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date: 14 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how socialization programs for managers transitioning to senior management roles can play a vital role in both preempting leadership failures and accelerating their relationship building. Managers who are promoted into a senior management level position for the first time in their careers face three daunting challenges. First, they must gain mastery over a complex and demanding role. The learning demands are often the most pronounced in a manager’s career. Second, expectations are high. It is assumed that the incoming senior manager already has the depth of experience to lead successfully in the new situation. As a result, there is little developmental feedback or support for those who enter the upper echelons of organizations. These two challenges can conspire to produce a challenge with far greater liabilities—the career derailment of the incoming senior manager. Given the high price associated with leadership failures in senior management ranks, it is essential for organizations to consider sophisticated socialization processes as they onboard individuals into senior management roles. Insights are drawn from an in-depth case analysis of sophisticated socialization programs developed at the Bank of America and at Toyota.

Keywords: socialization, leadership development, onboarding, executive derailment

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