Manage Talent: Build Managers

Here’s a lead from a Management-Issues article that caught my attention: 

 “The focus of many American businesses on nurturing and grooming their top-level talent is masking a growing crisis further down the management scale – with more than half admitting they are suffering from a “critical” shortage of middle managers.”

Because quite a bit of our client work relates to developing talent, it really jumped off the page. I’m not surprised at the implied shock value because headlines are supposed to grab attention. And, the survey quoted was conducted by a reputable talent management firm whose purpose is to drill down and find out what is happening in their specialty area: talent management.


Some immediate thoughts

  • Part of the answer lies within the opening sentence itself. Corporations have ignored the training and development of supervisors and managers for a number of years now.
  • Leadership is more glamorous. Leadership is also more strategic and less results-focused day to day.
  • Engagement is about employees and their immediate bosses. Performance? The same. Customer service? There’s no one in the executive suite helping customers fall in love with product.
  • Flat organizations give the illusion that there aren’t as many managers. Not quite true. Someone is responsible for the results of some group of people, regardless of what their new title happens to be. Check your own organization and you’ll see that this is true.
  • Colleges and universities are graduating thousands upon thousands every year, in all disciplines. They come out of school as raw talent.

What to do?

  • If your company has a supervisory/middle-management talent problem, check out whether or not you’re enabling them to learn what they’re supposed to do and how to do it.
  • Shift your focus from what’s glamorous to what builds performance.
  • If your company is reading and ranting about “Execution,” look at where the employees are who have to get it done day in and day out.
  • Oh–and when people start learning more and executing successfully as a result of good training and development, they’ll most likely be more loyal, more engaged, and more likely to think twice before leaving.

What do you think?


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Steve has designed and delivered leadership and communication programs for some of the world's largest organizations, and has more than 30 years in training, development, and high-level executive coaching. His Roesler Group has created and delivered leadership and talent development internationally for corporations such as Pfizer, Minerals Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, NordCarb Oy Ab, and Specialty Minerals--Europe. Steve is currently involved in the latest update of his Presenting With Impact program, a cross-cultural presentations workshop that has been delivered on five continents to more than 1,000 participants representing nearly 60 nationalities.


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