New managers rely on company culture, “tribal rules” for everyone to follow, to navigate their paths. A viable culture requires an informed body of team members, much like a democracy requires an educated and talented population.
New managers need training to learn about the fabric of the company society they are entering. Once they are trained, under your guidance, new managers will learn how to contribute in their new role and achieve milestones along their career paths.
Culture is imparted in several ways: formal orientation, training, observable behavior, reward systems, reputation and the unspoken rules learned while in the organization. The culture is a composite of leadership attitudes and behaviors (spoken and unspoken); compliance rules and regulations; organizational mission and values; and a strategic plan that covers vision, objectives and goals.
Part of your role as a training manager is to explain what the company stands for (other than a tagline); a context for rewards; the purpose of the mission statement (it attempts to define how the company treats customers and conducts); and policies relating to team members, customers and vendors.
One of the key challenges of training professionals is to teach new managers what they need to know to achieve their goals. It is essential to establish a base point from which to launch the training. Therefore, you must know who is listening and deliver information effectively.
A reliable approach to presenting information is to provide nuggets of information for each learning style (i.e., audio, tactile and visual). Also, learners will learn differently based on whether they are promoted from within or new hires from outside the organization. They each bring a context that the training manager must consider.
Consider how your instruction will influence people in the new manager’s sphere; you want your training to be memorable and significant so the new manager can successfully apply what he or she learns. You are contributing to the company legacy. How you present ideas will be mirrored by your learners, who will learn more from what you do than what you say and how you say it.
Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence,” says that people seek comfort and safety. Your behavior matters. Be self-reflective, and understand how you affect those around you at all times. Be kind and patient; use courtesy, not coarseness. Nudge participants, don’t push them toward achievement. These behaviors go far to build empathy and rapport.
How to Know Who Is on Your Team and in the Room
Use assessments. They provide objective insights for you and the participants to take from the training, reveal blindspots, and highlight admirable tendencies like altruism and tolerance. Stress Business Literacy™ and emotional intelligence as a baseline. Encourage external reading and personal research to boost industry knowledge and raise the new manager’s confidence.
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion” (Dale Carnegie).
Continue a formal training period after the initial hire. Provide a learning syllabus over the period of training time to set the intention of providing value rather than one-shot training. Adults learn best through repetition, especially if they are learning new behavior. Training can build value in relationships and encourage the participants to extend that connection to their team members.
Beware of a common pitfall: Don’t assume that new managers have the skills they need to be an effective manager, or they would not have risen to the position. In reality, people are often promoted without management training; they may have exceeded their individual performance metrics but never led a team. Start with the basics, and don’t assume anything.
Tips to Consider:
- Identify the skills the company holds in high regard. Survey the company before building your program, because it will build relevance into your plan. Be sure to highlight those skills in your training.
- Seek feedback on your training program outline from senior leaders to connect strategic planning targets with each department’s expectations. Relate these targets during the training.
- Be curious about what a new manager thinks about. Find out what is important to the person; it will provide valuable insight into how to engage and reward him or her.
- Set up a shadow time with the manager’s supervisor, and provide guidance. Ask what the supervisor regards as important. Then, create a specific training schedule in the first two weeks so the new manager can directly experience requirements and sustain continuity.
- Explore what further training the new manager would like pursue to build his or her skills based on interest.
- Include a realistic code of conduct that includes unspoken rules.
- Consider reviewing your existing materials to see where there may be room to include new ideas.