In many small businesses, the business owner set up their business because they excelled at a certain skill.
For most, there comes a time when realisation dawns that they spend little time actually doing that skill anymore, and most of their time occupied with other tasks.
When you decide to promote a member of your team into a management role, you need to help them both to prepare and to succeed or risk them becoming like the small business owner.
Firstly, you need to establish if your employee wants to take on a management role. Are they happy to relinquish what they are currently doing to take on something new? Can they handle handing over “their baby” to someone else?
Understand that not everybody makes a good manager. Some are skilled, even gifted, at getting the most out of people; others do not have natural people skills.
Help your manager designate to develop the art of delegation. And I really do think it is an art.
There is an enormous desire to micro-manage when starting to delegate. There is also the belief it is quicker and easier to do a task ourselves rather than give it to another – and, of course, nobody does it quite like we do it. Learning to let go, and appreciating there is more than one way to do something will help.
Ensuring your business has robust operational procedure manuals will also be hugely supportive. Not only will this help to ensure everyone handles a task the same way, but will also support managing people effectively.
Encourage your manager to resist the desire to roll up their sleeves and return to their old role, whilst trying to be a manager. Help them to accept it is their job to develop their team to work effectively, without intervention.
Communication is key. And this applies just as much to you, as it does to your new manager. It is your role to tell everybody about the promotion and ensure everybody supports the appointment. You need to be clear about your expectations of your new manager, but understanding whilst they settle in. Equally, you need to help the manager to build their own communication skills to get the best out of their team.
Find a mentor. Give the newbie someone to talk to. They need somebody they can offload to, who will listen, and somebody they can trust. Ideally, that mentor needs to be somebody who gives them guidance and support but equally is not afraid to point out what needs to change.
Time – but only so much. Of course, everybody needs a chance to settle into a new role, and find their feet. You need to be certain you are giving them every chance to succeed and shine in their new role. But don’t make the mistake of leaving it too long and not tackling it, if they are not delivering.
Leadership development. In the old days, we would just call this training. But now, I think it is so much more than putting somebody in a classroom environment and letting them leave with a manual to chuck in a drawer. You need to tailor the development to suit the needs of the individual. For some, coaching is the best option, for others, a blend of traditional training and some coaching will work. But don’t discount job shadowing, or secondments either.
For help in developing your next managers, please contact us on 01256 328 428.