Nine Ways to Make “Superstars” Effective Managers
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Derek Finkelman and Jonathan Corke for Talent Management magazine. To check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and/or Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MedfiaTec, please click here.
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Top-performing individuals don’t instantly become top-performing managers. To succeed, new managers require time, training and guidance.
It’s a common scenario: A managerial position becomes available and is filled by a top performer with minimal or no previous management experience. Yet it makes sense. Shouldn’t a top performer be able to easily make the transition to manager? Shouldn’t that person be able to guide others to his or her same level of productivity? The answer is a 100 percent, absolute maybe.
While top performers likely have solid domain skills, coupled with a strong motivation to succeed, there’s a good chance they have not been afforded sufficient opportunity to develop effective management techniques. For some, these skills can be learned on the job. For others, the consequences of a poor managerial fit can be significant in terms of lost productivity and morale for the new manager and his or her direct reports.
Therefore, prior to promoting a top performer with minimal or no managerial experience, assess the candidate’s strengths and forward-looking potential in nine core areas of effective management.
This analysis can ensure consistently smooth management transitions and keep a company operating at peak performance as it identifies whether a top performer is ready to lead now, is better-suited for some limited managerial experiences and additional training, or perhaps has a skill set and disposition that will only thrive in an individual contributor role. Consider: Can the new manager execute these nine core skills?
[Here are the first three.]
• Move from tactical to strategic. Is the employee ready to let go of his or her day-to-day responsibilities and play a more conceptual or strategic role? Some managers believe they need to understand every last detail of what their employees are working on.
• Commonly referred to as “micro-managing,” this type of behavior can make otherwise content employees burn out and leave a company. For a top performer who excels at the tactical level, managing others to achieve the same level of success may not seem as fulfilling.
• Is the employee prepared for this potential shock? Many top performers are capable of the transition from tactical to strategic thinking, provided they have access to the right resources, such as a mentor or applicable management training courses.
Defend the team. Is the employee ready to defend his or her new direct reports and support them in public? Is the employee ready to be a leader? Leaders absorb rather than deflect criticism. Leaders push praise downward to their employees and proactively look for ways to portray their direct reports in a positive light.
In short, leaders have a deep understanding of the phrase, “praise in public, condemn in private.” Lots of top performers have healthy, competitive egos. Don’t assume that deflecting praise and supporting direct reports is a natural instinct for new managers.
Build trusting relationships. Can the employee develop a strong, trusting relationship that engenders compassion and prudent responses to change? As a cautionary tale, “Jerry” really enjoyed working for a manager until the reasons behind some recent absences came into question.
Jerry’s son was in and out of the hospital, and thus, he needed to unexpectedly miss some work during a two-week period. Rather than show compassion and understanding, Jerry’s manager accused him of interviewing. The manager’s paranoia quickly became a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Jerry decided it wasn’t worth working for someone who so quickly questioned his integrity. Jerry’s example illustrates the risk associated with promoting a top performer before understanding his or her ability to trust and respect others.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
Derek Finkleman is Product Manager at CashStar, the preferred digital gifting and incentives partner for retailers nationwide. These retail brands leverage CashStar to easily and securely integrate digital gifting strategies to increase sales and customer loyalty. Jonathan Corke is Field Marketing Manager at WorkForce Software, the leader in workforce management solutions for large employers with complex policies and compliance concerns.
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