Do Not Set Your New Managers Up to Fail – Give Them Time to Learn Before They Lead

A black board features the words Learn and Lead

When you promote a star individual contributor to management, recognize that many of the traits that fostered high performance in one role do not necessarily carry over to the next role. In fact in a recent survey by Career Builder, a full 26% of managers responded that they were unprepared for a leadership role when they were first charged with managing others. It is not uncommon for employees to under-estimate and under-appreciate what it takes to successfully lead others.

Don’t let your company be the punching bag when unskilled managers are unable to deal with issues between co-workers, don’t know how to motivate their team members, lack the communication skills to set expectations and have no clue how to effectively manage performance. The fallout from such missteps can be catastrophic in terms of low employee engagement, high turnover and decreased performance.

First and foremost, provide solid new manager training so your recently appointed managers understand their role and their responsibilities. Then give them follow-on performance coaching and a successful mentor who can model good behavior and help guide them through the challenges of their new job.

Beyond that, here are two steps you can take in a larger context.

  1. Hold manager meetings on a monthly basis so new managers can share tips, brainstorm ways to handle tough problems, role play various scenarios and support one another as they learn the ropes.
  2. Share the company’s strategic plan across the entire organization so new managers get a sense of how departments work together toward the same overall goals. They may even have some suggestions on how to do it better.

You will know you are on the right track when employees feel as though they can:

  • Openly share ideas and opinions without fear of reprisal.
  • Discuss career opportunities and how they fit into the organization’s future plans.
  • Get honest and productive feedback.
  • Clearly articulate how their success is measured, what is expected of them and how they are currently performing compared to those expectations.
  • Access the information, support and resources required to do their work.
  • Explain the reasons behind management decisions.
  • Trust their manager to have the expertise and ability to help them and their team succeed.

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