Managers are taught, not born – part 2 Email Print
Published: 13th of Mar 2018 by: Carolyn Kessler

In my previous blog I posited the scenario of someone being skilled enough to actually drive a car, for the first time, at their driving test. Demonstrating sufficient skill to earn them their license there and then.

I'm sure we all agree that this simply doesn’t happen.

In this blog I’d like to lay out a scenario which I encounter on many of the Management and Leadership workshops we run. Again, I’m pretty sure many of you will unfortunately relate!

The following is an all too familiar scenario:

“Sam was the company’s top salesman. He’d been there for 8 years and consistently brought in R200K or more per month in turnover. He was a skilled communicator, knew his product backwards and loved his job. He also earned extremely well.

The company expanded, necessitating the hiring of four new reps. This brought the number of salesmen to 7, and it soon became clear that a dedicated sales manager was needed to co-ordinate this team. Who better to promote than your longest standing, most successful salesman – Sam?

Within a week of the decision being taken by the senior management team, Sam was called in and told the good news. His new job description was debated and drawn up and Sam was super excited to tackle this new challenge. He was in place, running the sales department, within a week.

One of the senior managers took him aside and gave him advice and instruction in a couple of areas relating to the reports for which he’d now be responsible, together with a few tips on what he’d likely encounter as a manager. That was it. After all, anyone can be a manager – nothing to it!

Need I tell you the result of this poorly thought through management decision?
You guessed it. Within three months, Sam was a demotivated wreck.

He’d become office bound, and had divided up his customers between the rest of the team - no one was happy with what they got, but Sam told them to like it or lump it. His senior manager had told him to put his foot down from day one, so this is what he did.

Adding to the discontent amongst his team, was the fact that only two of them had any experience, the other four were newbies and still on a steep learning curve.

Last, but not least, Sam was no longer on the road, bringing in his usual R200K plus. His customers were peeved because they were dealing with poorly trained reps and many of them moved their business elsewhere. Sam was tied up with loads of paperwork and reports and had had to “sort of delegate”, training of the new reps to the two oldies. The very same oldies who were grumbling about being passed over for promotion and not getting all the juicy accounts……

The end result was a huge dip in performance which manifested in dreadful figures for which Sam was held responsible.

The senior managers decided that they had indeed promoted the wrong man. Sam clearly didn’t have the potential they’d initially thought he did.

Sam was totally demoralised and ended up resigning, much to the relief of senior management.”

What lessons should be taken away from this dreadful scenario?

I’ll be discussing exactly what went wrong and how to prevent it happening in your organisation in my third blog of the series.

Whilst you’re waiting – take a look at the practical tools and content covered on our management courses, all laid out for you on our webpage.

Catch you on the other side!

Staff Training is a soft skills training provider. Contact us at 0861 996 660.

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