It’s a Challenging Time to Be a Manager

August 16, 2022 Ken Blanchard

Our company recently completed a survey with more than 800 managers asking about the top challenges they face in today’s workplace. Here’s what Jay Campbell, our Chief Product Officer, had to say in his analysis of the 2022 Manager Challenges Survey results:  

“Today’s managers are carrying a heavy load. They feel overburdened with responsibilities, overworked, and not very effective in their roles. They are squeezed between their responsibilities to achieve organizational goals, to support their direct reports, and to pursue their own goals. It’s a high-pressure vortex of work and stress for many managers.”

In all my years in the field of leadership development, I have seldom witnessed a more challenging time for managers. The difficulties brought on by the pandemic, as well as other longtime management struggles identified by survey participants, are made even worse by the fact that a great number of today’s managers have never received essential management skills training.

Consider this scenario. Gwen is a high performing individual who stands out among her peers for her exceptional work. She is recognized as management material and promoted for that reason alone. Gwen is expected to excel at management because she excelled as an individual contributor. The cracks in this theory begin to show early on, when she attempts to figure out on her own how to manage a team.

Instead of learning the basics of management through an appropriate training program, Gwen begins to make decisions based on her own flawed, inexperienced thinking, or worse—bad advice from other untrained managers. These random choices ultimately become poor habits that prevent Gwen from being as effective a manager as she needs to be. And those poor habits, developed early, result in familiar, comfortable behaviors that are difficult for her to change as time goes by.

Not the desired outcome, as you can imagine.

Now let’s back up to Gwen receiving the promotion—but let’s make an important change.

In her new role as manager, Gwen quickly realizes that delegating to her former colleagues is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to her. Fortunately, she is participating in new manager training. Through training, she begins to understand that although it might be easier and faster for her to do some tasks herself, as a manager she must be able to get work accomplished through others. Gwen learns about the importance of having performance conversations with her people that include setting goals and giving feedback, as well as other essential communication methods that create positive, productive relationships. In this scenario, instead of spending years feeling overworked, frustrated, and dissatisfied with her leadership style, Gwen enjoys being a manager who helps people achieve their goals and empowers them to carry their own weight. Her team respects her as a leader and appreciates her positive support.

New manager training is more important now than it’s ever been. Don’t leave your managers alone to figure things out for themselves. Give them the training they need and watch them soar!

The 2022 Manager Challenges Survey explores the top issues impacting today’s managers. It also reveals areas where managers feel most and least effective and calls out specific resources, support, and encouragement that managers need from their leaders and organizations to help them accomplish their goals during these difficult times.

You can learn more about the results of the 2022 Manager Challenges Survey in this eBook that summarizes what participants shared.  Click here to download a free copy.

About the Author

Ken Blanchard

Dr. Ken Blanchard is the cofounder and Chief Spiritual Officer of Blanchard®, an international management training and consulting firm. Ken is the coauthor of The One Minute Manager, as well as 65 other books with combined sales totaling more than 21 million copies.

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