New Manager Mentoring Program Handbook:
Congratulations! You've begun your mentorship program. Mentorship has been around for a long time, and it's proven to be one of the best ways to achieve personal and professional growth whether you're a mentor or mentee.
Whether you have worked your way up the ladder, transferred to a new company or fell into the position, becoming a manager for the first time can be exciting and stressful. No matter what industry you work in, management is key to every organization.
In this guide, we’ll share best practices on how to be a great mentor to a new manager and, as a mentee, how to be a great manager.
Assessing The Mentee’s Confidence
As a mentor ask your mentee these questions and get a sense of how prepared they feel they are for their new role:
- How prepared do you feel to take on a leadership position?
- What skill gaps do you feel you need to close?
- Where do you see me helping you the most?
Asking these questions will inform your future conversations around how the mentee can succeed in their new role and how the mentor can support them.
Moving From Expert To Manager
As a new manager, your relationships with your former co-workers change. While you were once one of the gang, you’re now in a position of authority. This can be awkward and difficult.
Yet, one of the best things you can do is learn from your mentor’s experience on how to become a role model in addition to a manager.
As a mentee, ask your mentor about their experience:What was it like becoming a manager for you?
- What was it like becoming a manager for you?
- What did it reveal about your strengths and weaknesses?
- Was there anything unexpected that came from becoming a manager?
In addition to demonstrating model behaviors, new managers also have to begin the transition from expert to manager.
As the mentee is prepared for leadership positions they’ll have to, as the Havard Business Review coins, “demonstrate a behavioral shift from “fit and affiliation” to “role model and teacher.”
Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses
High potential employees are more than just hard workers. They are consistently exemplary and great fits within the organization. The authors of the HBR article mentioned in the previous section identify the X-factor that sets high potentials apart from their peers.
Determine the Mentee’s Motivations and Goals: Do You Want to Be an Expert or a Leader?
As high potentials grow out of their current roles they will most likely begin getting groomed for leadership positions.
If they want to become a leader then they’ll have to, as the HBR authors state, “demonstrate a behavioral shift from “fit and affiliation” to “role model and teacher.”
Adopting a leaders mindset
The behavioral shift in high potentials will develop their leadership traits. They’ll exhibit traits such as:
- A confident humility;
- An ability to win people over; and
- Helps others succeed without coercion;
Mentors should coach their mentee’s through this transition. HBR provides advice for the mentee’s in this regard:
“Early in your career, getting noticed is all about mastering the technical expertise that the job requires. As you progress, you need to broaden that expertise.
"For example, in senior roles, technical excellence might fade in value relative to strategic thinking and motivational skills. At a certain point, you will face the challenge of letting go as much as the challenge of adding on.”
Being A New Manager In A Remote Workforce
When starting a role as a new manager in a remote situation, it comes with some challenges that face-to-face managers don’t need to worry about. Some of these challenges include:
- Loss of face-to-face interaction
- Obstacles to information
- Disconnected teams
- Isolation and distractions
But, there are ways to mitigate any complications when a new manager starts work remotely. The mentor and the mentee should discuss strategies to successfully manage remotely.
Here are some practical tips you could discuss:
- How to incorporate daily check-ins with your team.
- The various communication options you have with your team and which is most appropriate and convenient (Slack or Teams vs email vs video conferencing, etc.)
- What tools or resources their team needs to succeed.
- What expectations need to be set with their new team.
- How to reward and encourage team members while remote.
Differences Between an Effective Manager and a Micromanager
The image of a manager is either of an inspiring leader and mentor or a micromanager that is a constant source of frustration for their subordinates.
When preparing new managers, mentors and their mentees should explore the differences between an effective manager and a micromanager.
Here’s how Forbes divides the two:
Lead through influence.
Know that experience (and the occasional failure) is the only way to learn and grow.
Ask questions that guide their team members to a solution.
Empower their team members to do their work on their own, as long as they provide updates and ask for help when needed.
Keep their cards face up at all times. They share information openly and transparently.
Remain open to new ideas, willing to explore them if they seem reasonable.
Lead through control.
Fear failure of any kind, no matter how small or insignificant.
Dictate a solution without exploring different options or opportunities.
Need to be involved in every meeting and CCed on every email.
Keep their cards very close to their chest as if they are in competition with everyone they work with.
Default to doing the things the way they've always done them before.
Leading With Trust
Reciprocation is to building trust. There is a theory in social psychology called the Law of Reciprocity. The law states that when someone does something nice to us we are likely to respond in the same way.
It is impossible to build confidence unless one party extends it to the other. Before you can gain someone’s confidence, you must first offer it.
The Science of Work shares that new managers can develop trust with their team by doing the following:
- Treating people fairly and explaining the background behind changes.
- Involving your team in decision-making, including soliciting votes and feedback through short surveys
- Using fair processes and making the steps clear, so your people see you as more legitimate and trustworthy
As a mentor, discuss with your mentee different opportunities the new manager has to build trust with their subordinates. How can a new manager leverage the law of reciprocity to their team’s advantage?
Focus On Behaviour Not Emotions
Forbes shares an effective framework for addressing behavior over emotions in a contentious situation. Their model is as follows:
Behavior + Impact + Expectation.
You describe the problematic behaviour, explain why it's a problem, and establish a baseline for future behaviour.
The benefits of acknowledging emotions
That being said. it‘s essential as a manager to acknowledge the negative emotions that will inevitably come up when managing a team.
MIT Sloan Management Review conducted a study on how to effectively manage emotions as a manager.
They found that,
“The benefits of addressing negative emotions can be significant. Promptly stepping up can stem interpersonal turbulence and keep satisfaction, engagement, and productivity intact.
"Moreover, those who take the initiative to step up often experience personal gratification from helping others in meaningful ways.”
It's easy to revel in success and satisfaction when things are going well. Those who react to negative emotions effectively stand out in darker times.
Mentors should work with their mentees to ensure they respond effectively when the time inevitably comes.
Resources For Future Managers
It’s essential that new managers have a wealth of resources to draw from. Mentors should share with their mentees all resources they have available to them in order to support their mentees.
Fahd Alhattab, a leadership consultant at Unicorn labs compiled a list of Ted Talks, podcasts and books that every new manager should have bookmarked.
Here’s our shortlist:
- Seth’s Blog - Seth shows you how to remove the "fat" from an issue until only the solution remains.
- Harvard Business Review
- James Clear on his blog discusses productivity, decisions making, performance, and motivation.
- Drew Dudley - Everyday Leadership
- Carol Dweck - The Power of Believing You Can Improve
- Dan Ariely - What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work
- The Gallup Podcast
- Leadership and Loyalty
The Best Way To Delegate Tasks
There is no shortage of helpful resources and books on delegating tasks. Harvard Business School shares these tips on how to delegate effectively:
- Know What to Delegate
- Play to Your Employees’ Strengths and Goals
- Define the Desired Outcome
- Provide the Right Resources and Level of Authority
- Establish a Clear Communication Channel
- Allow for Failure
- Give Credit Where It’s Due
Both the mentor and mentee should discuss the points listed above and share examples from their experience being a manager or being managed where these elements were evident.
If you want to go deeper on the topics discussed above, we have resources on our website that unpack them further.
Download as PDF
Are You a High Potential?
By Douglas A. Ready, Jay A. Conger, and Linda A. Hill
Ten Things New Managers Need To Know
By Karlyn Borysenko
Reciprocity (social psychology)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Trust in Leadership – One Key Factor During Organizational Change
By Natasha Ouslis
The Smart Way to Respond to Negative Emotions at Work
By Christine M. Pearson
25 Resources to Help New Managers be Successful in 2021
By Fahd Alhattab
Harvard Business Review
Drew Dudley - Everyday Leadership
Carol Dweck - The Power of Believing You Can Improve
Dan Ariely - What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work
The Gallup Podcast
Leadership and Loyalty
How To Delegate Effectively: 9 Tips For Managers
By Lauren Landry