In my old job in the news business, good producers or reporters were often promoted into management without leadership training. That sometimes proved disastrous in stressful situations, where screaming and verbal assaults were the norm. At the time that was considered the step “up the ladder of success. ” In fact, The New York Times writes about how this happens often in all sorts of industries.
On top of that, managers often have a faulty view of what their new position means. “People often think that being a manager is about money, power and perks”, says Linda A. Hill, a professor at Harvard Business School and author of Becoming a Manager: How New Managers Master the Challenges of Leadership,”but it’s more about interdependence. Your success is dependent on others, both those you manage as well as your bosses and your peers,” she told the NY Times. “You are an instrument to get things done in the organization by working with and through others, rather than being the one doing the work.”
So what do you do if you haven’t been trained for your new management position? The New York Time’s article quotes experts advising new managers to meet with other managers in the same boat or find a mentor. OK. But, we’d say a major help might be self-awareness books and videos. There’s a reason corporations spend about $58 billion on corporate training. We’re not talking airy fairy stuff. In fact, this is the harder stuff to do. Much harder than learner a technical “hard skill” is doing the self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses and how that plays out in treating yourself and your staff.
Are you afraid of risks? Does that mean you are afraid of confronting your boss on behalf of your team? Just knowing this insight might help you to plan an approach or get help from a mentor or teammate. You do know that standing still is as much a risk as making a move. Intel founder Andy Grove says both are decisions. One can get you labeled as procrastinator; the other as a maverick. The goal is to make the best decisions and be aware of perceptions.
Exectuive coach Marshall Goldsmith often talks about the gap in leadership development training. He says, “If you ask the customers of business schools—today’s corporations—what their biggest critique is, they will tell you they want more focus on people, team building and interpersonal skills, and less training of technicians.
So if your company isn’t providing the ‘softskills training’ you need, go out there and get them yourself! The investment in YOU is worth it!