Bad bosses take the blame for a lot of what goes wrong in the workplace. Low engagement rates, high turnover, employee dissatisfaction and even poor employer branding will often get placed squarely on the shoulders of supervisors. A constant passing of the buck, and probably some not so fair statistics have lead to the idea that a bad boss epidemic is at the core of business issues. Let’s take a deeper look though…
Leaders Need Formal Leadership Training
Too many leaders are placed in leadership positions without the proper formal training. If leading a team of people were simple, we wouldn’t currently be sitting at a 13% worldwide employee engagement rate. In fact, one study revealed as much as 80% of managers surveyed said their company expects them to lead without formal training.
This lack of training is most commonly found in smaller organizations and in internal promotions. Simply because someone has been with a company or in a specific industry for a while, does not mean they have the skills necessary to successfully lead. So, managers who aren’t exactly doing a bang up job might not have even been given the chance to succeed. They need formal training resources to not only learn how to do their own job, but to also facilitate those under them.
Not Everyone Wants to Be a Leader
Put very simply, we have to stop promoting the wrong people. Did you know that just 34% of Americans aspire to have leadership positions, and a mere 7% have their eyes set on the C-suite? Since your succession planning and performance management should be intertwined anyhow, make leadership roles and promotions part of that dialogue.
If only 1/3 of your workforce has the passion to do what their boss does, you might want to figure out which third that is, and work with them. So, instead of promoting the wrong people to leadership roles, identify those who have a passion for leadership, and facilitate those career advancement opportunities with them.
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Performance Skills Aren’t the Same as Leadership Skills
Executives will often turn top performers into leaders in the hopes that they will produce more top performers. The problem with this archaic corporate notion is performance skills don’t necessarily equate to leadership skills. The same qualities that make a great salesperson are not what we should be basing leadership role assessments off of. Remember there are plenty of other ways to recognize and foster a consistently great performer.
“Management is often just the next rung on the ladder, but the skills needed to succeed at management are very different from the ones that got them this far. As a result, you often see people who are brilliant and talented independent contributors flounder when it comes time to manage others.” - Allison Green, Author of Ask a Manager
Leaders Need Tools to Succeed
Many of the complaints we have all heard about leaders are also some of the leading reasons why employees voluntarily leave a job. Ironically, they are also issues that could be easily fixed with the right performance management and communication tools. Let’s start with one, very common example; employees will very often complain about and quit over a lack of recognition from their boss.
Transparent performance management tools let employees update every task, issue and success they have on a daily basis. These real-time alerts are then sent to leaders so they can easily dole out the proper recognition in a timely manner. No manager can be everywhere with an ear and an eye on everything. Beyond that, some employees won’t be vocal about their successes or their need for recognition, then the silent but great, fall through the cracks and become disengaged. Transparent performance management tools make employee recognition and rewards the easiest and most impactful thing a manager can do all day.
Your managers want to be great, they want to engage their employees and make them feel valued. That being said, they need the tools, training, resources and support to do all of that successfully.