We’ve observed that there are three major reasons why managers don’t manage.
- They’re uncomfortable in their role.
- They lack confidence in their skills.
- They simply don’t know what to do.
We’ll look at the first reason in this blog:
Some managers are uncomfortable in their role. Managers have to make difficult and sometimes painful decisions. Addressing poor performance, imposing discipline, transferring or demoting employees, and responding to grievances can cause even seasoned managers to lose sleep. Acting as judge and jury can be unsettling, particularly if your employees are former peers and friends.
Some individuals are just not psychologically suited or emotionally ready to be managers. I have a classic example.
I was teaching a class on supervisory skills to newly promoted managers. After hearing about the responsibilities inherent in the position, one manager came to see me at the break. She had decided she no longer wanted to be a manager if she might have to discipline or fire an employee, particularly someone who had been a long-time peer. She left the class and demoted back to her previous non-supervisory position.
How would you know that managers are uncomfortable with their role?
- They are still performing the work they did prior to their promotion to manager.
- They give good evaluations to employees regardless of their performance.
- They prefer to be friends rather than their employees’ superior.
- They do not address performance issues.
- They articulate their unhappiness and discomfort to colleagues.
How can you help your managers past these three barriers? You can build your managers’ comfort in their role by having pre-supervisory training programs for aspiring managers. This training can help potential managers understand the full range of their responsibilities and the difficult decisions they will be expected to make. They can try out the role in various simulations, which will enable them to make an informed decision about their true interest and readiness for a managerial position.
Another option is to ensure that the recruitment and selection process clearly spells out what managers are expected to do and what that really means for the new manager. Use behavioral and scenario interviewing for potential new management hires. Provide questions related to the difficult real- life decisions that managers need to make and ask the applicants to explain how they have handled the situations in the past and how they would handle them now.
We’ll look at the second reason in our next blog.