This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

April 6, 2011

Leadership Predicament: Promotion by Anointment

A recently released study from CareerBuilder confirms what we have been saying for years---that most companies are not training their people before moving them into leadership. In fact, in this CareerBuilder study, 58 percent of managers said they had "not received any management training", when they began managing others.

Given these numbers, it is not surprising that 41 percent of workers did not rate their direct supervisors as doing a "good or great job". While only 20 percent described their direct supervisor's performance as "poor or very poor", workers expressed a number of troubling concerns:

  • "[played] favorites" (23 percent)
  • "[didn't] follow through on what he/she promised" (21 percent)
  • "[didn't] listen to concerns" (21 percent)
  • "[didn't] provide regular feedback" (20 percent)
  • "[didn't] keep me motivated" (17 percent)
  • "[didn't] help me develop" (17 percent)
  • "Only [provided] negative feedback" (14 percent).

Workers rated the performance of their corporate leaders more severely. Only 50 percent felt their leadership teams were doing a "good or great job". Simultaneously, 23 percent described their performance as "poor or very poor".

While the problems cited with corporate leaders included insufficient communication, unrealistic workloads, and a lack of training and employee development, significant numbers of workers had concerns that are more serious:

  • 40 percent said top leaders didn't "make an effort to listen to employees or address employee morale"
  • 33 percent said there was "not enough transparency, [didn't] communicate openly and honestly"
  • 30 percent said "major changes [were] made without warning"
  • 27 percent said "workloads and productivity demands [were] unreasonable" (we are surprised this number was not higher)
  • 21 percent said "[didnít] motivate me"
  • 20 percent said that corporate leaders "stopped investing in the development of employees".

Though this study was United States-centric, based on our research, we believe a similar study conducted with workers in other countries would have yielded similar results.

We expect to see more corporate leaders making the critical investment in management training programs to develop their current and future leaders. Those that do not will suffer the consequences both today and tomorrow.


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