Supporting First-Time Managers To Succeed
Often, based on their strong performance, individual contributors are promoted and appointed as first-time managers, sometimes called first-level managers. When the appointee fails to adjust to management responsibilities; both the individual and the organization incur human and financial costs.
Such costs for the organization may include above-the-line costs (recruitment, selection, and assessment costs) and below-the-line costs (low morale of the now leaderless team, opportunity costs during the vacancy, and the time taken for the replacement to settle in).
Most first-time managers do not realize how distinctly, management differs from individual work. Hampered by misconceptions, they often stumble in making successful transitions and potentially, jeopardize their careers.
“Given the difficulty of this leadership transition, it is surprising how little attention organizations have paid to the challenges that first-time managers face”.
These challenges are exacerbated by the impact of the COVID pandemic where employees work from home remotely or a hybrid of remote and office-based work, thus requiring the additional skills of managing remote teams.
In most organizations, first-level managers have the majority of people in the organization reporting to them. Despite the importance of their role; first-level managers are the least trained and least invested in, but are the connection between top-level strategy and execution on the frontline.
How can companies support the development of first-time managers?
Be honest about the challenges and provide support.
One way to support them is to help them anticipate the challenges and to understand the learning curve required. Help them shift away from the mindset that success is ‘all about me to the new reality that success is about working with and through others. Give them regular feedback on how they are doing.
Tailor development to specific needs.
An impactful way to support them is to customize development, tailored to the individual’s needs. Customization takes into account the variety of strengths and areas for development that individual first-time managers may have. Individual coaching is highly effective in assisting first-time managers to make successful transitions.
Create learning networks
Here first-time managers would be able to share stories of success or failure; talk about what they have learned and be a support system for one another. Learning networks also provide the opportunity for senior managers to mentor the learning networks
First-time managers are your largest population of leaders. They lead a majority of people in your organization. They are at the first stage of developing a leadership pipeline. Supporting their development and helping them to succeed would lead to their higher job satisfaction and increased commitment to the organization. In addition, their success adds to the bench strength of potential leaders within the organization.
Should you wish to explore how Change Partners can assist in increasing your organization’s leadership bench strength; contact SUNDRA NAIDOO at Change Partners Coaching: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Amy Sue Jen: ‘How New Managers Can Send the Right Leadership Signals”
- Linda A Hill: ‘Becoming the Boss”
- Centre for Creative Leadership: ‘How to Set your First-time Managers Up for Success
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