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The Accidental Manager

The Accidental Manager
28 January 2016 John Moore

I am not talking about managers who go from one disaster to another. I am talking about employees who suddenly find themselves promoted into a supervisory or management position without any experience of training. The days of ‘being thrown in at the deep end’ are numbered, or are they?

Sink or Swim?

What a choice? I remember my dad saying this to me one day at our local pool. Fortunately, I managed to stay afloat and to do something that resembled swimming. My technique was pretty poor and I used up a lot of energy just staying afloat, but at least I did not sink.

Thankfully, this was not my experience when it came to me being appointed to my first management position. I was working for an Industry Training Board at the time and was given the opportunity of joining a junior management training programme. I cannot understand why business owners and bosses put people in the position of sink or swim, but they do as research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows.

Bridging the Management Skills Gap

Bridging the gap from a purely operational role to a management role does not have to be ‘sink or swim’. For example, Exponential Training delivers flexible, blended management training programmes combining performance coaching based upon real time work scenarios whilst working towards a Certificate or full Diploma in Management and Leadership.

Performing with E’s

Our team of Performance Coaches use a model we call ‘Performing with E’s’ where 70 per cent of learning comes from Experience; 20 per cent from Exposure to other people; and 10 per cent from Education. This model makes the learning process more engaging, practical and real, as real-time workplace scenarios provide much of the resource we use for learning.


Performing with E’s helps to overcome many of the risks associated with the ‘accidental manager’ where the majority of learning is the result of costly and inefficient learning by ‘trial and error’. Performance Coaches enable managers to accelerate learning and to make better choices and decisions whilst at the same time enabling them to extract key learning points.

3 Practical Tools That Will Transform Your Productivity & Performance

If this is something that interests you, then watch out for our performance improvement tool, ‘Fifty Ways to Improve My Performance’, next month – alternatively, book your FREE place on our one hour Live Webinar, ‘3 Practical Tools That Will Transform Your Productivity & Improve Performance’ and learn all about it.

Finally, I know your time schedule is packed, but take five minutes to think about managers you know, have worked with or have managed that are ‘accidental managers’. On reflection, how might some practical management training have helped them? What mistakes did they make and how stressed were they? How close did they get to sinking?

Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below:

John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.


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