How Do You Help Yours Succeed?
Why do rising stars perform well in one role, only to fail in the next?
If you are in charge of overseeing talent in your area of responsibility, you probably already know this by experience. You promote a promising star, only to be disappointed by her inability to perform in the new role.
You’ve wasted valuable time and energy on this person’s potential. And the company has just lost money. In fact, you can count on losing about 6 to 9 months of that person’s salary. This means that for a new manager making $40,000 annually, the company has taken a $20,000 – 30,000 hit in recruiting and training expenses for the promotion (not to mention other costs to the entire team!).
Since high performance in one role is no guarantee of high performance in the next, do you just flip a coin? How do you save yourself headache, and get ahead?
Becoming a manager requires new skillsets. So if you are thinking of promoting an employee to manager status, here are just some of the shifts this person needs to make:
1. A new manager must learn to move from “doing” to supervising and guiding the team.
Remember that a new manager has been focused on managing their own tasks and responsibilities. Now, suddenly, they must focus on helping their team manage and complete their assignments.
2. A new manager can set a powerfully negative first impression.
Some new managers will sit back and observe, unwilling to make a decision or come across with an opinion. Others may come in “gang-busters” sharing about how they are going to change everything and make it better, now that they are on deck. It’s hard to choose between having a new manager with analysis-paralysis or one who operates as an obnoxious know-it-all. Neither is good.
3. A new manager must learn to grasp the larger picture.
Because they have been previously task-oriented to complete their own assignments, they must now develop their ability to become goal-focused, with a sense of the various pieces that make up the larger departmental picture.
4. A new manager must target early wins.
The problem with most new managers is that they don’t know how to look at the larger picture and reverse-engineer to identify early wins. Without accomplishing some early wins, the boss will wonder if the new manager knows what they are doing. In the absence of seeing forward motion in the right direction, doubts about a new manager’s ability may replace the initial confidence the boss had in their protégée.
5. A new manager needs to develop their authentic leadership style.
Many a new manager looks around to other managers to see how to lead – how to communicate, delegate, execute, and more. The problem is that copycats miss out on operating from their own top strengths…and they come across as insincere.
6. A new manager must learn how to be respected.
It can be awkward for a new manager when their employees have been their friends. How to shift from being buddies with the team to being well-liked and respected is challenging, but necessary. If not, holding people accountable and managing expectations will be poorly handled. Confronting those difficult situations will be painful and sometimes not addressed.
7. A new manager must be careful not to over-promise.
Many new managers have thought they could. They promised to deliver, but failed because they did not know the work involved in delivering those results. By the same token, to be non-committal is to create doubts about ability. A new manager should not be embarrassed to say, “Let me investigate what that would take and get back to you.”
Learning to make these shifts will be helpful if you discuss with your new manager the departmental goals, the roles of the team members, and your expectations. Offer to help put together a 90-day plan that will support the larger picture and identify early wins. Talk about the network your new manager will need to develop to get buy-in from the enterprise. And keep your door open for questions. You’ll help your manager to hit the ground running much more successfully.
What difficulties have you encountered with new managers?
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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.