Whether you work in an office or you’re one of the countless small business owners out there, chances are you have an employee who has been with your company from the start and has earned your trust to take on a leadership role.
The last thing you want to do as an employer holds back that trusted employee from reaching his or her full potential, but it can be difficult to know how to best assist them during this transition period.
Here are nine ways to ease your employee’s transition into a new leadership role without inhibiting them or inadvertently holding them back.
1. Introduce them to their new team
When you’re hiring, find someone who fits in with your team. Give them face time with everyone they’ll be working with, and give them time to get to know each other. If possible, have existing leaders mentor or coach new members of your team.
Their ability to lead is one of their top reasons for being hired. When it comes to leadership and management, there are skills you can teach and things you can learn. The right people will fill both roles at once as they start leading their teams and managing transitions in their senior team.
2. Schedule meetings with key employees
Once you’ve determined who needs guidance in transitioning into a leadership role, it’s time to plan out how you’ll manage those transitions. Though your schedule may be hectic, you should set aside at least 30 minutes per month for the employee that needs guidance.
Depending on how far along they are in their process, these meetings can help clear up any confusion. If an employee has never managed employees before, you could walk them through some ideas for motivating their new teams.
3. Assist them in managing up
Your senior team may have been with you from day one, but that doesn’t mean they are completely ready for change. Make sure they know who they will be accountable to as their role changes and how they can meet those expectations. Give them a clear picture of your leadership style and how it will affect them in the future. If you want every member of your team to act like a leader, they need to feel like leaders first.
4. Promote positivity and clarity
When managing transitions in your senior team, you must continue to focus on results and build confidence and experience. Providing clarity around objectives, regular feedback and recognition are key components of successful transitions.
Good leadership provides guidance and support with clear expectations of success and development opportunities through mentoring programmes and personal coaching.
Keeping new leaders focused will enable them to develop their skills while they do their job, helping them grow into effective managers in their own right.
5. Get them started on a project as soon as possible
The transition from employee to leader is never easy. But you can make it easier by starting your new leaders on special projects. They’ll get exposure and experience that will help them figure out what makes projects work and how they want to manage them.
You might also consider giving them some formal coaching, as well as letting others in your organisation know that there’s an upcoming leadership transition so people can start learning from them early on.
You can also encourage mentorship between your new leaders and more experienced managers who are ready for new challenges themselves.
6. Demonstrate their abilities
You want your employees—and potential hires—to be successful. Demonstrating they can add value will help ease their transition into new responsibilities as well as give you insight into what you need to do to retain them when they rise through the ranks.
You must regularly get honest feedback from your employees and ensure they have opportunities to expand and develop their skills.
Any feedback you receive should be discussed with them so it’s clear where they stand; but if all is going well, don’t hesitate to reward hard work with promotions and pay rises; it’ll make sense for everyone involved.
7. Seek assistance when necessary
When transitioning into a management role, you’ll probably realise there are certain gaps in an employee's skill set that need filling. Let your direct reports know early on what skills you’re looking to develop and ask them for help.
If you want to get better at managing others, ask your senior managers for tips and techniques they use. The sooner you accept that part of being a leader is needing help from time to time as well as asking for it when necessary, the sooner you will be able to focus on leading rather than struggling.
8. Provide them with your budget (if possible)
Sure, they might be accomplished in their area of expertise, but not everyone can transition into management. It’s important for both you and your new boss that you know what you’re getting yourself into—especially when it comes to money.
They need to know how much room they have for error and what kind of authority they have over expenditures. If you don’t give them their budget up front, then you run the risk of having someone who doesn’t have enough information.
These mistakes could cost both time and money down the road.
9. Commemorate their accomplishments
The best way to manage transitions on your senior team is to celebrate their successes. You could have been there for years and earned many awards, but when you make that transition, you must get recognition for all of your hard work.
Put together a presentation highlighting everything from their past accomplishments to what they can accomplish in their new role as leaders. Once you give them some props and make them feel like part of your team, you’ll be able to better manage any changes and improve their productivity right off the bat.
Give them high-quality recognition items like a personalised pen set or something sentimental with engraving. You can even create something specific to commemorate their promotion! The possibilities are endless!
So, as a manager, you may want your employee to take on more responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean that he or she is ready for it. There are some factors you should consider when deciding someone is ready for more responsibility, including time management and interpersonal skills.
Set clear goals with your employees so they know what is expected of them. When it comes time for promotion, help him or her to see their strengths and weaknesses. It will show that you value your employee’s contributions and care about career growth.