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  • Irina Ketkin, author of #adventuresofthelearner

The support to support managers


If you’re one of those organisations who promote people to management positions because of their people skill rather than tenure – congratulations, you’re a cool company to work for!

Unfortunately, we often see the latter. And there is nothing wrong with that per se. But we need to ensure that that person get the support they need to be able to support their people.

There are a lot of management books and courses out there. And while they may cater to certain needs, they can’t make that manager YOUR manager – aka how managers deal with life in YOUR organisation.

Every onboarding process for a new employee has two goals:

  1. To introduce the company

  2. To prepare that person to do the job

If you’re only paying attention to one of those, you are bound for failure. A lot of companies (bwin.party is no exception) has a good grip on how to introduce the company – good presentations, video messages from the CEO, online quizzes and so on.

But managers, like any other employee, can’t know what is expected of them on daily basis, how to transition from being a team member to a team lead, how to deal with conflict and nurture their team’s ideas, among many other things, unless you tell them.

Sure, you can send them on an in-house management course but that won’t solve all of your problems.

What needs to be paid attention to is the personal, role-model, lead-by-example face-to-face induction into management. You wouldn’t hire a new person and expect them to know everything, would you? Then why are managers exception to this rule?

Create in-house management induction programmes, arrange meetings with the key stakeholders, introduce them to the C-levels, walk them around the office facilities, encourage to ask questions and challenge the status quo (after all,

you didn’t hire that smart intelligent person to tell him what to do!)

Another very important point to consider is the mind set of said manager, especially if s/he has been brought in externally. These people come with their own understanding of how things work,

they bring their previous employer’s culture with them.

And in most cases, that culture would be very different from yours.

Finally, it’s important to consider that person’s learning styles. Just like everyone there are ways they prefer to take in new information, and ways that are not as effective. One size does not fit all. So don’t assume just because you have a pretty PowerPoint or styled document people can sit down and peruse at their pace, they will remember much from it.

The question is who should be responsible for this? It’s easy to say “Oh, HR has to do all that people stuff! They should handle the induction as well.” Is it? I think that onboarding a manager should be everyone’s responsibility – his manager, his new team, his peers, colleagues, HR, office management, even the janitor working the late shift.

But why isn’t this being done? Laziness, unawareness, busyness… You name it. That’s why I want to urge you to change the status quo yourself. Make them welcome, make them feel at home and sooner or later that kindness will be paid back hundredfold.

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