How do I help a new team leader rise to the chal­lenge af­ter he’s had a rocky start?

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Caro­line Ward

the se­nior man­ager in a medtech firm. I pro­moted an­other staff mem­ber to team leader af­ter he showed ex­cep­tional skill dur­ing a suc­cess­ful trial pe­riod. Eight weeks into his role, two team mem­bers have raised is­sues about his lead­er­ship qual­i­ties. I pro­moted him be­cause of his high stan­dard and think he will be a fan­tas­tic role model. I want to see him do well, and in­spire con­fi­dence. How do I bring this up with­out caus­ing ten­sion be­tween him and his team?

a team long term re­quires a spe­cific set of skills. But many who are suc­cess­ful at a se­nior level strug­gle to make the tran­si­tion from man­age­ment of op­er­a­tions or projects to peo­ple man­age­ment. Of­ten train­ing, men­tor­ing and on-go­ing sup­port are re­quired to as­sist them. 1 Why is this is­sue aris­ing now? As the team leader has suc­cess­fully com­pleted a trial pe­riod, con­sider what is the dif­fer­ence be­tween the en­vi­ron­ment now and dur­ing that pe­riod. Is the work­load heav­ier? Are there stresses now that did not ex­ist be­fore? While other team mem­bers are cit­ing is­sues with their direct-line man­age­ment, per­haps there are other is­sues. Gather in­for­ma­tion on the per­for­mance of the team, at­ten­dance records and project req­ui­si­tions. Gar­ner in­for­mal feed­back from other team lead­ers or man­agers.

An over­all barom­e­ter of the com­po­si­tion and per­for­mance of the team will al­low you to as­cer­tain if the is­sue is with the direct line man­age­ment of the team or with the more strate­gic is­sues of the al­lo­ca­tion of work­load, stress man­age­ment or more com­plex dy­nam­ics within the team it­self. 2 Ini­ti­ate a coach­ing-based con­ver­sa­tion Or­gan­ise a con­fi­den­tial space to dis­cuss any ar­eas of con­cern with the new team leader. Al­low him time to ex­press how he feels the role is go­ing, any sup­ports re­quired, and ar­eas that are prov­ing to be a strug­gle. Try to ap­proach this as a coach­ing con­ver­sa­tion: ask open ques­tions, pro­vide him with time and space to re­spond, lis­ten to his feed­back and al­low him to gen­er­ate po­ten­tial so­lu­tions. It is im­por­tant that an ap­pro­pri­ate tone is set. It is not a per­for­mance re­view or a dis­ci­plinary pro­ce­dure, sim­ply a dis­cus­sion of their role to date. En­sure that ac­tions are iden­ti­fied for im­ple­men­ta­tion fol­low­ing the meet­ing. En­cour­age him to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for as many of the ac­tions as pos­si­ble and ap­pro­pri­ate. Set time­frames and dead­lines for im­ple­men­ta­tion, in­clud­ing progress up­dates. 3 Pro­vide for­mal train­ing For­mal ex­ter­nal train­ing is a good start­ing point for those who strug­gle with peo­ple man­age­ment. It pro­vides a ba­sic tool­kit to turn to when is­sues arise and can help them an­a­lyse their man­age­ment style, note any gaps and build con­fi­dence. When sourc­ing train­ing providers, en­sure the train­ing is in keep­ing with the ethos and cul­ture of the com­pany, re­quest a con­ver­sa­tion with the train­ing provider and a look at the train­ing ma­te­ri­als. Good train­ers will also re­quest in­for­ma­tion on your or­gan­i­sa­tion and the in­di­vid­ual be­fore­hand. 4 High­light on­go­ing sup­port Em­pha­sise that sup­port is avail­able. While it may be tempt­ing to try to “solve” all is­sues in one con­ver­sa­tion or de­clare him com­pe­tent af­ter a train­ing day, con­tin­u­ous sup­port and as­sis­tance are more likely to fa­cil­i­tate suc­cess. An “open door” pol­icy, check­ing in from time-to-time and pe­ri­odic emails serve to re­in­force your sup­port and ac­ces­si­bil­ity. This should serve to build con­fi­dence, al­low you both to deal with is­sues as they arise and build a valu­able feed­back loop. 5 Con­sult hu­man re­sources for in­ter­nal pro­cesses Do not al­low the fact that you have se­lected this in­di­vid­ual to cloud your judge­ment or al­ter your ap­proach in dealing with the sit­u­a­tion. Ex­plore the is­sue with HR on an in­for­mal ba­sis ini­tially. Make your­self fa­mil­iar with com­pany pol­icy on per­for­mance is­sues, feed­back and dis­ci­plinar­ies. This will al­low you to fol­low es­tab­lished best prac­tice, af­ford the in­di­vid­ual ev­ery chance pos­si­ble and sup­port you to be­have in an eth­i­cal man­ner in keep­ing with rel­e­vant le­gal frame­works. Caro­line Ward is HR ser­vices man­ager at Collins Mc­ni­cholas Re­cruit­ment and HR Ser­vices Group, which has of­fices in Dublin, Cork, Gal­way, Sligo, Athlone and Lim­er­ick. Email your lead­er­ship ques­tions to sun­day­busi­ness@in­de­pen­dent.ie

Ap­proach your talk with the newly-pro­moted worker as a coach­ing con­ver­sa­tion

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