How Can I Prepare Employees for a Future in Management?

One of the most important and rewarding things a manager can do is to invest in the development of their employees.  When a manager takes the time to develop employees, they become smarter, more productive, and they perform at a higher level.  In addition, when managers spend time developing employees, they prepare them for their own future in management.  When a management position becomes available at a company, it always makes more sense to hire from within, given that current employees already have a strong knowledge of the business.  That said it’s not enough to simply promote an employee to manager without any formal management training.  Therefore, it is up to the managers to begin training and developing their employers to be future managers.  Here’s how you can begin preparing your employees for a future in management.

Create a Culture of Learning

A great manager is hungry to learn and is always eager to find a way to make things work even better.  Managers can prepare their employees for management by creating a culture of learning in the workplace where employees are constantly pushing themselves to meet new challenges.  This starts with the obvious…on the job training.  However, it takes more than just teaching them the specifics of their job.  Give your employees the chance to learn things that go beyond what is required of their current job.  Once employees are well versed in their own job, give them the first managerial skill by empowering them to help train other employees.  Finally, encourage employees to seek out learning opportunities.  Pay for them to attend a conference, take a course, or get a special certification.  Bring in trainers and provide workshop opportunities where employees can further their skills and knowledge.  Reward employees for completing additional courses or certifications and create a working environment that cultivates lifelong learning.

Encourage Good Time Management Skills

Managers are expected to do a lot of work in a small amount of time.  This requires them to be excellent time managers.  Helping your employees to use their own time wisely will foster an appreciation for time management skills that will help them later, when they actually become a manager. Start by teaching your employees how to break down their tasks into smaller tasks in order to be more productive.  In a sense, they are delegating tasks to themselves.  When they become managers they will then be able to delegate tasks to others in a similar way.  You should also teach your employees how to prioritize their tasks.  You can start by doing this for them and as time goes on they should try doing it on their own.

Teach Them the Importance of Goal Setting

One thing is certain and that’s that managers are expected to meet goals.  You can help you employees get there by teaching them the importance of setting goals in the first place.  When they set clear goals for themselves it will help them to be more productive, use their time more wisely, and give them a guideline by which they can measure their progress.  Goals can be as simple as making a certain number of calls in a day or as large as meeting a higher sales quota for the month.  You can start by setting the goals for them, but over time they should eventually have the freedom to set goals for themselves. 

Build Team Communication Skills

A huge component to management is the ability to communicate clearly and effectively with employees.  Poor communication can lead to serious problems.  Therefore, start by modeling string communication skills for your employees.  Leading by example is always the first step in teaching.  Another way to build these skills is by giving your employees the chance to take turns leading team meetings.  You can also practice communication exercises during your meetings to strengthen these skills.  Encourage your employees to familiarize themselves with the technical terms of your business so when they become managers they will be able to communicate effectively with their employees.

Demonstrate and Encourage Leadership

The best managers are also the best leaders.  Therefore, it is critical that managers help their employees to see themselves as leaders no matter what their position is.  Leadership is modeled by the manager and can happen in the smallest ways, such as following company policy and obeying the rules.  This is a great way to begin instilling leadership in your employees.  Hold them accountable for being at work on time, following the dress code, and acting with integrity.  When your employees understand how valuable these smaller things are, they will be better equipped to handle the larger things when they come their way.