Management Practices Matter
According to a recent Harvard Business Review Study, the most enduringly successful companies, those delivering a 10-fold return to investors over a ten-year period, excel at ten specific management practices: strategy, execution, culture, structure, talent, innovation, leadership, mergers and partnerships, problem anticipation and performance coaching. There are several effective options to develop new managers.
But, Manager Performance is Not Meeting Expectations
According to McKinsey and the Corporate Executive Board, executives are not happy with the performance of their frontline managers and new managers are not being set up to succeed.
- Nearly 70% of senior executives are only “somewhat” or “not at all satisfied” with the performance of their companies’ frontline managers.
- A stunning 81% of frontline managers are not satisfied with their own performance.
- A whopping 60% of new managers underperform during their first two years.
- 85% of new people supervisors receive no training prior to switching into the role of manager.
Are You Willing to Let Your Newly Promoted Managers Fail?
New managers are not prepared for the key challenges they face when being held responsible for managing people and the team’s results rather than their own individual contribution. With no new manager training in what it means to manage a team, new people supervisors often flounder, and the team lacks the effective leader they need to deliver on team goals.
Three Options to Develop New Managers
Learning how to become an effective first-time people manager can come in a variety of forms and formats. Here are three to consider.
- Traditional New Manager Development
This is an option of course, but with some caveats. Do not overwhelm your new managers with a barrage of information and generic managerial skills. When it comes to learning, less is more and relevance is paramount if you want to improve manager confidence and competence.
First, identify the critical three to five skills that matter most and will have the greatest impact within their specific role and your unique corporate culture. From our perspective, great new managers improve employee performance, engagement, and retention. So the first question for you to answer is what three to five skills will have the greatest impact on those areas in a way that aligns with your strategic priorities and talent management plans.
For example, one growing company identified 25 key managerial soft skills that HR wanted new managers to display. The list was as you would expect and included problem solving, decision making, running effective meetings, conflict management, communication, coaching, giving feedback, etc. But when we interviewed business line leaders and employees, they wanted new managers who could set team goals, assess and balance their team, be a player-coach, and collaborate in a heavily matrixed and fast-moving environment.
Pick what matters most to the new managers, their boss, and the company as whole and then invest the time and resources to fully train, coach, and reinforce. For any training to have a chance at changing on-the-job behavior and performance, participants must be able to practice, receive feedback, and continuously hone their new skills. New manager development should be treated as an ongoing change initiative, not a onetime training event.
- Manager Learning Support Groups
Another option is to help new managers grow into their new responsibilities by creating manager support groups as a safe place to turn for advice. It can be enormously beneficial for peers to learn, struggle, and succeed together. They can share tools for solving problems and tips on how to avoid problems in the first place.
Having access to perspectives outside of their team can make a world of difference and helps to create some additional accountability and exposure. Done right, manager learning support groups provide a safe place for new managers to explore difficult situations, share best practices, and celebrate successes.
- New Manager Microlearning, Handbooks, and Toolkits
Does your organization provide easy to access to management content, handbooks, or toolkits for new managers? If not, you might want to create them. A new manager handbook, often supported by research-backed microlearning, should outline a manager’s general responsibilities, expectations, mistakes to avoid, and provide useful tips and tools on how to be successful in their new role – especially in the first 90-days.
Done right, the new manager handbook should serve as a trusted resource to answer common questions and navigate the most common challenges faced by a new manager at your company. It can also be a great guide for those considering being promoted to a management position for the first time.
The Bottom Line
When your new managers are well trained and prepared for leading others, everyone wins. Are your managers set up for success?
To learn more about options to develop new managers, download 6 Management Best Practices that Make the Difference Between Effective and Extraordinary