It is a common misconception that great employees get promoted to managerial positions and seamlessly become great managers. However, this is not always the case. The skills required to be a great employee and great manager are very different.
Employees who are exceptional at their jobs often have one or two areas of strength that they are highly skilled at. They may prefer working alone or on a project where their tasks are clearly identified and can be very task oriented. They know how to do their job because of their years of experience, their extensive education invested, or a combination of both. However, these exceptional skills do not inherently create strong leaders and good people managers. An ability to manage technical work as well as the HR responsibilities that come along with being a manager are necessary traits to promote a great employee.
What are the key roles of a manager?
Managers rely on the work of others to achieve their objectives. They need to be able to look past the current list of tasks and projects, plan for the future and see the big picture. They need to be able to coach others and help them improve their performance. They need to be a patient leader and skilled communicator in order to invest their time and energy in helping their team succeed.
When the task-oriented individual who is focused on the now moves into a goal-oriented role focused on the future and dependant on the work of others, it can cause frustration and misaligned priorities. If there is not sufficient training during the transition period these individuals will not only feel a sense of imposter syndrome, or even disengagement, their team will suffer as well. This frustration can look like overworking until they burn out, other times they will lose their credibility from their team.
There are a few times when they will manage this transition on their own and end up as a mediocre manager. What a shame; to take an exceptional employee and turn them into a mediocre manager. This is a lose-lose situation for your business. You end up losing an employee that had previously been adding to your bottom line and replace him with a mediocre (at best) manager who will now be the cause of de-motivation to his/her employees.
What can you do to avoid a mediocre manager?
When you have a bright, talented employee, set them up for more success by planning for their transition period before you actually put them in that role. This can include:
- Being mentored by a senior manager
- Enroll them in leadership and management classes
- Conduct regular conversations (coaching) with them about their current struggles and future aspirations
- Ensure they have a support system in place once they do start their new role
- Start them off with a smaller team before managing a large team.
If done properly, your great employee will transition into an even greater manager. Always aim for the win-win situation.
If you would and your management team would value support on how to deal with employee issues like this and the many other that come up in your work week, reach out to talk to us about our partnership programs. Our HR Business Partner programs start at 5 hours a month and provide support in all facets of recruitment, employee relations, performance management, disability management and much more. Contact us today and let’s see if Essential HR’s partnership program is right for you!