Many of the best and brightest emerging employees in organizations have the desire to advance and develop quickly. If the opportunity does not happen quickly, some will seek it elsewhere. It is crucial to challenge these employees to understand the role of a manager and realized that they must take on a new mindset. Too many become a manager too soon in their career and as we have all heard, she or he was “promoted beyond their capabilities”. When turnover in management happens as a result of rapid advancement without good preparation, the cycle continues with the next, not so fortunate emerging leader who does not understand the challenge of management done well.
Companies must recognize the emerging leaders and seek to help them become all they can possible be in the role of a manager to have long term success. Many may have been great individual contributor but when promoted to a manager, fall flat on their face.
The cost of a misfire is the loss of a good contributor, team impact, morale, turnover and lower quality throughout the division. If you are the person that promoted someone beyond their ability your credibility will be questioned.
Fortunately, for all of us, there’s a solution that’s within your control. It comes in the form of crucial interactions and conversations for the new manager’s success. These interactions strive to create context, build trust, promote coaching, stimulate experimentation, and drive continuous learning and improvement.
Let’s take a drive down the road to success for our new managers to help them have greater success.
Crucial Conversations to Support a new manager’s success with some simple steps and questions:
1. Why do they want to be the manager?
Before making the decision to promote someone into a manager’s role, ask some clarifying questions over a period of time. This does not necessarily need to be an immediate decision but a development process. Dialog on the role, explore their potential and contributions in their previous roles. It is costly to promote someone beyond their true desire and abilities.
Encourage employee to think through and share why they want to be the manager. This allows them to begin to process how management is different from what they have been doing.
What are the challenges they will face as a manager? A serious discussion on this question will open their eyes to not only the challenges but the opportunities they will be faced to address when managing others.
After addressing some questions around the why, set up the individual to interview at least three experienced managers about their journey into management. This knowledge will equip them from start up to present with seasoned managers. This context helps them tune-in to the challenges and opportunities they may encounter in the job.
Listen carefully to the heart of their desire. Taking notes is mandatory. Continue to further the discussion to generate rich material for future support to the new manager should they be selected.
Consider giving them a project to have the opportunity to manage as an experiment. Take time to observe and coach and in many cases lead to the decision to move forward or pull back. Interestingly some will self-select out of a promotion to management. Both win in that case.
2. Mission Critical understanding.
The mission of the organizations bigger picture must be clearly stated and understood with expectations unmistakably aligned in order to be completed. As the promoting manager you must be able to clearly outline the purpose, key objectives, and parameters for the new manager to enhance the success of this person
A primary challenge for the new manager is to fully grasp and account for what should be the goal of the terms of targets and results. The mission critical understanding ensures clarity between the promoting and newly promoted managers and offer opportunities to discuss corporate strategy, the specific department’s role in supporting strategy, and critical goals, objectives, and target metrics. The goal is to ensure the new manager connects corporate strategy with the work to be done and how their team will be measured for success.
3. What does the team need to be successful?
Team members and the manager need to establish expectations for manager support and involvement and build toward a mutual commitment to work as a true cohesive workforce.
The single most noteworthy risk for new managers is misfiring with their teams. Unfortunately, it’s easy to do when you’ve never managed others before. It’s time for discussions that help the new manager tune-in to their role and specifically, to their team’s needs for support.
A meaningful discussion around the question, “At the end of our time together, when we’re successful and completed our work, what will you say would be important for us to have accomplished as a team?”
This question to the team catalyzes trust-building. Every successful manager starts with and builds on a foundation of trust.
As the team leader, realize that a co-active approach to examine what is working, what is not and what should we be doing differently will give new insights to ways to support one another. Do theses sessions one on one to find out what each is experiencing and makes the success efforts two-way vs one-way discussions.
Long term benefits of investing your time in these conversations;
Take some time together with them to outline each of the member’s responsibilities to the team. To strengthen the trust-building of a team, ask the team members to hold each other accountable for the support the team needs to be successful.
Improved new manager identification
Context for the realities of the job
Evidence-based ideas to strengthen performance
Reduce the risk of failure in your management team.
Developing new managers is hard work. The cost of failure is prohibitive, yet the price of success is relatively low if you deliberately focus on the right issues with your new managers.
Career Development Partners is a resource for our clients in selection, onboarding, coaching and training, outplacement and pre-retirement planning for exiting employees.