Leadership development triage

November 30, 2016 by Wally Bock

I scan the latest articles on BCG Perspectives every week and I always find something interesting, insightful, and helpful. Last week I discovered an article by Vikram Bhalla, Deborah Lovich, Jean-Michel Caye, Christopher Daniel, and Liza Stutts titled, “How Frontline Leaders Can Deliver Breakout Performance.” Here’s the opening paragraph.

“Imagine this scenario: Josh, one of the top-performing employees in a key division of your company, gets promoted to his first management role. Josh is excited by the trust you’ve put in him, not to mention the pay increase and opportunity to oversee a team. But he’s also nervous because he’s never managed employees before. The company provides him with some training sessions, including a quick “welcome to management” meeting and a few online modules, which he’s supposed to pull up when he has specific questions. The trouble is, most of the modules seem disconnected from his real work. They’re based on abstract concepts with little or no connection to the daily challenges he faces.”

Leadership development and the toughest transition

You probably know a Josh or two. You may have had the same experience. The transition from individual contributor to frontline supervision is one of the toughest in life and business. You can fix the system so the new supervisors of the future will have some training before they get the job and more effective training and support after they’re promoted. But what can you do right now to help Josh?

Leadership development triage

Triage is the practice of identifying which combat casualties or disaster victims should get immediate help. Not every new supervisor will start drowning immediately. Some will have supervision experience elsewhere. Others will have other life experience that sets them up to do better than Josh. But Josh needs help and he needs it now. Otherwise it will end badly for him, the team, and the company.

Leadership development is the boss’s job

If you’re Josh’s boss, this one’s on you. You’re the person who can marshal the resources to help Josh. Coach him or find a coach for him. Put together a peer support network he can go to for help. Don’t wait. Do it now.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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