Monday, 28 August 2017 18:46

How Do You Develop New Managers to be Effective Leaders?

Employees who get promoted to managers generally possess exemplary technical skills or have steadily increased their levels of responsibility in the organization. But being a good manager doesn’t automatically translate into being a good leader. In fact, it’s all too common within organizations that new managers are deficient in the kinds of “soft skills” that translate into effective leadership.

leadersIt is very common in the hardwood lumber industry to promote from within. At Baillie we prefer it and seek every opportunity to promote from within when possible. This benefits our hardworking employees, but also helps us live our one of our core values which is to value and grow our people.

At the same time, we recognize the importance of providing assistance and training to new managers, so they acquire the necessary skills to take our company into the future.

When we think about developing leaders we try to focus and incorporate the following best practices.

  • Look for the “big picture.” Managers must pay close attention to the details of everyday tasks and projects, but leaders always keep an eye on how these efforts relate to the larger scheme of business growth and development. They ask their own supervisors for updates on changes in strategy and are prepared to share these insights with their team members.
  • Hone your listening skills. Communicating is a key element of effective leadership, but this includes listening as well as talking. In almost all workplace settings these days, there’s “a lot of digital noise, which can make it hard to focus on someone else’s message,” notes Forbes contributor Deep Patel. He advises taking simple actions like “putting down your phone during meetings” and having more face-to-face conversations. This “will also send the message to your team members that you value them and care about what they have to say.”
  • Give and take feedback. Employees, especially millennials, want ongoing feedback on their job performance, rather than once a quarter or once every six months. New managers should hone their ability to provide constructive feedback on a regular basis, encouraging the employees they supervise to come up with creative solutions to challenges on their own.

In the same respect, managers who aspire to be leaders should welcome feedback from the team on how to improve processes, find additional resources, advocate for them at the executive level, etc. A strong leader can handle feedback that’s offered in the spirit of improving overall conditions in the workplace.

  • Cut through red tape. Speaking of processes, a manager who can reduce internal red tape and bureaucratic obstacles will boost employee morale and see quicker beneficial results for the organization. Wherever possible, managers should look for ways to eliminate obstacles that frustrate employee initiative and slow completion of key projections.
  • Be decisive. Encourage your new managers to quickly analyze a situation and make the most informed decision possible. Let them know that you value decisiveness (based on their own best judgment) and that, if the results are less than desirable, you want them to learn how to do better next time.
  • Keep your word. Nothing damages a potential leader’s credibility more than not following through on his or her commitments. Whatever the situation, if you say you’re going to do something, keep your word. In an era where people don’t always fulfill the promises they make, you’ll gain a reputation of integrity and commitment that will boost your standing and encourage trust in your leadership.

We are constantly focused on developing our future managers and leaders. Whether that be a someone in a sawmill setting, a new lumber trader, or even a hardwood lumber species expert. We realize not all managers are “born leaders,” but with the right guidance and training, they can gain the skills needed to demonstrate leadership and help your company grow.

What best practices do you incorporate into your programs? Let us know.

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber
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