Management Skills: Promoted to manager? Great! What now?
Congratulations on being promoted to your new management role! Did you have a party? Have you settled into your new desk yet? Did you decide what to do with your pay rise? And are you wondering ‘what now?’ I remember well my first promotion to manager. Maybe my experience is something like yours? Here’s how it went.
A typical story of the newly promoted manager.
I was recruited into a job as a ‘technician’ (in the glamorous world of Tax Audit, as you asked). I was good at this so quickly got promoted to senior technician and then manager. We had a party on the Friday afternoon – goodbye senior technician role – and then I was into my management job on the Monday morning. Date of next management course? Six months hence. Likelihood of being coached by my senior manager? – zilch. Result? Six very tricky and stressful months where I managed to make just about every mistake in the management book (and write a few new ones as well) Not fun and not funny – for me, and certainly not for the poor people I was attempting to ‘manage.’ Eventually I did get some training. It wasn’t great and I still made a lot of mistakes. But then I got lucky. I got a new manager who was not only skilled at managing, but a great coach. And I became a much better manager. And not a day too soon some would say (including me.) Is this sounding familiar? I guess it might (on the basis I’ve rarely met a manager, team leader or supervisor who hasn’t had a similar experience!)
What management skills do new managers need?
Here’s what I needed when I became a manager and what I see many managers, team leaders and supervisors needing; Some simple tools I could have accessed from day one would have been hugely helpful. Practical, step-by-step processes that I could have used as ‘road maps’ or guidelines. Some ‘how to’ information. Anything that would have helped me approach my new management role with some level of competence and confidence
- Some advice on how to deal with those tricky management situations – the underperforming employee, the high performing (but unhappy) employee.
- Some help in working out how to motivate my employees to high performance, preferably by someone who’s been there and done it themselves
It’s no fun making it up as you go along or trying to learn by ‘trial and error’ (often with the focus on error). And if you’re anything like most of the managers, team leaders and supervisors I know you just don’t have the time to get out there and do the reading and research on what makes for effective management and then learn how to apply that knowledge.
Getting the help and support you need to develop your management skills
The biggest mistake I made as a new manager was failing to look for help and support. Instead I tried to tough it out and muddle along. I wouldn’t recommend it. So here are some ideas on how you could get the help and support you need to build your management confidence and competence
- Go to your learning and development, training , HR department or whoever it is who looks after developing people. Don’t wait until they come to you. My tip here is be very specific about what you’re looking for. My experience in life generally is that, the more specific you are about what you want, the more likely you are to get it. If you need, for example, a simple step process for defining and agreeing performance objectives, or a sample agenda for performance review or appraisal meeting, or a planned approach for having a conversation with your staff around improving their performance then go to your L&D, HR, training department and ask them for specifically for that. I think sometimes we make the mistake of waiting for opportunities to come to us in this area of learning. That’s what those people are there to do – to help you develop your management competence and confidence. What sometimes you need to do though is get out there, get to those people and ask for what you want.
- Look for coaching, mentoring or just some good old plain advice. Take a look around and try to identify managers who are managing in a way that you think is effective. It could be your own manager. It could be the manager in the next department. It could be a manager who maybe isn’t in your organisation but who you know is an effective manager. Or ask other people. Ask your colleagues. Who do they consider to be a really effective manager? What you’re trying to do here is to find a model – someone you can learn from. Then the question is, would they help you? Most effective managers are open to helping other managers develop. And again be really clear on what you’re looking for because most people find it easier to say yes to a request if that request is very specific. For example you might ask “I would like some help in thinking through how to explain to my employees that I need them to work in a different way”, or, “I’d appreciate some help with working out how to have a conversation with one of my employees about an area of performance they need to improve.” Get really clear on what you want and then go and ask for it.
- Do some research. If you need tools and techniques, there are many resources out there you can use. You could visit you local bookshop or library or, of course, access some of the thousands of blogs, articles, or videos you can find online. OK so it takes some time, but so does trying to learn by your mistakes!
It’s easy (as I know to my cost!) to wait patiently for management development opportunities to arise, to wait eagerly for the next training course date to be announced. The issue is we often need help right here, right now. I want to encourage you to take responsibility for your own development as a manager, to get clear on what you want and need and then try to find ways of meeting those wants and needs, so that you can quickly, efficiently, and effectivley build your management competence and confidence. Would you like to know more about how to access the tools and techniques you need? Then grab your free copy of my special report ‘Boost your business performance through effective people management’ at http://www.boostemployeeperformance.com