In the April 21, 2015, Gallup® Business Journal, Amy Adkins wrote an article entitled: Only One in 10 People Possess the Talent to Manage. In her article she states that Gallup found,
"One of the most important decisions companies make is simply whom they name the manager...Companies fail to choose the candidate with the talent for the job 82% of the time."
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When my company works with organizations on succession and workforce planning, the discussions on departments, positions, talent, and managers needed going forward get emotional. They get emotional because we're discussing people. Good people. Hard working people. But, we are discussing people who may not be a right-fit for a management position, or for the company going forward. And those are difficult discussions to have.
However, if the company is to succeed in moving forward and in reaching its vision, it needs to have the right people in the right management positions at the right times. Those 'right-fit' managers are the ones with the talent to manage not only the technical aspects of their jobs, but more importantly, they are the ones with solid people skills. These managers realize the importance of building their teams through strong team members, rather than building themselves up. They understand the need to focus, motivate, coach, engage, and re-align their teams continually. And, they understand at their core, if they don't consistently show their team members they're trusted, respected, and appreciated for their efforts, the managers won't have a team. If they don't have a team, they're doing something wrong.
Good managers understand at their core, if they don't consistently show their team members they're trusted, respected, and appreciated for their efforts, the managers won't have a team. If they don't have a team, they're doing something wrong. [Click to Tweet]
As you envision your organization's future, one of the more challenging responsibilities you have to undertake as a leader is to determine who will be helping you move forward and in what roles. That alone is tough because you're dealing with hypothetical scenarios, goals, projections, and plans. Once you mesh that with your known history of each potential manager, emotions often overtake the most refined plans and projections.
To not get bogged down by the emotion of identifying people just yet, I recommend my clients first identify what positions - and with what skills - are needed as the company will be two, three, four or more years into the future. Once those phases of the organization's evolution are mapped out, the leadership team now has an initial objective map of what its management and workforce team could look like - if no 'faces' were associated with any of the positions. However, they need to identify real people to do the real work, so the hard part is next. The leadership team needs to identify for each position: Who is a right-fit for this position going forward and who is a right-fit for this position 'as it will be'? The answer to those two scenarios may well be two different people. And that's the hard part.
Often a current manager is not the right-fit manager going forward. Often a current manager is not the right-fit manager now, and that reality hits home hard during these discussions. The question, Why is that person a manager? was never asked. That manager is a manager, most likely, because it was an easy fix at the time, but it wasn't the right decision for that manager, the team, or the organization then, much less for the long-term.
Don't appoint any more managers without asking the question, Why is that person a manager?