I was talking with colleagues this week about the development needs of managers. Admittedly, I’m a bit biased. But the development needs of managers is going unmet. It results in a frustrated boss and a frustrated employee. We all have have heard it from such a wide variety of organizations and from first line supervisors all the way up and including senior level managers that it amazed us, and then dismayed us..
The reasons are as many.
For the last two years, the primary villain has been the economy. Money is in short supply and organizations need to cut back. Training (how to do the job) and development (preparing for a future job) seem to always be the first in line to be cut. For firms that boast that people are their most important asset, it seems an odd choice but perhaps the hope is that it is a temporary measure.
In some firms, the desire is to hire and promote people who are ‘smart,’ who ‘get it’ and people who can show initiative and figure things out. It stems from the belief that managing, motivating, training, developing, and getting work done through others is not that hard. Yet I don’t hear people extolling the virtues of their many wonderful managers!
Still other organizations have lazy and hapless managers who don’t have a clue about how to develop talent. They cross their fingers, throw people into the job with the lure of a bigger office, larger paycheck, or improved visibility and hope thy can figure it out.
I know many people (most of the people I know in fact) who, as children, were driven in cars by their parents or other adults. As they sat in the passengers’ seat, they watched the driver, looked out the windshield, identified different weather conditions, and experienced highway, city, suburban and rural roads. They have seen safe drivers, reckless drivers, anxious drivers, and distracted drivers. But who in their right mind would turn to the passenger, regardless of their age and say “OK. You’ve watched me drive. I’m now going to let you take the wheel and drive. I know you’ll be great! Good luck.”
Just drive – right? If only it was that easy!