By Wayne Smith, Trüpp.
Every company has that one employee that just gets things done. They consistently perform at the top of their team, require little oversight, and seem to have an innate ability to navigate their priorities with skill and ease. These are typically the employees that we groom for management positions, assuming they’ll be able to transfer these skills and abilities to the employees they supervise. But all too often, after the promotion, we find that problems emerge.
The new supervisor has difficulty motivating performance, production levels decrease, and tensions may even emerge among team members. While it’s easy to blame the new supervisor, the reality is, we may have set them up for failure by moving them into a leadership position without adequately preparing them to manage effectively.
Managers are made, not born
Just because an employee is good at their job does not mean they will instinctively excel as a manager. There are several skills and best practices that new managers must be exposed to in order to successfully navigate the transition from employee to supervisor. With these management skills and tools in their quiver, a new supervisor stands a much greater chance of motivating their team and inspiring excellence and productivity.
Making the transition
One of the earliest challenges a newly promoted supervisor faces is striking a balance with their team—being both approachable and friendly, yet maintaining an adequate level of authority. The relationship with coworkers has changed; they must now focus their lens on their entire team and how that team contributes to the success of the organization. Establishing new workplace ground rules that lay a foundation for treating all employees equally can ease the transition. New managers must learn to avoid playing favorites and resist the urge to overshare. While a new manager may be motivated to make improvements, being overly authoritative or making too many changes at the outset can be detrimental. Patience is a new manager’s greatest asset when making the transition to supervisor.
Successful managers exhibit high levels of emotional intelligence, keeping their feelings and judgment in check. They communicate effectively by practicing active listening. Instead of thinking about the point they want to make, they focus on what people are saying so they can provide solutions that take employee input into account. In order to get a good handle on time management, skillful managers delegate responsibilities that don’t require their direct attention—enabling them to focus on employee engagement and strategic activities.
An effective manager will take the time to understand the strengths of each employee they manage and to communicate expectations and priorities. It is helpful to establish a rhythm that includes frequently scheduled one-on-one meetings to discuss accomplishments, progress toward goals, and to provide course corrections as needed. Maintaining this feedback rhythm will increase employee engagement and reduce surprises during annual or semiannual reviews.
Train, train, train!
We’ve only scratched the surface here, but you can see there are many important skills that a newly promoted manager must gain to succeed in their new role. Providing them with the tools and training they need to manage effectively reduces the risk of tension and dips in productivity. Savvy business leaders ensure that all managers go through a training program that includes company policy and objectives, communication and performance management, team building and employee engagement, discipline and corrective action, and exposure to relevant employment laws. With these tools in their arsenal, a new manager is able to successfully make the transition to supervisor and provide immediate value to their employees and organization.