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The pandemic has strengthened the need to improve the digital experience business case for organisations that wish to increase employee engagement, satisfaction and retention. Goodluz / Shutterstock

According to research from CEB Global, 60 per cent of new managers fail within their first two years. That's a staggering figure, but it also poses a serious question:

What adequate support is provided to them as they embark on this new level of their careers? When I first started my management career, I was fortunate to receive ample mentoring and coaching from my line manager.

But when that contract ended and I moved up the ladder into a more senior management role in another organisation, that quickly changed. I was thrust into carrying enormous responsibilities on my own without adequate training, support, or mentorship from my line manager, peers, or the L&D team.

In fact, on more than one occasion, I was reprimanded and humiliated in a meeting with my peers, for making naive management mistakes, mistakes that could easily have been prevented had I been coached and received management training beforehand.

I subsequently began to feel incapable and even questioned if being a manager was the right thing for me.

I'm so glad I didn't allow their lack of understanding and training to stop me from pursuing my dream of being a business leader because months later, I joined another organisation that provided me with a positive and supportive experience while giving me free rein to flex and develop my skills independently. And now, this year, I am specialising further by undertaking my Master's in Business.

But what if I wasn't resilient?

That one negative experience could have been the make or break for my career. And all because I was not provided with adequate management skills training. An organisation's culture is set by, and hugely dependent on, its leaders. Management training is underestimated.

If an employer decides to not invest in its employees, the effects on its reputation, culture, financial success and overall performance will be evident. Mine was not an isolated case.

Employers make the critical mistake of endorsing many high-performers to be promoted to management without receiving adequate training and support. These high-performers are sometimes ill-advised to accept the promotion, however, they lack the soft skills and tact it takes to motivate a team and lead a project. And because the employer was blindsided by their accomplishments as individual contributors, dictatorial leadership and managers who are only such in name, but are in fact abusive bosses, are the result.

Or like me, and several clients I have coached, these high-performers have most of the soft skills to manage people, but are too scared to venture out on their own and trust their judgement, therefore in times of crisis, they flopped.

The assumption is made that because we performed the technical aspects of our roles well, we are also able to train and direct teams to do the same thing with success. This could not be further from the truth.

When this is assumed, high-performers flounder and drown, because not only do we have the pressure of performing just as well as before, but we now have the ADDED pressure of being decision-makers, budget-holders, coaches, the voice of reason and sound judgement in a crisis, people leaders and responding to demands of internal and external senior stakeholders.

And we have to get it right the first time or the impact could be perilous for the business, our reputation and our careers.

Investing in management skills training and making this a key priority before promoting/directly after a promotion, cascades multiple benefits, including:

  • Improved communication at all levels, leading to fewer misunderstandings and employee dissatisfaction
  • Higher EQ, meaning a positive company culture is the sure result
  • Strategy is turned into profitable business outcomes.
  • Organisational change is managed effectively, with empathy and a clear vision, and employees are motivated towards that vision with less resistance
  • A growth mindset and a culture of continuous improvement are fostered
  • Greater confidence at work

And so much more.

Companies should invest in either hiring external trainers and consultants to develop a bespoke training package for them, or they can build their own in-house team.

In addition, managers can be supported in their career journey by having a solid peer support structure in place from day one. Peer support means they are able to offload all the stress and concerns they may have, which they may not feel comfortable talking about with their boss and of course, can't share with their reports.

It is a great initiative that supports their mental health and helps them feel that they have someone in their corner who has lived experience in the organisation at the management level and can guide and support them along the way.

It's fair to say that if any organisation cares about employer branding (how it is perceived by potential employees), and creating a vibrant, high-performing culture of excellence, it all starts from the top. Investing in management soft skills, upskilling and mentoring are key.

By Rachel Wells business shoot Rachel Wells rachelwellscareerexpert

Rachel Wells is a Corporate Career Coach, Corporate Trainer, Christian Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur and public sector Contract Manager. Her passion is in helping people discover and live their purpose, and equipping the next generation of leaders. When not coaching or speaking, Rachel enjoys traveling, vegan baking, and long-distance running. You can learn more about management training for newly appointed and aspiring managers, by visiting her  website: https://www.rachelwellscoaching.org/.