‘The Accidental Manager’ – How to Better Prepare Employees for New Roles

15th December 2020
Accidental Manager

It is a common occurrence in any business with staff – employees are promoted, new staff are taken on and the team grows. As a result, existing roles can change, and existing employees can shift into supervisory or managerial positions. Whilst the responsibility has evolved, the team member may not yet be suitably equipped to cope. Below we look at ‘The Accidental Manager’ and how leaders can better prepare such employees for their new roles and responsibilities.

What are Accidental Managers?

Accidental managers are members of your team who have been promoted to managerial levels based their talent, skill, or experience. However, these accidental managers have never been given the necessary training to effectively manage or lead a department or team, particularly when it comes to soft skills.

What makes an effective manager?

An effective manager is one who has a positive impact the people and processes that they manage. They help to drive the business to success through organisational skills, productivity, growth and development insights as well as employee engagement.

They are able to identify their team’s individual strengths, delegating tasks to suit them, offering feedback that the employee can value and act on, as well as inspiring their team to work together to achieve the business goals.

How can leaders better prepare their employees for new roles, and how can ‘The Accidental Manager’ improve upon their own soft skills?

1. Identify the soft skills that are lacking

Some of the soft skills, a.k.a. power skills, which are vital for an effective manager are related to how they collaborate and engage with others. Therefore, you need to identify if your manager has the following: empathy, listening skills, emotional intelligence, tactfulness and coaching skills.

If you find that these skills are lacking, find the suitable training that can help build these skills up. We can all be empathic beings; we just need the right practice and encouragement to do so. Highlight how important these soft skills are to your manager and encourage them to see the practical benefits that harnessing them will afford.

2. Identify communication skills

It is especially important to identify the communication skills that your manager has. Do they clearly communicate with their team? It’s important for a manager to set expectations, as well as provide ongoing feedback. This enables them to ensure their team have been heard and understood, giving them a safe environment in which to do their best work, where they feel valued and productive.

You could even require your managers to complete a course on writing or public speaking to really boost those vital communication skills.

3. Invest in Professional Training

Even managers that have been in the role for years, need ongoing training to ensure that they can learn new techniques to motivate their staff. Put aside a budget for managers such training courses, develop comprehensive progression and succession plans, as well as monitoring and coaching initiatives.

You could also look at areas of training that involve developing effective written and verbal communication skills, cultural understanding, and sensitivity, as well as teamwork.

As with every role, training enables personal growth so that the individual can reach their brilliant potential in their new role. Mentoring them closely too will really help your managers to evolve, allowing them someone they can turn to for advice and reassurance.

4. Encourage Self-Learning

Encourage your managers to read more for their own benefit, or even watching relevant videos or audiobooks. These could be about specific subjects where they are struggling, to enhance those soft skills. As a leader in your own business, you may already be aware of some of these, or you can reach out to others for suggestions of relevant resources to then share with your managers. 

5. Provide the Right Structure for Ongoing Practices

Having the right structure to follow for ongoing practices, such as regular team meetings will really help a manager to settle into their role. This could include supplying them with meeting templates for all onboarding conversations, or their weekly team check ins. You should also ensure that they are given the time as well as the tools and templates to carry out their own 1-2-1s and performance reviews. This way, they have exactly what they need in front of them for each and every meeting.

These formal structures will be an invaluable map to guide them to lead their team with confidence to achieve maximum productivity and success.

Do you have an ‘Accidental Manager’ in your team?

By following the tips above, from clearly structure working practices to investment in training, your accidental manager will soon be on their way to becoming an effective leader. This in return will propel your business forwards, together with a cohesive, motivated team.

If you would like more advice on training and role changes, please do get in touch with us here at Purple HR.

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