405.627.6326 matt@whyhr.guru

Mid-level managers hold a unique position in a workplace. Not only do they manage people under them, but they also report to higher-ups in the company. This can be a challenge for anyone in the position, but particularly when they are first promoted. The shift from worker to manager is a significant one. Newly promoted managers must learn what this role means and how to balance it.

While the plight of a new manager has always been a factor, COVID-19 has brought the realities to the forefront. Throughout the pandemic, workers nearing retirement have either opted to leave the workforce or been offered early retirement packages. With their exit came a void in middle management. A crop of younger, less-experienced workers was promoted, most for the first time.

The best workers show up on time, work hard, and excel in their job performance. Fulfilling expectations rests on knowing and performing their job well. The set of skills that got a person to the point of a promotion is often no longer applicable to the new role. As a manager, the expectations are different. Rather than being judged directly on their performance, they are judged on the performance of those who report to them. The task shifts from being the best to making sure others are the best. This shift is huge, and embracing it takes some intentional work, not only from the individual but also from the employer.

Managers who don’t understand this difference or experience it for the first time are apt to manage out of fear, and owners who fail to train their new management are apt to lose their best employees — the ones they just promoted. The fear for new managers is that they are no longer the best and could be replaced. In reality, training other employees to do their old job better than they did is now the new definition of success. Rather than fearing being replaced, they need to be trained to make that their goal.

Some new managers fall into the trap of not relinquishing control of their old responsibilities. These managers fail to delegate duties to their employees and often end up burned out. They also may fall into the trap of managing through continually writing employees up. Those who report to them end up frustrated and unable to fully do their job. These new managers need training on what it looks like to manage people instead of doing the tasks themselves.

With a new crop of managers in many businesses, it is time for owners and upper management to focus on training and supporting employees as they are promoted. In the absence of this training, you risk setting your best employees up for failure and ultimately losing them to another company. Teach them the skills necessary to satisfy their bosses while managing and training those who report to them in a way that inspires success. Train them to embrace the new task that lies before them: to teach others how to do their old job even better than they used to.

Need help developing a training program for new managers? The WhyHR team can customize programs to fit the needs of your team. Reach out to us today.

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