In September 2016, the Chartered Management Institute reported that an incredible 70 percent of businesses are not providing even basic leadership training to new managers.
That figure has shown no reduction in the intervening five years. If anything, it is likely to have increased given the unprecedented circumstances of the past year and a half. Yet now, more than ever, businesses need leaders with the skills to motivate and inspire in order to come unscathed through these challenging times.
Manchester Consulting Group’s seminal study on the financial impact of executive coaching at the turn of the millennium is still a mainstay of MBA courses today. It showed that the average ROI for leadership training is six times the cost, with businesses recording more than 50 percent improvements in workplace relations, teamwork and overall job satisfaction.
It is interesting to note that there is little mention of technical or operational factors. When managers are promoted from within, it is invariably because they excel in these areas. However, the majority are an unknown quantity when it comes to those special factors that make a successful leader. It’s disingenuous to suggest that these are the product of nature as opposed to nurture. After all, we can all learn to improve our communication or decision making skills.
What Makes A Great Manager?
Thousands of pages have been written on the above question, so we certainly cannot hope to answer it fully here. However, at a minimum, a good leadership development program seeks to develop and nurture the following key qualities:
A common factor among the many studies on management performance is that empathetic behavior correlates with high productivity. Understanding leads to trust, rapport and reduced staff turnover.
Frederick Smith, the founder of FedEx said “A good manager is not a person who can do the work better than his men; he is a person who can get his men to do the work better than he can.” Assigning the right tasks to the right people is about more than playing to someone’s strengths. It is also about identifying potential and developing new employee skills.
Focusing On The Why
When tasks are transparently aligned with organizational goals, everyone feels like part of the same team. Even the most junior member of staff is clear about why his or her role is important.
This has always been a core aspect of effective management. However, it is more important now than ever in this era of remote working and geographically dispersed teams.
Of course, these qualities only scratch the surface of what it takes to be an effective and inspirational manager. But the point is that they are not skills that are necessarily acquired on an individual’s journey from operations or sales into a management role.
Leadership development should be a vital part of every business’s overriding strategy. In these turbulent times especially, it is something that cannot be left to chance.