Should frontline managers go through leadership programs?

1.2k views6 Comments

Director Business Technology in Software, 10,001+ employees
To develop future CIOs in our companies, investing in frontline managers is a good place to start. When you first become a manager, you get the HR onboarding — the “don't get the company in trouble” training on harassment, etc. But I don't know of many companies that invest in a first-time manager to set the foundation of leadership skills. You start to get that level of training when you get higher up and people invest money in it through programs. When I was at a startup, if you were at a certain level, you got a coach for a few months who you’d meet with every other week. If you were a level below that, then you could book time but you didn't get programmatic training from a leadership standpoint. 
2 1 Reply
SVP in Finance (non-banking), 1,001 - 5,000 employees

I agree. I found that to be challenging, even culturally, because there's a disconnect between top leadership and frontline managers. Lines are often blurred and messages aren’t conveyed exactly. The more you can do with frontline managers or first-time managers, the better off you’ll be.

Senior Executive Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees
I've found that in most organizations, you have a peer or a buddy if you are starting as an individual contributor. They always assign someone who is senior. But when you're beginning as a manager, more often than not the expectation is that your supervisor is going to be your mentor or coach, but there's no one who can be your peer and onboard you quickly. Some organizations do it well but in most cases, if you're a manager they give you a package that says, "These are the things you shouldn't do, and by the way, here's how to approve administrative stuff on the portal." It doesn’t include anything related to leadership or managing people, and doesn’t address any of the soft skills that are required. There may be videos, tutorials or documents about that, but those are very passive.
CIO in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
We don't have a program, but my company spends a fair amount of time on mentoring. We have formal mentorship programs and pipelines where you are assigned a mentor to help you develop in certain areas, whether it's communication or being persuasive in presenting your business case. For example, we do a lot of communication training on different leadership styles and how to adapt your leadership style to the needs of different employees based on their communication skill level. Those seem pretty official and from a mentoring standpoint, you can get very specific about a particular skill. 
CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Yes, absolutely. There’s no reason not to be continuously learning how to hone your craft.
CIO in Education, 201 - 500 employees
Sure. They are often the most visible employees representing the department. Whether the want to improve in state or move up the ladder, an investment in engaged employees is always resources well spent.

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