Are your line managers set up for success?

Many SME businesses look to promote from within their company, which is great for employee motivation as well as succession planning. However, when it comes to promoting people into line management roles, it is important they are given the right tools to be able to succeed in their role.

A common scenario we see is that someone who is good at a technical job – say Sales – gets promoted and is now heading up the Sales division. Let’s call them Sam. The business owner (let’s call them Taylor) thinks it’s happy days – Sam is great at selling so now the Sales team will be flying because Sam is in charge. But Sam doesn’t know the first thing about line management, other than what they have experienced from Taylor and that has been pretty much an approach of ‘just sell more’. Sam is responsible for three Sales Executives who all have unique approaches and are motivated by very different things. Sam’s approach of ‘just sell more’ isn’t inspiring any of them and due to their different personalities, the team members are clashing regularly. Quickly the dynamic in the team becomes untenable and two out of the three hand their notice in to go to a competitor. Taylor is fed up with Sam and Sam is feeling deflated and under-valued. He is also looking to leave at the earliest opportunity.

Sound familiar? Ok, so this story might be far-fetched, but we know there are elements of truth in here because we see it time and again! So, what do you need to do to set your line managers up for success? Of course, we would say invest in developing their leadership skills – ensure they are trained and know how to lead, manage, and motivate people. If for some reason that isn’t possible, we recommend you focus on supporting them in four key areas.

1. Setting a vision for their team

Good people managers will be able to think of the bigger picture for their team, setting a vision for where they want to be and then working out the action steps to help them get there.

2. Developing people

Whilst motivating and challenging people to improve themselves and deliver for the organisation is important, it is also crucial for line managers to be thinking about developing the people in their team. Looking at skills analysis and having open conversations about what an individual’s aspirations are.

3. Role modelling the values

Your organisation’s values are at the heart of everything your people do. It’s how they show up, the behaviours they display with each other and with your customers or clients. You want your line managers to role model these values so that their team members can follow suit.

4. Teach them how to coach

If empowerment is a quality you want to instil in your business, it is a good idea to teach your line managers how to coach others. Coaching requires specific communication skills as well as acquiring the art of delegation without dictation! Turn your managers and leaders into coaches and you will unlock greater accountability and innovation.

All of these areas and a lot more are covered in our CPD accredited leadership development programme. Get in touch to find out more.

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