Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Christine Macdonald – Director of The Hub Events. Her opinions are her own.
A rigorous and efficient recruitment process means you can rest assured that you’ve hired the best candidate for a managerial or leadership position. However, after the new manager has been inducted into the company, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure they feel supported and empowered in their new position.
Whether you hire externally or internally, managers need effective training, regular communication and the ability to take control. New managers promoted from within the company often face the biggest struggles, as they adjust from being a team player to being a leader. They now have to manage friends and colleagues — and finding the balance between friend and manager can be a tough challenge. A new manager hired externally may have all the skills required for the role, but managing a new group of people in a new organisation can be challenging.
Those hired into middle manager positions are taking on one of the most difficult jobs in the workplace.
If you have a new middle manager, it’s important to recognise the issues and problems they encounter which other managerial positions may not.
No matter who your new manager is, being positive and motivating them will be a key part of their success. New managers will often be eager to thrive at work, but encouragement from senior management and the company will help immensely.
In order for your new manager to achieve great things, follow these five simple steps. If you do these, your new manager will have every chance to flourish in the workplace.
1. Regular communication is key
Good communication is vital for your new manager. In an age where more teams are working remotely, quality communication is more important than ever to ensure the success of managers, teams and the company as a whole. In a traditional office, where everyone is working together during the same hours, you’re able to observe the new manager, have quick and casual chats and offer support and encouragement easily. This won’t be the case if you’re working remotely some or most of the time.
People are busy, but, building a regular, short, phone or face to face meeting with your new manager, at least weekly, will have three really powerful results.
Firstly, it will give you a regular time to check in, build a relationship and rapport, set goals and expectations, and find out about any challenging situations before they become problems.
Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to give feedback on your manager’s performance more or less in real time. This form of continuous performance management is becoming increasingly popular. It’s an effective way to open up an honest dialogue with managers and find the root cause of issues as soon as possible, rather than bottling anything up until an annual performance review. Over 60% of managers and office workers feel annual performance reviews are outdated. Bringing performance management into your day to day management tasks with frequent feedback is more productive and can lead to happier employees.
Finally, you’ll be modelling the kind of management conversations you’d like your new manager to be having with his or her own team. New managers will learn from your example and do the same with their own team members.
2. Educate managers and develop their skills
New managers need effective training in order to succeed and do the best job possible. 98% of managers feel they need more training in areas such as professional development, conflict resolution and time management.
Any training you do provide should be relevant and practical. Every manager needs certain fundamental skills, such as delegating, giving feedback, and motivating others. As sectors and industries work differently, look at the management training which will be suited to your manager. They may find that the methods they relied on in their previous roles don’t work as well with their new team, so explore ways for them to extend their range of practical management techniques.
Which skills do they need to develop in order to succeed? You really can’t make it as a manager without a few fundamental skills. Encourage your manager to think about what he or she would like to work on and look for a training company which can provide the essential skills and knowledge they will need to do their job effectively.
3. Assign a mentor to the manager
A mentor is an ideal way for a new leader to feel supported in their role. Mentoring is a technique many businesses have used for years — and with good reason. Richard Branson classes a mentor as an “invaluable asset in business.”
For the new manager, it establishes a relationship with somebody who has been at the company for a longer amount of time and will know the ins and outs. It can be a great feeling to know that there is somebody they can go to for guidance. Often, the mentor is somebody who has more experience been in their position before, putting them in the position to offer first-hand advice. A mentor plays a key role in developing a manager and can help lead to their success within the company.
Finding a mentor who is enthusiastic to teach is important. Many mentors feel complimented and rewarded by being asked to be a mentor for a new manager. The Journal of Vocational Behaviour discovered that those who are asked to be a mentor felt more committed to the company and felt higher job satisfaction. Being offered a mentoring position allows an employee to share their knowledge and wisdom, alongside feeling respected by the company.
4. Allow a new manager to take control
It can be nerve-wracking watching a new manager take control. If you are the person that hired them, you want them to succeed and show they were the right candidate for the position. Offering help and making them feel supported is important. However, you also want to ensure they can work independently and take the initiative. It can be difficult, but finding the balance between supporting and being overprotective is something you should constantly monitor.
Being a manager means they will be faced with different challenges. Allowing the manager to take control demonstrates to their team that they are competent and have the full trust of the company to do the job. Having this level of accountability can instil confidence in the new manager, but it’s fundamental to communicate exactly what they are accountable for and what their role entails.
5. Provide resources and HR knowledge
In a recent survey, 25% of managers said one of their biggest concerns was dealing with issues between co-workers. A matter such as this can be tricky, but it needs to be resolved. Arranging a meeting for HR and a new manager is crucial.
HR is an excellent resource of information and will have established policies for dealing with issues such as poor performance and conflicts between employees. Make sure your new manager has access to this information and clear expectations about what to handle on his/her own, and when to refer an issue to HR.
There are a variety of practical and insightful books for new managers and leaders. You might consider providing your own library of recommended reading for managers so they’ve got easy access to fresh ideas that will help them succeed.
Remember how you felt when becoming a manager for the first time, or taking on a managerial position within a new company. It can feel overwhelming. A combination of encouragement, support and quality training means that your new recruit will be given every opportunity to become an outstanding manager.