"When I first got promoted to a management position, a long time ago, I had to lead my team armed with 15 years of sales experience and about 7 days of management training (in total). When I look back now, I realize that I not only struggled doing a job I had no clue about , but I also sucked big time! Though my unit had great results and I even got thanked afterwards by several team members for their professional successes, I was not a team leader, I was a drill sergeant. That was the only way I knew how to lead. And it required no special skills."
"That is what I still see in the business almost every day. People get promoted not because they are skilled to lead but because of their sales records. We tend to believe that being an experienced sales tiger is a guarantee for becoming a successful leader of a sales team."
"But the chance of this is 25%. Only 1 in 4 of us are born leaders, who can inspire and motivate others. But even they need help in getting skills to manage people. This help is almost non-existing in AGF world even today. As a result I see a lot of companies and commercial teams led by two types of managers:
1. “I have the power”- managers : they got promoted due to their ambition and strong presence. They have no clue how to lead, but they believe they do. Their job is to stay in power. They do not notice or may be do not care that they lose respect, that people seem to come and go and there is an atmosphere of gossip and distrust on the work floor.
2. “I have the responsibility” – managers: they got promoted due to their good results and better people skills. They have no clue how to lead, but do not want to show it (too much), so they might ask for help in the form of training, but after a 3 day intensive, chosen by the HR department (very expensive and totally useless as no skills can be formed in 3 days), they struggle in their job unable to get results they want /need to achieve."
"Both are unfortunately the types who can not lead a company or a team to new successes. Mostly because they do not know how. The question is not so much: why do we promote those people? The question is: why do we not help them after the promotion?
Leaders are made, not born. Let’s make them!"
Column by Elena Malkova