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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, May 12, 2019 1:00 am

Study: Cultivating new managers essential

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Make sure to develop the people who develop the people.

That's a very simple translation that seems applicable to what organizations may need to pay closer attention to, based on new research from the Association for Talent Development.

Managers contribute to employee engagement and retention, but a report titled “Developing New Managers: Key Elements of Success” says organizations can improve.

The research report, sponsored by The Ken Blanchard Cos., says that while 75% of organizations offer first-time manager training, most organizations “can better develop this critical cohort.”

The Association for Talent Development has members from more than 120 countries who work in public and private organizations in every industry sector.

The association's study found some organizations achieved strong results from developing new managers, according to a late April news release.

But it also revealed “issues and missed opportunities that could, if constructively addressed, enable talent development professionals to better prepare those managers for the challenges they will face.”

When managers succeed, so do employers. 

“Companies may heighten talent risk when failing to spot struggling new managers,” the release said. “The study found only 37% of companies identify new managers who are excelling in the role, and only 42% have additional training and support for new managers who are struggling.”

Key findings include:

• Of those with new manager training, 37% rated their training as highly effective and 45% said it is somewhat effective while 19% claim little or no effectiveness.

• Among companies with first-time manager training, only 27% say they offer training to employees before they start managing others.

• The biggest skills gaps for first-time people managers are leadership skills, soft/people skills and management skills.

“Developing new managers is about finding effective ways to help people understand how well they do or don't make that bring-out-the-best connection with others and then helping them build those capabilities in themselves,” said Casey Wilson, vice president of learning and organizational effectiveness at Evolent Health.

For talent development, the study recommends identifying and developing potential management talent early, hiring for the right reasons and continuing new manager training through the first year on the job. The training should fit the organization and the managers' needs, the release said.

The number of people surveyed included 279 talent development leaders and professionals. Individuals were invited via email to take an online survey in October 2018. Margins of error were not included in the report or disclosed through a follow-up email query.

In January, the association shared results of research on emerging talent, those with less than five years of full-time work experience. Based on 215 study participants, the findings showed that career development and addressing skill gaps were among the biggest challenges for employers.

Saying yes

Bob Yawberg, a longtime faith leader in Fort Wayne, emailed last week to note he has become an author.

He's also 86.

I shared some of Yawberg's thoughts – including on the value of journaling – in April 2017 in Lead On. That entry also shared how he was still sharing wisdom through weekly emails with anyone who was interested. He had retired and was enjoying life in Florida.

His paperback book, published in January, is titled “Saying Yes: A Pastor's Journal.” It contains 41 edited entries from his journal, along with photos. Yawberg, who was pastor of Broadway Christian Church, said through email the book is selling well and includes several Fort Wayne stories.

By the way, Yawberg said he still reads The Journal Gazette daily on email.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/.