Congratulations. You have been promoted! No country in the industrialized world promotes people “instantly” into management better than us.
Today, let’s say you are the proud owner or the CEO of a thriving, growing business. You need to promote a person to management, whether he or she deserves it or not. The promotion fairy comes by and waves a magic wand. Poof! Next day, that person is the manager and is in charge of a team.
But who has prepared the newly minted manager for this transformation?
Yesterday, he or she thought only about himself or herself. Today, he or she is the boss. That manager has to shift the thought process by 180 degrees. Now, the team comes first.
Imagine a blind person teaching another blind person how to ride a motorcycle. It sounds silly, but this occurs every day in our world of business. That’s why we must think of ourselves as coaches. Do we go in for the player or do we watch him or her make the plays and correct the performance from the sidelines?
A coach’s job is to bring players to a higher level of performance ... period.
When I look back at my own career, everything I did to be a good manager was dead wrong. I did what I thought best. I just used my own judgment. When I began reading and studying the art and science of management, I realized that I was headed in the wrong direction.
Who has prepared today’s managers for their leading roles, how to think of the team first, and how to motivate and communicate ideas?
Managers need to grow and get better at their jobs. Send them back to school. Let every new manager study the new job and become a master of the craft of management.
Remember: Top managers or leaders were not born; they were made and continue to get better all the time.
The bookstore, internet and the library are the places to gather more knowledge about managing. (If they don’t like to read, then use video or audio media, or go to seminars).
Keep in mind that if there were one way to manage, there would be only one book. Obviously, there are hundreds to choose from, including “The One Minute Manager,” “Lincoln on Leadership” or “Good to Great.”
There are many examples of executive vice presidents of sales who were certified public accountants or engineers by training who were suddenly named sales managers by their company’s CEO.
I’m not saying that all of these “instant” managers will be bad sales managers, but have they had the training? Will they pursue training to bring them beyond their previous job training and into sale’s world.
Too often, these people who went from being an employee to someone who now is in a leadership position are heading their troops in the wrong direction ... and sometimes even the wrong battle.
Before “instant” management creates instant problems, consider a few basic ideas:
•Before you promote someone, ask yourself if that person is ready for the position. Does he or she have the skills, the knowledge and the desire for the position?
•If the person becomes sales manager, does he or she understand sales?
•Was that person a superstar or an average player? An average person will probably develop an average team.
•Is your system set up for coaching? Are your managers in the field with your people? If not, why? And what will it take to create that atmosphere and ensure success? How often is your manager or supervisor out of their office and truly coaching the staff?
•What are your ongoing methods for teaching and learning?
Is it just once or all the time? The better trained and more knowledgeable the management, the better the team will perform.
•As a CEO or an EVP, do what Tom Peters said more than two decade ago — MBWA. That stands for manage by wandering around. The more you are out of your office watching and observing your employees, instead of managing paper or looking at a computer, the better your people will become. It actually shows that you care.
The choice is yours. Run in place and go nowhere or better yourself and take your people and your company to unimagined heights.
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of two best selling books, “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s book on negotiating is titled “Get What You Want!” He can be reached at Halbecker.com.