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29TH MAY 2024

Accidental Managers: Setting Them Up for Failure

Accidental Managers: Setting Them Up for Failure
Accidental Managers: Setting Them Up for Failure

By Alan Mulrooney, Senior Business and Apprenticeship Sales Executive

I often notice people find themselves thrust into leadership positions almost by accident, often due to their technical prowess or seniority in a role. Accidental managers – individuals who excel in their craft but lack the necessary skills and support to thrive as leaders.

It's common across sectors. Someone who excels as a software engineer, salesperson, or customer service rep suddenly finds themselves in charge of a team. They're expected to lead, motivate, and inspire others, yet they may have received little to no training in leadership or management.

The lack of preparation can have dire consequences, not just for the individuals, but for their teams too. When leadership skills are overlooked or undervalued, it leads to underperformance, a loss of motivation, and ultimately, a decrease in productivity and morale.

Why does this happen? One reason is the misconception that technical expertise automatically translates into effective leadership. Just because someone is exceptional at coding or closing sales doesn't mean they have the skills to manage people. Leadership is a distinct discipline that requires its own set of competencies – communication, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and strategic thinking, to name a few.

Another contributing factor is the failure of businesses to provide development opportunities for new managers. Often, companies promote employees into leadership positions without offering the training needed to succeed in those roles. It's like asking someone to swim without teaching them how to tread water first.

There is hope. Recognising the importance of nurturing and supporting new leaders, many businesses are turning to initiatives like Team Leader Apprenticeships as a solution. Providing new managers with the knowledge, skills & behaviours needed to navigate their early journey as leaders.

Team leader Apprenticeships offer a structured approach to leadership development, combining learning with hands-on experience. Participants gain insights into leadership theories and best practices while also applying those concepts in real-time. They receive mentorship from seasoned leaders who can offer guidance and support.

They help bridge the gap between technical expertise and leadership skills. They equip new managers with the confidence and capabilities to lead effectively, fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth.

By investing in the development of their leaders, companies can avoid the pitfalls of the accidental manager phenomenon. They can cultivate a pipeline of skilled and confident leaders who not only drive performance but also inspire and empower their teams to reach their full potential.

Leadership is too important to leave to chance or circumstance.

Leadership and Management Apprenticeships

Across all industries, management is a fundamental function. Managers with strong leadership skills will ensure their teams achieve their true potential and help an organisation deal with challenges expertly. At Gloucestershire College, we offer apprenticeships to support the growth of dynamic, resilient managers with professionally accredited qualifications for local employers and their staff. 

Discuss your business training needs today. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation at employer.training@gloscol.ac.uk or call 0345 155 2020 (option 1).