2016-03-01

Management challenge #20 - when you need to move a superstar to the next level to develop as a new leader

Bruce Tulgan

What do new managers need most of all? They need support and guidance in learning and practicing the fundamentals of management, every step of the way:


Remind the new leader regularly that this new role carries with it real authority, that it does not award her license, of course, to act like a jerk. It is a huge responsibility that should not be accepted lightly.


Go over with the new leader exactly what her new leadership responsibilities look like.


Explain that management entails more than completing some extra paperwork. You have to explain the “people work” in detail.


Create standard operating procedures for managing, and teach them to all new leaders. Focus on the fundamentals, like spelling out expectations for every employee who works for them, following up regularly, tracking performance closely in writing, and holding people accountable.


When you formally deputize any new leader, no matter how small the project or how short the duration of the leadership role, announce the new leadership to the whole team, articulate the nature of this person’s new authority, and explain the standard operating procedures for management that you have asked the new leader to follow.


Check in daily (or every other day) with this new leader. Regularly walk through the standard operating procedures for managing people. Ask about the management challenges she is probably facing.


Early on, you might want to sit in on the new leader’s team meetings and one-on-ones with team members in order to build up this new leader. Do everything you can to reinforce her authority with the team and every individual on the team. But make sure to take every opportunity you can to help the new leader refine and improve her management techniques.


Pay close attention every step of the way, and evaluate the new leader in her new role. Start focusing in your regular one-on-one management meeting on exactly how the new leader is doing the work of managing. Ask probing questions about each employee your manager is supposed to be managing: “When did you last meet with employee #1? What did you hope to accomplish? What did you talk about? What is #2 working on? What did #3 do last week? What guidance and direction did you give #4? What are #5’s current goals and deadlines? What notes did you take down in your manager’s notebook? May I take a look?”


If you want your new manager to focus on something in particular with one or more of their employees, spell that out. If you want your managers to carry a specific message to their employees, hammer away at that message. Write it down. Put it on cards for your manager to hand out to employees. Talk it through. Role-play it.


Of course, you’ll also need to keep talking with your new leader about her non-management responsibilities too, but remember, every manager’s first responsibility is managing. So that should be the number one priority in your managing of your managers.


ABOUT THE AUTHORBruce Tulgan is an adviser to business leaders all over the world and a sought-after keynote speaker and seminar leader. He is the founder and CEO of RainmakerThinking, Inc., a management research and training firm, as well as RainmakerThinking.Training, an online training company. Bruce is the best-selling author of numerous books including Not Everyone Gets a Trophy (Revised & Updated, 2016), Bridging the Soft Skills Gap (2015), The 27 Challenges Managers Face (2014), , and It’s Okay to be the Boss (2007). He has written for the New York Times, the Harvard Business Review, HR Magazine, Training Magazine, and the Huffington Post. Bruce can be reached by e-mail at brucet@rainmakerthinking.com, you can follow him on Twitter @BruceTulgan, or visit his website www.rainmakerthinking.com.

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