A recent article on MSN.com posed the question, “Are leaders born or made?” The article argues that although people can acquire the “flesh and bones” of leadership through courses and curriculum, the “spirit” of leadership must come from the individual. It’s something that must be inherent – a fire, drive and desire to lead others and build collaboration.
Despite this argument, many corporations are placing their bets on the training side, especially for their newest managers. According to a survey of 3,100 senior HR executives by Novations Group, a global consulting organization based in Boston, U.S. companies are giving new managers top priority for training and development.
According to the survey, companies said first-line managers (FLMs) were the most likely to received training and development within the next year. Closely following them were entry-level employees and middle-level executives. It makes sense that new managers are being targeted. These newbie leaders were most likely promoted into management positions based on their skills as general staffers. Although they might have excelled at working hard and following orders, they might not necessarily be “management material.”
“So-called first-line managers, many of whom are recently promoted, are seen by management as in greatest need of training,” Novations Group Vice President Paul Terry said. “Managers that are more senior have already gotten core training. More importantly, management realizes that FLMs make the most difference in the day-to-day lives of employees and the effectiveness of FLMs will help determine retention and engagement.”
According to the survey, when asked, “Which of the following employee categories at your organization will receive training and development during the year ahead?”, organizations responded:
- Entry-level employees: 86.9 percent
- First-line managers: 90.5 percent
- Middle-level executives: 81 percent
- Senior-level executives: 70.8 percent
- None of these: 2.9 percent
According to Terry, first-line managers are just beginning the transition from individual contributor to people leader. “The key is to recognize that training is only one component,” he said. “It’s a classic challenge of placing a bright technical resource into a management role and expecting the person to figure it out immediately. This transition takes significant organizational support and coaching in addition to training.”