Newly minted first-time managers and new leaders are usually part of the biggest population of leaders in any organization: frontline, first-line, and entry-level managers, supervisors, and directors. They directly manage more people than any other managerial level. The stats show first-time managers and new leaders rarely get the training they need to be effective in their new position.
For at least the past five years employee engagement has been has been a major topic for HR professionals and thought leaders around the world. You can find conferences, panel discussions, articles, blogs, tweets, etc. about employee engagement. With the dismal numbers of first-time managers and new leaders receiving inadequate training employee engagement will continue to be a major topic for HR professionals and thought leaders around the world.
In my blog post Managers Need Training Too I talked about the importance of managers receiving the proper training to be successful. If first-time managers and new leaders aren’t receiving the training necessary to be successful employee engagement will decrease. If employee engagement decreases the quality of the service being provided or the product being produced will also decrease.
Upper management needs to invest in training so first-time managers and new leaders can be successful. The success of the organization is directly or indirectly tied to the success of first-time managers and new leaders.
If you poll everyone you know in the workforce you will find that all managers aren’t good managers. Whether you’re a front line manager, mid-level manager, or in upper management the people you manage expect you to lead. I’m not talking about mentoring or coaching I’m talking about being the decision maker. The line “I’m not a leader, the only way I could get a promotion was to take a management position” is outdated.
I agree, in many organizations the only way to move up is to become a manager. The flip side of that coin is everyone doesn’t want to be a manager and everyone isn’t built to be one. By default people end up in management positions where they do not want to be, or are not built for. This post isn’t about analyzing the structure of companies, it is to highlight many managers leave their employees in limbo.
Regardless of how managers got to their positions, employees expect managers to lead. Employees need leadership when things are good and when things are bad. Leadership qualities shine in the midst of a bad situation. If a manager can lead their employees out of a bad situation they will be an instant hit. If a manager doesn’t lead when things are good or bad they create a leadership vacuum.
Leadership vacuums not only occur when a manager isn’t leading they also occur when a management position is left open too long or there is a leadership merry-go-round. A leadership merry-go-round is when a management position is occupied by several people in a short period of time. When employees have more than one manager in a short period of time it’s difficult for them to get their bearings. When a leadership vacuum occurs employees are left in limbo. They don’t know what to expect on a day-to-day basis and are left in a state of confusion.
When employees experience a leadership vacuum morale can go down. Morale goes down because the employees don’t trust the current decision maker(s). Employees will blame the current decision maker(s) for everything that is going on. Low morale can lead to a decrease in production, a decrease in the quality of work, and could ultimately lead to employees leaving the company/organization. If managers lead they will not leave employees in limbo.
My favorite HR practioner from India, Ankita Poddar, hit another home run earlier this week. In my post, HR Professionals Create Something, earlier this week I was urging my fellow HR professionals to come up with something new or different. Well I’m not alone. In her post Where Are the HR Innovation Conferences Ankita laments that HR professionals aren’t innovative.
I understand HR is not one of the arts where you use the right side of the brain. Regardless of which side of the brain you use innovation is needed in every field. On a large scale HR has to move beyond the mundane and into the future. In no way am I suggesting that HR is beyond the times, absolutely not. However, unlike other fields that people purposefully entered HR is a field that many people stumbled into.
I want to give you a brief history lesson of HR. Historically HR has been a female dominated field and it still is. In the business arena HR is a support function. In the workforce women have historically held support roles. In the mid twentieth century when women were entering the workforce in large numbers the only positions they were allowed to have were support roles. So by default many HR professionals stumbled into the field.
There’s nothing wrong with stumbling into a field. However, there’s a difference between doing something you love and having a job. Once again unlike other fields HR has been a field that you didn’t have to have a degree get into. Just having a job won’t give you a passion for what you do. Not being mentally challenged before entering the workforce also won’t give you a passion for what you do. A lack of passion is one of the things HR is missing. If you have a passion for your job then you have a dog in the fight. Without a passion for HR our field will always be lacking on the innovation front.
If you have questions about this blog post or anything else please contact me at email@example.com and http://www.linkedin.com/pub/cornell-jenkins/11/476/897/
Employee engagement has been a hot topic in HR world-wide for the past few years. Employers across the globe are trying to figure out how to get and keep their employees engaged. For the most part engaged employees are happy employees. Engaged employees stay at their jobs longer than disengaged employees and engaged employees provide an emotionally stable work environment.
While upper management and HR are trying to figure out how to get and keep their employees engaged, employees continue to focus on obtaining a work-life balance. Many HR professionals believe providing a work-life balance for employees will facilitate engagement (I’m one of them). In the past few years I have read only a few articles and participated in a limited number of conversations that focused on making sure employees did have a work-life balance.
If upper management and HR truly want what’s best for their employees they would recommend employees go home on time. Gemma Dale is an HR professional that resides in London, in her blog post Go Home On Time she provides a good case why employees should “go home on time”. Upper management and HR professionals should seriously consider Gemma’s suggestion. As an employee of any organization you’ll agree that Gemma’s assessment is accurate.