A recent poll conducted by the Office Team found that 76 percent of employees polled had no desire to grow into their manager’s position. While 3 percent responded that this question does not apply to them, only 21 percent of the 648 workers polled showed some interest in management.
These are some alarming numbers to environmental employers who expect 23 percent of the environmental workforce in Canada to reach the age of retirement by 2020, anticipate growth in their industry and, most importantly, within their own companies. These factors will likely lead to a major shortage of qualified candidates to fill more intermediate to senior roles.
But don’t all employees want to get promoted and progress in their careers? Why the apprehension to take on more responsibility? Robert Hosking, executive director of the Office Team explains, "Many aspects of management involve making difficult, sometimes unpopular decisions, and not everyone is comfortable in this role. Being a strong individual contributor does not necessarily equate to being an effective leader.”
When asked whether they thought they could do a better job than their manager, a whopping 65 percent of respondents answered no with only 28 percent responding yes (7percent said the question doesn’t apply).
One could speculate that this lack of confidence and apprehension to transition to management is partially due to a fear of failure – with many new managers being thrust into their new roles without adequate training or support. Another simple and likely reason is that not everyone is cut out to be a manager, nor does everyone have the traits to be a successful leader.
Because of these challenges, management should be constantly identifying key employees and future leaders within the organization now and guiding them according to their strengths. According to the Office Team, good leaders possess the following 7 traits:
Integrity: The best managers foster trust among employees by placing ethics first.
Sound judgment: Top supervisors can be counted on to make tough decisions based on logic and rationale.
Diplomacy: Handling challenging situations with tact and discretion is a must. Effective managers don't take all the credit for results — they consistently acknowledge individual and team contributions.
Adaptability: It's essential for leaders to be able to think on their feet. They should be innovative while also encouraging team members to develop creative solutions.
Strong communication skills: To motivate and guide employees, influential managers freely share their vision with others.
Good listening skills: Successful bosses realize they don't have all the answers and seek input from colleagues.
Influence: Great managers build strong networks within the organization to gain support for their ideas.
Once the right individuals, with the desired skills and traits have been identified, it is important to provide adequate training and support as these future leaders transition to their new roles.
The Harvard Stepping up To Management online training program, offered through ECO Canada, assists future leaders develop the fundamental skills needed to make the transition to more challenging managerial roles. This flexible program is designed to help employees enhance their leadership skills and develop transferable people management skills, through 8 targeted modules that are prioritized according to the employee’s needs and role requirements.
In the end, proper planning and the utilization of available tools and resources will help environmental employers be better equipped to deal with the challenges ahead. This forward planning and talent development will also help increase employee engagement, and ultimately strengthen the organization’s prospect for long-term sustainability.