When individuals get promoted to manager it’s typically because they are high performers who are good at what they do. But, are those same high performers ready to jump in and now be a manager of people? A recent survey by CareerBuilder found that 26% of managers said they weren’t prepared to manage people when they were promoted. The transition from an individual contributor to a manager can be difficult. Being a good manager requires different skills than what the employee may be used to and if we don’t recognize and address this, we could be setting the new manager up for a struggle.
So, the question is, what can we do to better prepare new managers so that they are ready to take on the added responsibilities of being a manager and being a good manager of people?
Training, training, training. Because the skills of being a good manager are not innate to many employees, we need to educate and train them about the needed new skills. Manager training can be done in a variety of ways. Traditional classroom training is one way to go. If you’re a larger company, you might be able to pool a new “class” of rising managers and train them together. Try making the training interactive so that the new managers can engage more with the active learning and also learn from their co-workers. The more relevant you can make the training to your company, the more successful it will be.
On-the-job training is another option. Think about having new managers shadow a more seasoned and respected manager. If you only shadow the day-to-day responsibilities, however, the new manager isn’t going to learn the more difficult skills. See if they can sit in on a performance review or a difficult conversation with an employee. Think of it as the same as a medical intern shadowing a physician when you go to a teaching hospital. Seeing first hand how a good manager handles these more difficult situations will help the new manager learn these less easily acquired skills.
Lastly, don’t leave new managers floundering out on an island on their own. Think of the new manager as a new employee who needs the same follow-up and checking-in. Where a new employee might be assigned a mentor, a new manager could also benefit from a mentor who can provide manager coaching and guide them for further growth. Schedule regular check-ins with the new manager so that they don’t feel abandoned and are comfortable asking questions.
By preparing new managers with the necessary skills of managing people they’re going to be more successful in their new position and it will be a win-win for both them and their employees!