Whilst there are many things which can influence the success of your team, a great manager is a key factor when it comes to keeping people motivated and on the road to success. An effective manager can make all the difference between a successful team and one that falls short: management accounts for 70% of the variance in employee engagement, which hugely impacts all aspects of workplace performance.
As such an important influence, it’s key that managers, especially those in their first management role, feel they have all the resources and knowledge available to them to help drive their team to success. New, first-time managers need to go into their role feeling able and equipped to undertake all their duties.
Here are three tips for developing first time managers and making sure the transition from team member to team leader is a smooth one.
Too often, new managers are just thrown into the deep end and made to go from their previous role to their new one with no transition period. That’s a mistake; the process should be as smooth and practical as possible and one way to do that is to provide a new manager-to-be with a mentor.
Allowing your first-time managers to spend a few days shadowing the person currently in their future role, or in a similar one, and giving them the opportunity to openly share concerns, gaps in their knowledge, or issues they’re having is a great way to ease people in and give them the support they need in the form of a mentor. Having a more experienced manager to guide people through their new role can make the difference between a new manager who struggles to transition and one who comes into the team confident and ready to take the reigns.
Collaboration is key
Whilst having those with more experience provide support, advice or help building skills can be great, it can also be incredibly useful for new managers to speak with those on the same level. Providing open management sessions on a regular basis can be a hugely helpful way for both first-time and more experienced managers to share knowledge, addressing specific issues the new managers may face.
In larger organizations it’s a great practice to group together newer or first-time managers from various departments for meetings with open discussion. They discover they share many of the same concerns and, in this setting, can get support from the group and measure their own development.
This is also a good way to monitor individual development, making it possible to provide additional help and counsel as necessary. It’s also an excellent way for HR to become aware of the issues that frequently arise with first-time leaders, which, in turn, can become specific topics for training and development.
Focus on building the right skills
It’s one thing ensuring first-time managers feel personally ready to take on their role, but it’s also important they have the necessary skills to do the job. Setting goals that involve developing specific skills gives people something concrete to aim towards while ensuring the right things are focused on.
Managing people requires new skills, and being aware of exactly how to develop those skills is key not only for first-time managers who have recently started their role, but also for those with leadership potential. Don’t just have these processes be short-lived though. Really developing skills takes time, and will be most effective if the process begins before the new manager assumes the role, and continues throughout the manager’s career.