New Managers

15 Skills to Include when Training a New Manager [Plus 15 Helpful Resources]

Good managers are not born, they are cultivated. Even your most talented employee will need some training before they will be able to take on the role of manager and be successful at it.

Ryan Carruthers

Published on 

March 29, 2023

Updated on 

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Corporations spend more to develop senior leaders than train new managers. Little wonder, 98% of managers feel new managers need more training to deal with crucial issues such as employee turnover, project management, and more.

This lack of training and support has made many new managers redundant. 63% feel ineffective after six months, and 50% still don’t feel effective after a year, according to Brian Rollo Consulting Group.

These numbers are staggering and should cause companies to look at their new manager training program. To have effective new manager training in your workplace, you need to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Participant engagement is crucial
  2. The program should be comprehensive
  3. The program should be flexible to meet the needs of each individual and your organization’s goal

There should be a focus on application and practice.

What is new manager training?

New manager training is a process through which new managers learn the skills and knowledge necessary to manage a team effectively. This type of training can be delivered in various ways but typically includes a combination of:

  • classroom instruction, 
  • on-the-job training, and 
  • mentorship from more experienced managers.

Why is it critical to train new managers?

Harvard Business Review reviewed the training of over 1700 leaders across different organizations. Most people in these companies become supervisors at age 30 and stay in that role for nine years. After promotion, many don't get the necessary training until they are 42. 

This means managers don't get formal training for a whopping 10 years into the leadership role.

This is a problem because, during those early years of transition into a leadership role, new managers are expected to perform at the same level as their more experienced colleagues.

Not training is even more expensive

The high cost of toxic workplace culture report shows that 60% of employees who left blamed their managers. And this turnover has cost companies $223 billion in the last five years. Companies with well-trained managers had significantly lower employee turnover rates than those without well-trained managers.

Leadership pipeline

Training new managers helps ensure the company has a strong leadership pipeline (many companies that get this right have leadership mentoring programs). 

When you have well-trained managers capable of taking on bigger roles, it helps ensure that the company will continue to grow and thrive.

Their success depends on it

According to Gallup, only 18% of managers have the skills to manage others, resulting in ineffective leadership and struggles to meet goals. This lack of training creates disengaged employees and high turnover rates. 

Providing managers with effective training helps them manage teams, handle difficult situations, and make decisions in the company's best interest.

Managers influence employee retention more than everything else 

Poorly trained managers have been shown to contribute to employee turnover. A Gallup study found that 50% of employees who quit their jobs do so because of a bad manager. 

An SHRM study also showed that 84% of American employees say poorly trained managers add unnecessary work and stress. Training new managers with the skills and knowledge to manage their employees can reduce turnover. Managers have a significant influence on employee retention.

Team performance and productivity nosedives if the manager isn't thriving

Managers greatly impact team performance. An SHRM study cited above found 50% of employees believe more people management training for their supervisor would boost their performance. 

Gallup showed this to be true, finding that 70% of employee engagement variance is due to the manager. To improve team performance, organizations should prioritize quality training for their managers.

Understanding technology

Some managers excel at managing people, while others are better at managing processes. To be effective, a manager must have a strong understanding of processes, use technology and productivity tools to streamline operations and increase efficiency.

A first-time manager needs this knowledge to succeed. Organizations can leverage reverse mentoring to train new managers about technology and keep up with emerging trends.

15 Important skills for new managers

When new managers transition to a leadership role, they need more than just the knowledge to do the job. They also need a commitment to continually work on their leadership skills. In doing so, they’ll identify their leadership style

Some essential skills include:

1. Prioritization

Strong prioritization skills enable new managers to understand which tasks to handle first and which to delegate. Effective prioritization helps them stay focused and avoid becoming overwhelmed with multiple projects.

2. Delegating responsibilities

Delegation of tasks is an essential people management skill that every manager should possess. It helps them spread tasks within the team based on competencies. 

This way, almost every team member contributes to the organization's success. Effective delegation frees up time for another task and builds and fosters trust between employees and their managers.

3. Strong communication skills

New managers need to be able to communicate effectively with their employees. This includes giving clear instructions, providing feedback, and listening to concerns. 

Employees must feel that their manager is approachable and their concerns are heard. Poor communication leads to miscommunication, misunderstandings, and disconnection between managers and employees.

4. Project management

This skill helps new managers plan, organize, and track their delegated tasks. Project management skills also include how new managers plan their budgets and resources to achieve organizational goals within a set timeframe.

5. Emotional intelligence

The manager position requires working with other people, which entails understanding their emotions and how they affect them. New managers must build emotional intelligence skills to build rapport with their team members. Emotional intelligence enables new managers to deal with conflicts effectively and creates a positive work environment.

6. Time management

Managers must effectively manage their own time and that of their employees, including scheduling work, planning breaks, and handling unexpected events. Poor time management leads to missed deadlines, frustrated employees, and feeling overwhelmed, while good time management enhances efficiency and productivity. 

7. Leadership qualities

To effectively lead and motivate other employees, a manager must possess leadership qualities such as strong interpersonal skills, provide guidance and direction, and help employees achieve their full potential. Pair new managers with a senior executive to mentor them on leadership qualities.

8. Goal setting

All managers need to set measurable goals. They need to identify what needs to be accomplished and plan how to achieve it. They also need to make adjustments. It helps ensure everyone is working towards the same objectives.

9. Conflict resolution‍

Conflict resolution skills prevent minor problems from escalating. To handle this effectively, managers must identify the cause, mediate between parties, and find a resolution agreeable to all. To develop these skills, offer new managers role-playing scenarios or workshops.

10. Teamwork

Good managers build high-performance teams by selecting the right people and providing them with the resources. This includes being able to collaborate, communicate, and delegate tasks. They need to work well with their employees and other managers.

11. Problem-Solving

Effective managers identify problems, gather information from relevant parties, brainstorm potential solutions, and implement the best option. 

To hone problem-solving skills, managers must acquire key techniques. Gathering all the facts is crucial, and research may be necessary. Consider each solution's short- and long-term effects and associated risks before deciding.

12. Decision-making

Much of a manager's job revolves around making decisions impacting the team, department, and company. However, making good decisions is not always easy. It requires considering all relevant information, analyzing different options, and weighing the pros and cons. 

Provide managers training on the following to help them make better decisions:

  • How to identify objectives
  • How to gather information and consider options
  • How to make sound choices

13. Providing constructive feedback 

Quality managers provide constructive feedback in a timely and respectful manner. First-time managers need training on how to do this effectively. 

You can help them set expectations, role-play, create templates, and have a workshop on providing practical and respectful feedback. This skill enables them to lead their team to achieve their business goals.

14. Coaching employees 

Managers without employee coaching skills will fail to help their employees grow. Organizations that train first-time managers on coaching skills win on all fronts. 

With coaching skills, they can identify skill gaps, pair employees with senior employees, and provide necessary resources for training. This facilitates employee growth, and development and improves retention.

15. Understanding industry-specific regulations and company policies 

First-time managers must understand industry-specific regulations and company policies to enforce them effectively and avoid legal implications. It's essential to keep up-to-date with company policies and be able to explain them to employees. Also, managers should be able to create policies when needed, protecting the company's interests.

3 Challenges new managers face

Taking on the manager's role can be exhilarating, but it is not without its difficulties. As they transition into a managerial role, many people often have to overcome a steep learning curve to lead their team effectively. 

Here are the common challenges many managers struggle with:

Delegation difficulties

New managers face the obstacle of efficiently mastering the art of assigning work. For many first managers, it can be hard to delegate a task, worrying that they won't be able to keep control or that their team won't do as good of a job as they would. 

Managing former peers

Moving from a peer relationship to a boss-subordinate relationship can be challenging, especially for those unfamiliar with their colleagues taking on leadership positions. 

Managing conflicts

Many first-time managers struggle with managing conflicts, often due to difficulty separating feelings from facts.

6 Components for a successful new manager training program

The role of a manager comes with a lot of responsibility, so it is crucial to have a comprehensive new manager training program in place. Not only do managers need to be able to carry out their duties effectively, but they also need to be able to develop and lead their team members. 

Here are six ways to train new managers:

1. Appreciation

The old saying goes, "people don't leave bad jobs; they leave bad managers." Show your new manager some appreciation and teach them how to show appreciation. A little recognition goes a long way in making employees feel valued and appreciated.

Appreciation doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. A simple "thank you" or "good job" goes a long way. You could also give them a small gift, such as a gift card to their favorite coffee shop or restaurant.

2. Mentorship 

Mentorship is key. Research has shown that the retention rate for a mentee is fifty percent higher than for those without a mentor. Effective mentoring also improves workplace culture. This research showed that a one-week group mentoring program doubled the competency score of some students. 

There's no doubt about it; being a manager is a tough job. Having a mentor can be invaluable for new managers, as they help them navigate the challenges of their new role. To build a mentoring program for new managers, here's our manager mentoring handbook

Mentorship offers the following benefits to managers:

  • Provide guidance and advice on effectively managing a team.
  • Help new managers learn about the company culture and expectations.
  • Provide support during difficult times or challenges.
  • Career advancement opportunities.

3. Training

Training could come in various forms, from online webinars to in-person workshops, to one-on-one coaching. But regardless of the format, new manager training should include but is not limited to topics:

  • Setting goals and objectives
  • Communicating effectively
  • Delegating tasks and responsibilities
  • Building and leading teams
  • Managing conflict
  • Motivating employees
  • Giving feedback

These are just a few examples of topics that many executive training programs include. Training should be tailored to their needs and your organization's needs.

4. Coaching 

Depending on preference, coaching new managers can be done in person or virtually, but a mixed approach is best. Coaching offers real-time feedback and guidance for new managers, improving their skills and ability to coach employees. 

Coaching and mentoring appear the same on the surface level but differ. Coaching is usually used to improve a specific skill. Mentoring is broader and can focus on anything from career development to work/life balance.

Here are tips for success:

  1. Show genuine interest in building trust and fostering open communication.
  2. Set clear expectations - identify goals, objectives, and completion timeframe.
  3. Provide constructive feedback with specific and actionable suggestions.
  4. Encourage exploration of various techniques to find what works best.
  5. Help them understand expectations and how success will be measured.

5. Diversity

Studies have shown diverse teams are more likely to outperform less diverse teams. But then, we posit this to be valid only when the manager of such a team understands the nuances of working with them.

Diversity training teaches new managers about cultural nuances. This can impact how they manage the team inclusively regarding communication, decision-making, and problem-solving. It also helps them recognize the importance of understanding, embracing, and respecting multiple perspectives, which fosters a positive work environment.

6. Review

After and while they receive training, reviewing and assessing how they're doing is important. This can be done through one-on-one meetings, performance reviews, or informal check-ins. Schedule regular check-ins to offer feedback and help troubleshoot any problems.

During these reviews, provide feedback on what they're doing well and identify areas for improvement. This helps ensure they are on track and help you identify areas where additional training may be necessary.

Bottom line

An organization is only as strong as its leaders. That's why it's so important to cultivate the next generation of managers through a mentorship program

Together provides the perfect mentoring platform for new managers to get the training and mentorship they need. It enables you to build a customizable platform to train and provide them with the necessary resources. 

Our platform also makes it easy to connect them with mentors and gives them access to resources and support to help them grow into their new roles. 

If you’re ready to connect new managers with the people and resources they need to excel, let’s connect.

15 resources to build great managers

The following resources will equip new managers to lead their teams effectively:

Managers - Rework by Google. It's a compendium of practices, research, ideas and essays on management, organization, and leadership. 

The Manager's Path by Camille Fournier. This book covers everything from the basics of management to more advanced topics, such as career development and scaling teams from a tech point of view.

HBR Guide to Being a Great Boss by Harvard Business Review. This guide provides new managers with all-round practical advice on how to be successful in their role.

From Bud to Boss by Kevin Eikenberry. This book covers various topics relevant to management, including building trust with your team, giving effective feedback, and managing conflict.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. This book covers the authors' experiences as Navy SEALs leaders. These principles can be applied to any organization or team to achieve success.

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries is a must-read for any manager who wants to build a successful business. This book discusses the lean startup methodology, a proven approach for creating and scaling new businesses. 

The Armed Forces Officer by SLA Marshall is free online: A great resource for managers who want to learn about leadership from the military perspective. This book covers topics such as the role of the officer, the nature of commands, and leadership styles.

Managing for Dummies by Bob Nelson. This book covers team building, delegation, and time management.

The Manager's Toolkit by Harvard Business Essentials is a comprehensive guide that covers everything from hiring and firing to performance reviews and managing conflict.

The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard, Ph.D. (Author), and Spencer Johnson, M.D. (Author) is a classic management book that covers the three easy-to-master techniques that have proven to change millions of people's lives.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a timeless classic that provides readers with advice on how to build relationships and influence others. This book is relevant for managers who want to build strong working relationships with their team members.

The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail covers how large organizations can fail when they don't embrace new technologies. This book is relevant for managers who want to avoid this pitfall and build a successful business.


The Manager Tools Podcast—Packed with useful information for new managers, including interviews with experienced managers and tips on effectively managing your team.

The Harvard Business Review Ideacast—A podcast from the Harvard Business Review that covers a wide range of topics relevant to management.

Radical Candor with Kim Scott—A podcast about the management style of Radical Candor is about learning how to be kick-ass at work while embracing humanity.

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