I would love to have a quarter for every new manager I’ve seen flail and flounder in his/her new job. Since in most cases each was promoted because he/she is a great individual contributor but has little if any management experience, it’s not too surprising when that person takes a while to find his/her footing.
In addition to providing the appropriate new manager training, here are a few additional ways we can help new managers succeed.
1. Have a regular weekly development meeting for at least the first ninety days. Not a managers meeting, but a 30-45 minute developmental meeting every week to discuss how the new manager is doing.
Ask the person to come prepared to discuss one or two aspects of leading and managing he/she did well in the previous week, and one or two things he/she either didn’t know or could have done better. This not only keeps the manager’s development on track, but also teaches how to self-assess as they go. Never be too busy to hold this meeting.
2. Give the new manager a specific area of the sales or customer experience approach to improve. It can be anything from improving how a customer is greeted to increasing add-ons, etc. This has three benefits. First, it communicates to the new manager that developing the staff and elevating the sales experience is the highest priority.
Second, it throws him/her right into coaching and developing the staff. This is much more important than just focusing on operations. Third, it positions the new manager as a leader to the staff. This can be especially important if the new manager has been promoted from within.
3. Have him/her do a store and staff assessment. Ask the new manager to make a list of what he/she thinks the store is doing well, and areas in which he/she thinks the store can improve. This can be a very challenging for a new manager, which is why I like it. It teaches a new manager to look critically at the store and, more important, demonstrates that you want his/her unfiltered opinion. Just don’t take it personally if you hear something you don’t like.
I like to also have new managers identify the strengths and improvement opportunities for each employee. This will help you assess how well he/she knows the team, and will give you some potential insight since many new managers were most recently a peer of the people they are now evaluating.
4. Have him/her lead the next staff meeting. Again, this helps position the new manager with the rest of the staff. It also gives you a chance to see how well he/she to conducts a staff meeting. Be sure and work with the new manager on the goals of the meeting, etc.
5. Have the new manager be in charge on a busy day even though you’re in the store. Tell the staff that you are just another staff member for the day, and all questions and issues should be taken to the new manager. Spend your day working the floor, and once each hour pull your new manager aside for some coaching. Do this every week for a couple of months and before you know it, your new manager will be an incredible floor leader.
6. Have a weekly developmental focus. Each week, focus your new manager on learning one new thing, or practicing one new skill or competency. Just one. Don’t overwhelm him/her. There’s plenty of time to develop, and one area of focus a week is a nice steady pace. It also commits you to working with your new manager on key areas of development.
Again, these should supplement more formal management and coaching training, but all of these ideas well help you substantially speed up your new manager’s development and ability to impact the business.
So let me ask, which ones of these can, or should, you put into practice with one of your managers? These ideas will help all managers, whatever their time in the position.
Doug Fleener, a proven retail and customer experience expert and consultant, helps companies dramatically improve their customer experience and their results. Visit the Dynamic Experiences Group website, or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you create extraordinary results.