I Pity the new manager. I do. It's more pitiable when a new manager isn't provided any leadership training. Contemporary leadership development is essential to become a person leaders need to be. Especially today.
You’ve heard my theory before. People get promoted because they sell the most widgets, or they’re the hardest worker. Perhaps they're promoted because they're the smartest person in the room. Many promotions (you know this) are because that person kissed the most ass.
But none of those reasons translates into successful leadership.
I’ve led teams of managers and trained and coached hundreds more.
Here are some of the biggest mistakes a new manager makes.
It’s stunning. Almost 80% of all hiring managers never received training in how to interview or hire! You can get somewhat better at it with experience. But ‘experience’ generally means you’ve learned after making lots of bad hires. New managers tend to hire candidates who are like themselves. Great managers create a team of people with different strengths and contributions.
Besides, untrained managers don’t know which questions you cannot ask in an interview. It creates a big liability for employers.
It’s not easy to have difficult conversations. Many new managers prefer to avoid that conversation. But that leads to bigger problems down the road. Or they’re likely to go too hard or too easy.
Reminder: it’s always better to address a difficult problem now. If your kid screws up, you’re not going to wait until their annual performance review to address it, are you?
3. HR Issues for a non-HR Manager
Of course there’s little-to-no training for managers in HR. And most new managers don’t know when to consult with HR. They end up making their own rules. An employee is pregnant? Another has an ill family member?
Most managers get promoted because they get things done. On their own. So it’s a difficult transition, and often hard to let go. Find out what you’re good at and identify what you’re not good at – and delegate away your weaknesses.
5. Not Asking for Help
Many new leaders believe asking for help shows weakness, so they choose to go it alone. This always leads to mistakes. Asking for help is a sign of strength and confidence, not weakness. And the boss of the new leader needs to ensure that axiom.
6. Getting Promoted From Within
I find this the most difficult transition for a new leader to make. I always tried to move a newly promoted manager away from the team they were working with. It made life easier for everyone. But if you don't have that option, it needs your attention. When the buddies of last week are suddenly "subordinates," it requires communication. Lots and lots of communication.
Early in my career, a friend and mentor became my boss. His words to me? “Between 8am and 5pm it’s boss and employee. After 5, we’re friends.” We toed that line successfully for two years.