Onboarding a New Manager
The onboarding experience of a new manager can mean the difference between a well working team and a disengaged group of employees. Learning to trust a new or newly promoted employee with your people can be a little gut wrenching, so we often consider these beginning days as the time when new managers are earning our trust. Unfortunately, with nearly 33% of new hires looking for new employment within their first 6 months on the job, it’s not just the manager who will be building rapport.
Employees are depending on these first few weeks to determine if your organization or the position is the right place for them. If you’ve been lucky enough to find someone who is actually up for the important task of leading your workforce, then stunting their progression should be last thing you do. Gain the new manager’s trust in no time with these 5 tips.
Agree on Autonomy
You’ve hired or promoted the employee to a management position because you believe they have what it takes to lead and succeed. Trust that decision. Early on, set parameters for accountability and procedure. Be sure to explain where their authority ends, and their superiors’ begins so there’s no confusion throughout their time in the position.
Download: New Hire Planner and Cheat Sheet
Don’t be a Micromanager
The point of bringing another leader into the company is to alleviate executives of some of their own duties and stresses. If instead, executives are anxiously checking in on assigned projects or, even worse, taking them over midway, you can bet the manager will feel distrusted and hesitant to branch out. If loosening the reins has you nervous, be transparent. Explain why there’s hesitation and work together on what course of action you will follow to pass the barrier. Often, micromanagers break their habit by setting time checkpoints. For instance, ask the new manager to send daily, weekly or monthly reports with specific information. That way, all levels are aware of happenings without compromising trust or tacking on extra, frustrating steps into a process.
Ask for Permission Sometimes
From day 1, give managers decisions and the room to provide input. As you walk through procedures, ask if there’s anything they don’t understand or wish were done differently. Consider the suggestions as a step toward innovation instead of criticism. The new manager will see how you respect their opinion and expertise as well as notice how receptive your organization is to new ideas. While it might be a little scary, simply opening the floor to suggestions and even asking permission before making position altering choices can turn a frustrating situation into an opportunity to collaborate. Keep it up throughout their employment for the best results!
Make Room for Errors
If there’s one thing every employee needs, it’s the room for errors. Obviously there are rules that simply can’t be broken, but for most processes, it’s important to encourage risks and independence. When onboarding a new manager, there should be an established grace period within which the employee is allowed to make mistakes. When or if a mistake is made, pull the manager aside and discuss what should have been done instead. If there are repercussions associated with those errors, clearly outline how those would be administered if they were not new on the force. Finish up with a reminder of when they can expect to begin taking part in the process like tenured employees. After the tough discussion, reiterate your confidence in their performance.
Trust isn’t synonymous with being best friends, but employees do feel more comfortable approaching friendly and positive individuals. This is especially true for the beginning of employment, when the manager is trying to acclimate to their team and possibly a new company overall. Onboarding is an opportunity to develop that supportive relationship between the organization and new managers. This should be one of the easiest parts, too. Your organization may have a standard welcoming procedure, but if not, consider incorporating personal touches like branded materials or a short luncheon to introduce the new manager to their team and co-workers. Carry on the good feelings by appointing a fellow manager as a mentor.
Onboarding a new manager can make big ripples in your organization and managers often set the tone for entire teams of employees. Luckily, if the process is organized well and leaves the right impression, that manager will be able to repeat it with their own new hires. Lead by example and create an onboarding program that you would be proud to see all other leaders follow.