New Manager Training – Good News and Bad News
Well you did it…you were promoted to the management position that just opened up. That’s the good news. The bad news? You are now in charge of the team you were just a simple member of until yesterday.
This is the same group you took your coffee breaks with, the same group you joined for pizza and beers after work, the same group who shared with you their complaints about their previous boss and work situation. What now? Will they treat you the same? Will you still be friends? How are things going to change?
The simple answer is that there will be changes in your relationships. This is unavoidable and should be acknowledged first by you and then worked out with the others. It will not be easy, but it can be rewarding. After all, isn’t this what you had been hoping for ever since you joined the company…a move up the career ladder to a position of authority and leadership?
To ease the transition to management, here are some new manager training tips we have learned over the twenty years we have worked with clients to help them succeed as new managers:
• Meet with the individuals on your team and talk about the changes ahead.
Anytime someone joins or leaves a team or when a new manager comes aboard, the team dynamics shift. Rather than feeling threatened by the change, help your team see that this is an opportunity to re-set goals, success metrics, decision-making and even re-assign roles to create a higher performing team. Ask each team member what they would like to change and how they would like to move forward.
Once you’ve had a chance to meet with individuals, meet together as a team. Was there any dysfunction in the way you all worked together previously? Is there enough team trust, constructive conflict, commitment and accountability to meet your objectives in a way that makes sense? If not, address that dysfunction as a team and agree upon a new way of behaving together. Remember, the team has to “re-form” in order to “per-form.”
• Use your insider knowledge as an advantage.
As a new manager from the inside, you know the team intimately. This is a huge advantage. Think about the strengths each member brings to the whole. Is there a different way to configure roles to play to what your team members like to do and how well they do it? You know, too, their individual motivators. How might this change the way you incentivize individuals and recognize their achievements?
• Be sensitive to your teammate’s reactions to your promotion.
Understand that some may feel resentment about your promotion to manager. They may have been hoping for the promotion themselves. Encourage a conversation where you can both acknowledge the feelings and try to find a way to work together productively. It is your job to find the comfortable middle ground between establishing yourself as the new boss and still being the same beer-and-pizza buddy. Of course, you want to remain on friendly terms with the group, but you need to step into a leadership role.
• Be straightforward and clear as you set expectations.
There should be no fuzziness or compromise in your conversations about what you expect from the team both individually and collectively. The same is true regarding what they should expect from you as their new manager. Gain their agreement on how success will be measured, what each person should expect from one another and how you will monitor progress along the way. These conversations will establish baseline performance standards. You may need to refer to them as team members deliver in the future… or not.