the Double-Whammy

This week we're looking at the 2nd of the five most common management challenges that Mangers in the not-profit and charity sectors tell us about:

The double-whammy is nearly a triple-whammy because it starts out with the best of intentions but quickly goes wrong. Let's take a digital marketing team as our example.


We're really lucky and we have working with us an absolute super-star Digital Marketer - really knows their stuff, is really well respected in their field and gets GREAT results.


Obviously we want to do all we can to keep this person so we offer them a promotion to the role of Digital Marketing Manager and give them line-management responsibility for a team of four people. This person is used to being good, they're used to being effective; they're used to doing well.


And for the first few weeks, all is good. They already know their team (they used to be one of them) and they're getting to grips with what their new role entails (while still holding onto much of the operational work they were doing in their former role.


What happens next is that slowly but steadily over time, the new Manager focuses too much on the bit they know - the operational "doing" of the role - and not enough on the support the team needs from them as a Manager. And in many cases, their expertise, rather than being used for coaching and up-skilling and developing the team, comes across as (or actually is) micro-managing.


The Manager might not be aware that that's how it's coming across, but they usually do know something's not right and they start to feel like they're not doing a very good job - which is a feeling they're not used to.


The team, on the other hand, are also feeling uncomfortable and unproductive as everything they do gets changed or "corrected" and work starts to be very prescriptive and absolute (a carbon-copy of how the Manager used to do it) rather than allowing any flexibility for innovation, trying new things, and learning. (this is where the email version finished)


And so the double-whammy starts to take effect. The person that once was the team expert is losing confidence and therefore productivity and performance, by the day. And the team following closely in their footsteps are also getting de-motivated and therefore losing productivity and performance.


And what the team really needs at this point, is a great manager, with great management skills, to galvanise their efforts, to support and coach and develop them as individuals in their roles, and to empower them to find their own super-star performance and recognition.


But the Manager was promoted purely for their tactical Digital Marketing skills. They do not know how to Manage. And they're used to being the expert in their role. Being a novice is a position they just don't recognise or want to recognise.


And the double-whammy hits home - the team has "lost" the performance and the contribution of its most experienced member, and the rest of the team are floundering - the team is not performing.


In most cases, whammy number one - the Manager jumps ship and moves to another role in another organisation where they're not known as the person who "used to be amazing". And often, whammy number two - one of more of the other team members also leaves looking for somewhere where they're not going to be micro-managed.


All of this could have worked out so very differently if the super-start colleague had been offered management training or mentoring when also being offered the new role. And the most common reason they're not? Because their line manager has never had any formal line management training either and "it's never done them any harm".


And this is why the double whammy is actually a triple-whammy - because it is all entirely preventable

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