It has been said that as many as 4 out of 10 people who are promoted to a managerial role within their organisation fail in their jobs within the first 18 months of taking on their new role. This is an appalling statistic, but why is this so?

People are promoted for what they know – their “shop floor” experience and “hands on” knowledge. However, the mistake that is made time and time again is that the best person in the team (be that a salesperson, engineer, customer service representative, etc) gets promoted to the role of manager. This might seem logical, given their experience, but in one single move the organisation deprives itself of one of its best ‘producers’ AND lowers the productivity of the team because suddenly they are led by an inexperienced and therefore ineffective manager. The problem may be compounded as the individual concerned may regret having made the move to a managerial position in the first place. The worst case scenario is that the pressure may cause them to decide to leave the organisation, leaving behind them a team of demoralised employees and a department in chaos!

The “halo” effect can be damaging. The organisation becomes blinkered – their highly performing employee can do no wrong, and they forget to ask some basic questions before placing them in the role of a supervisor or manager. For example, it is key to ask (and indeed answer) these two simple questions:

  1. Is the person capable of fulfilling a managerial position?
  2. Are you as an organisation willing to do what it takes to equip that person for the job?

If the answer is “no” to either of those questions, it is asking for trouble.

The first question can be answered using an appropriate assessment and selection process. The potential manager can be ‘put through their paces’ using various techniques to determine if they have the innate capability and motivation to succeed as a manager.

However, just because someone has the potential doesn’t mean that they will succeed unless they are given the right support to learn the skills necessary to be an effective manager.

People placed in management roles must become a hundred things they may not be used to being: delegators, motivators, trainers, mediators, planners, listeners, organisers, problem-solvers, example-setters, budgeters, ambassadors, regulators, counsellors – and all this all while remaining diligent workers. With little or no training for these responsibilities, it is near enough impossible for new managers to succeed under these circumstances.

Therefore, once you are sure you have the right person for the role, it is vital to put ongoing management training into place. This doesn’t mean a one-off training course. It means ongoing, intermittent management training with feedback and coaching that gives the newly appointed manager a way to learn, practice, and improve their efficiency and effectiveness as they progress.