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Boy Scouts are always prepared. Why can’t we say the same for our managers?

Sometimes the best research is field research and I must confess that the 83 is merely anecdotal, but the reality is that more than 80 percent of the people who ask what I do and hear the answer, say “ooooh, we have some of those.” So, go ahead ask me… “What do you do?” well, thanks for asking…hehe… “We develop leadership skills that stick among those managers who are often promoted, but not prepared.” And if you’re similar to the more than 80% of people who ask for that information, you’ve got a list in your head of folks who fit that description. Eek! That’s a scary concept, but what’s worse is we continue to do it. Why do we promote people and not prepare them and how do we avoid that being our reality.

In order to prepare new managers for what is ahead of them in a promotion, among their peers particularly, it is important to give them the skills needed to lead versus those they used to do their former job. A good widget maker does not a good manager make, much less level headed leader. These tips will help when you apply them to preparing those you wish to promote:

Emphasize People Development

A clear trait of an effective leader is the ability to develop others. That means more time should be spent with those doing it right, versus those who are not performing. Spending more time with those doing it right sends the message that in order to get attention, you have to perform well. Those that aren’t performing will shape up to get the attention, but usually we look at this backwards, and micromanage those who are not performing. We give them ALL of our attention.  In fact, in Contagious Leadership you’ll read that Leaders Micro Manage Only Those Who Need It and Only Until they Prove they Don’t. Contagious Leaders don’t micromanage forever, they develop or allow that employee to decide to grow elsewhere.

Teach them How to Coach vs Merely How to Terminate

Coaching is a key missing element for most new managers. It stems from the fact that they usually got promoted because they were very good at what they did. So good in fact, they no longer know the steps and therefore can’t teach them well. Get them to articulate the steps they used as this will make them a better teacher and coach. If “Just do it” sounds like a clear set of instructions, this may also work well for the senior leaders. Coaching is how we get better. Telling is usually what we hear when we’re in trouble.

Clarify Their New Responsibilities and Your Expectations

A manager who is newly promoted may not realize that they are now responsible for not just their own output and deliverables, but those of team members. This changes the way one motivates, communicates, and terminates. One might not be so quick to write off a team member if you know you’re going to have to pick up their slack. One might seek ways to motivate others that are very different from how they have been internally motivating themselves. The truth is, everything changes when you’re focused on others instead of merely your own performance.

Managers who are promoted, but not prepared can bring down an entire company. With these simple steps you can raise all the boats to a higher tide, so to speak. Even, if you are the manager who got promoted and is now looking to be even better prepared.

Stay Contagious! Monica

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