How to Help New Leaders Learn the Ropes

Making the leap from an individual contributor to a manager is one of the most challenging career moves. Even the most talented employees can struggle as they take on new leadership roles and responsibilities. That’s why it’s important to promote people who have the right skills and mindset. However, once these individuals are promoted, they still need proper support and guidance or they will be set up for failure. Here we will take a look at a few important things you can do to make sure your new manager succeeds.


1. Prepare Them Before the Promotion

If you know you are on the cusp of promoting an employee to a leadership position, start prepping long before that day arrives. Provide opportunities for them to get their feet wet and practice smaller tasks within that role. Slowly begin giving them leadership responsibilities and act as a mentor along the way. Give them opportunities to take classes that can help them build the necessary skills for their new position. Also, allow them to work alongside other managers so they can gain more knowledge and experience in that role. If you spend time grooming them ahead of time, the actual transition will be smoother. 

2. Provide Them with a Starter Guide

Over the years, more experienced managers have identified key skills, practices, and traits that have helped them succeed. It can be helpful for these veteran managers to put all of this into a manual that can be helpful for new managers. In addition to a written “cheat sheet,” it is wise to set up an onboarding process where current managers will meet with new ones to share their own experiences and offer helpful advice. This is also a great way for new managers to get to know their fellow leadership team. 

3. Provide Plenty of One-On-One Support

One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is promoting someone and then reducing the amount of time and attention they give to that person. This is a fatal mistake that can set the new manager up for failure. Rather, it’s important to offer even more one-on-one support for new managers as they learn the ropes and get settled in their new role. Encourage open communication and meet with them regularly to see how things are going. It can even be helpful to pair them with a mentor to provide additional support as they learn more about their new role. 


4. Provide Them with Practical Tools

Part of developing new leaders means equipping them with the tools needed to be successful. Whether this comes in the form of training, mentoring programs, software applications, or physical supplies, make sure your new manager has everything they need to be successful right from the start. 

5. Provide Helpful Insight

The last thing you want is a new manager walking blindly into a leadership position with no information about what was going on before them. Understanding what was going on before they took over is critical to their success. For example, if the last manager was poor, there may be quite a bit of baggage to address. On the other hand, if the previous manager was excellent, there will be a great foundation on which to build. In addition to providing insight into the previous leader, it is also important to provide insight into the new team. Coordinate a meet and greet with the current employees and the new manager. Allow everyone to get to know each other and share their current roles and responsibilities. This helps the new leader get to know the strengths and weaknesses of their new team members.