Isn’t it funny how the objective of most companies is to have happy employees? No really, it is! If you asked most business owners if they would prefer to have happy or unhappy employees they would, of course, say ‘Happy!’ So why is it that most companies don’t realise that one of the quickest ways to make someone unhappy is to promote them?
You see, this is what happens. Jane is great at her job, she is always in early, she is enthusiastic, and she kind of acts as an unofficial team leader for her team. And as the business is now getting busier and they need more people on the team, they also feel they need a Manager. So who is the obvious choice for the job – that’s right Jane. So they promote her. What could possibly go wrong?
Only what they actually find 3 months down the line is that Jane is not producing the expected results. She seems very stressed and the team has a lot of complaints about their jobs, the company and Jane.
What on earth has happened?
Well, it is a common scenario. Companies often promote technical experts to be the leader or manager of their team, but give them no leadership skills training, no leadership tools and definitely no support such as leadership coaching programs. And then they wonder why it isn’t working.
This, promoting technical experts, is often done with the best of intentions. The current management team have respect for the person and their achievements. Or perhaps, the person themselves goes for the role, because they see no other way of advancing their salary, or because they feel they ‘should’ as they don’t want other newer members of staff being promoted over their heads. But what neither side has really thought through, is that the skills required to be a great manager are mostly very different from those of being a good ‘technician’.
I see this very frequently and especially in the sales arena. Salespeople by nature, like the freedom that being in sales gives them. Sales people like to be autonomous and they hate being ‘managed’. It is a brave person who takes on the role of Sales Manager, and a skilful one who can make that work. And it is a stupid company that will promote someone to Sales Manager and give them no Leadership training. It is like sending a gladiator into the Lion’s Den without a shield or a pointy thing.
And even though sales is potentially one of the hardest environments, this can happen in any environment. What happens then is that the new manager starts to hate their new job, and their people hate them and maybe you start to hate them because they are letting you down. It’s a road to nowhere.
Are you unhappy or have you made someone unhappy in a similar scenario?
If this is so easy to do, how do you prevent it? Are there some easy steps you can take to make sure this never happens in your business?
Well, yes there are. You need to do 3 things.
*Give them the support and leadership training that they don’t know they need, but you do.
*Help them make that transition in mindset and behaviour. A new manager probably doesn’t understand what a big transition that is; but to be successful in their new role they are going to have to THINK differently and DO a lot of things differently.
*Help them put in place a strategy to get their team on board. No-one can be successful without the support of their managers AND their team. If they don’t get their team on board quickly, then it is a downward spiral. You need to give them the support from day 1 to achieve team buy in.
Of course, there is more to it than that. If you think you have made someone unhappy – or you want to prevent it happening – give us a call or drop me an email and we can have a chat about what you can do in this situation.