Following on from our article, in response to the review into health management, we wanted to explain why it is so crucial to support first line managers and how our clients are exemplars of best practice.
Our clients have recognised you cannot promote someone into a management role and expect them to manage without training and support. This is particularly true for new managers, especially first line managers who have immediate interaction with their teams. Not only are they going into a leadership role, but many will view their team members as friends, as well as colleagues – a true challenge for someone taking their first step up the managerial ladder.
Why do new managers need training?
There are many reasons why training is important and as a training provider we could go on and on. But there are three key reasons:
- Investing in training improves morale and engagement – if your new manager is confident in their role they will be a better leader for their team, and will hopefully share that enthusiasm for ensuring their team members are well supported and trained too.
- It prevents any problems before they can start – with suitable training, your new managers know the rules and develop the skills they need to play by them. They know what is expected of them as a manager and what their team should expect of them. All of which means, a long-term reduction in the number of queries and support requests coming to HR. Which in turn frees HR professionals up to work on proactive organisational development, instead of reactive fire-fighting.
- Line manager resilience – when you become a people manager, a first line manager, there are a whole raft of things on your to do list – understanding your new role, 1:1’s, difficult conversations, and goal setting to name but a few. It can help feel overwhelming. Joining a session with other managers helps you realise you’re not alone. Nor are you ‘failing’ if you find yourself struggling with a part of your role. Live group training creates a shared human connection between managers. Which according to Kristen Neff is essential for self-compassion and resilience.
What are the challenges for new managers?
All the reasons listed above are the challenges that new managers face. But it is a bigger challenge because for many they have taken that leap from friend, to manager. It’s a very real challenge for many of the people we have seen on our training courses.
Take for example, the nurse who has worked night shifts with colleagues, had a laugh with their team mates during quiet moments on shifts and even had social interaction outside of work. What happens when one of them takes a step up in their career and becomes sister or matron? How does the dynamic change? Can they continue to interact the way they do without that causing problems, and perhaps friction with other members of the team? It can also confuse new members to the team who are then not sure where boundaries lie if they have joined since the move to line manager.
What happens when they don’t have the right training?
The recent Government review has really highlighted how important training for leaders is. Mr Javid said: “The findings in this report are stark, it shows examples of great leadership but also where we need to urgently improve.” And he supported the reviews recommendations including the development of consistent management standards through accredited training.
Lack of effective leadership training leads to poor people management, bullying, inadequate development of team members, ineffective appraisals, reduced staff engagement and morale. And on the other side of the coin exhaustion and burnout for managers. Some of our clients realised the gap they had left by not offering training when talented managers were rejecting promotion opportunities and even stepping down from leadership roles because of the pressure they faced.
Having a structured and consistent training package for new managers can prevent any of these issues arising and ensure that your organisation has a strong, well equipped succession of future leaders developing.
Our courses for new and first line managers
We offer a number of courses and programmes that are especially helpful for new managers and first line managers:
- Team leadership in practice is a 6-hour course that helps managers understand communication styles, focus on adult-to-adult conversations, and develop strategies to manager former peers.
- Essential skills for new managers is a 16-hour, ready-to-tailor leadership programme with a strong pragmatic focus. Workshops can be delivered as is, or act as a time and cost-efficient starting point for developing personalised learning for your organisation.
- Emerging leaders (for existing managers wanting to progress) a 15-hour leadership programme that helps managers with some experience to develop great self-awareness and flexibility in their leadership style.