The transition to manager can be a tricky one to navigate successfully. There are new responsibilities and prestige, but also pressure to deliver on a larger scale than before. It can be a stressful and exciting time. As the manager of a new manager you have an opportunity to help the person you promoted or hired succeed in their new role.
Schedule Regular One on-Ones
Meet with your new finance manager on a regular basis. Schedule meetings more frequently at the start of their tenure so that you can help them troubleshoot. Encourage an open exchange of information. Model a constructive way to give feedback so that the manager learns how to do the same with their direct reports.
Read this article from the Harvard Business Review to learn more about how to have productive one-on-ones.
Offer Task-Specific Support
You know that your new manager can deliver, it’s why you promoted or hired them in the first place. That being said, offering timely, supportive advice can help a new manager succeed.
Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, once said, “How often you monitor should not be based on what you believe your subordinate can do in general, but on his experience with a specific task…as the subordinate’s work improves over time, you should respond with a corresponding reduction in the intensity of the monitoring.” He called this “task relevant maturity.”
Help Them See the Big Picture
New managers can get lost in the competing demands of their new job. Help them prioritize tasks with the company’s vision and mission in mind. Remind them that they have to focus on more than just their direct reports to be successful. Finance managers are often the bridge between their reports and senior management, a role that can require the finesse of a tight rope walker.
Teach Them about Office Politics
Some people are just natural consensus builders, while others need some guidance to succeed. Consensus builders have an almost Obi-Wan Kenobi way of influencing people (no droids involved).
It’s not just about formal authority, but rather understanding that expertise, visibility and adapting information to an audience, can result in a successful outcome.
- Help your new manager determine who might be a barrier to their success, and whose cooperation they need to obtain.
- Does your new manager have any way to influence these people?
- Is there an individual who could be an ally in this process?
- Encourage your new manager to try to see things from other people’s perspectives to encourage them to position information in the most relevant way.
- Have regular meetings to discuss their success or failure at developing influence.
Most importantly, if the new manager makes a mistake, don’t overreact. Debrief and coach them on how to make a better decision next time.
The Shift to Delegating
Making a successful leap to finance manager means learning how to delegate. This can be a hard lesson for those who have regularly exceeded expectations in past roles. New managers may have problems “letting go” of tasks, believing that no one can do the job as well as them. To help your new finance manager succeed, teach them how to delegate. Explain that sometimes delegating means sourcing input from the team to determine who best could excel at a task. And remind your new manager that following up after delegating is critical to getting the kind of feedback necessary for success. After all, if the direct report is struggling, it’s best to lend support at an earlier stage, when a change of course is still possible.
Read “How to Delegate Effectively: Top Tips for New Managers” to learn about the 7 tips that new managers can use to delegate successfully.
Ideally there is a culture of learning at your organization, where individuals teach each other and education is prized. Encourage your new manager to build their skill set through formal education and to develop relationships with people who can serve as mentors, or sources of emotional support.
Read “How to Improve Organizational Performance by Hiring Dolphins” to get tips on creating a culture of learning at your organization.
There are a number of ways you can help a new finance manager succeed. Schedule regular one-on-one’s to allow an open exchange of information. Offer task-related support and help your new manager navigate the complex world of office politics. Make sure that they keep the big picture in mind. Help them learn how to delegate and to influence decision-making. And remember, formal training or education can also be a great tool for building the skill set of the new finance manager.
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