Why Do You Need to Take Action?
What’s the first step you take when you have leadership position open? Choosing the right candidate directly impacts your span of control and the experience your employees will have under new leadership. You feel confident in all the potential candidates thanks to their performance in their old positions. But how do you make the right choice that benefits your organization in the long term?
Most organizations learn the hard way that on-the-job performance doesn't necessarily mean the person will become an effective leader. Not everyone is cut out for leadership, and some people may have no desire at all to work in a leadership role. These are expensive lessons organizations learn only after having a bad leader infect their team. While trial and error may seem like an acceptable technique, poor leaders infect your employees with bad habits and create situations that lower morale.
It is important to remember that more often than not, employees leave managers, not workplaces. Research from Hogan Assessments finds that 75% of employees considered their direct report as the "worst part of their job." Poorly trained leaders chase away good employees. This isn't purposeful behavior from your managers; they simply aren't equipped for the realities of a leadership position.
What Happens When You Invest in Your Leaders?
In service-based businesses, supervisors and managers have a significant influence on your organization due to their direct contact with employees and customers. Filling these positions with appropriately trained employees is key to running a smooth and efficient team. Poorly trained leaders lack the skills to manage the social dynamics that come with being a leader. Leaders in your company must be ready to resolve conflicts and deal with intangibles beyond the technical nature of your work. This aspect of leadership is why many high-performing employees fail to make the transition into a high-performing leader.
Consider what your organization is doing to develop your employees. Research from LinkedIn's 2019 Workforce Learning Report finds that 94% of employees would stay in their current position if their organization invested in helping them learn. Modern employees, especially from the Gen Z and Millennial generations, are quick to seek opportunities elsewhere when they feel undervalued. These employees want to learn and grow on the job through receiving consistent feedback and training. Informal leadership training is rarely adequate to keep high-performing employees on your team.
Investing in your middle managers helps them develop skills that they can use to motivate, inspire, and create an enjoyable work environment for their colleagues. Properly trained leaders demonstrate to other employees through their behavior how to act and communicate with customers. Front-line leaders are responsible for the attitudes and behaviors that trickle down through your organization. These attitudes directly impact your ability to retain and maintain positive relationships with your customers.
Why Does Internal Training Fall Short?
Organizations that rely on their own internal training have blind spots that aren't exposed until the damage is done. Internal training programs lack formality and often boil down to "watch and learn from the person in front of you." This approach to training leaves new leaders poorly equipped to succeed at managing their new responsibilities. Informal training programs often create confused leaders who don't want to admit their confusion as they try and make a good impression in their new role. These are the type of managers that let fear of making a mistake dominate their decision-making process.
Working with an external training partner gives your leaders access to expert advice on the intangibles that separate great leaders from the rest. Access to this expertise is especially important for organizations that lack a deep bench of specialists on problem solving, conflict management, and other intangibles of leadership. Unlike informal internal training programs, working with an external training partner will ensure a consistent level of understanding from all employees who receive training.
Most importantly, internal leadership programs fail to help your organization find out who's best for the job. Taking the "watch and learn" approach neglects to evaluate the skills and aptitudes of the potential leaders that you want to develop. As a result, organizations have no way of telling who's right or wrong for the position. Research from Gallup reveals that only 2 in 10 employees exhibit characteristics that bode well for leadership positions. These employees can develop into effective leaders only if they receive training, coaching, and support from their organization. Developing the ability to evaluate your talent prevents your organization from making the expensive mistake of promoting the wrong person.
What's The Cost of Not Taking Action?
Organizations that believe training is too expensive simply aren't aware of the power of a committed employee. According to HR Magazine, simply spending $1500 on training per employee returns an average of 24% more profit compared to companies who invest less. Training programs help leaders and employees feel confident and intrinsically motivated to succeed in their roles. Formal training empowers your leaders by giving them a clear picture of what it takes to be successful in their role. Instead of being caught off guard by odd situations, new leaders can revert back to their training and make decisions in line with your organization’s values.
Zenger and Folkman’s 2019 research shows that leaders can double your organization's profits simply through their ability to get employees engaged. A healthy organizational culture is the difference between employees showing up to work and doing the bare minimum and showing up ready to contribute to the team in a meaningful way. Regardless of education or professional experience, every employee can relate to the difference between simply going through the motions and being inspired to bring their full effort and attention to work. The commitment you receive from a properly trained team goes beyond what you could purchase with any salary.