When Can an Employee Become a Manager?

I am a foodie so I watch a lot of cooking shows. 

One show is a competition amongst private chefs and those who either own a restaurant or work at one. Some of the challenges consist of the group being broken into two teams and a team leader is designated.

This is extremely difficult for some because they have never led before, and they are overseeing people they do not know well at all. I realize it is a TV show so the drama and antics are hyped up, but it got me thinking that this is not too far off from what happens in the workplace.

As a leader, hopefully you are developing your team so they can advance in their careers. 

However, there are times when someone leaves your department and it is easier to just promote one of your employees.

In other cases, you may feel that a person is ready to take the leap and become a manager.

Keep in mind that there are only a handful of crucial moments in our lives and not all of us handled them well.

Starting kindergarten, attending middle school, going to college, moving out of the house, getting married, and having children are examples of critical life stages that most of us have experienced.

In most, if not all, instances we have had a lot of guidance so we achieved success.

In the business world, our first “real” job is a critical time but so is when we get promoted to a leadership role.

How much support did you receive? 

When I ask that of newly minted managers the answer is “not much.”

They may have attended some management training programs or taken a few classes, but they are not allowed or don’t get the chance to apply what they learn at their place of work.

Some companies do an excellent job of preparing their employees; however, this is not the norm. 

Usual comments are that their bosses don’t have the time, there is too much work, the tight labor market, and/or the boss is not a good leader so is not helpful anyway.

One idea is for the new manager not to rely totally on their boss in developing them.

Engaging a mentor or coach could be very beneficial.

The mentor or coach does not have to even be in the same company for them to be effective.

360 evaluations can also be helpful as long as the new manager does not try to determine “who said what” but instead focuses on what they can learn from this.

Lastly have them get into the habit of being a good observer.

Give them opportunities to see how other leaders in the organization operate.

Shadowing different leaders can provide insight into the different ways of doing things.

A unique skill for new managers to learn is to find ways to lead that feels most comfortable to them.

If they mirror another leader 100%, they may be viewed by others as nervous, insecure, or robotic which will affect their performance.

Determining how to be an effective leader takes time, patience, and ingenuity but also assistance from others.