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Helping New Managers and Supervisors Succeed


November 7, 2014 – Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly – Proverb.

From birth we began our lives wiggling aimlessly just to learn what our little arms and legs were for. Wiggling aimlessly eventually became sitting, crawling, and standing until one day we were taking those first precious steps, all the while cooing and gurgling in a language only we could understand. We were held up when we tried to sit and wrapped our tiny new fingers around gigantic hands as we wobbled around until our arms and legs worked well enough so we could hold on to the coffee table to navigate exciting new locations in the living room. As time passed, someone ran behind us, holding on to the back of our bicycle seat when the training wheels were first removed and someone was certainly there to help us get back up on our feet after we fell; sometimes we were viciously allowed to fall just so we could learn how to get back up and try again.

New managers and supervisors are very much like those aimless, wobbly little ones trying desperately to use and apply the knowledge of those around them, while searching for a voice that others can understand and appreciate. Without your nurturing, support, mentoring and training, your new manager will either fail, or fail to thrive, leaving you to regret your decision to promote an otherwise talented employee.

New managers may know your product lines and the processes required to get the job done, but have probably never read the employee handbook, have never had to communicate the organizational culture or how to use counseling methods to correct behavior and motivate rather than to discipline other adults. This new manager will likely have no idea what to do when an employee calls in sick for 3 days in a row, which topics should never be discussed at work, or how to respond when an employee says something downright inappropriate. Essentially, we have cooed and gurgled, “Congratulations – you’re promoted – now go and make it all happen!”

Making successful managers takes time and patience. Remember that your new manager is trying to develop his or her individual style and will need your help and guidance along the way. Spending time and effort on your new manager now can make a significant difference between success and failure.

Some simple steps to make your new manager successful include:

1. Make the announcement – Your new manager has just achieved something tremendous and it should be celebrated by the entire company! Explain past achievements, provide a biography and provide some duties that the manager will undertake in his or her new role.

2. Regular meetings – Set up regular meetings (with itineraries) with your new manager and the rest of the management team. Not only will this give you the opportunity to discuss the progress and challenges of the department, but allows you to effectively mentor your new manager. Losing contact with your manager creates confusion, dread and dissatisfaction. If you have an unhappy manager, you will likely have unhappy employees.

3. Training programs – Your new manager is an investment – spend (at least) the FIRST 3 days in formal training programs.

4. Get your Human Resource Department involved – Your Human Resource Department has a lot of important information to share with your new manager or supervisor – engage them every step of the way; they are here to help you get off to a great start!

5. Expect hand-holding – Remember that your new manager or supervisor is still trying to navigate away from the coffee table. Expect some handholding early in the transition, but do not be afraid to allow some slips, trips and falls along the way. Sometimes those mistakes provide enhanced learning opportunities and are much more valuable than fall protection!

IBTX Risk Services offers intensive, creative, interactive and lively training programs for your new supervisors and managers. Engaging a third-party provider for your training initiatives allow for open and honest discussions, clarification for tough issues and opportunities for professional growth.

Whether you decide to promote from within or recruit from the outside, each employee brings a unique set of experiences and perspectives to your organization. By helping your new managers and supervisors to navigate around the coffee table, you are adding not only to the success of your new management staff, but also to the organization. Remember that a little effort and information in the beginning will set the tone for an entire career.

Please contact or call us at 800.880.6698 for information about our Human Resources Services or to schedule a meeting today.

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