It’s disconcerting to consider that merely 18% of managers demonstrate a high level of talent for managing others, because the flip side of that statistic means 82% of managers are not effective at leading people. While this statistic is startling, it is really not hard to understand.
When you talk to mid-level leaders and ask them to look back over their careers, most would tell you they didn’t necessarily aspire to become a manager. Their focus was on their chosen function (accounting, engineering, operations, etc.), they performed very well, and that “got them promoted.” What’s the problem?
If individuals have given little thought to becoming a manager, it is very likely they have given little thought to what it means to be a leader. These managers performed well enough as a first-level manager to follow the natural progression to move into a mid-level leader role. The problem is they arrive with little or no idea of what it takes to succeed at that next level. In a mid-level leader role, just achieving performance goals is not sufficient to be effective. The real challenge is how to lead people to perform in a way that increases their ability to do it themselves.
Mid-level leaders need a clear vision on what they are trying to accomplish as a leader, as well as a solid game plan to utilize their talents to achieve and sustain that vision.