Leadership 101 - Supporting your people managers on their leadership journey

So, someone in your company is fabulous at their craft - be it software development, assembly work, marketing, accounting - then, the company grows and that person gets promoted to manage a team. They are a great individual contributor, so you’d assume their skills would automatically translate to managing others.

Well… it doesn’t always work out the way you’d think. 

Managing is tough. 

It is a lot different to go from performing your job, which might have involved years of education and training, to being thrown into the world of managing others. 

While some people are natural-born leaders that thrive in the role and welcome the new responsibilities, others are not prepared. Many talented people need support to develop new skills as they embark on their journey to becoming a great leader.

Here are a few of the key skills that can take time to develop:

  • Team building: Recruiting new team members, creating a culture of inclusion and quality, engaging employees, and effectively managing the conflict that is bound to happen.
  • Project management: Putting together work activities, planning and organizing the work of the team, monitoring progress, and escalating issues.
  • Performance alignment: Creating/reviewing/updating job descriptions, delegating and empowering, reviewing work product, providing constructive feedback, rewarding and recognizing team members, coaching team members, and addressing performance issues.
  • Managing up: Communicating effectively upward in the organization to address blockers, advocating for additional resources, and contributing to the organization in a more significant way.

Whew… That is a lot. 

It’s no wonder that people thrust into the role of a manager can feel overwhelmed. If new managers are not mentored and supported, they might fail in the role that has been given to them. As the saying goes, “People don’t leave companies, they leave managers.”

Here are some tips that can help your managers:

  • Provide support: There are lots of training programs out there - invest in them! There are an endless number of books and webinars on the topic. You can create a monthly “Manager Book Club” to encourage skill development, and the ensuing discussion can foster common manager behaviors. However, each manager’s leadership journey will be unique. Some people are naturally great at team building, but are not able to project manage themselves out of a paper bag. In that case, a project management class can be just the ticket.
  • Encourage self awareness and exploration: There are a range of instruments out there that help managers become self-aware of their style, such as Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, DISC, etc. Whenever a manager can intentionally learn about, and reflect upon their own style, it will increase self-awareness, which is a key component of managing effectively.
  • Provide a mentor: Match new managers with an experienced leader in your organization so that they will have a resource for when they run across a sticky situation (such as when two people on their team don’t get along).
  • Utilize 360 degree feedback: Getting input from the manager’s subordinates and peers can highlight areas that need improvement. We have all known someone that puts on a good show for the boss, but treats their team poorly. This form of feedback reveals blindspots and opportunities for improvement.

Supporting your new leaders will have positive impacts inside their team and across the organization as a whole.

Want to dive deeper?

Here are some free resources we can provide for you:

  • ‘Resources for new managers’ whitepaper

Need more support? 

We offer customized coaching for managers.

Leadership Coaching for Managers

  • We offer individualized 1:1 coaching for managers

  • We can also work with your managers as a group

Whether you need individual or group coaching, contact us to discuss options, starting as low as $95 per hour. 

  • Leadership 101 webinars - Sessions are free for HRS members and $100 for non members.
    • Skills, strategies, and tips to excel as a manager (October 25 @ 10:00 am) Register Here
    • Skills, strategies, and tips to excel as a manager (Friday, October 27 @ 2:30 pm) Register Here 

Schedule an appointment with one of our HR experts, or call us at (734) 747-2936 to set up a time to chat about leadership development for your organization!

Stay tuned! 

Next month I’ll be musing about the topic of Employee Relations - an HR catch-all phrase that covers a wide range of employee needs and issues. Do you have a question that I can answer - send it to me at Amy@AmyCellTalent.com.


About The Author: Amy Cell

Amy Cell is a renowned and passionate pioneer in HR and Talent initiatives. She also leads an innovative consulting firm that specializes in recruiting and HR services for startups, small businesses, and municipalities.

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