A recent Guardian article provided a pretty shocking statistic about management and training in the UK. According to the according to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI):
“82% of bosses are deemed accidental, having had no formal training.”
Which just can't be good news for 82% of bosses and their companies across the country. In fact the case of the ‘accidental manager’ can be a familiar one for many who are progressing in their careers. Here we explore the issues that organisations can face when they create a management skills gap including the impact on the individual, their team and the wider business culture.
Less than one in five managers are trained
It seems to be a pretty clear, tried and tested progression route. If you’re good at your job; you get a promotion – which can mean climbing the ladder into management roles in your business. The trouble is, the new skills you need to be a manager can be quite different to those of the job you were just promoted from. According to the Guardian’s research and the CIM, the overwhelming majority of managers just pick it up as best they can. Only 18%, less than one in five, are trained.
A symptom of getting thrown in at the deep for so many new managers is that they will pick up and perpetuate bad habits, perhaps because of the exposure they've had to a current manager's techniques (it’s a good bet that they too are part of the 82% as well). Or because they are simply reacting to situations and fire-fighting issues that they have never had to deal with before in their job.
Finding your feet giving feedback as a new manager
We spoke to one of our New Manager Boot Camp experts, Larry Reynolds, to find out his thoughts on the case of ‘accidental management’. Larry cited feedback as one of the biggest hurdles for the accidental manager:
“It puts a lot of stress on a new manager to manage their colleagues. Delivering feedback is a great example of that. New managers are unsure whether to call out bad behaviour in a direct way. They're concerned about upsetting people. They're concerned about being too heavy-handed.”
Poor or non-existent feedback is one of a number of facets of (mis)management that can very quickly start doing tangible damage to a company. As the Guardian article states:
“Bad management has prompted one in three UK workers to quit.”
The CMI survey finds there are trends showing a higher turnover of staff in many businesses, which is no surprise if they are being mismanaged. These numbers should be really concerning. Because of ‘accidental management’ people can find themselves getting thrown into a management role and struggling to cope. They can feel a perceived downturn in their abilities to deliver and therefore a struggle to be effective. And as a result, they’re less likely to ‘call out’ poor performance and behaviour; a clear culprit for higher staff turnover in a business.
“The biggest single thing that new managers worry about is, ‘How do I give feedback to a member of my team?’ ‘How do I say to them - this isn't working, you need to change?’ And that's particularly tough, because if they had been promoted from the team, suddenly they're telling their friends what to do.”
Creating skills gaps and workload pressures
Promoting a highly-skilled, productive and efficient employee does not necessarily an effective manager make. In fact, in doing so a business risks leaving skill gaps in their workforce, moving individuals from delivery to management they are left looking to replace a high-performing team member who’s just been promoted. It could even be the new manager’s responsibility to find their replacement. Without any training, the new manager is more likely to have difficulty recruiting effectively. It’s a negative snowball.
The workload of the new manager will also increase with potentially damaging effects, as Larry points out:
“Individuals in their first management role may still be doing the job that they've just been promoted from and have the same workload. But, they’ll have much less time to do it because they are required to take on new management roles. So it creates time management issues as well.”
Training managers to avoid ‘accidents’
We understand that businesses move at pace and a simple solution is not always immediately available. But, delivering training at some point early in somebody's management career will certainly help to avoid some of the pitfalls of the ‘accidental manager’. It can also increase retention, avoid escalating issues - and will definitely go some way towards bringing that ‘82% of managers are untrained’ figure down.
The difficulty many businesses seem to face is finding a practical time for training to be delivered to new managers. When is the right time to provide management training for someone in a new role? It seems impractical and risky to invest in training someone before a promotion - before they are even in the role. According to Larry, an experienced management trainer, it's a good idea to wait until the person has done the new job for a few weeks and then send them on some good management training:
“Ideally in the first month or two, and then send them for training. And the other thing is, it doesn't have to be a lot of training. I mean, the New Manager Boot Camp is only a one-day course. But in one day, you can do an awful lot. “
Making management training solutions simple and accessible
Here at The Hub Events, one of our goals is simply to help people have a better day at work. We believe that people can be happier in their job when they have the skills and means to do it well. We also believe that well trained, knowledgeable, empathetic managers are key to the happiness of the whole team and the wider organisation.
If you’re worried about the effect of having ‘accidental managers’ in your business, courses like our New Manager Bootcamp could help. An intensive, one-day course. it equips your manager with some essential skills and techniques, quickly and easily, and sets them on the path to success.
We also have our Seriously Excellent Management Ultimate 3-day Programme. A highly practical three-day management development programme gives you the essential skills and tools. We use a variety of accelerated learning techniques to embed new strategies into your management style. As a result, you’ll feel confident to put everything you learn into practice as soon as you return to your workplace.
Find out more about the New Manager Bootcamp course here, and the Seriously Excellent Management 3-day programme here, or better still, get in touch and talk to us about your management training needs today.