Ideas to Set Your Managers Up for Success

Pleasure Allen
Pleasure Allen

Group of managers meeting

After years of hard work and putting in numerous hours over holidays and weekends, you're finally getting that proverbial office. That's right. You're about to become a manager. Are you ready?

It's an exciting time. You've demonstrated your understanding of the organization and its goals and are now in a position to spark real change—the kind you've always wanted to be a part of. But being ready may not matter as much as you think.

A Piece Is Missing

Leaders aren’t born. If anything, they’re shaped though experiences and development. However, research shows that many organizations are waiting way too long to begin training their leaders.

Looking over the 17,000 business leaders worldwide who had participated in leadership training, research found the average age was 42. More than half were between 36 and 49. Less than 10% were under 30; less than 5% were under 27.

However, the average age of supervisors in their firms was 33. In fact, the typical individual in these companies became a supervisor around age 30 and remained in that role for nine years—that is, until age 39.

Practicing anything mildly important without training is inadvisable. But it's obvious many managers are practicing leadership without training. That means habits (good, bad or indifferent) are being formed on day one. It should be no surprise, then, that without proper training, 60% of new managers underperform or fail in their first two years.

Even worse, additional research indicates poor leadership habits developed in a manager’s formative years will hobble them for the rest of their managerial careers.

Demonstrate Trust—Invest in Training

This delayed attention to training management skills can do real damage not only to individual careers, but also to organizational success.

If an organization trusts a person enough to put them in a management role, they should be willing to invest in training to help that person be successful in their new position. It's as simple as investing in the future—through people.

When new managers are provided with the skills and training to lead, they are able to help each of their direct reports see how their individual performance impacts the company as a whole.

Each person is able to understand the role they play in the overall success of the organization—and this creates a collaborative workplace where people can flourish.

Managers Are Promoted, Leaders Are Developed

Successful leaders create successful organizations. Start management training early and make it a continuous process.

What kind of manager are you? Are you a manager that’s also a leader? (If you think one automatically makes you the other that is not at all the case.)

Although it's common to hear terms like “leadership” and “management” used interchangeably, these two practices are fundamentally different.

In the simplest terms: management focuses on allocating and applying resources effectively; leadership focuses on inspiring others to work towards a specific goal.

There’s this myth that leaders are these magical people. But they’re not.  No one wakes up a leader one day. They received a lot of grace and a lot of support. They saw examples (both good and bad) and learned from both.

Think about any leader that’s really impacted you—like a defining moment. I bet you’ll find they were genuinely interested in your success. They also would answer the question, “Are you like this at home?” with “Of course,” because what you see is what you get—they know who they are (their personal brand) and are confident. People can deal with you when you’re honest about that. Leadership has permission to be human.

When you’re surrounded by people who treat you well and lean into your expertise, you will do the same. Reciprocity is vital to inclusive leadership, because it accelerates two-way trust, by making and keeping promises across human differences.

Good Leaders Recognize the Need for Coaching

Leadership and coaching go together. And it’s not punitive. We absolutely must get away from this idea that someone who is getting coached is in trouble. We should be far more concerned when people are not invested in improving themselves. Because that’s when people start leaving.

Good strong leaders are always coaching. Sometimes you allow things to happen, maybe try to teach through observations. Other times your team members will ask for your help and you can be there ready. Leaders who schedule regular coaching sessions with their team members and are consistently asking good questions will gain a greater understanding and build greater trust with their employees.

Leadership is a difficult role, and unless you’re among the rare few who are seemingly natural leaders, coaching will help you identify and clarify your leadership—which, in turn, leads to clarity regarding those you’ll be leading.

Start Training Far, Far Earlier

Successful leaders create successful organizations. But if you aren’t getting the proper training before and continuous coaching to improve your leadership skills that can impact not only morale, confidence and wellbeing—the emotional aspect of things—but it also has a dramatic effect on team member performance and their opinion of the organization. So start management training early and look for ways to make it an ongoing process throughout theirtenure.

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Pleasure Allen

Pleasure Allen

As a seasoned Human Resources professional, Pleasure specializes in leadership development and organizational culture, and is passionate about building strong, inclusive relationships that impact organizational culture in positive way. She is a PhD candidate with a master’s in Business Leadership.