Good managers are trained – not born!! - [website] Email Print
Published: 17th of Sep 2018 by: Carolyn Kessler

If you are promoting a great employee into a supervisory/management position, they need to be trained in how to perform as an equally great manager.

Without addressing the developing of this critical skill-set, you are setting yourself and the promotee up for failure!

Scenario: Jamiel was a representative who worked for a paint manufacturing company. He had been there 4 years and was their most consistently high performer.
He had been awarded Rep of the Year for the past two years running and, 6 months into the new year, he was on track to take the title again.

He had amazing rapport with his clients, demonstrating the enviable ability of being able to speak to everyone with equal confidence and respect - from the Security Guard at the gate to the CEO of the company. He was witty, extremely knowledgeable about his product and very hard working. He loved learning and embraced challenges.
He was an exceptional employee.

When his boss, Sipho, was finally promoted to the position of Sales Director, he didn’t think twice about who had earned the right to fill his shoes. His decision to promote Jamiel was enthusiastically endorsed by the senior management team.

Sipho had a two week hand over period and used the time to school Jamiel on the administrative processes and procedures which went with being the Sales Manager. There were detailed reports which needed to be completed weekly and monthly; Jamiel had to meet with the Production and Purchasing teams to check on stock levels and capture sales reports submitted by the 7 reps answering to him. In a short space of time he was drowning in paper and meetings.

Quite separate from the avalanche of desk duties, he had to hire and train someone to take his place as well as monitor and motivate the reps on his team.
He attacked his promotion with the same level of determination, focus and energy he had brought to bear in his position as a sales rep.

Small problem though – he had no time to see clients and had had to spread his client base amongst his less achievement orientated colleagues (at least that’s how he had always perceived them). His admin duties required him to be proficient in very different areas than had his previous position.

I imagine you are getting the idea of what this unfortunate scenario very quickly degenerated into. If not, let me spell it out.

Within three months, the sales figures were down a whopping 43% and showed signs of continuing this downward trend. Jamiel was working until 10pm regularly in an effort to keep abreast of all the paperwork. He was frustrated, exhausted and stressed. This translated itself into his being curt with members of his sales team, constantly badgering them to up their game and finding fault with all aspects of their work. He felt they were letting him down. It killed him to watch some of his best clients shift their loyalty to his competitors because of poor service.

All in all, Jamiel had gone from a highly motivated and effective sales person to a deeply unhappy and ineffective sales manager. His senior managers watched him fail with a sense of disbelief. They concluded they had made a huge mistake promoting him – he quite obviously wasn’t good enough for the job!

Within 9 months Jamiel tendered his resignation and it was gladly received by Sipho and the management team.

Did Jamiel lack the ability to take over the Sales Manager position? You bet he did! But not because he didn’t had the potential to succeed. He was more than up for the challenge. But, he’d never managed anyone but himself before, and was therefore totally unprepared to take over managing his own team.

The potential his boss had seen in him was very real. He was an excellent rep and all round employee. If only Sipho has asked himself how Jamiel was going to move from being responsible solely for himself to running an entire sales team - without being upskilled?

Sipho had assumed that Jamiel’s proven track record as the top rep in the sales department automatically guaranteed he’d be a great manager. He believed the only area which required any training was in the administrative part of the job (the hard skills). He didn’t for a moment consider that a very different skill set was required to be a successful manager.

He made the cardinal error of underestimating how integral specific and focussed management training was to Jamiel’s success in his new position.

In a short period of time they lost not only their best salesman, they also lost someone who could have grown into a highly effective manager. What a waste of potential!

Too often we see this scenario playing itself out in organisations with whom we work. The toll it takes on the profitability of the company and all those who are involved is enormous.

Moral of the story is: Good managers are trained, not born!!

Staff Training has a number of Management- and- Supervisory workshops available!
If you’d like more info on our Management courses, email us at info@StaffTraining.co.za or give us a call at 0861 996 660


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