A professional getting promoted into his or her first formal leadership position in an organization is one of the biggest and most difficult transitions for any leader.

Far too often, the leader and the organization take for granted just how difficult that transition is.

The numbers prove it:

  • 20% of first-time managers are doing a poor job according to their subordinates,
  • 26% of first-time managers felt they were not ready to lead others to begin with, and
  • almost 60% said they never received any training when they transitioned into their first leadership role.

No wonder 50% of managers in organizations are ineffective.

Their ineffectiveness may be the result of not realizing what they are getting themselves into when it comes to leading others, not being supported in their new leadership role, and not being given the opportunity for training and development early enough in their careers as leaders.

Think of the time and money that has to be spent on replacing these ineffective leaders—not to mention dealing with the low morale and disengagement of employees working under these ineffective leaders.

This inevitably hurts your leadership pipeline and may eventually hurt your organization’s bottom line.

First-time managers have as much of a right for leadership development as others, but their voices, time and time again, go unheard. They want to do well but so often are struggling at making the transition from individual contributor or professional who does the work and does it well, to a leader who must continue to do the work and more importantly, leads others doing their work.

Many first-time managers feel that no one understands what they are going through.

So what can you do to help?

Understand the struggles first-time managers have and help them overcome the challenges relevant to their new leadership role.

For example, consider a first-time manager who now manages former peers, and who in some instances are friends inside and outside the workplace. How can they gain respect and authority while balancing the relationship they had before?

Organizations should encourage their first-time managers to:

  • Be Clear.
  • Be Fair.
  • Be Aware.
  • Be Proactive.

…while also helping their first-time managers manage their stress better.

The information from this white paper will help you understand the perspective of first-time managers and their struggles.

You can use the information to support first-time managers in the most difficult transition they have made so far in their careersdeveloping them as leaders, and ultimately, strengthening your leadership pipeline.

Paige Logan is a recent graduate of Davidson College where she received her BS in psychology. She is currently working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in the M&A Human Capital Advisory practice.

Scott Tonidandel, PhD, is the Wayne M. and Carolyn A. Watson Associate Professor of Psychology at Davidson College. His research interests span a wide variety of topics including issues related to computerized testing, the effects of employee mentoring programs, predictors of leadership effectiveness, and the impact of diversity in organizations. He also conducts research on a variety of statistical and methodological issues. He has published over 40 articles (often with student coauthors) in numerous scholarly outlets, such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Psychological Methods, and Organizational Research Methods. Scott currently serves as the associate editor for both the Journal of Business and Psychology and Organizational Research Methods. Scott holds a BA degree in psychology from Davidson College and an MA and PhD in industrial-organizational psychology from Rice University.

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