Mentoring Others to Take Charge
Your new manager is a talented individual. If they were not, you would not have hired them. Even though a new manager has excelled in their previous position, they may not yet have acquired the skills of managing people to meet success in the new role.
If you don’t jump in to provide mentoring and guidance, you’ll be losing much more than face. Around 60% of new managers fail. And you’ll recall that when a new manager does not work out, you will lose an average of 6-9 months of their salary in replacing them (recruitment, training, team productivity, and more), as well as a lot of time and energy. This means that if your person is making $40,000 per year, you will lose between $20,000-$30,000 in the process.
This is a much bigger ticket than investing in some sound managerial training for new managers, which usually costs around $2,000.00.
I have heard from many who tell me of their bad experiences with supervising new promotions. One of the top concerns you’ve expressed is how to help new managers adjust to managing people by displaying authority in an effective way.
How do you help your new manager learn to show how to lead – the right way?
Leaders have reported seeing some pretty sad and frustrating behaviors as the new manager attempts to assert their role – all the way from apologetic language and cloudy directives to arrogance and micro-managerial tones and approaches. Many new promotions want to assure their team members that they are still friends. Others feel they need to divorce themselves from the pack to lead. Neither is right. And the fallout from either approach is severe.
Learning to manage people takes time and experience.
Here is a 5-step checklist you can use to help your new manager to begin, and to reflect a healthier way of showing authority:
1. Teach them to set clear expectations.
As the leader, you have no doubt drawn up an action plan for the department with goals, measurables, and key milestones. Ask your new manager to review this, and to define expectations for their reports. Have them work with you to do this a few times so that they receive the benefit of your coaching. Helping a new manager go through this exercise will flex their ability to see the large picture and the moving pieces that help to compose it. It will also give you a sense of where they will need additional support as they gain greater understanding.
2. Teach them to be proactive.
Talk to them about setting up regular meetings with each of their reports to review expectations and to set up a system for each to report back to them on a regular basis. This one move will help to minimize the tendency for the new manager to micromanage since they will know when to expect the reports, and will also allow a private forum in which they can explore with team members what motivates each, how they can best lead, and to answer any concerns or questions.
3. Teach them to deal with conflict in a timely manner.
Conflict should not be allowed to take over, or it will decimate the department. It must be addressed in a timely manner, and your new manager needs to learn to handle it well by separating out emotions, stories, and issues. Further, what seems to be an issue may really be a symptom. For more on how to get to the real issue and help them develop their problem-solving skills, see the article “Taking Your Problem-Solving from Good to Great: The Missing Step.”
4. Teach them to be even-handed.
Help them to be fair in the way they deal with requests such as raises, bonuses, additional resources, and other perks. Show them how to evaluate requests by leaning on policy, procedure, and performance. This will help them to avoid team members who beg favoritism based on past relationships or future promises. It will also help them to support their decisions as they provide these opportunities to those who merit them.
5. Teach them to role model leadership.
They may not know it yet, but everyone is watching. Your new manager got the promotion, and others are curious to see whether they deserve it. They are wondering whether they can trust following them based on what they see in their decisions and actions. Is your new manager coming in late because they are now salaried and feel they have a license? When they have their lunch with the same team members on most days, does this send the wrong message to others? These are things we as leaders know will inhibit our ability to be trusted. A new manager should have that judgment, but some still need the guidance.
Think back to your earlier days when you were a new manager. What was the best advice you received that helped you establish success?
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Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive coaching, leadership development, succession planning, change, and conflict management. She is also a Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.