Helping Managers Manage

February 26, 2020

We hear it all the time – the manager experience at X company is inconsistent at best and “you don’t want to know” at worst. By way of promotion, individual contributors become people managers without the proper training or guidance they need to succeed. 

Here are five ways to help new managers gain the soft skills (and confidence!) they need to lead:

1. Host a Values Training

Company values are at the epicenter of your culture – they support a company’s mission and vision, and influence the way things get done in an organization. As gatekeepers of your culture, managers should have a firm understanding of what your values mean and how they’re expected to model them. 

Provide new managers with guidance on how to apply company values and behaviors in their new roles and how they can (and should!) solicit these behaviors from their teams.

2. Provide Mentors

The best way to teach is by example. Pairing new managers with seasoned and successful managers across your organization will help you develop the managers you want and need. 

As a bonus, a nurturing mentorship can give new managers a safe place to talk about their questions, concerns, ambitions and even shortcomings without feeling judged by their higher-ups. 

3. Focus on Communications Skills

There is a clear tie between manager communications and overall employee engagement. Helping your managers become excellent communicators will produce long-term benefits for your culture and business. 

Set new managers up for success by hosting a communications workshop, establishing expectations around ongoing communications and providing them with tools to maintain consistent communications practices across your organization. 

4. Empower Your People

Great leaders don’t do all the work by themselves. Teach new managers how to delegate, protect their time and give others autonomy to flex their creativity. 

While it’s more of a mindset than a hard skill, delegating responsibility is a great way for managers to demonstrate that they trust their teams, and creates space for them to step into leadership roles. 

5. Offer Stretch Responsibilities

Encourage new managers to expand their knowledge and sharpen their skills by exposing them to things outside of their day-to-day role. 

There are plenty of opportunities to learn within your organization – from joining a cross-functional project to leading or participating in a lunch-and-learn – surface these prospects for new managers who are eager to flex and grow their skills. 

From generic trainings to incredibly customized experiences, there are dozens of ways to prepare people to become successful managers. Hopefully, the tips above get you thinking about what makes sense for your organization and your people. 


We’re always up for a good brainstorm! For more bite-sized brilliance, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, the Inkwell, and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Patty Rivas

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