Untrained Accidental Leader

2.4 million managers are classed as untrained accidental leaders in the UK according to the OECD.  From my own experience as a new leader back in the 90s to recent conversations I come across in my day-to-day leadership work, I have seen for myself the negative implications of these statistics. 

Colleagues are promoted on the back of their own individual performance and thrown into a world of managing PEOPLE! I can relate to this.  I moved from working with peers one day to managing them the next. No one prepared me for the change in relationships and potential hostilities. I received no training on how to get the best from my team, manage conflict or even how to run a good one-to-one meeting. The first 6 months were literally sink or swim! Fortunately, I swam. I learned from my mistakes and how to cope with Sunday night anxieties. I observed as many leaders as I could and in many ways, I used this time to develop my resilience.

At the age of 24, I was responsible for a multi-million-pound part of the business and approximately 200 staff. With no training and little supervision. There was a myriad of things to potentially go wrong (thankfully they didn’t!).  As a manager yourself, is this a situation you would be happy and comfortable to watch unfold?

The CIPD produced a great report in January 2020 called “managing conflict in the modern workplace”. I would like to draw you to some of the facts I found enlightening:

    • Less than half (40%) of people managers say their organisation has provided them with training in people management skills to support them in their management role. It’s a shame that so many employers don’t invest in this crucial area, because employers are significantly more likely to report a number of tangible outcomes in their ability to handle conflict where they have trained managers in people management skills.

    • There’s a slightly different story when employees are asked how effective their people manager was in dealing with conflict they experienced, either an isolated dispute or incident or ongoing difficult relationship: one in three (32%) agree their people manager made the situation worse (45% disagree).

Consider what this underdevelopment in Leadership is doing to your business:

    • Poor Morale

    • High Turnover

    • Low Productivity

    • Unsupported Wellbeing

    • Pure Monetary Costs

The CIPD found leaders who were trained resulted in the following: 

Four in five (79%) agree that ‘if there is conflict within a team, a line manager would help to resolve this quickly’ compared with three in five (61%) organisations where managers haven’t been trained.

Leadership is a privilege

Leadership allows you to see colleagues grow and reach their full potential. It isn’t just about taking the pay cheque for the good times and subcontracting people issues to HR when conflicts arise. True leaders shine when there is a pivotal moment.  They show humility and have confidence to approach courageous conversations.

Give your organisation the best chance possible by developing your new and existing leaders through a well-structured development program.