New Manager Training

“An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum interactions with his or her manager”

- Bob Nelson

Why New Managers Need Training

Most employers think that promoting an employee to a manager’s position is the best and easiest way to retain them in the company. But did you know that one out of two new managers think of quitting their jobs within months of getting that coveted promotion?

A survey by Talent LMS showed that 47% of the respondents were demotivated by the absence of new manager training in their companies. Ill-equipped for their new role, most new managers found themselves faltering their way through the job.
These statistics paint a frightening picture. They also bring into focus how important new manager training is to companies.

If you’ve recently promoted your staff to new or first-time managerial positions, it’s important that you take the time to train them on their new role. No wonder then, that most new managers lack in two important requisites: empathy and perspective. Lets hear what Simon Sinek has to advice on this matter.

Five ways training benefits new managers
• It equips new managers with the skills they need to be “good managers.”
• It improves the dynamics within the team as a manager and reduces conflict.
• It reduces the likelihood of subordinates quitting – studies show that 57% of employees quit their job because of a bad boss.
• It improves the team’s productivity and performance.
So, now that you know how beneficial new manager training is, it’s important to include this in your post-promotion activities.

Identifying Training Needs

It’s true that every employee needs to possess certain key skills, like good communication, planning and problem-solving, irrespective of what level they are in. But these skills need to be amplified in managers since they are responsible for the performance and career growth of so many people.
The good thing is, it is possible to do an in-depth training needs analysis of new managers.

Here’s what you need to do:
• Make a note of the exact role requirements of each new manager. These requirements could be both people skills and technical skills.
• Set up a 1:1 meeting with the new manager and have a frank conversation with them about their KSAs, skills gaps and expectations/responsibilities of the job.
You can use questionnaire surveys and formal assessments to evaluate their skills.
• Speak to the new manager’s previous bosses and find out what they think is the glaring skills gap in the individual.
• Match the new manager’s existing competencies with the requirements of the new role. Identify if there are any missing competencies that you need to train them for.
• Finally, match the right training program with the respective new managers.

The training you provide your new manager will equip them with the essential skills they need to discharge their jobs with care. When it comes to must-have training, these are the skills you should focus on:
• Communication
• Team Management
• Work Planning & Delegation
• Subordinate Motivation
• Emotional Intelligence
• Problem Solving & Decision Making
• Mentoring & Leadership Grooming
In the next few chapters, we’ll introduce you to a few of the best ways to provide the above-mentioned training modules to your new managers.

Communication

New managers find it hard to find a balance between being too domineering and too submissive. They have trouble communicating assertively.

This can have a negative impact on the team’s performance.

Good communication skills ensure that there is no misunderstanding between team members, and that the work is done on time.

Some of the things you can do to improve their communication skills are:
1. Listen and draw
The first part of communication is verbal communication.

To communicate what they have in mind, the new manager needs to organize their thoughts properly. Only then will the message have meaning and clarity. A great way to train your team on this skill is to play the listen and draw game.

Pair your new managers together. Blindfold one and give the other a picture. The one with the picture needs to provide the right set of instructions to describe the picture to their partner so that they can draw it correctly.

2. Try the listen and repeat game
A key to being a good communicator is to be a good listener first. During your training session, you could play the listen and repeat game. Pair two people together. Give one person an index card with a topic on it. The other person doesn’t know what’s written on this card. The person receiving the index card should say something about the topic for three minutes. The listener should then recap what they have just heard from the speaker. This game trains the new manager in active listening.

3. Play dumb charades
As a new manager, your trainee should also pay attention to their subordinates’ body language. After all, body language tells you more than words do. A game of dumb charades will help your new managers hone their body language analysis skills.

Team Management

Most new managers don’t usually have team management experience prior to their promotion. It’s imperative to train your new managers on how to manage their subordinates in the right way, to ensure that the team’s motivation and performance remain high.

Here are some things you can do to train your trainees on team management:
1. Roleplay
There are numerous types of people in a team – the go-getter, the whiner, the procrastinator, the resistant-to-change, the visionary, and so on. To deal with each type of person, the new manager will need to don different hats. This can be difficult for someone who’s never handled a team before.

Role-playing can help here. Club 4-5 people in a team and give each person a particular personality to mimic. Give everyone in the group a chance to play the role of a manager and allow them to roleplay a situation that the new manager may face in reality, on-the-job.

2. Confessions
An important part of being a good team manager is to lead by example. When you do this, you become more influential and respected in your team. You open the doors for better team collaboration.

During the training, you can help your new managers learn the skill of humility and leading-by-example by playing Confessions. Ask each trainee to confess one mistake they did on-the-job and what their learning through that was. The other trainees can then state whether they’ve made the same mistake before and suggest their solutions to prevent such a mistake.

This game is a great equalizer.

3. Engagement
Work can get boring at times, and teams can lose their motivation. A great way to get the team out of the rut is to engage them. During training, you can ask new managers to suggest the different ways they plan on engaging their teams. As people hear each other’s suggestions, they get new ideas about all the things they can implement once they’re on-the-job.

This type of engagement activities can help the manager inspire creativity and performance in the team.

Work Planning & Delegation

In many companies, it's the manager who plans the day’s work and delegates it to their team. So, it’s important that new managers learn how to plan and delegate the right way.

A few key things that you need to train them on are:
1. Task prioritization
New managers need to be trained on how to prioritize tasks based on their:
• Urgency.
• Importance to goal achievement.
• Time and effort needed to complete.
2. Resource management
Resource optimization is an essential skill for new managers, especially since managers are evaluated on how much monetary savings they were able to achieve through judicious resource usage.

Technical training on using resource management tools and time management tools should be provided. They must also be taught how to plan for events with resource shortage.

3. Employee-job fit consideration
New managers need to be shown how they should pick people for particular jobs.

They need to be trained in performing an employee-job fit analysis. In case there is a skills gap, the new manager should also be trained in performing a training needs analysis so that they can suggest the right skills training to the subordinate.

4. Providing comprehensible instructions
In many instances, the new manager may need to provide oral or written work instructions to the subordinates. Writing instructions is an art that new managers need to develop. So, it’s important to have a session on written communication during the training, which involves writing descriptions, stories, and formal notes – which are various writing styles that the new manager can use.

5. Coaching towards success
There may be times when a subordinate may find it hard to complete a delegated job. The new manager cannot take back the work and re-allocate it each time this happens. They need to be trained on how to identify the reason for resistance and how to coach the subordinate through the challenges and empower them to complete the task.

Subordinate Motivation

One of the key jobs of a manager is to lift the spirits of his team and motivate them to work better and find satisfaction in their jobs. So, it’s necessary to train new managers on motivation as well.

Start by having a session on the different types of motivation – intrinsic and extrinsic.

Then train new managers to:
1. Become more observant
Managers can learn a lot just by looking closely at their subordinates’ body language, facial expressions and general behavior at work. New managers must be trained on how to delicately and unobtrusively observe their subordinates’ hand gestures, head movements, posture and verbal sounds (that is, sighs, grunts, and so on) in relation to the task they are doing.

2. Trust their intuition
Intuition is a very powerful tool in a manager’s repertoire. New managers must be made to understand how important it is to just trust their instincts even when there is no visible proof of low morale in the team.

3. Build a genuine rapport with the team
If a manager has true, good rapport with the team, they are better able to connect with the subordinates on a personal level. They will then be able to understand and identify what the issues are and will be able to take action before the discontent leads to bigger problems.

You can ask new managers for their suggestions about how they intend to build rapport with their teams. This way, they can get great ideas from one another.

4. Time their intervention correctly
Progress is all about timing. Similarly, when trying to increase someone’s morale, find the right time to stage an intervention.

For this, the key is to actively listen to what the subordinate says and closely observe what they do, before intervening.

When they do intervene, managers must be trained to ask the right questions the right way and be sensitive to the needs of the subordinate.

5. Use games & activities to improve morale
Engagement goes a long way in improving morale. Activities like a treasure hunt, weekly trivia quiz, Friday after-office pub nights, team volunteering, and so on can help employees bond outside work.

When their personal relationships improve, it becomes easier for team members to overlook the monotony or challenges at work, because there is something else that gives them joy as well.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Quotient (EQ) is the ability of an individual to recognize, understand, respect and positively manage their own emotions, and those of others. It refers to the ability to empathize with another individual and use their emotional cues and needs to guide their behaviors and thinking towards positive outcomes.

EQ is one of the fundamental skills every new manager needs to have. After all, managers manage people – individuals with feelings and emotions.

Two key activities you can do here are:
1. Temperament analysis
Before they can manage their subordinates’ temperaments, new managers need to first understand their own temperaments. To do this, you can include a temperament analysis activity.

Give your trainees the following questions and ask them to answer them as honestly as they can:
• Describe yourself in three adjectives.
• Suggest three adjectives that others often use when describing you.
• If you could rewind and do-over a conversation/meeting with a colleague, would you take the opportunity?
• Have you ever prioritized work over people?
• Do you find yourself losing your commitment to the team’s vision?
• If you could change one thing about yourself (professionally), what would that be?
These answers will help new managers reflect on themselves. It will also enable them to consider how others may think of them.

2. The “If You Knew” game
Self-awareness is one side of the EQ equation. The other side is awareness about your team members. To help new managers become more sensitive towards the unique life experiences, expectations and challenges of others, you can play the “If You Knew” game.

On a whiteboard, write the following questions (you can add more questions if you want):
• What is your happiest/best memory?
• What is your worst/saddest memory?
• What’s your secret ambition that no one knows about?
• If you were president of the country for one day, what would you do?
• Who is the person who motivates you the most and how?
• If the world were coming to an end and you could save only two species, apart from humans, what would they be?
Make everyone sit in a circle and start with any question for the first person. Give each participant seven minutes to talk. At this point, no one else should interrupt them. After they’re done talking, the others can give their inputs about what they heard.

This game will help new managers learn the art of being non-judgemental.

Problem Solving & Decision Making

New managers have their work cut out for them. Not only do they have to address their own job-related challenges, but they need to assist their subordinates in the event they require help. To discharge such an immense responsibility, managers need to have good problem-solving and decision-making skills.

The great thing is, you can develop and hone these skills during your new manager training session by playing games that can harness their strategic thinking skills:
1. Just Jenga
There is no better game in the world that combines both problem-solving and decision-making than Jenga. The game is tricky and often frustrating. Choosing the wrong block of wood to shift can create numerous problems. So, how do you make a decision that ensures things go your way?

A game like Jenga teaches new managers critical thinking skills and helps them look at situations with different lenses. Only then can they spot that one wooden block that won’t take the whole tower down when they pull it out.

2. Create your own escape room
It’s very easy to create an escape room in your training room. All you need is a room where a group of 4-5 people can stand, a key to lock the door and about 5-7 puzzles stowed away in different parts of the room.

To get out of the room, team members have to work together and make important decisions in order to collectively, as a team, escape the locked room.

3. Monopoly
The game renowned for breaking friendships also happens to be one of the best to stimulate strategic thinking, problem-solving and decision-making. Having your trainees play a game of Monopoly will give them a taste of how it feels to strategize and think of the big picture before taking any decision.

Mentoring & Leadership Grooming

The job of every manager is to bring out the best in their subordinates and help subordinates achieve excellent growth in their career. This is why it’s important to train your new managers to actively look for promising team members and encourage them to develop professionally.

Here are a few things that new managers can do to mentor and groom their top-performing subordinates:
1. Give subordinates higher order responsibilities
Doing so will allow the subordinates to learn new skills, become proficient in challenging tasks and develop the critical thinking skills they need to take on managerial positions someday in the future.

2. Allow them to shadow you
If your subordinate is very close to being promoted, it’s great to give them a day to shadow you.

The best way to learn leadership skills is by watching great leaders in action. Your subordinates will see how you manage things and will take a leaf out of your book.

3. Let them take the lead on projects
A great way to groom future leaders and managers is to give them complete autonomy over a project/task. Here, you’ll be able to see their managerial and leadership skills in action, since they’re responsible for the project from start to completion.

Conclusion

New managers have a lot of excitement and great vision, not just for themselves, but also for the people they manage. Focused training will help new managers channel this energy and passion positively, ensuring excellent managerial and leadership results.

By following the tips and techniques we’ve mentioned above, you can quickly and effortlessly equip your new managers with the skills they need to uplift your organization towards success.

Download: New Manager Training Ebook