Event Date: 06/13/2018 (2:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT)
Organizations are spending billions of dollars each year on management development training, but it’s not moving the needle on engagement. Why?
In this interactive webinar, expert Katy Tynan will explain why typical programs offered to new managers aren’t working, and what organizations should be doing instead. She’ll bust some myths and common misconceptions about management programs, and provide actionable advice for individuals and organizations on how to help emerging and new managers become great leaders.
Sarah: Hi, everyone. Welcome to today’s webinar, Why New Manager Training Doesn’t Work And What You Should Be Doing Instead, hosted by HRDQ-U and presented by Katy Tynan. My name is Sarah and I will moderate today’s webinar. It will last about one hour. If you have any questions, you can always type them in the questions box. We will answer the questions as they come in or at the end of the presentation live. Also note that we do have handouts for this webinar and they are located in the handouts tab in your dashboard.
Sarah: Katy Tynan is an expert in leadership and organizational development. She is the author of Survive Your Promotion and her most recent book is How Did I Not See This Coming: The Manager’s Guide To Avoiding Total Disaster. Tynan is the founder of Liteskip Consulting Group. Welcome, Katy and thank you for joining us today.
Katy: Thanks, Sarah and thanks, everyone, for coming and joining me today to talk a little bit about leadership development, about management training and about some of the pitfalls of designing management development programs. So as Sarah said, my name is Katy Tynan. I do spend a lot of time talking about and helping new managers figure out how to master this transition, how to get over the hump from being an individual contributor to being a team leader and a manager. I have designed lots and lots of programs and worked with lots and lots of organizations to figure out what’s effective, what really works and what doesn’t in terms of creating a management development program that helps people build those skills. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Katy: As Sarah mentioned, you have an opportunity to ask questions. I will answer as many as I can at the end. If we don’t get to all of the questions at the end, I will also offer some resources and answer some of those questions in a blog post. So let’s get started. I just want to kick this off with a quote from Jim Clifton. Jim is a CEO of Gallup. Gallup does the surveys that you’re probably all familiar with, particularly around employee engagement. We’re going to talk a lot about employee engagement today because it’s one of the things that managers have a huge impact on.
So when we talk about management development, when we talk about leadership development, we’re not just talking about, “Oh, let’s do something to give these people some training and to get them from here to there.” We’re really talking about giving managers a tool set to create engagement on their team and to create an environment where everybody feels like they can be successful. So this quote, “The single biggest decision that you can make in your job is who you name the manager,” and if you’re not naming the right person the manager, you have a really big problem.
Katy: So I want to start here and just talk about one of the places, one of the pitfalls, where management goes wrong before we ever get to the training point. That’s this idea of who is chosen to be a manager in an organization. Manager, management is a title. It’s a role. It’s a specific thing within a company, where we say, “This person has a role to play within a team.” That’s different from leadership. This is one of these big misconceptions that management and leadership are the same thing. They’re not.
Management is a role. Leadership is an approach and it’s also something that everybody has. Everybody is a leader of themselves. Everybody can be a leader within a small team, on a project, in a certain circumstance. What we are really talking about today is management, the practice of managing as a role and then leveraging your leadership skills in order to be effective as a manager.
Katy: Why does that have something to do with who we choose to be a manager? Well, interestingly, most organizations take the people who are the best at their job and put them on track to be managers and to be leaders. We see this a lot in the technology industry, right? You have somebody who’s a fantastic coder or you have somebody who’s a really good web developer and you say, “Gosh! This person is so good at what they do. Let’s have them lead a team.”
Katy: The problem there is that the skills to be a leader, the qualities and the approach and the mindset of being a leader and a manager are really, really different than what makes you successful as an individual contributor. In fact, a lot of people who are really, really good at what they do don’t like being the manager. They don’t like that administrative role and they don’t want to be that person.
At the same time, they know that that’s where the money is, right? That’s where the advancement is and so they’ll say yes to that promotion and then they’re really unhappy when they get there and their whole team is really unhappy as well.
So the first piece of advice I would give is rather than taking a look at the person who is at the top of the heap from a skill perspective in their individual contributor role, look for the person who’s helping other people, helping them develop, helping them grow. Look for the best teacher on the team. Look for the person who goes out of their way to try and help other people figure out how to solve problems. That’s the person you’re going to want to focus on when you think about preparing someone for a management role because truly, if you have somebody who comes into that role who doesn’t want to be there, no amount of training is going to make up for that.
Katy: Let’s dig into this a little more. A lot of people will say to me, “We don’t have any bad bosses here. We’re fine. Our bosses are great. We don’t need any extra training. They don’t know everything, but they’ll figure it out.” I love this stat. Three out of four employees report that their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job, three out of four. So that’s 75% of people who are unhappy and are having their performance dragged down by the fact that they have an unskilled boss and 65% say they’d take a new boss over a pay raise.
So this is real tangible impact to your organization if you have people here on your team who are managers, who either, for whatever reason, don’t want to be there, don’t want to be in that role or don’t know how to deal with the right pay.
I want to just take a minute and say in all the work that I’ve done, over all of the years that I’ve been doing this kind of leadership development, I never met somebody who is in a management role who wanted to be a terrible boss, right? Nobody is sitting around at their desk everyday saying, “Gosh! I wonder how I can make everyone miserable today.” Most managers have every intention of being great bosses. They want people to be successful. They want to do a good job, but unfortunately, because they haven’t had the training that they need, they haven’t learned to change their approach in a meaningful way, those people are not successful at being great leaders and that’s a problem.
So that’s where you can come in. That’s where you can help. You’re obviously here on this webinar because at least at some level you have a responsibility for designing training or thinking about support for new managers. If you’re able to provide those great well-intention, smart, wonderful people with really effective tools to be good at what they do, we can fix this, right? We can fix this problem that’s making people really unhappy at work.
That’s why I do the work that I do is because I know that management development returns these humongous benefits not just to the bottom line, although it does that too and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but also, just the people’s lives. Making people happier at work is a really worthwhile thing to do.
Katy: So I want to talk about a couple of the elements of management and management development that are really not working. Let’s just go through a couple of these right now. The first is this, from Harvard Business Review, “The majority of people trust a total stranger more than they trust their boss.” Well, why does trust matter in the first place? It turn out that trust is a really important element to high-performing teams and to high-performing relationships between team leaders and team members.
There’s a whole lot of leadership theory at work here, which says that people form relationships and do things to help one another out because they trust each other. If they don’t trust each other, if that trust gets broken, then people withdraw. They disengage. They step back and say, “I could go the extra mile, but why when this person might be sabotaging me or this person might not have my best interest at heart or this person might be lying to me about what’s happening in the organization?” So trust is really critical to that relationship between individuals and their manager and by extension between individuals and the company as a whole.
Katy: Trust is pretty important and we can see that there’s a gap there. If you haven’t read it, go and take a look at Daniel Pink’s Ted Talk and his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Daniel Pink talks a lot about this idea of what motivates creative people. Google did a study recently to look at high-performing teams and they also found that trust and particularly psychological safety, this idea that there’s no retaliation that we can be creative and have crazy ideas and that there won’t be judgment about that initially, that is fundamental to building trust and to creating an environment where people feel like they can do their best work and feel like they can focus on the work that they’re trying to do. So the very first element of creating a good manager team team relationship comes from trust.
The second thing that’s really important is that people have a perception that the leadership development practices in their organization aren’t so great. That’s a problem. When people feel like they’re going to step into a leadership role but they know that they’re not going to have the tools they need to be successful, then they’re going to come in to it with a pessimistic approach. They’re going to come in to it worried that they’re going to fail because they don’t believe that there’s sufficient support for them to be successful in that new role.
One of the things that we’ll talk about as we think about how to structure a development program that really works well is not only how we structure it, but how we talk about it, how we approach the organization and say, “We’re investing in this,” that leadership development is important to our organization and to our success. So that’s the perception of leadership development practices, but we also have a problem here, which is 51% of organizations say their leadership is not ready.
Katy: So that’s the perception not of the leadership development approach, but of the leaders themselves that organizations and people who are working for them believe that the leadership is not prepared, that they don’t have the tools they need, that they’re not on top of what they need to do as managers and leaders. So this data comes, again, from Gallup and it comes directly from these engagement surveys.
We’re asking people why, “Why do you feel like things are not going well in your organization? Why would you be disengaged?” The answer is, “Because we don’t believe that the organizational leadership knows where they’re steering the boat and we don’t believe that managers within the organization know where we’re trying to go. They’re not producing a compelling vision. They’re not producing something that tells us they’re ready to lead.” Those are two really key elements when you’re thinking about, again, the perception of leadership development within your organization.
I get this question all the time, “Well, why do we need managers in the first place?” If I just told you that the problem is that all of these leadership development programs aren’t working and that people don’t trust their managers, well, why don’t we just get rid of them all? It’s a legitimate question. In fact, there are a bunch of organizations that have tried to eliminate managers completely or hierarchy completely. So you’re probably familiar with some of these brands and these are some of the big names that have done this. There are also other organizations that have gone down this path and they have implemented something called Holacracy.
Holacracy is this concept of a nonhierarchical structure, the idea that you have roles and people will be involved in project teams for periods of time, where they’ll come in and out of being engaged with different people, but that they won’t be managed from a hierarchical perspective. That’s the idea of holacracy, right? You may be saying, “Super. Katy, that sounds great. Let’s just get rid of all of our managers and everything will be hunky-dory.” Well, it’s not quite simple.
Let’s talk about how many companies in the world are currently using holacracy. I want to point out that this comes from a website that is dedicated to following the process of holacracy and seeing how it’s working in the world.
Take a minute to guess how many you think and I’ll give you the answer. It is less than 100. There are less than 100 companies in the whole world that are practicing holacracy continuously and that have eliminated this idea of management. Now, it doesn’t mean that they’ve gone completely cowboy and rogue. Holacracy has a process and a structure. It’s just a nonhierarchical process and structure.
Katy: How many managers are there in the entire United States? We know that there are less than 100 companies that are practicing holacracy. How many managers do you think are out there in their day-to-day, in the trenches trying to do this work? The answer to that is more than 24 million. There’s 24 million people out there right now today, who are trying to become better managers, trying to become better leaders, trying to do the work that they want to do. Those are the people that we’re going to talk about today.
That’s not because I’m saying holacracy is bad. I’m not saying holacracy doesn’t work. I’m saying that right now, the dominant paradigm for organization is a little more hierarchical. With that said, a lot of organizations are getting flatter. A lot of organizations are trying to reduce the numbers of levels of bureaucracy within their organization. They’re trying to reduce the number of people that are involved in order to make decisions, in order to get things done. They’re trying to eliminate red tapes, so they can more nimble and move faster.
So we do know that even though we’re not all going to be employed in holacracies, we are going to need to work in flatter organizations. We are going to need to all practice our leadership skills. We also want to focus on these 24 million people, who are taking on that role of manager and who need the support, who need the development in order to do something really important. That really important thing is drive employee engagement in the organization.
This statistic, again, comes from Gallup, my friends at Gallup. What we see here in the statistics is that managers really are the people, at the end of the day, they are the people that have this impact on the variance of employee engagement score. What do I mean by that? If you haven’t taken a statistics class lately, we’ll just do a quick refresher here, which is if you have two people in the same organization, so they have the same benefits, they have the same schedule, they sit in the same physical office space, they do the same general work, those two people, but one of them is super engaged and the other one is disengaged.
The most likely reason for that difference is their direct manager. One person is working for a skilled manager, somebody who’s really great at what they do, somebody who really loves developing people and helping them grow and the other person is not. They’re working for an unskilled manager, who is maybe a little bit of a dictator, maybe is doing a little micromanagement, maybe is doing one of the bad boss behaviors that I talk about in some of the videos that I do. There are five kinds of horrible bosses and maybe this person who’s disengaged is working for one of those five kinds of horrible bosses or more.
Managers are the people who really move the needle for individuals on employee engagement scores. They do that in a couple of different ways. Engagement comes from a variety of different situations and scenarios. We see the results of engagement by these metrics of business performance. Absenteeism, for example, safety incidence, those are negatives, meaning that disengaged workers are higher on the absenteeism score. They’re absent more often. They have more safety incidence. Whereas engaged workers have fewer safety incidence, fewer quality defects. Vice-versa, they have higher customer ratings, higher productivity, higher profitability.
Engagement is not just this warm and fuzzy idea that we say, “Oh, we need more engaged employees.” No, we really need more engaged employees. Here’s why. There’s a direct tangible effect on the bottom line. It’s a chain of events, right? Here, you have the employee and then you have the manager, who has an impact on that employee and then you have the business results that come out of that, that have this direct tangible cost to the company.
So why does all of this matter? Well, it matters because in a minute, we’re going to build a business case. I’m going to talk to you about dollars and cents of why you should invest in new manager training and not just at the level of a workshop here or a workshop there, but really significantly invest in support and training and not just online or in-person workshops, but a really comprehensive way of supporting these managers as they make this transition because it does come back to these business results.
got a couple more stats for you. These come from Virgin Atlantic and Virgin USA and their statistics that they give from an employee engagement survey. Again, you’re to see the same stats, higher profitability, higher customer satisfaction, greater productivity.
Where does all of this come from? If you had to boil it all down to one thing that managers need to do differently, that managers could focus on in order to be better at what they do, if you only had one thing to suggest to your managers rather than this comprehensive plan that I’m going to talk about in a second, what would it be? Guess for a second and just think about what you think that most core competency is that you think every manager needs to have.
Here’s the answer. The answer is that if your manager cares about you as a person, wants to see you be successful, that’s what makes all the difference. People whose managers really care about them are so much more enthusiastic. They’re more excited, they’re more engaged in their day-to-day. Managers do have this tremendous impact. They have a huge impact on these engagement scores. They have a huge impact on how people feel about work.
Can’t we just train people better? Can’t we just say, “Okay. Let’s make sure that these people have the skills they need and everything will be hunky-dory”? Well, the answer is companies are trying. You guys probably know that, especially if that’s part of your role within the organization. Most companies are not saying, “Let’s not train these people.” Most companies are not saying, “Let’s just throw them to the wolves,” although some companies certainly do that.
In fact, 99% of companies are offering some kind of management training. Unfortunately, they’re doing it wrong. They’re doing it wrong and that comes all the way back to the title of this webinar, which is everything that organizations are doing in order to try to train and develop managers is just not as effective as it needs to be because what we’re talking about here is fundamental behavior change. We’re not just talking about learning a new fact.
If all I had to do was say to managers, “Okay. Here’s a list of things you need to know and then you’re going to be an awesome manager,” those people would go right out and they would memorize those things and they would pass that test and they would be awesome because again, managers, in general, are really well-intentioned people. They want to do great work. They want to make the people on their team happy. They are not intentionally horrible bosses.
Unfortunately, the management training that we’re offering to them is not providing them the ability and the opportunity to change habits. The habits that you have as an individual contributor are not the habits that are going to make you successful as a manager.
What do I mean by that? Let’s dig in to that a little bit for a second and say, “If I’m really great at let’s say marketing and I’ve been a fantastic digital marketing expert and I’ve been creating content, for example, and I have been developing blog posts and creating a content strategy and going out and driving engagement to our website and all of those things,” and you say, “Katy, that was great. Now, what we’d like you to do is lead a team of three people to do that work because we’ve grown and now, you can’t do all of that work yourself.” I say, “Okay. That sounds great. Now, what do I do differently? What am I going to do differently the next day?”
Well, the first thing that a lot of new managers do is they just start issuing orders. They turn around and say, “Okay. Well, what I would do is write 10 blog posts and I would post 15 social media posts every hour and I would do all of these different things. So I’m just going to make up a list and I’m going to hand it out to all these people and cha-ching, I’ve done my job. I have successfully managed this process.”
Well, what happens to all those people on the team when you do that? They feel like your bossing them around. They feel like you’re micromanaging them. They feel like they don’t have any agency, they don’t have any creativity, they don’t have any control. Maybe they have other ideas about how things need to get done.
What’s happening is this new manager comes to the table, issues orders, doesn’t realize that what they really need to do is take a step back, ask questions, figure out how people want to approach the work they want to do, see who’s interested in doing a lot. All of those habits are really different than the production level habits of grinding out a whole lot of marketing materials.
So there’s where the management training and the actual result disconnect happens, right? This is where things go off the rails. This is why the management training doesn’t work. It’s because what you’re teaching people typically in management training is, “Okay. Here’s the theory and here’s how you do your time management and here’s how you do goal planning and here’s how you figure out all this stuff,” but it doesn’t address how you’re going to change your behavior when you go back to your desk, how are you going to break those habits that made you really successful and learn new habits that maybe feel uncomfortable or foreign and don’t feel right right out of the gate.
So that’s the difference that we’re talking about here is how do we apply behavior change practices as supposed to just trying to transmit knowledge from person to person. This comes down to how we learn. This model was created by the Center for Creative Leadership. It’s a really nice way of thinking about how people learn and how people approach the process of learning and changing their behaviors.
Only 10% of learning comes from these formal settings of workshops. Unfortunately, as much fun as this webinar is today and as much fun as you guys are having listening to me talk about these things, this only represents 10% of how you learn. You’re going to walk away from this webinar saying, “Well, that was really interesting information, but how do I apply it? How do I take this and do something with it?”
20% of how we learn is informal. What comes into the informal bucket? Well, if we continue this example of learning how to design new types of management development programs, the informal learning might come from calling up your colleagues at other organizations and saying, “Hey, how do you guys structure your management development programs?” It might mean going and working with a coach and saying, “Hey, I’m trying to understand how to better coach our managers, so I’d like to observe you coaching managers to see if I can understand that element of it.” That’s 20%.
Then the 70% is actually putting it in practice, right? It’s the on-the-job learning. It’s the practical sense of, “How do I try this out? How do I use this in the real way?” That would be, for example, taking a look at your current portfolio of management development processes and saying, “Okay. We need to restructure this. We need to run some pilots. We need to try some different things. Maybe we need to have somebody come in and help us design a new way of delivering these services and these programs to our managers. Maybe we need to do a survey.”
Actually doing the work is how we learn best. Actually changing our behavior is how we change our behavior and then reinforcing those changes and making sure that we’re rewarding the changes in behavior, so that we’re continuing to move down that path. This is how we learn in practice.
Now, I’m going to talk specifically about what elements a management development program needs to have in order to be effective and successful. These are the five elements. Most people, most organizations focus on the top one, workshops and formal training. I see a lot of organizations, in fact, if you go back to this previous slide, 99% of companies offer some sort of management training. Typically, what they’re offering are these workshops and formal training. They’re sending new managers to a bootcamp or they’re sending them to a program that’s once a month or twice a month or six times a year or whatever that might look like.
Again, those workshops and formal training pieces are important. I’m not suggesting that you throw those out completely. However, I’m suggesting that those are only 10% of what your new managers really need to know to make those behavior changes.
The second piece is this idea of on-demand learning. We live right now in a very rich time in terms of resources and tools that are available on-demand. If you’re not aware of them, they’re tools like lynda.com, which have on-demand online learning programs. There are all kinds of vendors and organizations that will sell you online learning packages. You can use free resources that are on the internet for things like case studies. You can put those together in a curriculum, so that people can know which ones are good and which ones are not so good.
You need to create this on-demand learning and the reason is if I’m a manager and I run into a problem on a Tuesday afternoon and I need to know how to give feedback effectively or I need to know, “Huh, what was it about goal planning that I was supposed to remember?” I don’t want to wait until that next workshop or that next formal training in order to remember to ask that question. I need somewhere to go right that minute that’s going to allow me to access that learning and development that I need in the moment on my job.
Again, this goes back to the how we learn. That hits the 70%. If I’m in the moment, if I’m on the job and I need to know how to do something, I want to watch a five-minute video or a 10-minute video and then I want to turn around and put that into practice and try out that new skill and see how it goes.
The next piece, the coaching piece, I think is the piece that most companies are not doing with new managers. Coaching tends to be something that gets offered to executives. It gets offered to senior people in the organization, so that they can get up to the next level. The reality is coaching is the most effective tool that you can have for new managers because they are running into these funky issues like “Why won’t Mary put her shoes on and how do I make sure that she does because the person that’s sitting next to her is really offended that she’s sitting there with her shoes off?” or whatever the issue of the day may be that’s facing a new manager, but they can’t find that on-demand learning, that was never covered in that workshop or formal training. Coaching is that really customized in-the-moment solution to thinking through the challenges of being a new manager.
Answering the question, “How could I do this differently? What can I do the next time?” and what coaching does is it creates that feedback loop and that reinforcement loop of “This feels uncomfortable, but it’s right. Next time, it’s going to feel a little less uncomfortable until I get used to this new habit.” Coaching is the glue in a lot of ways that takes the formal training and the on-demand learning and the resources and tools and puts it all together and pulls it into a place that’s useful for that person.
Then finally, peer networking, being able to collaborate with people who are going through the same experience. In some organizations, this happens informally, right? People get together for lunch and say, “Hey, how are things going?” This needs to be formalized in a truly effective management development program, so that people have dedicated time and dedicated teams to communicate with about this management development process because this is another big transition from being an individual contributor to being a manager.
A lot of times, those new managers are being thrown into the position of leading their peers, leading people that they have been working with. These are the people they’re used to spitballing ideas with or asking questions when they don’t know the answer. All of a sudden, that relationship is awkward and you need to have a new peer group that you can communicate with that’s going to help you get from point A to point B.
Then this last piece, resources and tools, I touched on it before. These are the frameworks. These are the concepts that new managers need to take in order to make those mindset shifts. Whether that something that helps them form a new habit and there’s certainly some great tools out there for habit coaching that help you do something different everyday.
There are organizations and tools and resources and all kinds of things that can help you be more effective as a manager and they need to be at your fingertips. They can’t be things that you’re going on the hunt for when you feel like you need them because then all of a sudden, you’re wasting hours of time cruising around the internet when really all you need is a framework for giving feedback. Those tools need to be much more accessible to the people in this position.
That’s the new manager what you really need to succeed framework. I know what you’re saying. You’re saying to yourselves, “Katy, this sounds really expensive.” It’s not. It’s not nearly as expensive as how much it costs you to have an unskilled manager. The average organization spends about $3,000, $2,000 to $3,000 a year per person on development programs. That covers everything. That’s not just management development. That’s technical skill development, that’s compliance training, that’s all the training they’re getting.
Right now, people are only getting a small amount in terms of the resources that are being applied to their training. What I want to talk about now is the cost of having an unskilled manager because I want to help you guys build a business case for why you need to invest a little more, not a lot more. I’m not asking for a million dollars for each new manager, but certainly more than what is being invested right now.
Here’s the first data point. When you have a new manager, you have this engagement gap, where you have an existing team, it’s performing pretty well. I peg their engagement at 80%. When the new manager comes in and they start bossing people around, they start micromanaging, they have days where they’re running around yelling at everyone, they have days where they’re not speaking to anyone because new managers tend to oscillate between those two things, you start to see engagement on that team drop.
It’s days at a really low level for about six months until that new manager after being thrown in the deep end of the pool starts to step it up and starts to get skills. Then you see engagement build back up again to its previous levels. The whole time that that’s happening, money is flowing out of the company. It is pouring out and here is why, because the engagement gap has real tangible costs. I just want to walk through an example scenario to show you how this works.
Let’s imagine a new manager with a team of five people. Their five direct reports have an average salary of $50,000 a year. I did this to make the math easy, guys, but it will work really for any math that you have. An actively disengaged employee costs 34% of salary. If we decide that all of those employees are now actively disengaged, that’s $85,000 that is flowing out the window because of this unskilled manager.
Then the replacement cost of just one of those employees to signing to quit because that manager is so frustrating and aggravating is at least six months of salary or $25,000. Right there, you have a cost, a yearlong cost of an unskilled manager of over $100,000. So it is crazy, crazy to say that $1,000 or a few thousand dollars for a new manager bootcamp is sufficient when you know that you have this much potential cost to having a manager who doesn’t have all the tools and resources that they need.
Again, this matters because 70% of companies are using teams to accomplish their goals and 80% of our time is spent in these collaborative activities. So we’re spending so much time in team collaboration and yet, when we have unskilled managers, we are essentially creating a disengagement problem because we’re not creating an environment where those people can be successful and engaged.
I want to talk about a couple of the skills that are important to being a new manager. These are the skills if you’re going to focus on anything, if you’re going to put your limited resources towards anything, 83% of participants in a recent association for talent development survey said that communication is the number one skill most related to success as a manager. That’s important because right now, people are ranking organizations very low in terms of their communication skills.
If you are going to throw money at any one thing, it would be communication skills. If you can upscale your managers and their ability to communicate effectively and that means to have challenging conversations, to give effective feedback, to listen effectively, to have recognition in conversations, to give direction in a clear way, all of these communication skill elements are really the key to improving management skills at the basic level.
One of those skills that I think is the most important skill for a manager, if I had to name one and I said back earlier that caring about people is critical, one of the ways that you show that you care about the people on your team is by listening to them. So if there’s one thing that I could help managers do better, it’s to shift from talking to listening. That really is a fundamental mindset change that a lot of new managers don’t really get their heads around earlier enough in the process. Listening skills, collaboration skills, communication skills, these core competencies are what managers need in order to be successful.
Let’s wrap it up and put it together and then I’m going to go ahead and answer some of your questions, if you have questions and talk a little bit more about some of these issues in more detail. Let’s just wrap it up and talk about what’s happening here and what we talked about today. First of all, organizations are becoming flatter. We’re not all becoming holacracies, but we are becoming flatter and that means that managers are facilitating this collaboration not just among their teams, but between the different teams in the organization. So managers are just this critical glue that holds organizations together to accomplish their goals.
Katy: Managers have a tremendous impact on engagement. In fact, they have the number one impact on engagement in the organization. So if you want to move the needle on engagement, if that’s where your challenges in your organization and you want to reap those business benefits of engagement, the first place you should be looking to invest is on those managers because engagement has this huge impact on all of these performance metrics across and around the whole organization. Managers are the key to leveraging those impact metrics around engagement.
Katy: We know what the skills are. We know from research what skills managers need to develop and change. We know how the mindset works, but we also know that behavior change takes so much more than just individual one-off workshops or bootcamps. It takes a complete system. So the managers need this whole system of support. They need the help not only to know the new things they need to do, but to practice them and then to communicate with other people about how they’re doing.
Katy: This whole system is a solution from end-to-end. You can’t just pick and choose, although if you could just pick and choose, I can tell you what I think you should do. Ultimately, the best choice is to be able to put in place a complete system that’s really going to change how people feel about their work, how people feel about their jobs.
Katy: That’s my conclusion. I’m just going to show you a couple more slides. I believe all of these are included as well on the handout, but I wanted to thank you for coming and hanging out with me today and give you a couple of free things because you did that. First of all, if you’d like to win a free copy of my most recent book, which is called How Did I Not See This Coming: The New Managers Guide To Avoiding Total Disaster, you can use this URL here. Again, it’s also in the handout. You can join the Survive Your Promotion mailing list and I will happily include you in a lottery to win a free copy of the book.
Katy: Then you can also enroll in the online goal planning course that I have on Udemy and you can use this coupon code or just put in the URL that’s here and get the course for completely free. You’ll get a little more information for how to create a great career plan for yourself and how to create goal plans for your team.
Katy: So here’s how you can get in touch with me. I am more than happy to talk about these topics. This is what I do and what I love to do. So I have a ton of resources on the Survive Your Promotion website. I also have some more resources and tools on the katytynan.com website. If you have any questions or you just want to throw out a note or say hi, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and I am happy to continue the conversation there. So thank you so much for being part of this. Sarah, I’m going to pass it back to you to see what we have for questions today.
Sarah: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Katy. Thank you, everyone, for engaging today. We do have a lot of questions, actually, that have come in. I’m going to start here with a question from Nancy. She asks, “Why is coaching important for new managers?”
Katy: That’s a great question, Nancy. Thank you. The issue of coaching is it’s a place where a new manager can get feedback, guidance and direction from somebody who is nonjudgmental. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s say that you promote me to be a new manager and I don’t know what the heck I’m doing or I think I’m doing something wrong. Well, if I go to my manager and ask them for advice about that, I’d be worried that my manager is going to say, “Wow! I should never have promoted her because she doesn’t know what she’s doing.” Whereas a coach is somebody who can help me not only make a plan for how I’m going to change my behavior, they can reinforce my progress towards that plan and they can also be a resource to me, a sounding board, somebody who can give me honest guidance and feedback that I know only has my best interest in mind.
Katy: What happens here with coaching is a lot of organizations think coaching is super expensive because executive coaching is super expensive. It’s typically $150 or $200 or $500 an hour. It’s something that executives tend to get access to because that investment is done in a smaller group of people. Whereas there are a lot more managers in an organization and the idea of paying that much money for new managers seems like a lot.
Katy: The reality is first of all, coaches have a tremendous impact on the success of new managers, but also, we have tools now, those of us who are coaches, to do virtual coaching sessions, to use tools like coach.me that allow you to do habit-based coaching. So there are a lot of different ways to make coaching much more cost-effective than I think people think it is. Coaching, to me, is that glue that holds all the pieces together and really helps reinforce the progress that somebody feels as they’re going through this transition.
Great. As a followup on that, Carlita here mentions, “You’re using the term manager a lot,” and her question is, “Could you use that term interchangeably as those who might be at the top of the organization such as department heads?”
Yeah. I think there are some differences, Carlita. There’s some differences in different levels of leadership. You’ll see this typically in the leadership development space that tools and resources are geared for a couple of different tiers. The first tier is what we would call emerging leaders. Those are people who are not yet in a management role, but they’re taking on leadership roles on projects, they’re taking on leadership roles within the organization and those people need to start to understand that mindset shift from being an individual contributor to having a leadership role, to understanding vision and mission, all of those things.
The next step is what I’ve been referring to as managers, which really are managers who are leading teams of individual contributors. They can be experienced. They might be in that management role for five years or 10 years or more and they still need support. They still need some help in terms of developing skills and improving themselves and developing, but they’re in that role of being a manager of people who are doers.
The next level, which is what you’re talking about, the department heads, the higher level managers are what we call leaders of leaders. Meaning, the people who are reporting to them have people reporting to them. So the issues that arise for leaders of leaders, for director level people and above typically are different. The reason that they’re different is because those people are more focused on developing strategy. They’re more focused on developing vision and communicating that out. So they just have a little bit of a different perspective on the skills and the approach that’s required to be successful as a leader of leaders as supposed to a leader of doers.
Katy: It’s not to say there’s no overlap. There certainly is. Typically, if you’re in the department head level, the VP level, the executive level, the things that you’re thinking about are more strategic and focused on driving strategy and communicating strategy. Whereas down one level from that, you’re focused on getting things done, on accomplishing goals, on finding solutions to problems, on removing barriers. So it’s more tactical than it is strategic.
Katy: While there is some overlap, I would say there are different things that you want to include in a program for leaders of leaders and it would be more focused on the strategy as supposed to the stuff that you would focus on for newer managers or for managers who are leading individual contributors. Hopefully, that makes sense.
Sarah: Great. Keep your questions coming in. There’s a lot coming in. I can tell you we will not get to all of them. They are great questions. Just a reminder, Katy will actually be answering in writing all of our questions and then we’ll email everyone all of the questions that came in, so everybody can see all the stuff that’s coming. As I’m picking through here some of the really good ones, I have a question here from Pamela. She’s asking, “What are some best practices for selecting coaches from within your own stance, since they won’t get paid extra for doing so?”
That’s a great question. I’m so glad you asked that, Pamela, because I’m going to say a couple of things about this. I think it’s important to differentiate here, which is a coach, to me, and this is not universal, but to me, a coach is someone who is external to your organization. The reason that person is external to your organization is because they need to be objective, they need to not be involved in the politics of the organization, they need to have your best interest at heart in terms of you being successful, which means they can’t have a conflict of interest by, for example, being in the HR department or being your manager or being some of those things.
That’s the ideal coach. With that said, I totally get where you’re coming from that a lot of organizations try to create a peer coaching environment within the organization itself or even a coach relationship within the organization itself. I want to be really clear here. When you create a peer coaching environment, the people in the peer coaching environment who are at the same level who are sharing what they’re doing, typically, that’s a facilitated process. Meaning, you’re hiring a person or you’re identifying a person, whether that’s from HR or whether that’s a consultant, who is helping set the ground rules for that group and saying, “You guys are going to meet on a monthly basis or a weekly basis and here’s some guiding questions that you might ask each other.”
Then when the actual meetings happen, they’re happening between these peers not so much in a “I’m coaching you” way, but in an “I’m sharing my experiences” way. Typically, those people aren’t compensated because they’re all getting value out of that peer coaching relationship because they’re working with one another to share ideas, to share best practices.
The third way of doing it, which is to say somebody internal is going to coach somebody else internal, who’s at a different level than they are, I think what you would do typically there is you would make that part of their goals and objectives. Within an organization, we’re all familiar with the idea that we have goals and targets and objectives. If there’s a target of developing somebody else within the organization, that’s included. Meaning, there’s time set aside to do that.
I think one of the mistakes that organizations make is that they fill up somebody’s time and say, “Okay. 100% of your time is going to be utilized and then we have these other 47 duties, including coaching and mentoring in professional development and all these other things,” and those things that don’t have any time allocated never get done.
So if you’re not compensating them and you’re not allocating time to make this a priority, then really, you’re not going to get the results that you want. That’s, I think, one of the bigger mistakes that I see organizations make in this is that they think they’re saving money by doing it internally and the end result is that they’re creating a negative situation because they’ve said, “We’re going to provide coaching,” and then they’re really not. They’re providing something verbally and saying they’re going to do something and then not doing it. That, frankly, really erodes trust and really erodes engagement. That’s a pitfall you want to watch out for in terms of creating coaching relationships if you make them impossible to execute on.
Katy: Hopefully, that’s some guidance. It’s certainly a challenging topic. I know because everybody’s trying to do more with less. The reality is I think from a coaching perspective, there does need to be some investment there, whether it’s time, whether it’s money, whether it’s coordination and organization.
Sarah: Great. Pamela just chimed in and said, “Great advice. Thank you.”
Katy: You are so welcome. I’m happy to answer this in more detail, too. Again, if you connect with me on LinkedIn, if you send me messages, I have some resources and blog posts and some stuff that goes into this in more detail.
Sarah: I think we have time for at least one more question. They’re sort of a followup here from Xavier that comes out of the answer you just gave around peer networking. His question is around old habits and no pollution. He’s asking, “How do you ensure that there are no pollution from old habits in the peer networking?”
Katy: That is a fantastic question. That is why I think it’s important to have all of these elements. I said you could pick and choose or that you shouldn’t pick and choose, but if you are going to pick and choose, the one I would pick and choose is the professional coaching. If you’re not going to do that, I think what you need to have is all of these elements coming together in order to give you the results that you want.
Katy: What do I mean by that? If you don’t do the formal training and you just do the networking, then yes, there’s 100% possibility that you’re going to get bad advice in your peer networking because it’s going to come from people who might not be skilled managers. The goal is to open up the breadth of the discussion by networking with other people, by seeing what else is going on, but then you need to have an active curation process to run those ideas by either the coach or the person who’s conducting the formal training or to screen them in some way, so that you can say, “Okay. What really aligns with the successful skills that managers need? What are the things that are really important? What do I need to do that’s going to be actually effective?”
Katy: That is the danger of just doing some of these things and saying, “Oh, I’m just going to do peer networking and whatever other people are doing, I’ll do that,” because the challenge there is you may get bad advice and then the next thing you know, you may be doing something that you don’t want to do.
Katy: The other thing I’ll say is there are a bunch of great industry associations out there that have the ability to help you network more effectively. If you’re in the HR world, obviously, the society for human resources management should be at the top of your list. If you’re in the technology industry, there’s some great groups there. Just on the women in technology side, there’s Women in Technology International. There’s a lot of really great networking groups and conferences and resources out there to help you find and engage with other practitioners, so that you can learn some of those best practices.
Katy: Again, just crowdsourcing your management development is not necessarily going to be effective, unless there’s some level of expertise involved to help you curate those answers to make sure you’re getting the best ones for you and your situation.
Sarah: Xavier says, “Thank you,” with a smiley face. I love it.
Katy: You are so welcome.
Sarah: Our last question here is from Gloriana. She’s asking if you can repeat what you meant by on-demand learning.
Katy: Oh, that’s a great question. Okay. On-demand learning, when I say that, what I’m talking about are e-learning programs typically. They’re programs that are available online whenever you need them. This webinar is an example of on-demand learning because people who are not able to listen to it can come back and listen to the recording later and get similar or the same information. There are lots of resources, whether they’re short bites that are two minutes long all the way up to programs that are hours and days long that are online available.
Katy: What it means is that when I need to know a specific thing, I’m able to go find it, watch it, learn it, interact with it and get it right at that second. So that’s what I mean by on-demand as supposed to something like an instructor-led or facilitated program where I have to wait until it’s scheduled or I have to wait until it’s ready for me because what we know about the workplace today is that things move really fast. We can’t always wait for the information we need for a week or two weeks. We really, really, really need it right now. That’s why that on-demand portfolio is so important.
Sarah: Okay. I see we have another minute and Katie just asked a question that I’m actually really excited to hear your answer in it, so I’m going to ask it. We totally understand if you have to run to another meeting. We’ll definitely email you all of the answers that have come through today, plus the questions that we weren’t able to get to. Katie is asking about the book club concept. Her question is, “Do you feel the book club concept, where managers read something and then meet to discuss their thoughts, is an effective use of time to change behaviors?”
Katy: Oh, well, I love that you threw in the change behavior at the end of that. So then now my answer is no. I love book clubs and I think and being an author, of course, I’m going to say that, right? I’ve written a book, I want you all to buy it and then I want you to sit around with your friends and talk about it. However, a book club is a good way to spark a dialog about a particular topic. It is not necessarily a good way to change behavior.
Katy: If there is a concept in a book that you look at and say, “Gosh! This could be really useful to me,” you then have to take that and say, “How would I integrate that as a habit into my daily work? How would I use that? How would I leverage that?” Sometimes something that works really well for one person does not work really well for somebody else.
Katy: The reason that a book club is great is because you can talk about stuff and say, “Oh, that sounded great to me,” and somebody else can say, “Nah, I didn’t like it so much. I like this other idea.” That’s fine. From a behavior change perspective, there’s much more that you need to do than just sit and discuss an idea. You have to turn that idea into action and by doing that, you have to create a new habit that is actually something you’re going to engage in on a regular basis. Does that make sense?
Sarah: I love book clubs, but yes. From change behaviors, I think absolutely. Katie just replied and she says, “Yes. Thank you so much.”
Sarah: Good. Well, thank you, everyone. Those were some great questions. We have some more here, but unfortunately, we don’t have time for them. So we’ll have Katy reply to all of those in writing and we’re going to get those email out to you, so you can take a look at those and definitely stay connected with Katy, which she has up here on the screen now. Thank you so much, Katy, for your expertise and sharing your insights today.
Katy: Thank you so much for having me.
Participants Will Learn
- HR and Talent Development Professionals who want to understand how to get the most out of their training budgets.
- Managers who want to know how to find the best professional development tools for themselves and their teams.
- Executives who want to know how to create and sustain a high performance culture.
Who Should Attend
- Managers and team leaders
- Organization development professionals
- Human resources managers
- Management consultants
Katy Tynan is an expert in leadership and organizational development. She is the author of Survive Your Promotion, and her most recent book is How Did I Not See This Coming: The New Manager’s Guide to Avoiding Total Disaster (ATD Press, November 2017). Tynan is the founder of Liteskip Consulting Group.