New survey finds that most managers enter the role without formal training.
Although becoming a first-time manager is considered a career highlight, many new managers don't feel they're quite ready to lead their teams. And nearly 60 percent of new managers don't receive any training to help them make the transition, according to a new study by CareerBuilder.com.
"There's a lot more to being a manager than getting that new title," says Allison Nawoj, corporate communications manager at CareerBuilder. "We were hearing anecdotally that many people just aren't ready to start using those skills. From the survey, we found that 58 percent said that they didn't receive any training on how to be a manager. We also wanted to find out what people actually thought about their managers."
Harris Interactive, on behalf of CareerBuilder.com, surveyed 2,482 U.S. employers (managers) and 3,910 U.S. full-time employees in the private sector, ages 18 and older, between November 15 and December 2, 2010. Companies were of various sizes and different industries.
According to the survey, 26 percent of managers felt that they were unprepared to transition into management roles. The problems managers reported in the survey were related to handling employee conflicts (25 percent) and motivating teams (22 percent). These were followed by performance reviews (15 percent), finding resources for staff (15 percent), and creating career paths (12 percent).
"These can be a challenge if you haven't been trained," Nawoj says. "The overall theme is that those nontangible things that you don't do in your day-to-day jobs may be difficult for new managers," she says.
Although managers felt unprepared, their employees seem to think they were doing just fine. Nearly 60 percent felt their bosses were doing either a good or great job. Only 20 percent rated their manager's performance as poor or very poor. The list of employee pet peeves included playing favorites (23 percent); not following through on promises (21 percent); not listening to concerns (21 percent); and not providing regular feedback (20 percent).
In general, employees were also positive about senior management, with 50 percent rating top management as doing a good or great job and 23 percent rating their performance as poor or very poor. Those disappointed employees felt that the company leaders didn't communicate enough, expected teams to be able to handle an unrealistic amount of work, and didn't provide training or employee development.
While managers can benefit from classroom, informal, video, or webinar training, Nawoj noted that mentoring is often helpful, particularly for younger managers. A 2010 CareerBuilder.com survey found that 43 percent of workers ages 35 and older were currently working for someone younger than them.
Regardless of age or years of experience, Nawoj believes the fact that employees rated 20 percent of managers (including experienced ones) as having poor skills means that all managers "need to keep their skills fresh so that they can do their best job as a leader."