10 Tips for Helping New Managers Succeed
When front line high performers receive recognition for their good work, it is frequently given through receiving a promotion to management as a first line supervisor. The premise is, of course, that because they are high performers, they are well equipped to handle the next step in a career. It is also true that when these high performers receive these promotions, failure is all too often the result. Why is this?
When manages promote front line high performers, they may assume that these high performers have an instinctive knowledge of how to manage. Nothing could be further from reality. It’s like the parent who assumes their teenager understands how to handle their raging hormones, roller coaster emotions, and other teenagers who offer appealing life options. Regardless of the high performers age, as strange as it may seem, there are similarities.
The newly promoted high performer experiences a sense of euphoria that can affect good judgment, assuming they have good judgment ordinarily. They face experiences that can take them on high and low emotional rides. They may not know who to listen to as a mentor or coach and heed bad advice. When these high performers fail or realize that the wonderful world of management is not for them, there is embarrassment, expense to the company, and low morale among the team. Is there a solution?
The solution for helping new managers experience more success than failure and have an easier road in their first few years is simple and doesn’t have to be expensive. In addition, both the organization that wants to promote from within and anyone wanting to build a career bear the responsibility for laying the foundation for succession success. Following are 10 Tips to make that happen.
1. Employee Development Program
Establish an employee development program in your organization. You can hire a qualified trainer or build a training team. A good trainer can find a person or two within every department who has an interest in training and mentor them to help with training. That keeps expenses down while expanding your developmental reach. These departmental trainers can identify people who are willing to and could be likely candidates for next career steps.
Every development program must include communications skills and expectations. This is even more true today in our remote world of work. Communications expectations begin with a good onboarding program that every successful employee development program must have. New employees need to know:
- How teams prefer to communicate, whether it’s through email, phone calls, a virtual platform, or other venue.
- Meeting dates/times, how to prepare for meetings, and meeting protocols. Time zones may need addressing as well.
- Protocols on communicating when you are or are not working remotely.
- Basic technical knowledge if necessary, for operating your organization’s platforms, email systems, information storage policies, and communication systems.
- Video conferencing expectations in terms of behaviors. For example, your face, not your picture should be on the screen, practice polite communication, watch body language, and yes proper dress for your industry should be the order of the day.
3. Leadership Mindset
New managers need to understand every facet of good leadership, before they are thrown to the wolves, but certainly a priority upon promotion. There is nothing wrong with offering access to online information, workshops, podcasts, and the like to anyone in your organization who wishes to take advantage of them. Keeping track of those who do attend any trainings is a must. This way, managers who are seeking to promote or fill a vacant front-line supervisory position has a good clue who might be ready and willing to step up. If your organization doesn’t offer such programs, there is a plethora of free information on the web to help you prepare yourself for the next step. Hiring a career coach is also an excellent idea. Take responsibility for your own career success.
4. Your Hiring System
- You may not view your hiring system as a part of your employee development program, but it absolutely is an integral part.
- Consider your brand name. How can you attract top talent if your organization or industry has a shoddy reputation?
- Expand your recruiting area physically and think of unique places from which to recruit good talent that fits your culture.
- Hire people who have the talent your organization needs to fit its strategic plan. This can be accomplished through background checks, the interviewing process, and scientifically backed assessments.
- Make the hiring process everyone’s responsibility. Multiple rounds of interviewing or panel interviewing are good ideas.
Having a good hiring system helps teams to identify potential leaders from the start and if you are an applicant seeking to build a career, it is your responsibility to not only communicate this, but find some way to demonstrate this during the interview process.
5. Establishing Expectations
New managers need to understand how to establish expectations for both themselves and their direct reports. Again, this can be part of your hiring system beginning with the onboarding process. An example is with communication. Your organization might use a video platform for meetings, but IM for something urgent. Establish expectations for responding to emails, calls, etc. What’s the point? When your organization has a culture of setting expectations then everyone understands the idea of setting expectations.
If the idea of setting expectations around communication is not “deep” enough for you, then establishing the idea of expectations around performance is also essential. Now a new manager is being immersed in a tactical skill that will serve to help ensure success once promotion occurs. Going back to those teenage years and establishing your home culture before those years so that your child grows up understanding your expectations.
6. Aligning Talent
New managers most likely lack skill in understanding how to match talent to jobs, tasks, teams, and projects. Further, it is unlikely they understand how to discern who has what knowledge, skills, and talent. Such discoveries can come through interviewing their direct reports, perusing past reviews, obtaining feedback from others working on projects with them, and administering assessments. Management training should include the importance of matching skills to jobs.
7. Handling Relationships
This is perhaps one of the most awkward experiences for the new manager and possibly his or her direct reports. If new managers are not prepared for these situations, they will be blindsided by hurt feelings, emotional outbursts, back stabbers, passive aggressive behaviors, and never know what hit them. This is a recipe for disaster. Relationship management is training that needs to be brought into play early on.
Front line manages don’t need to be attorneys, but they do need to be familiar with basic laws, policies, and procedures. They need to understand your organization’s policies on vacation, sick leave, personal days, etc. In addition, it is imperative that they understand legal and illegal interviewing questions, FMLA, Sexual Harassment laws, and the myriad other laws on the books.
Ensure that new managers have the technology they need to do their jobs, understand how to use the technology, and know where to get help when it’s needed. This is going to be especially true for remote working. Having a facilitator on online meetings can be a tremendous help so that the managers, especially a new one can concentrate on the agenda and deal with questions and feedback.
10. Strategic Thinking
Help new managers become better strategic thinkers through self-assessment. Self-knowledge is the foundation for strategic thinking, leadership, and EQ. EQ is more important today than ever in the workplace. Good strategic thinkers are better decision makers and better problem solvers. Good strategic thinkers can better solve ambiguous issues and handle the unexpected. Any of that going on in your workplace?
Thank you for reading this blog. If you would like more information on employee development for new managers Let’s Get Started!
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