New managers are not always wholly prepared to lead, which can have dire consequences for their direct reports and the company.
In an interview with Forbes, certified professional leadership coach and bestselling author Ramona Shaw stresses the importance of managers understanding that their successes depend on their ability to lead and elevate direct reports. Conversely, if managers do not hold up their end of the relationship, there's an adverse effect on staff.
In fact, employees are battling anxiety and stress with unprepared first-time managers, per recent research from Oji Life Lab, which interviewed more than 2,000 American workers to determine the effects of inadequate managerial skills and training. Forty percent of respondents said they feel "stress or anxiety about going to work" because of a first-time manager. In addition, one-third said they lacked motivation.
In 2021, WebMD reported that work anxiety could significantly affect people's careers because it can dictate important career decisions. The Oji Leadership Poll shows similar effects, with research demonstrating that stress, anxiety, and lack of motivation resulted in 36 percent of respondents wanting to leave their companies. Further, the poll results illustrate that female employees face a more significant negative impact when dealing with first-time managers: Women (40 percent) are more likely to want to leave their companies than men (29 percent).
While two out of five workers rated their new managers as "weak" at reducing conflict, handling difficult situations, providing quality feedback, running a productive meeting, and making decisions, respondents rated their best managers twice as favorably across the same skill sets. Between 80 percent and 89 percent rated their best managers as "strong" in each category.
"It's no surprise that these freshly-minted managers have anxious teams that want to quit; the managers are unskilled at decision-making, cultivating good communications, coaching people to success, and a range of other universal leadership skills," says Matt Kursh, Oji Life Lab's cofounder and CEO. "The good news is they can all be mastered, step-by-step."
Spotty leadership can also significantly cost companies, according to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report. It found that disengaged employees cost the global economy $8.8 trillion in lost productivity.
"In my research, I've seen how strong individual contributors are often promoted to management roles with little or no leadership training, with a ‘sink or swim' philosophy," says Harvard Business School professor Linda Hill in Oji Life Lab's press release. "These untrained leaders often struggle in many areas, compromising the productivity and agility of their teams in these very competitive times."