Bringing in a new member to the management team is never easy. If you hire from within, they have to learn to transition from their previous position to this new one. If you hire from outside the company, the new employee will have to be taught everything from scratch. But with a little patience and open communication, you can groom your new manager for success in their position.
Set Specific Goals
When training a new manager, one of the first things to accomplish is to establish what goals you and the manager want to achieve. Ask the manager what they want to accomplish and find ways to work together to reach it. Set goals that are realistic and can be achieved by the employee in a reasonable amount of time. Be specific about what you want them to achieve and note the progress you want to see from them. The more detailed plan they have, the better they are equipped to know what is expected of them.
Authority (What They Can and Can’t Do)
One of the hardest responsibilities a new manager has is asserting their authority to their employees. Many come across as too mean or overbearing, but when they back off they can seem like a pushover. A helpful tool is to create a list or diagram about what the manager has authority over and what areas they cannot control. Sometimes there can be a gray area that new managers can get lost in, so it is important to outline these things in the beginning. Also let the manager know who they can come to if they run into a problem, whether it is you or another person in command. Don’t throw them to the sharks without a life preserver.
Create a Shared Vision
When a new manager is introduced, it is best to create a shared vision with them to help establish what you want to see happen. This will also benefit both parties as they can share what they are hoping to achieve. The new manager will need the proper support from management to succeed, so it is important to work with them from the beginning. Speak openly with them and let them know what you want from them. Let them speak openly with you about what they want and how they plan to get there. Together, form a vision with realistic goals that you can both work to help the other achieve. Once a plan has been made, schedule a follow-up meeting to let them know how they are doing and what kinds of progress has been made.
The More They Learn, the More Responsibility They Get
Becoming a new manager is a learning process. It wouldn’t be expected for them to know or handle everything from the get go. To help them ease into their new position, start the manager out with a fair load of responsibility and duties. Monitor how they handle themselves and if they make progress. As they grow and learn, gauge how they would handle new or different responsibilities. Sometimes adding a new project or assignment gradually can help them have hands on learning while gaining new responsibilities. With anything new, moderation is a key. Don’t overload the manager too quickly or they could lose interest and fail to succeed in their position.
This post is from March’s topic on Manager Management, which is also a course on our Mini-MBA program online from Harvard Square.