You’re a general at Gettysburg. Before you order your men to make their charge you say, “Sorry guys, but the shipment of guns still hasn’t arrived. You’re going to have to fight this battle with your fists.”

Unthinkable, right? Who would send a soldier into battle unarmed? But isn’t this sort of what we do when we send managers into our organizations without adequate training?

Training and talent development are essentially about arming our people with concepts to deal with the chaos, confusion, complexity and ambiguity of the world we throw them into. Salary reviews. Performance reviews. Exit interviews. Terminations. Employee complaints. Delegation. Bad attitudes. Goal-setting. Motivation. Project management. There’s an entire constellation of very complex skills leaders must master. When we send them into battle each day without the tools and concepts they need to be effective, we’re setting them up for failure.

This is true of all leaders in our companies, but it’s especially true of those promising rank-and-file employees whom we promote into management roles. This transition, arguably the most difficult a person will make in a career, is fraught with peril. And yet it’s surprising how many companies provide little or no training to new managers. They say, basically, “You’re on your own. Sink or swim.”

photo credit: Alaskan Dude

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