A Two-Manager Model Is Necessary for Organizational Success

By: Nanette Miner, Ed.D.

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According to demographics, three out of every four employees in the workplace will be a Millennial by 2025. That's only ten years off, which means there is a lot of skill development required for Millennials to be prepared to lead our organizations -- at any level. Unfortunately, a recent study by EdAssist, a tuition assistance management service provider, showed that nearly three-quarters of Millennials feel their schooling didn't give them the preparation they needed to enter the workforce. This leaves most professional and skill development to be accomplished on the job.

Given that organizations have downsized and right-sized so much in recent decades, and understanding that most managers are working managers and not solely dedicated to manage others, The Training Doctor proposes a two-manager model going forward.

Each individual in an organization would have two-managers who would guide and develop them as they entered and grew within an organization. In the work that we do with corporate America, we have observed the inordinate amount of training provided to managers in order to "arm" them with soft-skill capabilities such as giving feedback, performance appraisals, coaching and the like. Unfortunately this approach has two drawbacks:

1) Not everyone is cut out to be a mentor or coach. Many managers view their job as "getting the work done," not as a developer of others. This is especially true if that manager was promoted to management due to the fact that s/he was technically proficient.

2) During times of high-stress (and what business environment wouldn't check that box, these days?) soft-skills fall by the wayside. We've encountered more than one manager who has said "they have a job, that is reward enough."

The two-manager model would utilize a "divide and conquer" approach. The soft-skills responsibilities would fall to one manager and the second manager would ensure quality work outputs.

For example, Susan joins a public accounting firm as an entry level accountant. Her manager, Cameron, would be responsible for her technical and skills training, including how to participate in client meetings, how to use the firm's software, ensuring adherence to IRS regulations, etc. Jacqueline would be Susan's developmental manager. She might sit in on meetings with clients and offer feedback on the way in which Susan presents herself or participates in the meeting. Jacqueline would also help Susan to identify or understand her career path and help her to make the right choices in terms of personal and professional development opportunities within the company (SHRM's most recent Employee Engagement and Satisfaction survey shows that Millennials value professional development and career advancement and will jump companies for a developmental opportunity, so this second managerial role would also help to ensure retention).

Jacqueline and Cameron would meet regularly so that each had the big picture of Susan's abilities and accomplishments as well as future aspirations, and they could collaborate on developmental opportunities for Susan.

This two-manager model would take a large burden off the mid-level manager as it currently exists. It would allow someone to be solely dedicated to the professional development of individuals within an organization while another manager is dedicated to on the job performance, accuracy and mastery.


Nanette Miner, Ed.D. is Managing Consultant of The Training Doctor, LLC, a Charleston-SC based corporate curriculum design firm which helps companies to develop their most important asset - their workforce. Follow them @TrainingDoctor.

This article was originally posted at http://www.trainingdr.com/blog