Supporting First-Time Leaders
Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - Joe Kiedinger
Leading a team can be an intimidating prospect even for the most seasoned and experienced of leaders. For first-time leaders with no management experience, this feeling can be exaggerated and sometimes overwhelming. Perhaps you’ve just promoted one of your employees to a management position, and they are feeling the pressure of the greater responsibility they’ve been entrusted to. Luckily, there’s a lot that companies can do to help ease first-time leaders into their new position and settle their minds.
- Allow access to mentorship
Its important that newly promoted managers receive the attention and support they need to succeed (Koziej). Employees correctly expect this of their managers, and there is no reason why it should be any different as one advances up the ladder of responsibility. One-on-one mentorship from both internal leaders and consultants provide a great deal of utility on a daily basis to leaders with all different kinds of experience. Getting a budding leader involved in some kind of mentorship can help them naturally grow comfortable with their role and in turn cultivate a perhaps timid prospect into a confident trailblazer for your organization.
- Provide direction
New leaders will often not have a strong sense of exactly how they should be leading their team as they enter their position, so providing them with a standard procedure from the outset will help them better establish a baseline for developing a refined style of leadership. A common example of this is task-relevant maturity, a concept developed by former Intel CEO Andy Grove in his book High Output Management. Task-relevant maturity allows managers to be hands-on and involved with struggling employees who need attention and assistance to succeed while being hands-off and relaxed with consistent star performers (Koziej). Teaching some form of management style like this can help them avoid common destructive mistakes like micromanagement.
- Teach self-management techniques
Often, easing fears and concerns that naturally come with ascending to a new leadership position is largely up to the leader themselves. Encouraging self-management concepts and techniques like mindfulness skills, basic physical wellness, and openness to fresh perspectives and mindsets can significantly help a new leader get acclimated with their role (Brendel).
Promoting employees to positions of greater responsibility in your company is a great way to cultivate growth from within and provide your workers with tangible opportunities for professional development. While it is a great opportunity with a lot of mutual benefit, it can be very intimidating for the new leader in question. Providing these new leaders with an ample network of support will enable them with the tools they need to be successful both for their team and for the bottom line of their organization.
Brendel, David. (2016). “To Succeed as a First-Time Leader, Relax” [Article]. 30 September, 2016. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2016/09/to-succeed-as-a-first-time-leader-relax [Accessed January 11, 2022]
Koziej, Kuba. (2020). “Three Ways Organizations Can Help First-Time Managers Succeed” [Article]. 18 September, 2020. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2020/09/18/three-ways-organizations-can-help-first-time-managers-succeed/ [Accessed January 11, 2022]