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    Apr 14, 2022    |   Camille Labrie

Sink or Swim: Front-Line Leaders Are on Their Own

2 minute read

Written by Shawn Bakker, Psychologist

What leadership promotion/transition do you think is the most challenging? When we asked HR professionals which was the most difficult, they overwhelming identified the first one – becoming a formal leader for the first time.

In your organization which leadership transition do you see as most difficult

When we asked the same HR professionals where their organizations focused most of their leadership development efforts, we found a misalignment.

where does your organization focus its leadership development efforts

Senior leaders get the most attention from their organizations while the vast majority of front-line leaders, 79%, are being left to figure things out themselves. You can call it the sink-or-swim approach to leadership development, and it’s not particularly effective.

First time leaders have many new issues they need to figure out – getting work done through others, managing change, and resolving conflict. When left to learn how to do this on their own, many experience frustration and a lack of success. This hurts the individual leader, their followers and also the organization. Most companies would do well to reconsider the level of support and guidance they provide to their new leaders.

You might then ask, “Where should we focus our efforts?” The most common pitfalls of leaders is also something we explore in our research.

what are the common pitfalls of leaders in you organization

By starting at the top of the list, you can immediately help new leaders address the most common challenges of their peers – communication and thinking strategically. For new leaders trial by fire is not a recipe for success, and focusing more on their development will ensure that organizations have the effective leadership required for the future.

View the complete People Trends research report

People Trends

Filed under: Leadership Development