New managers shouldn't be left to fend for themselves. Learn how to properly prepare first-time managers so they can thrive in their new leadership roles.
- I remember the moment I was tossed into management as if it were yesterday. You see, when I found out my boss had just been fired, I did what I thought any other 24-year-old would do. I went into her boss's office and asked for her job, and you know what? He actually gave it to me. Lucky for me, my new boss also gave me a mentor who cleared the path for me and acted as a conduit to my very busy boss. Most people in similar situations are left to fend for themselves.
It doesn't have to be this way. Here's how to ensure your new managers get the support they need from day one. If you can, provide first-time managers with a coach who can help them avoid many of the landmines that take out many new managers. If individual coaching isn't in your budget, then do what some of my clients do. Hire a coach to facilitate a group coaching program for your first-time managers. Some of you are currently working on developing your own leadership programs, while others don't have the bandwidth to offer new manager training as often as your company might need.
This is where an outside resource can be quite valuable. Ask a colleague for a referral to someone who can come in and deliver new manager training for your organization. Or, contact your industry association to see what courses they may be offering to members. This is often a cost-effective way to provide basic skills training to those in need. And who knows? Their program many be so awesome that you won't need to develop your own. I've found that new managers often learn best through on-the-job training.
That's why a lot of my clients pair first-time managers with a more experienced buddy who can provide support as they gain their footing. Those of us who have been in the management trenches for a while know how easy it is to forget what life was like when you're a newbie. I suggest reminding those experienced leaders who are supervising first-time managers that they'll need to make sure they are accessible, as many may be used to working with experienced managers who need less direction.
Suggest experienced leaders conduct weekly check-ins and advise them to provide newly-mentored managers with as much exposure to high-level activities, as this will accelerate their first-time manager's growth. Be willing to send first-time managers to conferences. I do a fair amount of keynoting and have noticed a significant increase in the number of new leader tracks being offered at industry conferences. An alternative to conferences would be permitting first-time managers to attend local industry meetings, where they'll have an opportunity to hear different perspectives from the event speaker as well as their peers.
They may even meet someone at the event who is willing to mentor them. The best thing you can do for first-time managers is to prepare them for the fact that there are going to be ups and downs along the way. If there weren't, then everyone would want to be a manager and there wouldn't be anyone left to manage.
- What makes a manager effective?
- What managers seek from their employers
- Coaching versus mentoring
- Determining whether to use internal or external resources
- Helping managers take control of their learning
- Creating a management training strategy
- Measuring the effectiveness of your program
- Avoiding common management development mistakes