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The Alternative Board Blog

Management Skills Part 1: Transitioning from Employee to Manager

Jan. 22, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
Phil 1.22

In my work with business owners, many of them have expressed a desire to transition a certain employee to a more senior role at their company. However, this promotion sometimes doesn’t happen because the owner is not sure what steps to take to help this individual be the best manager they can be.

As an entrepreneur, you may be a natural leader, but when an employee is promoted, they will sometimes have difficulty adapting to their new role being a manger. This is especially true when your employee is asked to direct their previous “peers.”

I’ve outlined a few steps that will help you when transitioning your employee to take a management role:

Know what can be achieved, and how to fill in the blanks

I know that helping your employee transition into a management position can be difficult, which is why evaluating your employee’s strengths and weaknesses is an essential first step. Look at what skills they have, what they excel at, and at the existing skills that they will need to home in on. You are looking for a manger that understands how they can best support your company, and this may include an in-depth evaluation of how they can fill in the gaps in skills.

As a second step, make sure that you create a very clear and concise job description, as well as an onboarding process for this new role. It should outline your expectations for success over a specific period of time (e.g. 3 months, 6 months, a year, etc.).

You and your employee need to both be on the same page in terms of your needs and goals. Encourage them to offer you feedback about their newly adopted role, and what they need to feel more confident. This way, you can both fill in the spots where their management capabilities may be lacking.

Want additional insight? Read 9 Tips for Motivating Your Employees now 

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Encourage them to introduce their new role to their team members

There is a definite difference between boss and employee. Some business owners have expressed to me that when an employee steps into a new management role, the change in dynamic between themselves and the people who were once their fellow employees is strained, or awkward. This can occur in some cases where other team members feel left behind.

I’ve found that transparency can be valuable to team members, and that if the promoted employee makes an introduction to their new position and responsibilities, it can be a way of breaking the ice with team members. Encouraging team members to ask questions and offer feedback is also an incredible way of creating a smoother transition for everyone in your company.

Help them manage their time and expectations

Management is definitely an acquired skill.  I’ve had some business owners explain the level of “shock” that their transitioning employees have experienced in regard to their increased workload and responsibility. Some may feel that they aren’t doing what’s expected of them, or that they don’t have enough time to complete all of the necessary tasks. This is all about managing expectations.

As the owner, you’ll need to invest time and energy to reassure your employee that you will help them develop the necessary skills to complete all tasks required for the role. As for managing their own expectations, a new position will frequently come with a learning curve, so let them know that bumps in the road are natural. With time and encouragement, your employee will develop confidence in their new role.

Above all, I would encourage you to instill your confidence in your promoted employee. As they develop new skills, and refine their own, they will be able to explore their new opportunities in a positive and supportive environment.

Management skills are just another topic of discussion on many of our TAB Boards. Contact me to find out more about the kind of feedback you can receive from a peer advisory board like TAB.

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

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Written by Phil Spensieri

Phil Spensieri is a TAB Facilitator in the York Region of Ontario, Canada.

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