I recently conducted a webcast for people planning to seek their first management position in the near future. During the registration process, I asked participants the following questions:
- What concerns do you have about making the move to management?
- What barriers do you feel are preventing you from making the move to management?
- What questions would you like the presenter to address?
When I read through the over 200 responses, I found common themes among the concerns of those desiring to make the move into management. They asked questions such as:
- How do I delegate effectively?
- Will I be able to handle the extra responsibility?
- How do I coach my employees?
The reality is that we all have concerns when it comes to taking on a new position. Fortunately, a great training program can have considerable influence on the performance of a new hire, especially when it comes to new managers.
Are you planning to implement a new manager training program in the near future, or do you already have one but need to improve it? Here are three topics you will want to make sure you include, as they are among the top challenges new managers face:
Often, one of the biggest challenges that new managers face is the realization that their day will be filled with unexpected interruptions, meetings and other obligations that they did not have when they were an individual contributor. To be an effective manager, they must have excellent time management skills to be able to accomplish everything on their to-do list.
Training Tip: Have new managers practice filling out their calendar and allocating appropriate timeframes to complete certain tasks. Although the time estimates may not be accurate, this activity will get them in the right mindset of carefully planning their day. Give participants some effective planning strategies to put them on the right track.
When individual contributors move into management positions, they quickly realize that they cannot be involved in day-to-day tactical tasks and also focus on building and leading a team effectively. Delegation is a critical skill that leaders must emphasize to be successful. Being an effective delegator involves trusting employees, communicating effectively and occasionally being a good teacher.
Training Tip: In many cases, managers will need to pass their knowledge on to employees and will need to do it in a way that is clear and concise. In a new manager training class, have participants practice teaching each other a skill at which they are proficient. Share some basic principles on learning transfer and the fundamentals of being a good teacher.
Everyone makes mistakes, but it isn’t the manager’s job to make the employee feel even worse than they already do about missing the mark. Rather, it is their responsibility to provide constructive feedback so that the employee can learn from their mistakes. Most importantly, it is the manager’s responsibility to ask the question, “What can I do to make you more successful?” New managers must become experts at giving feedback in a way that builds the employee up rather than bringing them down.
Training Tip: Have employees in a new manager training class role-play giving feedback to one another. One easy activity is to have employees partner and critique each other’s outfits. They will have an opportunity to have fun while practicing constructive criticism. Equip them with some communication strategies and tips on giving feedback.
New managers will learn 80 percent of what they need to know while they are on the job. However, training classes are a great opportunity to empower them with the necessary tools to tackle the most difficult situations. Be sure to include these topics in your next manager training class so that your newest leaders can feel ready to succeed in their new and exciting role.