Do The Job, Get The Job, Get Trained

by Sharlyn Lauby on May 17, 2011

It’s one of those classic chicken and egg scenarios.  Should a person be trained for a leadership role then receive the promotion OR should a person demonstrate some leadership potential, take on a few small roles, then get the promotion, training and pay increase?

According to a recent study released by CareerBuilder, 58% of managers had not received any management training before starting to manage others.  While I’m in the training business and I would love it if companies trained employees before giving them leadership roles, the study results don’t surprise me.

On some level, I totally understand the rationale behind this thinking.  Organizations are reluctant to spend money on training employees for leadership roles until they see the employee is ready and committed to take on the additional responsibility. It’s the equivalent of waiting to train someone on a new piece of equipment until they actually need to use it.  This mentality comes from being witness to situations where leadership, management, trainingcompanies have proactively trained employees only to have them quit or get fired right after the training program was completed.  And as much as we remind ourselves, “Training was the right thing to do.”, it doesn’t change the apprehension when faced with doing it again.

If companies want some sort of sign from an employee before they make a training investment…great.  But this is where the CareerBuilder survey hits home.  It goes on to have survey participants rate their current supervisor’s performance.  Top concerns employees have with their managers include playing favorites, no follow-through, lack of feedback and unrealistic workload demands.

Once an employee is placed in a supervisory or managerial role, they need training.  Even if they were in a managerial role with a prior company.  Every business has their own philosophies and it’s important for managers to understand exactly what the company’s viewpoints are when it comes to employee coaching, performance, discipline, etc.

I believe most employees understand the “do the job then get the job” mantra. If companies plan to subscribe to that, they need to provide training along with the money and title.  It’s a real disservice to a new manager not to give them the whole package.

{ 9 comments }

David May 17, 2011 at 8:24 am

I think identifying persons with gifted talents should be allowed to develop rather than promoting people that are good or great at their current job. not many times is someone great at a job AND great at supervising.

Guy Farmer May 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Great perspective Sharlyn. I’ve often found that companies are frequently stingy with their training, thinking that employees need to prove something before they’re able to participate. I tend to think that the whole point of training is to add to the talents the employee possesses and benefit them and the company. I often wonder why companies have such a hard time simply investing in their employees. Perhaps we’ve become highly entrenched in the what have you done for me lately approach.

Sharlyn Lauby May 17, 2011 at 5:11 pm

@David – Thanks for the comment. I’ve seen on many occasions where the person most technically qualified is the one promoted to management. And they either don’t have the desire or the skills to be successful on the job.

@Guy – Thanks for sharing. Like you, I can see a bit of the WIIFM approach being applied here. As the economy improves, I am starting to see more businesses invest in training…especially in highly competitive industries where customer service is a core value.

Meredith May 18, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Thanks for sharing this Sharlyn! I’m in training & recruiting and see all too often that employees are promoted because of their technical skills but have zero management training or preparation. But to me, the truly disappointing thing is when a company take the time to give employees management training and then believe these new managers will now have the amazing ability to supervise, coach and mentor overnight. It’s a lengthy process to really develop new leadership, but well worth it.

Sharlyn Lauby May 19, 2011 at 10:26 am

Thanks for the comment Meredith. You are so right – leadership and management success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a never-ending process.

Joseph Peek May 20, 2011 at 6:54 am

Great emphasis on the need for training supervisors Sharlyn. I work with contract security guard companies, and training is one of the last things they seem to provide to the person having the most contact with their “product” (i.e. supervisors with their guards.) Sad, and no one wins. Not the guard, not the supervisor, and not the client.

Sharlyn Lauby May 21, 2011 at 8:39 am

Very true Joseph. When the supervisor / employee relationship isn’t given the proper attention, no one wins. Thanks for commenting!

Curt Rice May 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Universities are the classic case of people landing in leadership positions without much background or training — and they rarely get more. I think there is significant potential to be unlocked in these organizations through a fundamentally different approach to preparing people for such work. I tried to write a few words on this recently, The virtue of weak leadership: http://t.co/s89PrPq
Carry on!
Curt
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Corey J. Tronchin March 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

Great article. Yes, I agree. Employees must have this growth mindset and be able to do the job to get the job strategy.

In my industry, We do not work or even get involved whether its the client, intern or new employees if they cannot show motivated reasoning in building brand awareness. They must know thyself,competition & environment to look forward and reason back and come up with connecting this perspective in their mind to come up with the idea.

Training is very expensive in a physical, mental and monetary grand strategy. It is all in all, a test in finding the exact right information product to be an addition to your project plan & company.

Thank you so much for this article. WILL SHARE!
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