Why I Focus on Management Development

I have always taught that managers’ primary responsibility is to set their employees up for success. That encompasses creating a positive work environment, providing timely and constructive feedback, recognizing employee achievements and contributions, delegating to develop employee skills, and supporting employee growth.

Unfortunately, that was not my experience when I worked in a state agency.


When a new head of the agency was appointed, I worked closely with him to demystify the civil service system so that he could be effective. He relied on me to perform special assignments, often calling on me during the evening or weekend to discuss what was needed. I respected him and felt that he respected me and valued my talents.

One day, he asked me to conduct an investigation of a manager. There were allegations of severe mismanagement of the program and the employees.

I interviewed the manager’s direct reports and the manager. I reviewed relevant documents. I found that the allegations were all true. As a result of my investigation, that manager was demoted.


The next day, I learned to my horror that the head of the agency was planning to place me under the demoted manager’s supervision! Keep in mind that the manager knew that I had conducted the investigation that resulted in his demotion. My future looked very bleak.

The stress of the situation affected me so badly that I literally lost the use of my left arm and was in constant pain. My mental and emotional well-being were also badly compromised by this incredible betrayal of my trust and loyalty.

The only healthy choice for me was to get out of the agency before the effective date of my transfer. I cried tears of relief when another agency was happy to take me in.

When I look back at the situation, I realize that the second in command at the agency was jealous of my close working relationship with the agency head. I think the decision to move me under the demoted manager was intended to make me leave the agency- and it obviously worked.


Today, I focus on setting employees up for success by making sure that their managers have the necessary knowledge, attitude, and skills to support and encourage them.

If your managers lack the interpersonal and management skills and mindset to be fair and effective, contact Deborah Laurel at 608-219-3594 or schedule a brief meeting at https://bit.ly/3olwAiR

Deborah Laurel, Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer, The Peer Learning Institute



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