By: Courtney Beam
Planning for Success: Three Things You Should Know Now to Prepare Your New Managers in 2021
Great leaders aren’t born, they’re trained. This may sound cliché, but it’s true! Research tells us that 60% of new managers fail in the first two years because they are not given the skills to be successful. We also know that the number one reason people stay in a job (or leave) is because of their manager. To be blunt, bad managers cause turnover and ultimately cost your organization money! Knowing this, is it worth it to invest in their development? Yes!
New managers are not always reequipped with essential leadership skills like communication, providing coaching and direction, motivating, managing performance, or delivering feedback. The truth is, what once made them a successful individual contributor will not always translate to success as a manager. And, if they were struggling before, throw in a remote workforce and the various challenges brought on by the pandemic. So, what should leaders to do support their new managers, especially during this time? They need your support, time, investment, coaching, and space to learn a completely new skill set.
- Shifting into Management: It feels basic, but we know this is where a lot of organizations miss the mark. New managers are likely to manage their former peers and this can be challenging for most. They tend to either be overly hard on their team to quickly establish dominance or they have the opposite problem and avoid, struggling to meet challenges head-on. Coach your new managers to identify the core values that they want to hold as a leader and alternatively which values they will intentionally let go of. The goal is to establish their leadership philosophy, discover their core values, and determine what kind of a leader they want to be.
- Sharpening Communication Skills: Encourage new managers to think critically about how they should communicate and what modes of communication to use, especially when they are managing former peers. If they are managing a remote team, it’s important they make a more concerted effort to create sustained relationships. Encourage them to learn more about their direct reports; what motivates them, how do they best communicate, or how do they prefer feedback and praise? This also requires thoughtful (and planned) communication because when everyone is remote, there is no water cooler talk. What once was an easy opportunity to offer guidance or gratitude passing by in the hall now requires a scheduled meeting. It’s also likely they’ll need to communicate a company message of change at some point, especially given how much change organizations are facing due to the pandemic. By putting in the hard work now, they will be more likely to confidently deliver difficult messages and support their team through a change.
- Managing Performance of Others: We know there is a lot that goes into managing performance including planning, goal setting, delegating, tracking performance, and delivering feedback. The biggest key to managing performance is starting with clear and actionable goals that are easy to measure and coach. We prefer using SMART Goals to ensure goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Guide your new managers to understand the benefits of using this method of goal setting. It helps them focus their team’s efforts so they’re only spending time on essential tasks, and serves as a tool for connecting the dots between what their team is working on and the greater organizational strategy. It also provides new managers with criteria to coach their direct reports towards their goals and makes delivering feedback easier because it’s easier to determine whether their team members are on track or off track when goals are clear and measurable.
Bottom line, your front-line managers are primarily responsible for managing the majority of your workforce, and we know it’s the primary reason people stay – so invest in them!
If your organization needs help in equipping new managers with these fundamental skills to help them shift into a leader, we would love to help you. We couldn’t be more passionate about supporting new managers in developing the skills to become successful leaders – contact us here to talk more!