Newly promoted managers (especially from technical backgrounds) can change very quickly from high performance in a technical capacity, to poor performance as a manager. This has a multiplier effect as it impacts not only their own performance but the performance of their new team.
It often occurs because it is a significant transition changing from doing the work (as an employee), to getting the work done through others (as a manager).
Our experience shows eventually people get promoted out of their level of competence, especially if they are promoted based on past achievement. This is what is known as the “Peter Principle, employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.”
How do you avoid incompetence/poor performance in new managers?
Firstly, be careful about promoting based solely on their past achievement and success. It is best to put them through a structured selection process and test out their potential competence regarding managing others i.e. can they:
- inspire and motivate others to high performance
- develop others
- collaborate and build teamwork
Secondly, avoid throwing the person in the deep end with no formal support. All newly promoted managers need training and development to become competent at their role. They have 90days to start impacting in their role, otherwise credibility with their new team, peers, and stakeholders starts eroding. The level of support will depend on the person’s innate talent for managing others, and can take the form of:
- Giving them special projects to assess their competence as a manager
- Linking them up with a mentor
- Working with other more experience managers for a period of time
- Executive coaching to support them in their transition
- In-house training
- Other training
- Academic study
We’d recommend a combination of the above depending on the needs of the management position.
When is comes to developing high performance in your organisation, focus first on your new managers. To help assess how to best develop your new managers, contact Juliette Smale at Aureum.