Executive coach Linda Miller has worked with a lot of people who have made the transition from individual contributor to manager. As a featured speaker in the upcoming First-Time Manager Livecast, Miller will be sharing that new managers need to approach their new role with a different mindset in two key areas: focus and relationships.
“As an individual contributor, your focus is on doing the work, getting projects done, and meeting deadlines. But when you switch into a manager role, it means that you have to help others get the work done and ensure that they have the support, resources, and encouragement they need to be successful, both as individuals and as a group.”
When it comes to relationships, Miller uses the simple example of lunch behaviors to make her point.
“When we are peers, I get to go to lunch and we talk about personal things and sometimes we talk about our manager. But when I become the manager, I’m not always invited to those lunches. A new manager can sometimes feel lonely because they’re not included in the conversation.”
Jay Campbell, vice president of product development for The Ken Blanchard Companies—who will also be speaking as a part of the Livecast event—explains that first-time managers often find themselves with too much or too little help when they step into their first role. On the too-little side, many new managers receive only a few hours of initial training in their first week, focused primarily on how to fill out timesheets, manage PTO, or maybe some compliance training—but not a lot that helps them master the skills of new management. On the too-much side, some training programs can consist of 10 to 15 modules, which can leave first-time managers completely overwhelmed before they get a chance to apply any of their new learnings.
Ken Blanchard believes the secret is to apply the 80/20 rule when developing training curriculum for new managers: 80 percent of the performance and results you want will come from 20 percent of what you focus on. Blanchard recommends first-time managers begin with a focus on goal setting, praising, and redirection.
“You want to make sure all of your people are clear on what you are asking them to do, and that they know what good behavior looks like.”
Becoming skilled at three types of conversations helps to set that up: a Goal Setting Conversation, a Praising Conversation, and a Redirect Conversation.
“All good performance starts with clear goals,” explains Blanchard. “Once people are clear on goals, you need to get out of your office, wander around and see if you can catch them doing something right.”
For performance that isn’t going in the right direction, Blanchard recommends that first-time managers master the One Minute Re-direct.
“Go to the person and tell them the behavior you are observing. Talk to them about it and see how you can get their performance back on track. You don’t want to wait for a long time if performance isn’t going well. You want to catch it early. It’s not about punishment; it’s just getting people going in the direction they need to go.”
To find out more about the First-Time Manager Livecast and how a minute can make all the difference, be sure to check out the registration page at www.kenblanchard.com/livecast. (Over 3,000 people are already registered for this free event.) Blanchard, Miller, and Campbell will be joined by other consultants as well as both new and experienced managers. They will all share tips and strategies to help new leaders succeed in their first leadership assignment.