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What are the opportunities for growth at this organization? It’s a question I hear a lot from candidates I interview. Employees want to work for an organization that will promote from within and offer professional development opportunities. Businesses also know the benefits of cultivating leaders who have a history with and a wealth of intellectual data from their organization.

Although many businesses are realizing the costs savings of promoting from within, the promotions are often coming without the necessary cultivation, or training, for the new manager to learn how to succeed in his or her new role.

It’s not a secret – the greatest impact new managers can have is putting their direct reports’ needs ahead of their own.  New managers have the incredibly difficult task of completely shifting their focus from how to make themselves successful to how to make other people successful. The #1 reason employees stay or leave is their relationship with their manager;  organizations need new managers to be able to help retain top talent.

Here’s what new managers need to know:

How to Delegate

You might think a new manager is dying to move tasks off their plate, but that doesn’t usually happen. Employees are often promoted for being high performers in their area of expertise, and those high performers typically have a lot of pride in their work. Learning how to “lift out” of the duties one’s direct reports should be doing is difficult…and essential. Doing so frees up a manager’s time, which should be refocused back to assisting employees.

How to Trust…

In order to delegate effectively, a manager need to be able to trust the capabilities of their people. Good managers always should assume employees have the best intentions; if a manager assumes the worst of someone, that person generally knows it and isn’t going to feel a connection with that manager. Which leads me to my next point…

…and Be Trustworthy

One responsibility of all managers is to manage confidential information, for both the organization and employees. In order for employees to trust that a manager has their best interests in mind, managers need to advocate for their employees’ interests during discussions about policies, workloads and procedure changes. Managers need to keep discussions about performance and personal issues confidential and professional.

How to Continuously Communicate

In all relationships- the manager/employee relationship being no different –communication is key. The traditional once a year discussion about performance is antiquated and detracts from the importance and value of immediate feedback. New managers should use additional time gained from delegating tasks in order to devote attention to listening and learning from employees. Being engaged in an employee’s work will reap benefits in that employee’s engagement as well. Having, at least, individual weekly conversations where employees give project updates will offer ample opportunity to share positive, as well as constructive, feedback. Managers should be aware of what has an impact on their employee’s work and work behavior and offer assistance and guidance, when needed, on how to proceed.

Most often behaviors that make up a good manager are not second nature to new managers, but they can be taught! Make sure the supervisors in your organization are good ambassadors and are modeling the type of behavior that will retain your top performers.

Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt is Purple Ink’s Director of Client Services and is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Catherine has a special interest in career coaching and recruiting and finds joy when she can connect the right person to the right opportunity.

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