Congrats! You're a New Manager. (Now What?)

Linda Dulye's picture

For newly minted managers, the excitement of a long-awaited promotion can wear off quickly if they aren't given the basic management skills needed to succeed in the role.

For years organizations have elevated high-performing individual contributors into management positions without so much as one-day leadership boot camp. We ran across this articleWhich Way and even though it's a few years old, the message still applies:

Much of that training goes to help managers comply with workplace rules on issues like sexual harassment, or to teach them financial basics such as budgeting. That leaves little time for training on "soft skills," such as coaching, leading, disciplining, giving feedback and resolving conflicts. As a result, human-resource consultants say, new managers struggle to strike the right tone with former peers, with some trying too hard to stay one of the gang and others asserting their authority too harshly. New managers are also notoriously inconsistent, confusing staffers with intermittent or conflicting feedback.

The piece also outlines common mistakes by freshman managers:

  • Wanting to stay pals with former peers and not establishing credibility as a boss
  • Asserting new authority too harshly and coming down too hard on former peers
  • Not giving a problem employee honest feedback because you don't like conflict -- then surprising him during a performance review
  • Wanting to keep doing the work themselves rather than developing employees' skills
  • Assuming employees know exactly what's expected of them without the benefit of specific direction

In today's do-more-with less environment we're likely to see more untested managers rising to the ranks of manager. Who knows, you might the person triggering the promotion.

Whomever is making the call must recognize that without the right amount of support sometimes getting promoted isn't all it's cracked up to be.


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