3 Important Ways to Help Your First-Time Managers Succeed (Your Success Depends on it)

If you’ve been managing for a while, do you remember the feeling of your first day “in charge” of a team?

What do you remember from that first year as a new manager?

Most people have scars or at least cringe-worthy stories of the early days in their leadership career.

It’s a tough transition.

According to research by CEB, 60% of new managers fail within the first 2 years.

So, if you’re a manager charged with developing new managers, you’ve got a unique set of responsibilities and challenges in front of you.

Here are 3 ways to help you and your managers succeed during those early days.

1. The ‘Sink or Swim’ Approach Will Backfire Quickly

Tossing your new manager in and assuming she’ll figure it out is never acceptable, but listen to enough experienced managers describe their humble beginnings, and you quickly recognize how popular this approach has been over time.

In many instances, overloaded managers make heat-of-the-moment promotions and select high-performers in the hopes that they’ll quickly take some pressure off the daily demands. The promoting manager might have good intentions, but the true cost of the lack in training will show sooner or later.

Regardless of your circumstances, it’s important to recognize that your reputation and success are linked to your ability to develop the talent your organization needs to succeed in the future. Accept that the fate of the first-time managers on your team reflects directly on you.

2. Help First-Time Managers Build a Solid Foundation:

Old habits are hard to break and it’s in those early years when new leadership habits are being formed. Invest in your new managers to help them build a solid and strong foundation that serves them throughout their leadership career. Just to name a few, here are some topics which I address with new managers that I coach:

  • What’s their role as a leader
  • How to give and take critical feedback
  • How to hold effective 1-on-1 meetings
  • How to engage and motivate team members
  • What to do if a team member isn’t meeting the expectations
  • How to communicate with his or her manager (yes, that’s you)

Your job as the promoting manager is to have the conversations, to coach and to offer feedback based on your observations, and then provide the needed support to help the manager build a solid foundation.

If you don’t feel you’re able to provide enough support during this transition period, hire a coach. It’s worth the investment to secure your and your manager’s success.

3. Help Your New Manager Understand You and Your Goals

One of the most valuable and often overlooked opportunity is to ensure your first-time manager understands your vision, goals and accountabilities and how her job and team contribute to accomplishing those goals.

Remember, this new manager is both a reflection on you and an extension of you. Ensuring that she understands the bigger vision, and the goals and metrics driving you helps her provide context for her work and the work of her team.

Additionally, your willingness to share your goals, accountabilities, and performance metrics model a great behavior that your manager should pay forward.

In Conclusion

There are few activities in your leadership career that offer the high return-on-time-invested (ROTI) than actively engaging and supporting your newly promoted first-time managers.

Great managers on your team have a multiplier effect on your success and reputation.

To learn more about how I can support you and your new managers, send me an email at contact (at) ramonashaw.com.

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