Many people aspire to become managers. They want the added challenge, authority, and salary that comes with moving from team member, to team leader. They work hard, put in the time, and get that promotion.
But what many new managers don't realize, is that leading a team demands a whole new skillset—abilities that go far beyond what was required of them before. And the worst part is, very few companies have new manager training programs designed to help you make the transition successfully.
You're basically on your own. You'll find yourself modelling your management style on the approaches you've experienced with other leaders—for better or for worse.
You'll rely on a combination of educated guesses, gut instinct, and improvisation, learning the ropes of leadership through a series of hits and misses.
Some managers never really develop a cohesive, effective approach. They're forever grappling with high employee turnover, sluggish productivity, disorganization, and disgruntled team members.
This is where human resources training can make a huge difference. Even a basic, introductory course can transform how managers communicate with and motivate their teams.
Would you benefit from HR training for managers? Start by asking yourself these 4 key questions.
What does your recruitment & hiring process look like?
Finding and hiring talented new employees is one of your top priorities as a new manager. There are so many reasons why hiring the right person is crucial:
- Research showsa single bad hire can cost a company $25,000 or more
- Poorly selected hires negatively impact overall workplace morale
- Hiring the wrong fit slows productivity and contributes to high turnover
- Bad hiring decisions erode your credibility as a manager
The foundation of smart hiring is an effective hiring process. Each step matters. From the job description to the screening technique to the final selection—every component must be done right, if you're going to find the right fit for the role.
Unfortunately, most people who get promoted to management receive absolutely no training in this area. They resort to approaches they've experienced themselves over the years, and make hiring decisions based largely on gut instinct—a major pitfall.
Even basic human resources training will equip new managers with a hiring toolkit they can use to immediately improve their process. You'll learn essentials, like how to:
- create a detailed job description
- pre-screen candidates to reduce time wasted on fruitless interviews
- win over ideal applicants by effectively presenting benefits and incentives
- develop a relevant list of interview questions (and avoid compliance issues)
- avoid making decisions based on instinct or other misleading factors
Once you learn a systematic approach for recruitment and hiring, you'll immediately stop wasting time, energy, and money on bad decisions. This skill is a real life-saver for new managers!
How strong are your conflict resolution skills?
We've all experienced some level of conflict at work. From vaguely not liking a colleague, to out-and-out wars over project management and communication styles. Like so many other things in life, workplace disputes are inevitable.
But what's not inevitable is how you manage them.
Once you have assumed a leadership role (whether you're overseeing 3 people or 50), you will find yourself moderating disputes. Your first instinct may be to ignore tensions, and hope your team members work it out among themselves.
And in some cases, this works. However, when conflict begins to escalate, turning a blind eye can have disastrous results. The consequences of poorly managed workplace conflicts include:
- big financial losses (a recent study by CPP Global estimates employee disputes cost American businesses $359 billion in paid hours per year)
- higher quit rates
- hostile work environment
- persistence of illegal acts, such as verbal, physical, and sexual harassment
- less productivity
- resentment of management (that's you)
Dealing with conflict is a fundamental, non-negotiable part of being a leader. But few managers are "born" with this skill. Human resources training teaches essential conflict resolution techniques, such as:
- creating a space in which parties can voice their concerns safely
- swiftly addressing dangerous or illegal acts of aggression
- facilitating a productive dialogue between factions
- helping participants reach a resolution that benefits everyone
- demonstrating care without compromising your neutrality
Knowing how to handle conflict situations strategically and compassionately will cement your authority as a leader. This is a key skill for gaining the trust and respect of your team.
How do you approach employee performance reviews?
The traditional performance review is a once or twice-a-year affair, which frankly, most people find totally useless. Today, experienced managers know that more frequent evaluations are needed to give and get feedback, and ensure team members are flourishing.
Performance reviews are crucial because they allow you to assess whether:
- employees are meeting expectations
- employees are feeling challenged and fulfilled in their roles
- interventions are needed (additional training, change of role, etc.)
You might schedule a few formal reviews each year, along with informal check-ins on a more regular basis. You need to keep your finger on the pulse of employee sentiment, commitment, and job satisfaction.
If you want to retain top talent, and address problem areas quickly, you need to find out how your team members are doing—more than just once or twice in a 12-month period. What's the best way to structure this process?
Human resources training helps new managers approach performance evaluations in a holistic way. You'll learn how to assess practical things, like whether a team member is reaching their sales targets (for example).
But you'll also learn how to talk about employees' long-term goals, their feedback on your management style, and other key factors that directly impact productivity and retention. This is a two-way street: a chance to assess your progress as a leader, while setting your team up for long-term success. It's so important to get it right.
What leadership style have you chosen?
We use the word "chosen" because this should be a deliberate act. While some of your approach will definitely come from your natural disposition and gut instinct, other aspects of leadership may not come so easily.
For example, it may take a concerted effort to manage the way you connect with team members on a personal level. You may have to work at being more approachable. Or, it could be that you need to pull back, and maintain more professional distance between you and your employees.
Some managers have difficulty resisting the urge to micro-manage—and spend far too much time meddling in projects they've assigned others. In other cases, they find it difficult to assert authority, deal with dissent, and keep team members motivated.
Are you too strict? Too lenient? Do you inspire confidence and hard work?
Moving into a supervisor role comes with unique challenges. Very few first-time managers make the transition successfully without some kind of help, guidance, and support. Because ultimately, this role is about leading people and directing their efforts in the best possible direction—versus simply completing your own to-do list, which is all you had to worry about before you became a manager.
This is why human resources training can be a real life-saver for first-time managers. You need practical tools and proven strategies to steer the ship well. Confidence is key...and information is power.
Decide early what kind of leader you will be, and start learning the skills needed to fully own that role.
Are you interested in learning more about management tools and leadership techniques? Take a look at the Human Resources for Professionals Certificate offered by Kompass Professional Development.
This online HR training course covers all the skills listed here, and much more. Click below to request free information, browse the program, and connect with an advisor online. We're here to help.