The Unique Work Worlds of Leaders, Managers, and Individual Contributors

HomeTalent Insights BlogThe Unique Work Worlds of Leaders, Managers, and Individual Contributors

Author: Garrick Throckmorton

The common story told throughout organizations of all sizes, across all industries is that an impressive Individual Contributor is hired who dives into learning the organization, and they do not disappoint. They knock their annual goals out of the park and assimilate to the culture with relative ease. Then . . . the organization makes a mistake. It mistakes high performance as an Individual Contributor as the key ingredient for success as a Manager and extends a promotion opportunity.

The Unique Work Worlds of Leaders, Managers, and Individual Contributors

The Individual Contributor is hungry, excited, and motivated, so they accept the promotion offer instantly. After all, they knew it was only a matter of time before it was “their chance.” However, what happens next is common and preventable. The high performer begins to struggle as they encounter an entirely new “work world” when compared to the Roles, Practices, and behavioral demands of being an Individual Contributor. They did not receive the type of prior assignments to best prepare them for being a Manager, they are not receiving ongoing coaching to support their transition, and their individual development plans is gathering dust as they are simply overwhelmed.

Can you think of someone in your career journey to whom this has occurred? If not, you may be able to envision the same phenomenon as it occurs with high-performing Managers who get promoted to Leadership positions!

Behind this common story is research (Kaiser & Craig, 2011) that clearly states the “work worlds” that exist for Leaders, Managers/Supervisors, and Individual Contributors are unique and distinct. The good news is that TeamTelligent is on a mission to reduce this circumstance from impacting your employees by creating talent tools to fuel development where an employee “sits” today. Take a moment to watch this 3-minute video, which will dive deeper on each of these three levels and how they impact our solutions at TeamTelligent.