didn’t only want to help my friend and his company. This is a widespread problem that sets many intelligent, talented, and hard-working people up to fail.
There are several reasons I want my message for first-time managers to be widespread:
- I read an article recently about the Czech job market that explained there are a lot of open job postings for roles of managers on the market but only a limited number of candidates. Most companies also complain that the candidates do not meet the required criteria and are refused. Thus, the companies take the same approach as the company where my friend works. So there are a lot of companies, and I believe not only in the Czech Republic, that struggle with the same situation. It is unfair that somebody who has always been successful and probably happy in his job is promoted and then left “alone” to fight new battles.
- I feel the pain the first time managers are going through. I have been in their shoes. I know that not only it is hard to succeed without support when one is suddenly promoted to a management position, it’s also hard to succeed as a first-time manager at a new company. I still remember how difficult it was when I took my first management job with a single subordinate. In this situation, I was hired because my future boss believed in my potential and skills to succeed even though I had no previous experience with managing people. And even though I had theoretical background, I would have appreciated more guidance than I received.
- My long-lasting passion is helping first time managers succeed quickly in their new roles. I have always enjoyed working with these types of managers and helping them to succeed. I have met a lot of young team leads and managers who were searching for wisdom and experience with such an enthusiasm that their motivation to succeed turned into my passion to help them.
I am a fan of all first-time managers who are able to identify the gap in their performance and are looking for ways to fill it in. If you belong to this group, I would love to welcome you to my blog and invite you to join me on a journey to success.
I promise that I will do my best to help you succeed, and I will be more than happy if, at the end of that journey, you become a greater leader than myself – one I would want to be led by.
Please feel free to join my mailing list, send me a message, or get in touch on Facebook or LinkedIn. I would also appreciate it if you comment below this article on challenges you have faced as a first time manager. I will do my best to address them in the comments or in my future blog posts.
*Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash