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6 Tips for Promoting a First-Time Manager

6 Tips for Promoting a First-Time Manager

You think you’ve identified the perfect employee to fill a management role at your business. What’s next? 

Unfortunately for many first-time managers, the next step is figuring out how to lead or manage people without having formal leadership training. In other words, they’re going to wing it.

According to the Ken Blanchard Companies’ First-Time Manager Survey, 85% of managers receive no training prior to switching to said role.

Neglecting to onboard new leaders can:

  • Set up your rookie manager for failure 
  • Cause them to develop poor managerial skills that they’ll carry throughout their career
  • Affect your productivity and profit 
  • Lower employee engagement and retention

A Gallup study of more than 7,000 U.S. adults revealed that 50% had left their job to get away from their manager in order to improve their well-being at some point in their career.

At Whirks, we’ve experienced the growing pains of being a small business. Attracting, hiring, and retaining employees isn’t easy, but having good leaders in place builds a strong foundation for you and your team.

In this article, we’re going to help you spot a potential manager and give you six tips for promoting them, so you and your team can get one step better every day.

To lead, or not to lead?

Someone can be a top performer at your company, but it doesn’t mean they have the skill set required to make them a successful manager.

Management and coaching have a lot in common. A great manager motivates, equips, and inspires their staff to improve performance and morale. Just like a great sports coach uses their knowledge to elevate a team’s game.

Ask yourself what encouraged you to promote this member of your team to a leadership role. Are they hungry to learn? Good at communicating? Motivated for the right reasons? 

As J. Buchan wrote, “The role of a great leader is not to give greatness, but to help them extract the greatness they already have inside of them.”

Strong leaders are empathetic and share the credit. They don’t engage in office gossip, instead, they cultivate healthy relationships among their team. Experience isn’t needed for a leadership role, but these qualities are necessary to ensure the wellbeing of your business. 

If you invest in your new managers and give them the right tools and training to do the job, they can positively impact employee engagement, retention, productivity, and company profit.

However, they can’t be expected to possess every leadership skill right off the bat. To ensure their success and help them become the best manager possible, we’ve crafted these six tips to help you transition them to their new position. 

1. Have a transition period.

Ideally, if you have a great manager leaving your organization on amicable terms, your new manager could shadow him for a period of time before taking over the reins. 

This isn’t always possible, however. Allow your new manager to attend leadership meetings or shadow exemplary managers from other departments. There is no substitute for hands-on learning.

2. Onboard them.

All employees should be onboarded when they start with your company. If someone is transitioning to management, they will need to go through management-specific onboarding training, such as:

  • Hiring
  • Employee scheduling
  • Performance reviews
  • Approving time cards
  • Disciplinary action

If it’s been several years since your new manager was hired, it’s helpful for them to attend a new hire orientation as a manager to know what is expected of new employees.

3. Provide a mentor.

While onboarding will help train your new manager, mentoring is a long-term investment in their success

Identify a well-respected leader within your organization to meet with your new manager regularly and share real-world experiences. Topics such as motivating a team, having tough conversations, and managing time are critical to discuss in a mentoring relationship. 

It’s essential that mentors are available to answer questions and coach their mentees. Schedule a lunch or fun dinner with your less-experienced leaders, so that they can glean wisdom and get to know who’s coaching them. 

4. Ensure they are culturally aligned.

Managers are the cultural ambassadors of your business. Clarify and review your company values so that your new leader is communicating them by word and deed to their team. 

5. Employ outside help.

There are a wealth of resources outside of your office to help develop new talent and leadership. At Whirks, we love The First-Time Manager and The New One Minute Manager for promoting a new leader within our company. 

Online management courses through organizations like the Ken Blanchard Company may jumpstart your new manager’s success, but remember that only you can train them on your company values and culture. 

6. Integrate time-saving tools.

Managers get overwhelmed with paperwork and time-consuming tasks, like scheduling employees, processing PTO requests, and sometimes processing payroll.

Having an outsourced payroll and HCM partner can help everyone get their time back. If you already are using payroll and HCM software, set time aside to give your new manager the appropriate access and training that they need. 

Develop your potential leaders now

Whether they’ve been at your company for years, or it’s their first week on the job, it’s never too early to start identifying and developing possible leaders. 

Once you recognize their potential, you can map out a transition period to train them and set them up with a mentor. Equipping your new manager with one-on-one meetings and additional resources will help build confidence in their new role.

Additionally, integrating an HCM system may give you time back in your day and peace of mind, so you can focus on spending quality time with your new managers. 

Watch our HR guru, Greg Henderson, discuss leadership in his series, Boots to Loafers

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Gia Rolen

I'm passionate about helping small businesses understand how awesome outsourcing your payroll and HCM systems can be.