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[Video] Process vs. People Managers

By Eagle's Flight on November 30, 2017

Leading people is one of the most difficult aspects of management, but why is this? Why is it so challenging to get great leadership? The answer lies in looking at the beginning of our careers. Learn how to develop successful leaders and foster leadership throughout the organization with our new video.

Video Transcript

Phil: Most executives if you ask them what is their biggest area of concern, their biggest area of focus, they’ll go “People, it's always about people.” If you talk to HR folks and they go, what is it that concerns you, they go “Leadership. I just need better leadership.”

It causes us to ask in the middle of the night why is it that it's so difficult to get great leadership. Why is it that the leaders are just not able to manage the people brilliantly? Why is it that leadership and people always seem to be a problem? I think there is a very reasonable explanation for that and I think there's a solution for it to it as well. But I think the explanation is all of us start out junior in our career and as we go through our career, initially in my first job I'm running the backhoe and the only people component of that is I have beer with the guys at the end of the day. But then I get promoted and I'm the supervisor of the backhoes and now the people side is I get to do a little bit of the scheduling. So now I'm really good at managing the backhoe and pretty soon I'm running the backhoe and I’m managing the bulldozer team. But every time I get promoted it's based on my functional skill.

Whether I'm in finance, or purchasing, or sales, or marketing, I'm paid early in my career to do functional work. And as I get promoted I pick up an increasingly large component of people skills. Until all of a sudden, I make the jump to light speed and most of my work is around people and I have to lead people. So where do I go for the skills to lead people? I just naturally default to skills that got me promoted over the years which were functional skills; managing things, managing outcomes, not managing the complexity of humans. And so we find that our leaders are not very good leaders because they are using the things that made them successful, logically, in an area where those skills don't apply. Because leadership skills are totally different; managing people versus managing things. And then they get promoted and promoted, and after a while you have an organization of leaders who are just not nearly as good at managing people, as they are at managing outcomes, strategies, things, processes, and so on. So, I believe that is why this is such a problem and persists.

The solution is to start a leadership program very early in the career of your folks, and have a graduated leadership program that continues all the way to senior management, where that leadership program starts right early on and carries on the skills all the way to senior executive status, and each of the content elements of that program is integrated. So, for example when I learned to manage teams as a first line foreman, the same principles get taught to me, only applied with an increasing level of application and difficulty as I move up the rank. So, I think one of the great challenges we have is to recognize that managing people is a very difficult challenge and a skill in and of itself, and train it early on so that the folks that we promote grow in that area as readily as they do in their functional areas.

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Eagle's Flight is an innovative leader in the development and delivery of practical training programs for the global business community. Through the use of experiential learning, we assist organizations of all sizes to gain a competitive edge by significantly strengthening their workforce.

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Founded in 1988, Eagle's Flight has earned its reputation as a global leader in the development and delivery of business-relevant, experiential learning programs that achieve specific training objectives and lasting behavior changes.

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