Don’t Use An ‘It’s On You’ Approach To Development
There is ample evidence the old, ‘it’s on you’ to figure out how to operate as a manager just doesn’t work! Managers aren’t born, they are developed—and the cost is high when we leave it to the early manager to ‘just figure it out’.
Do Proactively Grow Your People Regularly
Yes, it takes time and intention to grow your people; however, when well-planned the time is heaviest in the early days of the new role. Plan for it, block time on your schedule, and make a commitment to routinely engage in growing a great new manager. By supporting your manager in making the shift from managing themselves to successfully managing and working through others, you’ll create stronger teams and, ultimately, a stronger organization.
Don’t Count on a ‘Tell-and-Fix’ Approach
It’s tempting, it’s quick and, at times, it’s satisfying. An early manager brings a challenge, or an issue, and you move into ‘tell-and-fix’ mode, giving your advice and telling them how to proceed. Problem is, your early manager isn’t learning to think through these issues for her/himself and you’ve created a ‘boomerang’ dynamic wherein the early manager returns again and again. So ‘tell-and-fix’ may be quick and satisfying in the moment, but it doesn’t grow great managers and in the long run costs you more time!
Do Ask and Support
Ask how your manager is thinking about the situation they are faced with, ask if they have recommendations, and ask if they’ve tried an approach yet. Instead of providing your solution, find out how you can support your manager in developing their own good ideas and learn about where specific support is most needed. Don’t assume, ask!
It’s tempting because it can seem like it takes less time, but a micromanaging approach does next to nothing to develop your early managers. Micromanaging leaves no space for growing, learning and developing. Turns out, while it may seem like you are preventing problems and ensuring perfection, you are actually demotivating and disempowering your people.
Do Empower by Growing Your People
Support them, stretch them, ask what they need and be discerning about when to provide input, feedback and guidance. If you want to build a great team that is engaged, motivated and ready to go the extra mile, empowering your people needs to be at the top of the list!
Don’t Rely On Annual Reviews as Enough
Providing feedback can be challenging for the best of us and it’s tempting to leave feedback to the old-fashioned annual review; however, feedback given rarely does almost nothing to grow great leaders.
Do Provide Regular Feedback, with Specifics
Build your courage to give feedback on the spot, they deserve it and it’s your job if you want a great team and a strong organization. By providing in-the-moment feedback focused on a behavior, your people are able to use it to improve their performance. Therefore, give feedback often, give it with heart, and focus on what went well and what could go better. That’s how we grow!
Don’t Use Old Style Classroom Learning
When it’s time for your early managers to develop new skills, don’t put ‘all of your eggs in one basket’, relying on a two- or three-day off-site course. The facts are in, it’s just not how we learn best—and the return on the investment of time and resources is not always worth it.
Do Engage in Just-in-Time Development Coaching
Classroom or virtual learning is just one component in developing early leaders. Just-in-time coaching helps managers with what is on their minds in the moment—when it matters most—and when they are able to immediately use the feedback to do their work even better.