Supporting Your New Managers Pays Off

Supporting Your New Managers Pays Off

Promoting one of your employees to a management role is a big investment, but it doesn’t have to be a leap of faith. This is the type of investment you can nurture, and course correct as needed. All you need to do is put the right tools and resources in place to ensure your new manager’s success.

Leadership Takes Practice

Even though your promotee might have years of experience in your company, leading a team is a lot different than understanding the work. They’re a rookie, again, and it’s important to have realistic expectations and a support system in place. There’s going to be a bit of a transition period, particularly if the new manager is in charge of a team of former colleagues.

As such, goals and benchmarking for their new role should be evaluated in incremental phases. Objectives need to be clearly defined from the beginning, and performance should be progressively evaluated in stages.

Maximize Your Experienced Staff

When starting your promotee from a zero-managerial baseline, your mentors are going to serve as your best training assets. New managers are going to need experienced people to shadow, ask questions of, and observe. Providing an example to follow enables greater success due to a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of leadership. But choosing the right person to be a mentor isn’t always a clear decision.

You can’t just simply pick someone that’s been working for you for a long time. The right mentor should be an individual that best reflects your company’s values and knowledge base and has the qualities of a good instructor. They should be the type of person that’s engaged in their own career development and has a willingness to share what they’ve learned.

Effective communication is also going to be essential. New managers are going to need a lot of feedback and guidance, particularly in how they handle challenging situations.

Prepare for a Hands-On Approach

Both formally and informally, new managers should have multiple regular touchpoints with their employers and mentors to help meaningfully guide their development. This is one of the best ways to track progress and keep the employee feeling supported and invested in by the company – which dramatically improves retention. Gallup reports that employees who have regular meetings like these are up to three times more likely to be engaged with their jobs. Engagement is actually at its highest when employees have some form of daily contact with superiors. A simple check-in goes a long way.

Phase In Responsibilities

It would be more effective to have your new manager gradually take on the duties of their role in phases versus jumping right into all of them at once. This will provide more corrective opportunities without overwhelming the promotee. As areas of needed improvement are discovered, mentors can concentrate on developing the underlying skills that may be lacking in those areas.

Identify Skills Gaps

As responsibilities are phased in and as regular points of formal and informal evaluations take place, underdeveloped skills will likely begin to manifest. Nobody’s perfect, after all, but a lot can be done to build up these traits to lay a better leadership foundation.

As an example, let’s say you notice errors with your new manager’s reporting or documentation. Rather than narrowly addressing those errors alone, you should also address the skills gaps behind them. In this case, developing organizational techniques or detail-oriented traits would be beneficial for these initial errors and could prevent other mistakes from happening down the road.

This same philosophy could also be described as working to address the cause instead of the symptom. Strengthen your leaders by targeting gaps in their skillsets.

Clear Feedback is Key

Clarity and specificity are the two most important parts of feedback. For example, if the core of one of your new manager’s evaluations amounts to “you are doing a good job,” that’s too vague to have any real meaning. It has to go deeper than that and be correlated to a specifically established goal.

Instead, provide metrics and context. Feedback along the lines of “your team exceeded expectations by 10% this quarter,” is real, concrete information that new managers can apply.

Feedback should also be provided on a defined schedule. Overdoing it reduces retention, often because the recipient gets understandably stressed out.

From the Ground Up

A good manager can be a major boon for your business, and employers have control measures that can easily be implemented to turn them from inexperienced newcomers into valuable assets. Preserve and develop your investment in your promotee by equipping them with foundational skills and strong support. Then, you’re sure to secure positive gains in the form of more effective company leadership.