If there is one initiative HR Leaders must prioritise – Why should it be Manager development ?
Jan 10 , 2023
Summary: A small or large company will typically have a CEO and a C-level executive for each department (CFO, CHRO, COO, etc.). These executives are responsible for designing the company’s strategy. However, successful execution of that strategy requires consistent effort from managers at all levels of the organization. Good managers are essential for ensuring that the strategy is implemented effectively and for driving successful outcomes. Essentially, the success or failure of an organization can often be traced back to the quality of its managers.
Having a robust pool of managers is the best method to drive strategic execution. Those who understand the business, have functional and technical understanding and are good people managers. Both of these abilities are diametrically opposed, and you will rarely find them in the same person. And it is difficult to teach a skilled manager technical and functional abilities because it is a lengthy procedure.
Finding the right Manager is what most companies struggle with. The only way to ensure that knowledge is regularly and effectively transmitted without overwhelming people is to transform high-performing individuals into coaches who recognise the importance of this work.
Consider what it takes to be an effective people manager, it takes someone who can share their direct reports (DR) problems, solve their issues when they are stuck and guide them when they are overwhelmed.
The solution to the DRs difficulties will often come from the technical/functional knowledge that their managers must possess; so we must develop such Managers. The principle of developing such Managers is to educate high-performing individuals to be good coaches who realize the importance of it and invest in better ways to convey knowledge regularly without overwhelming them. This may be the most effective move that HR Leaders can take to transform the Human Capital of their respective organizations.
Unfortunately, this is also one area where most businesses fall short.
When a corporation needs a team supervisor, senior management frequently appoint the team’s most effective employee. Some of these appointees are successful in their new role as managers, but most of them are not. And when they fail, they tend to quit the organisation, costing the corporation more: the team has lost not just its new boss, but also its finest individual contributor. And failure can be extremely costly for the new boss, leading to doubts about their abilities, intelligence, and future career path. Everyone has a setback.
Setting ambitious objectives, demonstrating consistency, possessing knowledge and technical skill, driving outcomes, anticipating and solving problems, taking initiative, and being collaborative are all characteristics of the most productive people.
These competences all rely on individual abilities and efficacy. They are valuable skills that increase productivity but are focused on the individual rather than the team.
The building blocks of a great manager
Communication: The ability to deliver information to others in an exciting and engaging manner is one of the most important abilities for managers. Communication is necessary for the highly productive individual contributor, but it is not the primary core of their performance.
Self-aware: Emotional intelligence is now seen as possibly the most important leadership quality. Although highly productive people are not loners, hermits, or Sauron, being highly productive does not always necessitate superior interpersonal skills.
Supportive: All leaders, whether supervisors or managers, must be concerned with the development of others. While individual contributors can concentrate on their own growth, outstanding managers take pride in assisting others in learning. They understand how to provide actionable feedback that will help the team grow.
Open to suggestions: The desire to solicit and act on input from others is an important ability for new managers. They want to become more self-aware so that they are constantly improving.
Receptive to new ideas: The person who focuses on productivity has usually discovered a workable method and strives to make that process as efficient as feasible. Leaders, on the other hand, know that innovation isn’t always linear or efficient. An inspiring leader is open to new ideas and recognises that it can take time.
When should you nurture the budding manager?
Managers must understand that the abilities that enable individual contributors to be effective and highly productive are not the only ones required to be effective managers. I believe that the greatest time for individual contributors to gain these managerial skills is while they are still individual contributors in the team.
Some organisations are far better than others at recognising those who will be effective managers. These businesses often gain a head start on developing managerial skills in these high-potential employees by training them before they are promoted.
Why begin so early? After all, most people who become unsuccessful managers aren’t bad at the abilities described above, and many who recommend them for promotion feel that those talents can be improved once they’re in a managerial position. The issue is that acquiring these abilities require time and effort, and most firms want to see rapid returns. New managers are frequently intimidated by their duties and rely on the talents that made them effective individual contributors rather than the skills required to manage others. The time to assist high-potential individuals in developing these abilities is before they are promoted, not after.
Good managers are essential for ensuring that the strategy is implemented effectively and for driving successful outcomes. Essentially, the success or failure of an organization can often be traced back to the quality of its managers.
This should serve as a wake-up call to the many organisations that wait until someone is promoted to a supervisory position before investing in leadership development. There’s no excuse to put it off; after all, when individual contributors enhance their leadership skills, they become more successful contributors. Investing time and money in individual contributors’ leadership development will benefit both those who are promoted and those who are not.
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About Rolling Arrays
Rolling Arrays has been driving SAP SuccessFactors-led HR Transformation since 2009. The company specialises in SF consulting, implementation, and support and also builds applications to enhance the utility of the SuccessFactors platform. It is committed to designing systems that help its customers to attract, develop and retain talented individuals. In 2021, Rolling Arrays was recognized as one of the top 75 fastest-growing companies in Singapore by The Straits Times & Statista.