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Management Challenge #1 - Inheritance

Only 1 in 5 nfp / charity sector people managers have ever benefited from formal management training. and this number is positively skewed by those in larger organisations.

We regularly under-estimate that it takes as much skill and learning to be a good manager as it does to be an operational area expert. And we under-estimate how much impact unskilled Managers can have on teams and organisations. And, because we, as untrained managers, don't fully know the importance of positive support, relationship-building, and development, we don't recognise the early signs of potential people issues.

When that person issue moves from potential to actual, we don't know how to deal with it. So we leave it and hope it will resolve itself

Leaving it doesn't work, and by now the person issue is affecting increasingly more people. So now we have multiple people-issues to deal with. And still don't know how. We also don't want to admit to anyone that a) the problem is escalating; and b) we don't know how to resolve it.

The problem (now likely behaviour-related too) starts to impact team cohesion, culture, performance and everyone's wellbeing.

In lots of cases, what happens next is that the Manager leaves (for another manager role!) And a new Manager comes in .... and inherits a problem they too don't have the skill or confidence to address. And so the problem perpetuates

And too many times, these last two stages are repeated 3 or 4 times

What does that do to team morale, retention, performance and wellbeing?

And too often, the skill and confidence gap is never addressed. So organisations can have entire management and leadership teams who don't know how to deal with these situations well

The regular go-to solution is to refer to HR. And often, if it hasn't been addressed until it gets to HR ... it's gone too far

There is another way!

and it starts right back ......

.... here (2nd paragraph)!

We under-estimate that it takes as much skill and learning to be a good manager as it does to be an operational area expert

What if.... we gave ALL of our people managers (despite their tenure) the tools, skills and confidence to manage well? (even the ones who don’t want to admit they need them)

All team members would be supported in such a way that big, team-impacting, un-dealt-with challenges would simply not occur

And on the very few occasions that they do, they would be dealt with swiftly, fairly and in a supportive way for everyone.

This isn’t about re-writing HR policy or contracts. This isn’t about defining what bad performance looks like.

It’s about giving all people managers (and future people managers) the tools and soft skills to ensure that they focus on development not management; that they learn about each of their colleagues’ characteristics and preferences; that they learn to shape their management style to suit the individual; and that performance, behaviour, culture and productivity never get as far as becoming issues as the informed and confident support is there to prevent this from happening.

If “inheritance” is one of your organisation’s managerial challenges, we can help. Check out our Management page (and please share this blog with others in your organisation who can help make this happen!) Let’s make great management a lasting legacy for your colleagues


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