We often hear the saying: Employees leave managers, not companies, and quite often, that is true. In fact, in most cases, there is a direct correlation between high employee turnover and poor leadership within the company. However, how can we expect managers to suddenly be strong leaders without being provided with adequate training, tools and support?
We wouldn’t expect a builder to construct a house with only a hammer, nor would we seek the advice of a doctor who had never received any medical training, yet everyday individuals are continuing to be promoted into management because they are technically good at their day jobs and are simply expected to be great leaders.
Too often, managers make mistakes due to a lack of knowledge, experience and/or confidence. It isn’t down to the inability to be a strong leader, but the fact that there is a lack of investment in leadership development.
Invest in People
If you want managers that inspire and motivate your workforce to excel, it is essential that you are continually investing in their leadership development. With appropriate training in leadership and management, your managers can understand the difference between leading and managing, the different styles of leadership and the appropriate style to be used in different circumstances for different individuals or teams.
They learn how to improve and adapt their communication skills to motivate and inspire. With this increased knowledge and understanding managers feel much more comfortable when it comes to managing performance.
Good performance management requires appropriate feedback, both positive and constructive, in the proper time. Constructive feedback can involve ‘difficult conversations’, and this is where mistakes often occur with managers. Some managers mishandle performance management issues, creating unnecessary conflict and demotivation. Other managers, particularly those who lack the confidence, avoid addressing the issues altogether. The latter scenario can often be worse than the first, as allowing poor performance to go unchallenged not only costs the company in reduced output from the poor performers; it can also cause those who are performing to become disengaged. This then results in previous high performers becoming less effective or leaving the company to join a competitor.
When managers are given proper training, they gain the confidence and skills to carry out formal assessments, give appropriate feedback and have those conversations around it in a way that will motivate employees.
One of the most important skills managers need to be a strong leader is communication. Whether it is the general management of their team, managing up, performance feedback or conflict resolution, good communication is key.
Ineffective communication between managers and their colleagues can be very detrimental for a company. Employees can misinterpret what is expected of them or struggle to understand how their role fits within the company’s overall objectives. They can become disengaged if they feel that their hard work is not recognised and they are not valued. These issues cause productivity and motivation to decrease, which in turn has a negative effect or their colleagues and customer service can also suffer.
Poor communication skills also limit a manager’s problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. Investment in communication training ensures managers learn how to communicate effectively, including non-verbal communication, prepares them for potential communication barriers and how to overcome them.
Anyone who has the desire and motivation to do so can be a strong leader. They just need to be given a chance to learn and apply the skills obtained through the right training and subsequent support.
So who in your organisation really wants to develop as a leader? Who has the potential to really make a difference in your organisation? For help in identifying those individuals and creating an effective training plan contact Delphinium to discuss how we can help you.