How does your company select its’ supervisors, team leaders or managers?
More often than not, the “best” technical person in the department is selected to both aid their retention and to solve a “gap” in the organization. This is fine in theory – but in practice will fail more than it succeeds.
The skills and attitudes required to be an effective team leaders or manager are very different from being technically competent. Indeed one may argue that know HOW to do the job may be a disadvantage in managing a function. the individuals comfort zone is “how” not “what”.
The primary goal of most team leaders and managers is to get the task done to a time scale and quality. If the staff working for that individual are not efficient or competent the easy solution for the inexperienced manager is to do the task themselves.
Preparing individuals before a promotion can be one of the most essential steps we take. This could mean training, shadowing, coaching or mentoring – or ideally a combination! Mentoring by both internal and external resources can be an effective part of a development and succession planning strategy.
Just because you go-ahead with the promotion does not mean to say it will work. Ensure the individual has a face saving route back to their original role if things don’t work out. this is a win:win for both parties.
The worlds toughest job
Having your first management job managing your former peers is a much harder job than people realize. For as that “first line manager” you are no longer part of the “workforce” as seen by your former colleagues – you are part of management, and from the manager point of view you are not part of their team either. Its almost as lonely as being the CEO – a factor rarely talked about in training.
When promoting people internally make sure you provide the real support they need to give everyone the best opportunity of success. Remember that productivity or staff engagement MAY go down while everyone adjusts to their new role.