New drivers and management: two things that scare me

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Within days of turning 16 I was lined up at the Ministry of Transportation, ready to get my learner’s permit – a flimsy piece of paper that gave me permission to drive my parent’s vehicle, so long as they were willing and able to sit with me. I saw this permission slip to drive as my ticket to freedom. I drove the car everywhere and anytime I could and probably drove my parents nuts. When I was convinced that I was ready – I went for the test.

And I failed.

Humbled, I drove for a few more months, in all types of conditions, and then when I was really sure I was ready, I went again for my license.

Success.

And just like that I was free to drive anywhere and anytime I wanted…well, in theory.

Critics of the old licensing system argued that young drivers were given too much power and freedom too quickly and that they were not prepared for the “real world” of driving.

Fast forward 25 years and we now have graduated licensing. The principle of this program is:

New drivers have to spend a minimum of 8 months at Level 1 where they are restricted by when and where they can drive and they must have a licensed driver with them at all times. One of the most notable restrictions is that they cannot go on the major highways. Ever.

After many months of practice, if they pass a driving test they can advance to Level 2 and seemingly overnight they can drive on their own and more importantly on the major highways. Which up until this time they have not been allowed on. Ever. No training or practice. None.

Which, of course, leads me into my thoughts on management. No really, it is a completely natural progression to talk about inexperienced drivers suddenly given power over a vehicle in a high impact environment to management.

Think about it. That’s totally management.

We have that star employee who is just blowing people away with their technical/ sales/ reports/ analysis skills….whatever. They are really shining and on the rise. So we figure if they can handle this, then lets entrust them with the management of other employees. And because they demonstrated an almost uncanny ability to figure things out in their last job, we don’t feel it’s necessary to provide them with additional training on how to….uh, manage people, provide feedback, handle performance issues, communicate clear expectations, and not run morale into the ground.

When I see someone get hired into a management position without any thought or plan for training or support to assist them with the new aspect of their role, I cringe.

The same way I’m cringing when I imagine a new young driver, like my newly licensed daughter, hitting the on-ramp of the highway all on her own without any guidance or support.

The potential of both situations is absolutely scary.

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