14 Feb 2022

Helping Employees Manage the Transition to Management

With end-of-the-year reviews all wrapped up and plans for 2022 well underway, mid-winter seems to be the time for big promotions. Depending on the size of your company, there are a few kinds of promotions but, for the purpose of this blog, we’re going to tackle the transition that presents the most problems – supporting a staff member who is moving from being an employee to being a manager.

Moving from being a cog in the machine to the person making sure the machine is running is scary. Even the most skilled and confident employee or technician might be amazing at their job – and truly deserving of a promotion – but they might not understand what it takes to be in management. The way you set that person up for success will define their future with your company.

When an employee is promoted to a management role, helping them excel in their new job starts with setting expectations and helping them understand what you need from the top down. You need to help them set goals, develop communication styles and give them an opportunity to see the larger machine at work. Senior leadership often over estimates what employees understand about a company, which can backfire when it comes to internal promotions. Your new manager doesn’t know what they don’t know, so make sure to be clear.

Next, give them an opportunity to pursue professional development opportunities around leadership, management, business, human resources and anything else that can help them lead their team. Unless they are a veteran or coming from a previous management role, there’s a good chance they haven’t done that kind of leadership training and the time you allow them to invest in training is going to save you time and energy later. Help them better themselves to better lead within your company.

It’s also important to let your new manager be a manager. It can be hard, especially at a smaller company, to step back and let them shine. Certainly you promoted that person because you were confident they could do the job. Nothing undermines a new manager like being micromanaged or overstepped, especially within the first year. In many cases, that person is now managing their old coworkers, so you have to let them sort out that culture shift without stepping in the way. If something is wrong, pull them in for a private meeting to discuss the situation.

Finally we think open communication is absolutely vital. Younger generations are hungry for feedback – even when it’s not positive – so only meeting with them once a month or once a quarter to discuss goals isn’t going to cut it. We’re not saying you need to check in on them every day, but they need to feel like they have an open line to you or to their new senior managers for clarity, assistance and overall feedback.

There’s much more to transitioning to management than we’ve included here, but hopefully this gives you a great start. If your new manager or team of managers would benefit from training together to better lead your company, it’s time to explore our Strategic Manager Coaching program. Here’s to supporting the next generation of leaders!

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