Grooming new managers is crucial to ensure seamless successions, efficient operations and effective management of employees. In most organisations, grooming of new managers often begins at the last mile, where the best performing employee gets to lead.
Indeed, a study by the Chartered Management Institute found that 4 out of 5 managers in the UK are accidental; they happen to be there simply because they are good at what they do, but lack competency and experience to lead a team. More often than not, human resource (HR) is left out of the picture in identifying leaders as well as planning and nurturing of new managers. Here are several ways HR can play a crucial role in developing new managers:
Defining leadership and its attributes in an organisation
Leadership is a vague and abstract term. There is no single set of skills (hard or soft) that clearly define leadership that is suitable across all organisations. Therefore, it is very important for HR to identify the core values that are essential to define the type of leadership in a particular organisation.
HR is well-placed to do so, especially with support from other divisions, because it is the department that supplies manpower to the company. Collecting, sorting, analysing and deciding on the attributes that are commonly associated with superior managers in the company would allow HR to better focus in its search for the next generation of managers.
Development of new managers should start early
The best stage to nurture new managers is at hiring; after all, candidates go through the first level of screening via HR. Different organisations require different types of leadership skill. This is where HR can actively participate in identifying candidates who possess key attributes that suit a particular organisation’s definition of leadership. A progressive HR would certainly employ human capital analytics in its search for specific qualities that are already prevalent in the current crop of superior managers within an organisation.
Identifying candidates with suitable attributes for leadership roles makes it easier for performance and development tracking, thereby, ensuring that when it is time for these leaders to step up, they are ready in terms of experience and knowledge.
Constant monitoring of potential leaders from within
HR is in a good position to assist team leads in identifying leaders within the organisations as HR would already have a list of attributes of what defines a successful leader. Ideally, a leader would have attributes such as being a high performer, passionate about the company goals, a catalyst, responsible, able to multitask and has remarkable communication skills. Most organisations would simply conduct yearly employee performance appraisals to identify a leader as this method defines the overall ability and expertise.
However, not all high-performing employees are cut out to be leaders. Some do not have the capacity to fit into a leadership role and would much prefer to be followers. HR can help to monitor such high-performing employees and nurture them into areas in which would help them to succeed further, either as a leader or motivating them further as high-performing individuals. The key is to identify and acknowledge their worth. High-performing employees tend to realise their own potential and if their potentials are left unrecognised, they might just move on to other organisations.
Specific trainings for targeted development
How relevant are suggestions for trainings / courses that are sent to employees? Trainings and courses that are generic often add no value to employees and organisations.
HR must have the necessary resources to support training and development in an organisation, and to do so in a customised manner. By maintaining a database that provides an overview of the skills profile of the organisation, HR can effectively seek and suggest trainings that are relevant right down the individual level. Training of new managers can be done more efficiently if there is constant collaboration between HR and team leads. Real-time updates from team leads on team members’ development roadmap allow specific response from HR.
Consultation and soft skills development
As with every beginning, new managers may struggle with various challenges that not all team leads can nor have the time to resolve. Some issues may involve conflicts within a team that are too sensitive to be discussed openly, or too personal to seek consultation without the assured privacy that HR possess.
This is where HR can step in as a crucial albeit third party; it is an area in which the human side of HR can flourish. The soft skills involved allow HR to counsel, negotiate, listen and coach new managers, helping them to navigate challenges they face at work. HR can smoothen the transition of new managers into their roles, bolster their confidence and even stem attrition of talent. Unfortunately, this role is more often than not left to team leads, who may not possess the necessary soft skills and experience to coach new managers.
Developing new managers is one of the most critical goals of any organisations. While some may argue that it is the team leader’s role to identify new managers, it is important to note that every potential leader walks through the recruitment door of HR. Hence, HR is well positioned to play a role in nurturing these new managers and have a higher chance of influencing them into great managers than any other divisions.