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Leadership Development

Equip New Managers For 5 Common Challenges

Equip New Managers for 5 Common Challenges

Provide Support for New Managers and First-Time Team Leads

What do managers need to be successful? It can often feel like there’s an overwhelming list of skills and responsibilities required of a new manager. Whether they are overseeing employees, spearheading team decisions, or ensuring communications are effective, the position isn’t always easy. 

Organizations are likely hiring outside managers or promoting managers from within. With their new responsibilities and roles, newly appointed managers or team leaders need support to reach their full potential. Here are a few of the most common challenges we've seen and suggestions for how HR and L&D pros can equip new managers to overcome them.

Leading people that were once peers

Communicate early and often about the change in rolewhat the new responsibilities are, the chain of command, and when the change is taking place. Be transparent and don't leave team members in the dark about important information such as when the new manager begins their responsibilities or what the change means to each member of the team. This is especially important in the current climate as many new managers will likely be leading remote or hybrid teams.

Make sure the teams are bringing their questions or concerns best addressed by the manager, to the new manager. Build up the new manager to the team and encourage them to keep moving forward.

Delivering constructive feedback

Provide guidelines or a framework for delivering feedback. Act as a sounding board for the new manager to practice delivering feedback and provide suggestions on how it could be made more clear or helpful. You could also choose to send your managers through a course that teaches communication skills or the fundamentals of management, where they will cover what feedback should (and shouldn't) look and sound like.

Avoiding favoritism

If a peer becomes a manager, previous friendships can be tested or give the appearance of showing favoritism. Encourage a new manager to spend time with each of their direct reports, equally, and get to know each individual. Make sure they are booking regular 1:1s (virtual or in-person, depending on the situation) and they are visible on a shared calendar or messaging service to the entire team. Managers can also use their team budget to provide each member a DiSC® assessment and bring in a facilitator for a virtual or in-person team session to further understand each person's preferences, communication style, and needs.

Setting clear directions/goals

Clearly set standards to ensure consistency with all of your managers (i.e., goals set by a specific date, use the same format for all goals set, etc.). Help managers cascade the goals down from the top, inspiring the team to work towards the same goal and understand how they contribute to the company's "big-picture" and strategic plan. 

Managing their time and responsibilities

Communicate the importance of delegation to free up time to complete other work and provide the team with opportunities to learn new skills. Encourage managers to have calendar time in their day to catch up on emails, have conversations with their team, and task their projects. New managers can easily find themselves overwhelmed with many new responsibilities, but learning to utilize their time and team properly is a great asset to both their professional development and their teams. 

The success of new managers is determined by the levels of preparation and support throughout their journey. Check out the blogs and resources below for more ideas.

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

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Lauren Parkhill

Lauren Parkhill leads the marketing team in creating creative content that helps organizations develop their leaders and teams.