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Whitepaper

Talent pulse: identifying and developing first-time people leaders

There is no dispute that managers matter for people and business outcomes. We know that 70% of the variance in employee engagement is driven by the manageremployee dynamic. However, leadership development initiatives often focus on mid- and executive-level leaders while ignoring the developmental needs of first-time, front-line managers. The average age of a supervisor is 33 years old, but most leaders don’t participate in leadership training until they are 42. Thus, these managers may spend a decade practicing incorrect or subpar leadership behaviors. Or they focus on the hard skills part of their jobs rather than refining the soft skills that matter. In a highly-publicized (yet common sense) study, researchers at Google found that technical expertise was the least important quality in a manager; coaching and empowerment of team members were essential.There is no dispute that managers matter for people and business outcomes. We know that 70% of the variance in employee engagement is driven by the manageremployee dynamic. However, leadership development initiatives often focus on mid- and executive-level leaders while ignoring the developmental needs of first-time, front-line managers. The average age of a supervisor is 33 years old, but most leaders don’t participate in leadership training until they are 42. Thus, these managers may spend a decade practicing incorrect or subpar leadership behaviors. Or they focus on the hard skills part of their jobs rather than refining the soft skills that matter. In a highly-publicized (yet common sense) study, researchers at Google found that technical expertise was the least important quality in a manager; coaching and empowerment of team members were essential.

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