Becoming manager for the first time is tough. A recent Development Dimensions International study reveals that a majority of frontline leaders said they had a difficult time making the transition from a non-management role to a first-level manager. Only 57 percent say they possessed the leadership skills needed when they first stepped into management roles. Moreover, according to a 2010 report from Bersin & Associates, human resource leaders rate their first-line managers as their “least ready” workgroup, even less capable than their entry-level employees.
WhatDoYouWantFromThem.com (WDYWFT) wants to change the way new managers are cultivated for growth. The Charlotte, NC based enterprise has created an online community that enables businesses to create private social networks to facilitate the professional development of low- to mid-level managers. Such a platform represents one of the first effective strategies to leverage social media and networking specifically for providing training and support for new managers.
For corporations, employers, and human resource departments, a private social network for managers can help review policies, provide leadership training lessons, offer access to mentors, facilitate question and answer forums, explain legal issues and discuss career advancement opportunities. Additionally, this communication channel enables employers to provide ongoing feedback to managers and demonstrate tangible commitment to professional development initiatives.
Companies that are using social software to communicate with their managers foster peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and innovation. WDYWFT further enhances this networking effect by giving managers access not only to their internal company groups, but also to a global community of managers. Consequently, they can connect with fellow managers around the world, expose themselves to different leadership styles and perspectives, share knowledge, ask questions, and find support.
A recent MIT Sloan Management Review article cites that workers in their 20s and 30s expect to be able to use the latest IT applications in their workplace. If they don’t have appropriate technology tools and outlets in their jobs, they could apply their energy to non-work related distractions such as Facebook.com. WDYWFT eliminates this potential challenge by integrating social media into the development environment.
"Our social media platform helps transform how companies approach professional development and training,” said Smith, principal of What Do You Want From Them, Inc. "We’re leveraging technology tools that young managers already use on a daily basis. By engaging them on their terms and in their language, we’re taking an inside approach to training and developing the potential of tomorrow’s business leaders. In addition, this also will encourage open communication between companies, employers, HR departments, owners, and managers.”