New managers are too often set up to fail. They are typically high performing employees who excel in their technical knowledge. They are suddenly plunged into a new managerial role where they deal with complex people-related issues, for which many are not prepared. It is no surprise then that 60 percent of new managers fail within their first two years.
And while not everyone is meant to be a manager, the statistics certainly do not have to be so grim.
Research by Interact Harris reveals the following shortfalls:
- 63% don’t recognize employee achievements
- 57% don’t provide clear directions
- 52% don’t have time to meet with employees
- 51% simply don’t communicate with subordinates
- 39% don’t provide constructive feedback
Rushing to a Simple Solution
Some organizations who recognize the problem implement a simple and obvious solution: offer a variety of training programs available through an LMS and leave it to the new managers to identify the skills they need to develop, sign up and take the course(s).
But what about the underlying issues? It is one thing for a new manager to learn how to provide constructive feedback. It is an entirely different thing for that manager to become comfortable with the idea of evaluating former co-workers and friends.
A training course can teach the logistics involved in managing grievances. It is less effective in helping a manager who is emotionally unprepared to assume such managerial tasks as handling discipline and possible termination of employees.
And who helps the new manager who has “inherited” a team that has been mismanaged by a conflict-averse manager who ignored poor performers instead of actively handling the situation? Where does that new manager benefit from a confidential sounding board and receive the necessary support and encouragement?
Traditional training programs can provide knowledge and possibly some application of new skills. But they are not designed to develop and maintain a collaborative management team. They are not designed or scheduled to deal with real work issues as they arise. And they are not designed to guarantee a confidential conversation where new managers can feel safe to admit their worries and concerns and ask for help. This requires learning with a human touch where skills, attitudes and emotions can be fully explored and practiced in a safe and trusted environment.
Peer Learning Groups: A Safe Supportive Space for New Managers
That is where small, structured, self-directed peer learning groups come to the rescue. They combine group discussion, a learning component, skill practice and feedback. They are scheduled just-in-time to help new managers learn how to deal with real work issues in the flow of work. Because the new managers work and learn together, they develop a collaborative relationship. And because the peer learning groups are self-directed, their discussion can be confidential so the managers can feel safe to be open and honest about their concerns.
The Peer Learning Institute’s New and Aspiring Managers Lab (NAML) program is designed for managers who are just assuming their new managerial roles as well as qualified candidates who are preparing for future leadership roles as part of succession planning.
NAML uses small peer learning groups to help these new and potential managers gain the skills they need while they develop and benefit from a community of their peers. More importantly, the new and aspiring managers develop their own support groups where they can bounce ideas and solve problems that require reflection and unconventional solutions.
Simple to implement and cost-effective, peer learning groups offer new and potential managers invaluable opportunities to develop and practice new skills in the flow of work.
To learn more about the New and Aspiring Manager Lab, please schedule a quick call with one of our learning specialists: https://calendly.com/peerlearninginstitute/discoverycall
Deborah Laurel, Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer, The Peer Learning Institute