Of course you train your new hires on how to do their jobs. That’s a given. But what about your newly minted supervisors? Are you teaching them how to be good at managing people and processes? If not, you should be.
Being a good manager or supervisor requires a combination of hard skills, soft skills, and most importantly, people skills. If you’re expecting every new manager to come in hardwired with these things, you’ll be in for some serious disappointment. Even when you’re dealing with highly experienced supervisors, they may be bringing management techniques with them that aren’t aligned with your company culture, values, or style.
Don’t assume your managers know what to do
It’s common to promote your most capable employees and assume they will be capable leaders, but just because someone is good at their work doesn’t mean they will be good at managing people.
Effective supervisors require some very specific skills that they may not have needed or learned in the past. Critical managerial skills include:
- Interpersonal skills
- Performance management
- Conflict management
- Process management
- Time management
It’s likely your supervisors will come into the job strong in a few areas but leaving them to figure out the rest on their own isn’t a good strategy for long term success. The longer you let them flounder, the more likely they are to make mistakes. And when you’re talking about managing people, these kinds of mistakes can have huge consequences.
Finding the balance
Managing people is part art, part science.
- There’s the art of developing people in a structured, helpful, and positive way to bring out their best.
- There’s the art of educating and incentivizing people to both buy into and work to achieve company goals.
- There’s the art of managing conflict in a healthy and constructive manner.
- And perhaps most importantly, there’s the art of communicating your various messages in an effective way. This means being responsive and receptive to what employees have to say. When it’s good news, this may seem easy. When it’s a difficult conversation or challenging feedback, not so much. Good managers need to approach tough topics in a way that still feels professional and respectful.
- Knowing the ins and outs of your employee handbook so you can enforce rules and reinforce behaviors.
- Understanding all relevant policies, laws, and regulations to make sure all processes and managers are in compliance.
- Creating appropriate performance metrics based on individual and company goals, results, and outcomes, and following performance management procedures accurately.
Not training your managers on these kinds of things can lead to some very uncomfortable (and expensive!) situations.
Management training tips
- Make sure you have supervisory role models and mentors on your team.
- Talk about management styles and philosophy.
- Provide classes on conflict management, dispute resolution, effective communication, and sensitivity.
- Create a culture that values open communication and collaborative efforts.
- Support ongoing leadership development.
- Train your team on your employee manual and all other corporate policies.
- Clarify organizational expectations and priorities.
- Make sure all managerial procedures are well defined.
- Create a library of tools and resources to help new managers develop their skills and confidence.
At the end of the day, it’s important to hold your managers and supervisors accountable not just for the hard skills they bring, but for their soft skills as well.
Not sure where to start? Consider using a skills assessment for managers and supervisors to help determine key strengths and weaknesses. You may also want to bring in an outside leadership expert and/or training company to help get your team up to speed.
Whether your managers are just starting out or have been doing it for years, chances are all of them have somewhere they can improve.
Bad management can cause good employees to walk out the door— and nobody wants that to happen. Training your managers on how to effectively lead their teams well will help everyone be their best.
Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners
Photo by Lois McCleary