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Blog : Ask the experts - first time manager dilemma


Ask the experts - first time manager dilemma

Industry experts tackle common management dilemmas. Taken from Edge magazine, February 2010.

You have promoted a member of your department to head up her own team of four staff. You chose her because she's independent, organised and hardworking, traits which you thought would make a good manager. However, three months into the new role, she has come to you upset, saying she's not cut out to be a manager. You hadn't realised how much she was struggling and that she needed support. What do you do?

Jane Sunley, Managing Director of learnpurple and talent toolbox.

One of the most challenging transitions is from team member to manager. Just because someone is a good self-manager, doesn't mean they will automatically make a good leader.

Many organisations don't adequately prepare the people they promote. In recent years, business has become more complex and competitive. Combine this with depleted management layers due to the recession and the pressure to make fast decisions about internal promotions has increased. But, internal promotion is often the best option - as long as the candidate has been well prepared.

In this case, i'd look to the people involved with this new manager, including yourself. What could you do to develop her? Have you done all you could to help grow her confidence, to offer support and trust? Having made sure she has the tools to do the job, is her line manager prepared to let go and have belief in her? Is there role clarity, in particular when it comes to desired outcomes?

Meet with this new manager to reassure her that help is at hand. Make sure you clarify her remit in terms of the role, responsibilities and what a 'good job looks like'. Explore exactly why she is feeling so upset. Discuss the skills and attributes she needs to be able to fulfil her role and identify any skill gaps. See if there are any quick wins to help restore some of her confidence.

Assuming she wants to meet the challenge, draw up a development plan. This might include leadership basics such as coaching, teambuilding, communication and influencing skills, supported by some one to one coaching and mentoring.

Make sure you meet regularly to review progress and continue to support and put a talent management system in place to ensure that you can build great teams and the people to lead them.

To read this article in full click here.

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