New managers need customised training programmes. Here’s why

Customised training can help new managers thrive in their roles.

By U2B Staff 

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Understanding the Leadership Challenges of First-Time Managers Strengthening Your Leadership Pipeline whitepaper published by the Centre of Creative Leadership stated that 50% of first-time managers were found to be inefficient in their roles. The report came with the following recommendation, “customised training programmes can help new managers in the organisation with the right skills to ensure their success”.

The whitepaper also reported that 20% of first-time managers are doing a poor job according to their subordinates, 26% of first-time managers felt they were not ready to lead others, and almost 60% of first-time managers said they never received any training when they transitioned into their first leadership role.

The result of this is not just the inefficiency but more worryingly, a recent survey by Development Dimensions International, Inc. (DDI) concluded that one in four organisations reported a loss in profit due to frontline leader failure.

Close to 60% of their survey respondents indicated poor frontline leadership resulted in a turnover of leaders themselves or their team members, 65% reported a loss of productivity and 69% reported loss of team member engagement, all due to poor frontline leadership.

First-time managers function as the next generation of leaders that will form the succession pipeline for top leadership positions in your organisation. The success of these managers depends on how readily an organisation provides its new managers with the right training and skills to ensure that they succeed in their new roles.


How senior leaders can set first-time managers up for success with customised training programmes

Managers generally report low satisfaction with training programmes or initiatives if they discover that the training content is irrelevant to their context.

Cindy McCauley of CCL suggests that one of the key principles to help accelerate leader development is customisation, or “being deliberate about providing experiences tailored to address the individuals’ most pressing development needs, or to help them meet the role demands they are facing or will soon face.”

Senior leaders in an organisation can design training and developmental initiatives around the key challenges faced by these first-time managers to provide the best possible contextual management training that meet these changing needs.

According to the whitepaper, first-time managers struggle with establishing or asserting authority when they move from being a co-worker to a superior.

When adapting to the new responsibility that comes from moving from individual contributor to a manager, these individuals will require the ability to influence, manage, and coordinate employees that are not only under their direct line of authority.

First-time managers will also need to develop their managerial and personal effectiveness. The skills that first-time managers will need to build include time management, stress management, relationship management, acquiring leadership skills on top of acquiring job-specific skills specific to the industry or organisation.

Managers who are new to the role will need to develop the ability to lead team achievement as they will be responsible to guide their teams even when directions, goals, or expectations are unclear.

New managers need to build the ability to monitor their team output to stay organised and meet deadlines and this includes the ability to motivate both direct and non-direct reports.

For many managers, this will be the first time they oversee the performance of their team and this includes building their ability to give both positive and negative feedback. This includes the need to build their ability to hold reports accountable for their performance as well as the ability to deal with reports who lag in ability, knowledge, or experience.


Additionally, new managers will need to build the right set of skills that will help them to coach, develop, and mentor others, especially in terms of managing term performance.

New managers will need to build their communication skills effectively, whether it is to delegate tasks or managing upwards. Conflict management and resolution are also skills that will help new managers proactively manage or reactively resolve conflict between team members.

Communication and conflict resolution skills are essential in managing diverse teams, where managers need to develop the ability to effectively work with and lead employees that have different opinions, personalities, and skills.

Additionally, all new managers will encounter difficulties in carrying out tasks due to a lack of resources induced by budgeting and staffing issues.

The skills first-time managers require may change and evolve to unpredictable environments, and therefore customised training and coaching interventions are more effective in managing these changes.

Senior leaders in an organisation should opt for tailor-made training programmes, customised to meet the needs of their first-time managers to ensure training effectiveness.