Give First-Time Managers a Leg Up

Tips to encourage new managers to adopt a growth mindset and ask questions when they need help.

6/24/2019 10:00 AM

NewsCollector Magazine
Give First-Time Managers a Leg Up

Providing opportunities for growth within your organization means identifying or creating appropriate support systems. There are several ways to determine what brand-new supervisors or managers might need to be successful in their new role, Ronna Denny, senior vice president of legal for CollectionCenter Inc., reports in her Creative Solutions column for Collector magazine.

In an optimal situation, you would have been able to provide first-time managers with training leading up to their new position. Your company should be continually developing a training track to leadership. The purpose of this training track is to allow employees who have an interest in leadership to take a few of the available classes and identify themselves as having leadership aspirations, Denny reports.

During this process, employees also receive a glimpse of what supervision really is and can decide if supervision or management is truly something they wish to pursue.

Once employees are in a supervisory role, their training track expands to include mandatory education with the intent to answer many of the questions employees new to the role may have.

One of the most important questions to answer early on is how to transition from a peer to a supervisor. This transition is often more difficult than new managers expect as the move to a supervisory role requires them to draw a very clear line between personal and professional relationships with coworkers. Make sure to assist your new managers in setting clear boundaries and dealing with feelings that arise as they transition from “a friend” to “being friendly.”

It’s also important to explain to new managers how their communication styles might have to change.

Though communication at any level of your organization is important, you should teach your new managers that appropriate communication is critical to their success in their new role. For example, they may be asked to support a decision they didn’t vote for or don’t agree with. In that instance, none of their employees should know their feelings.

Their employees should see only support and encouragement. Encourage your new supervisors to consider their influence and use it for good.

New managers often enter their role believing they have power over their employees. As most of you know, the power lies with their employees. Assist your new supervisor in that realization. Moving from peer to supervisor, your new managers will most likely know what’s unpopular within their team. Encourage them to empower their team by asking them to come up with and champion solutions. Managers should also be encouraged to join their employees in the trenches from time to time in order to remain connected to their team’s current processes.

Your new manager is inevitably going to make mistakes. Here’s some advice you can pass on to them:

  • Watch for body language cues, as they often tell a different story than the words someone is speaking.
  • Don’t “fake it until you make it.” Ask questions! Make mistakes! This is how people learn.
  • Micromanaging is rarely a good thing. Assign the task and then monitor progress.
  • Adopt a global view. Good managers consider how their decisions will affect the departments and processes around it.

With all the skills your new manager needs to learn, one of the most important is understanding that there is a difference between treating people equally and treating people the same. If your new managers can understand what matters to each of their employees, they will be successful in their new role.

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