Managers are a critical part of any organization who are expected to take on more responsibilities as well as have leadership skills to coach the employees they oversee. These challenges are amplified for new managers who have not been in leadership positions previously. This makes training and coaching even more important to help give managers the basic tools to succeed, and employees would agree. 67% of Gen X leaders want more external coaching and 57% want external development.
Mentoring and coaching has the ability to benefit anyone, but the biggest gains are leveraged by new managers. These programs can help develop the skills they need to excel in their new roles while better serving their teams and direct reports. Coaching and training for new managers becomes more important when these new managers are required to lead and coach direct reports.
In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that companies with fewer than 100 employees gave only 12 minutes of manager training every six months. This lack of training has a trickle-down effect on job performance and the job performance of the direct reports as managers are underprepared. 72% of people said their performance would improve if their managers would provide corrective feedback which can translate to 50% of employees leaving their companies because of their boss, according to Gallup.
There are key skills that managers need to be successful in their new positions. While not everyone has the skills as they enter the position, they can be acquired through learning and training. Here are a few skills that will help managers succeed in their position:
Most of the time people have been promoted or switched jobs to become a manager. This is usually from excelling at being an individual contributor. Understanding and learning how to go from individual contributor to manager may be the most important skill a new manager needs to work on. Learning from people in their position previously and other managers on how to make this transition can accelerate this transition.
While it may be easier for new managers to do something themselves, it's critical to their growth that they learn that delegation is not just about saving themselves time but helps develop their team members. New managers need to learn how to prepare the task, assign it to the right person, do appropriate check-ins, and conduct a final evaluation. As a result of delegation, the relationship between the manager and direct report can develop since trust is being built.
Being a manager is not about knowing everything. It’s about understanding that learning will always be a part of the process. Pretending to know everything can set a new manager up for failure and break down trust within the team. Coming in with an open mind and wanting to learn will make the transition from individual contributor to manager a much easier process.
Beyond just individual performance, new managers are responsible for managing and developing their direct reports. This makes it vitally important to provide training and coaching to equip managers to deal with a multitude of scenarios and develop cognitive agility.
Being able to think strategically means you are able to anticipate potential problems and create workable solutions around them in pursuit of the larger goal. 61% of executives were not prepared for the strategic challenges they faced upon being appointed to senior leadership roles, according to a Harvard Business Review study. If a new manager is not prepared or needs more experience to handle strategic challenges, adding leadership coaching as part of new manager onboarding can alleviate this issue and prepare them as well as give them the tools they need to anticipate and handle these challenges.
With more responsibilities, there is an increased chance this can create more stress. Being able to handle stress, while continuing to support and guide the direct reports is vital to the success of new managers. Experience is a great teacher but new managers need to be building cognitive agility, optimism, and self-efficacy as soon as they step into the role. A leadership development coach can help them uncover the steps necessary to gain these valuable leadership skills. Coaches are able to help new managers understand their individual strengths and areas of growth while practicing new skills and behaviors.
There are specific skill sets that are fundamental to being a good manager. These skills include providing concise high-quality feedback, learning how to be a better communicator, and strategic decision making. These are all skills that will allow managers to better support and develop their teams. Acquiring new skill sets is something managers can do through gained experience, but leadership coaching can help accelerate this process. It allows managers to uncover this firsthand knowledge and skills with a coach helping to guide them and attain these skills faster.
New managers don’t just have new skills to learn - there are also new challenges to overcome. There can be situational challenges that new managers need to overcome.
This can be a tricky situation as these coworkers were peers and now new managers are required to oversee them. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room. If new managers do. this can make things more difficult. Talking about the awkwardness of transitioning from colleague to boss can create new trust. New managers can also leverage a coach to help build confidence in these new situations.
Getting promoted can lead to feelings of self-doubt in the accomplishments that lead to becoming a manager. These feelings can be normal as new challenges carry more weight, and the responsibility of coaching direct reports affects more than just the new manager. New managers should be open to asking for help. Even the best coaches need and have coaches in their corner to help them build new skill sets to handle and over feelings of imposter syndrome.
It's important for new managers to learn how to self-identify and address gaps in skills. Learning this skill helps in managing direct reports because delegating tasks to direct reports that may have more skills in certain areas allows for building trust and the opportunity for the direct report to build confidence in teaching the new manager those skills. Identifying skills gaps allows for new managers to address and build those skills either through training or coaching.
New managers are under a lot of pressure stepping into these new roles. New skills are needed to quickly and effectively find success in these new positions. New challenges going from an individual contributor to a manager may require attacking problems from a new perspective.
It’s never been more important to make sure new managers have the training and coaching to help them prepare for these new roles and responsibilities. Companies and employees who report to the new managers suffer if they are not leveled up. Most companies need to understand that investing in new manager coaching trickles down to their bottom line and other employees.