How successful are the leaders in your business? Reflect for a moment on your definition of success and the standard to which leaders responsible for getting you there are performing. Now reflect on the approach you take to selecting and developing the people you appoint to leadership roles. Do you assess potential and establish development plans to support their transition into their new role?
Investing in people early in their leadership careers is essential to their future success. Establishing core competencies such as planning, coaching and influencing is key. Equipped with skills and behaviours they need, new managers are likely to build a successful career over time. With success typically comes greater confidence and opportunities to expand their responsibilities. Set people up to succeed by guiding their early development and ensuring they have the skills they need at every step along the way.
Adding to the importance of development planning is the technical background many new leaders come from. It’s common for highly competent technical specialists to be promoted into leadership roles that demand skills they don’t yet have. In some cases the capabilities they need to develop sit outside of their comfort zone. Place equal priority on interpersonal engagement and leadership qualities in your hiring and training efforts.
6 things new managers always need
Provide clear insight to your organisation’s vision and strategic objectives. Ensure new managers are clear about the outcomes needed from their team for broader business success. Don’t assume knowledge; provide the depth of insight they need to understand priorities, policies and accountabilities. Clearly articulate what success looks like and how they will know when they have not only met but also exceeded your expectations.
Monitoring progress and proving feedback are essential to guiding the thinking and actions of the new managers. Like any other novice, constructive criticism, praise, guidance and encouragement are essential to enabling a new manager to grow into their role and ultimately succeed. Avoid the temptation to give all the answers, rather pose questions, make suggestions and encourage reflection to enable employees to learn to make good decisions for themselves.
Confidence is among the most important things a new manager needs to develop; in both themselves and the trust you have in them to do their job well. Provide the level of coaching needed to guide but ensure also that you allow them to make the decisions that belong to their role and learn from their experiences. Allow room for mistakes and encourage them to find their own ways of working.
Look for opportunities for managers to deal with scenarios and assume responsibilities they haven’t previously. Avoid the temptation to do the hard things for them. If your support before or through a difficult conversation is needed then be there to support them. Never, however, do their job for them. Allow new managers to participate in events and discussions that broaden their insights and deepen their understanding.
Shifting focus from their own talent and achievements to that of their team is among the most difficult transitions. Being held accountable for outcomes and engagement of their team can be confronting but is essential. These cultures are the ones in which people are most likely to thrive. Teach new managers to take ownership by holding them firmly accountable.
Encourage and support new managers to connect with experienced leaders from whom they can learn. Mentors can be within or outside of your organisation—what matters most is the trust and respect between the new manager and the person they choose as a mentor.