So, you’re a new training manager. Now what?
Chances are, before you were promoted into the position of training manager, you were a training specialist of some kind. You may have had a variety of different training responsibilities but were not responsible for managing the work of others. With your promotion, that’s changed.
Have no fear! The following five habits of great managers can help you make this transition. Even if you receive training in management as part of your promotion, these principles will serve you well.
1. Constantly Renew Your Focus and Revise Goals
All performance starts with clear goals and expectations. The best managers take time to regularly prioritize and reevaluate company and employee goals, ideally with the employees who are most responsible for attaining them. Be sure that those goals are laser-focused on providing value to customers (internal or external) and that they SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
2. Emphasize Information and Communication
People want to know what’s going on in their organizations, and it’s your job as a manager to tell them. Many managers naturally err on the side of not communicating, either because they want to look like they are in control of a situation or because they are afraid that bad news will upset employees.
The best managers, on the other hand, err on the side of communicating more, and when they communicate, they provide information that is both strategic (“Here are some of the products that our competitors have introduced over the past year, and here’s what we’re doing to make sure we can meet the challenge”) as well as tactical (“We need to ramp up our safety training by 25% over the next six months, and here’s exactly what I need you to do to help us achieve our goals”).
3. Provide Autonomy and Flexibility
Employees need to have a say in how they do their work to make it more meaningful, which helps them become more engaged and more effective. When you encourage your employees to make suggestions and take initiative, their engagement in their work will naturally increase. When you empower employees to run with their ideas and try them out, then employee engagement — and job satisfaction — will increase even further.
4. Engage in Action Learning and Application
Regardless of whether you were trained to be a manager, you should be sure to provide management training to promising leaders on your team. Whom have you trained to take your place or to become a manager elsewhere in the organization? The best managers identify the high-potential employees who work for them and provide them with the opportunities they need to learn and build their management skills. They do so by taking an action-oriented approach to helping employees develop the new skills and responsibilities they need to manage effectively.
5. Recognize and Praise
While companies may not have the budget for extensive celebrations and rewards, the good news is that some of the most effective forms of recognition cost little or no money. A simple verbal “Thank you!” or handwritten note of appreciation can be a powerful motivator for any employee, no matter where he or she may be in the organization.
Follow these five tips, whether you’re a new training manager or you’ve been in your position for some time. Not only will you be more effective, but you’ll also go a long way in helping to close the gap in managerial and supervisory skills that so many organizations experience. And that’s a win-win for everyone.