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How To Grow New Managers In Your Company


Everyone knows that a great manager can make life enjoyable and the day go by faster, while a terrible one can turn a decent job into utter misery. Many managers rise through the ranks of the same company, and business owners must do everything they can to turn new managers into great managers as soon as possible. The good and bad habits a new manager learns can stick throughout their entire career, which can be devastating to your company as the manager eventually becomes a senior manager.

However, many businesses adapt a sink or swim approach, letting managers learn “on the job” without helping them develop. But this means that businesses which do help grow new managers will gain a competitive advantage, and here are some tips on how to grow the managers of your company’s future.

Talk to the Manager’s Employees

In order to help your manager grow, you need to know where they can improve. You can follow them around observing how they go about their job or look at whether they are meeting company targets. But an alternative approach is sit down with their employees and ask for their thoughts on their new manager.

This can be controversial, as your new manager may believe that it indicates that you do not trust them. Make sure that your manager knows you are doing this before they start the job so that it is not an unpleasant surprise, and emphasize that the employees’ feedback will not be used to pass judgment. Furthermore, your managers should not be thinking of their employees as a little fiefdom, and ideally should have no issue with an outside voice interested in feedback which can make their jobs easier.

Promote Internal Communication

Businesses rarely hire just one new manager, and even a manger who has only been on the job for a few months to a year has both a lot to learn and a lot to teach a freshly hired manager. Peer support is an incredibly important tool, if for nothing else than to show new managers that they are not alone in their struggles and confusion.

There are multiple ways to promote peer support among new managers. Consider setting up a Slack channel for new managers, especially since such a channel will let new managers ask questions as well as scroll up to see the challenges which new managers in the past have dealt with. Hold regular, preferably monthly forums, where new managers can get together and discuss their struggles and how they moved past them. Each forum should have a theme, and owners should make sure to direct the conversation so that ideas are being exchanged. But feel free to let them talk to each other on their terms without interfering too much. 

Recognize and Reward Accomplishments

Employees and managers alike want to feel like they are a valued part of the company and not just another replaceable cog in the machine. It is thus important to reward and signal out their accomplishments publicly so that they know they are being appreciated.

The Muse has some useful tips for how to do this with employees and managers alike, and remember that rewards and recognition do have to be expensive. A simple personalized statement, where you can actually explain what they are doing so well and goes beyond “good job” can mean a lot. Of course, that requires you to pay attention and know what they are doing so well. 

Use Questions, not Statements

Your manager has been making mistakes and you have summoned him to your office for a conversation. Remember that a conversation is a two way street, and should not consist of lecturing your employee about what he did wrong.

Instead, ask them questions about things are going, and try to lead the questions so that you eventually get to the problem which you want to discuss. You can then ask whether they have noticed a problem, and what should be done differently to fix it. Also ask them what other difficulties they are having with the job. Aim to be a teacher and mentor during these moments, not a lecturing disciplinarian.

Be Prepared to Cut Losses

You can make mistakes, and sometimes a candidate you thought had leadership potential lacks the qualifications to be a good manager no matter how much you and they try. So what do you do in that scenario?

If they did a good job in their previous position, consider demoting them to that position. Demotion is always an incredibly delicate procedure, and you must make sure that employee feels positively about the change. A grudging acceptance often masks anger and negativity on the inside which can poison your workplace. Have a private, upfront conversation explaining the demotion, and offer a transfer to another region or office if your business is large enough.

Employees can hesitate to demote their managers as it can mean losing them entirely. But losing one problematic manager is better than letting him bumble about and create a toxic workplace.

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