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  • Gifford Thomas

Why 50% of New Managers Are Not Ready To Lead.


One year ago I spoke to a Human Resources manager who indicated that his company developed and implemented a leadership development programme for all their engineers because they had severe problems leading their teams. For example, the engineers had problems with communication, building trust, motivation, etc. He said although the engineers were fully qualified and competent in the technical aspect of their job, they had loads of problems with their leadership skills, and there were several complaints from their team as it relates to their people skills.


This got me thinking, how in heaven's name did these people become responsible for managing and leading people in the first place. In many companies, as someone indicated to me, people are promoted based on their performance, but nothing is done to evaluate whether that person has any leadership capabilities necessary to lead people. Some people have no people skills, they cannot get along with people, they cannot speak to people, and they believe nothing can happen without them yet, they are “in charge” and promoted as the leader of the organization.


If someone has no people skills how do they expect to get anything done? They cannot do everything by themselves, but you know what they usually revert to their adage of fear and intimation. From my previous article The Leadership Challenge. Why 70% of Managers Fail To Become Leaders, I read many, many comments from people who express their displeasure for their managers and their behavior toward them.


95% of the comments were astonishingly similar for example; one person indicated that they worked at a company where the Office Manager was very condescending and verbally abusive. The person further stated that they love their job but refuse to take the abuse from the manager. All of the comments in one form or the other alluded to the same thing, no respect from their manager.




It is the rite of passage in most organizations according to Jim Harter, Gallup’s Chief Scientist to promote someone base on their performance on the job. So if you are very good at sales, or accounting, or any number of specialties–and stay around a long time, the next step in your progression is to be promoted to manager. But the talents that make a person successful in a previous, non-management role are almost never the same ones that will make them excel as a manager or as a leader.


Research shows that new managers are usually promoted without the skills needed to be a good manager or leader and 47% of companies do not have a new supervisor training program in place to help them bridge the gap according to Ken Blanchard. Sadly, when companies promote people into a management position and do not provide the necessary training, they end up with a host of bosses and few leaders. Research conducted by Harvard Business School professor Linda Hill has found that negative patterns and habits established in a manager’s first year continue to “haunt and hobble them” for the rest of their managerial careers. As a result, 60% of new managers under-perform in their first two years according to a study by the Corporate Executive Board resulting in increased performance gaps and employee turnover.


With over two million people being promoted into their first leadership roles each year—and over 50% struggling or failing—the care and feeding of first-time managers need to be front and center on every leadership development curriculum. It is imperative that learning and development professionals help new managers understand their role and responsibility when it comes to managing and leading people but it is also super important that the company knows the specific leadership qualities they expect from someone when recruiting for a leadership position.




No one should feel uncomfortable at their job especially when you are doing something you love. Your work should make you feel motivated and inspired to perform at your optimum best, but that feeling slowly fades away when you have a manager who has no clue about leading and believes everything revolves around his or her existence. 

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About Gifford Thomas



I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 155,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.


You can pick up your copy of my book The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible by clicking the link below




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