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Early Warning Signs of Leadership Breakdowns that Plague an Organization

In many organizations, growth can be a great incubator for leadership success.

Growth often leads to promotions or shifts in structure that create opportunities to build both technical and leadership skills. A person can be given a platform to improve skills related to planning and business support functions, as well as opportunities to enhance skills required to steer or manage teams and navigate change.

More often than not however, I see people move through a promotion and receive no new training. This is an incredibly missed opportunity, and a mistake I want to help you avoid.

It is uncomfortable for a person to move from feeling confident in their work (the successful role that got them the promotion) into a new space with new expectations. It’s not as though immediately upon moving into this new position everything they needed to know about leadership and management was “Matrix’ed” (uploaded) into their brain.

Maybe they’ve never been in charge of other people before and things will feel drastically different. Or maybe they have experience as a leader but it was at a different company. And ‘different’ also looks like change which feels unsettling.

With this level of uncertainty, I often hear new leadership embrace a “fake it ‘til you make it” attitude in the beginning. But faking it does not always lead to making it. And faking it leads to a lot of errors. We all learn from our mistakes, but without the proper support after the mistake occurs we only learn how to be avoidant (rather than better for it).

If you are a growing business you need high-performers at all levels in order to support your organization in succeeding the way you want, in the timeframe you intend.

If you don’t train your new leadership you will see things like this…

  • Someone who is promoted but not trained will be ill-equipped to handle the variety of challenges in the position and are almost guaranteed to fall short of the perceived expectations of that role.
  • They may not know how to fail in a way that results in growth rather than disappointment or shame. And they will kill themselves trying to “win them all,” which will only turn into burnout.
  • A lack of training leads to stress and low morale, which results in turnover (which is very expen$ive). A company with a reputation for high employee turnover is also unattractive to potential job candidates.
  • “Faking it” in front of their team likely means they are faking it with their superiors too, so you will not have the opportunity to catch an issue before it is a real problem. This results in the bad kind of surprises.
  • Knowing how to hold people accountable or have confrontation are learned skills. Without the ability to steer a team, or have the hard conversations, untrained leadership results in all team members becoming less productive and transitioning into a lower level of performance.

Just this past weekend, I was listening to a story from someone who is seeing this happen in their organization as I write this. People are being promoted, they are new leaders and managers, they are asking for support, and they are not necessarily receiving what would make them feel confident and successful.

So I felt inspired to share this resource. These are the “7 Early Warning Signs of Leadership Breakdowns.” This will help you to spot areas of strength and recognize opportunities for development in the leadership of your organization. It will also help you avoid breakdowns that cause elephant-sized dysfunctions in your organization and among your teams. AND there are links to a bunch of other resources within – very meta 😉

Feel free to download for yourself and pass along to a colleague who would find use from the insights.

QUESTION > What challenges have you faced after promoting someone to a new position as a leader or manager?


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