5 ways to help your team prepare for managerial roles

Most companies have a hierarchy, and that means employees have managers. Unfortunately, though, those managers often aren’t best equipped to supervise their staff. In fact, more than a quarter of leaders receive no formal training on how to manage others, according to a study by Digits.

And if that statistic is as surprising to you as it was to us, it might be time to reflect on the structures for learning and development within your own organisation.

The reality is, business leaders are pulled in every direction the moment they enter the office. This makes it challenging to ensure that all the managers you’ve delegated duties to are prepared to take on the additional responsibility involved.

However, if you’re going to cultivate a culture of trust, compassion and efficiency in the workplace, you’ll need to invest in leadership development. In other words, this means preparing each member of your team to implement leadership skills at work. This is a key component in nurturing your organisation’s people and ensuring an integrative approach to their development, encompassing both personal and professional growth.

But just how can it be done?

Here, we invite you to consider your own approach to leadership at work, as we reflect on some of the key strategies to explore when preparing your team for a managerial role.

What does it mean to be a manager?

For many of us, becoming a manager signifies a shift in our professional journey. This change fundamentally alters both our day-to-day work and our long-term career trajectory.

As your employees transition into managerial roles, their responsibilities will evolve from executing tasks to orchestrating the efforts of a team. Their success as managers hinges on the cultivation of skills to help them excel as a leader, such as effective communication, strategic decision-making, and the ability to guide a team towards shared goals.

As for some of the essential qualities expected for managerial success, individuals can thrive by developing their sense of empathy, adaptability, and nurturing a results-oriented mindset.

Why is it important to prepare staff for becoming a manager?

When a member of your workforce is exceeding expectations, it’s natural to want to reward their performance. However, if this comes with a promotion to managerial responsibility, it’s vital to prepare them for a transition into this kind of role that they may not have prior experience of.

Staff are equipped to perform

This preparation can support an individual to integrate seamlessly into a leadership position. Equipping staff with knowledge of how to apply leadership skills at work will not only enhance their personal development but also help the team adapt to this change in the status quo.

Adequate preparation ensures that new managers possess the necessary skills to motivate their teams, fostering a positive work environment and promoting productivity. By investing in employee professional growth and providing them with the tools to navigate the complexities of managerial roles, you can cultivate a pool of capable leaders and establish the foundation for long-term business success.

Workplace wellbeing can be protected

In preparing your team for managerial roles, you’ll also help to protect their wellbeing in the workplace. Without the systems, teachings and internal support to ensure a successful managerial appointment, staff are likely to feel challenged by their new responsibilities.

In fact, Ipsos reports that 79% of managers feel overworked or stressed in their roles, while a further 60% of leaders display prevalent indicators of burnout. This is far from conducive to a successful work environment. Beyond just benefiting your business’ performance, however, is the fact that adequately preparing managers for their new role will also help safeguard their health and happiness.

A ‘team of leaders’ can be developed

Fostering a ‘team of leaders’ within your business can help counteract some of the difficulties organisations run into when adhering to a traditional hierarchy. Distributing leadership responsibilities across the team promotes a more dynamic, resilient workplace, while also encouraging a collaborative culture where each member of the team feels engaged and motivated to contribute to the business’ success.

A team of leaders is better equipped to navigate challenges, share innovative ideas, and collectively drive the organisation towards its goals. This approach not only enhances individual professional development but also positively impacts wellbeing in the workplace by spreading the leadership load and reducing the burden on any single individual.

It fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment among team members, creating an environment where everyone is invested in the team’s success.

Ways to help your team prepare for managerial responsibilities

Preparing your team for managerial responsibilities, especially if they will be becoming a manager for the first time, is essential to get right. What are the different techniques you can employ to do so?

1. Delegate responsibilities appropriately

One effective means to prepare a colleague for managerial duties is to delegate responsibilities to them over time, providing a scaffolded approach to skill development. As individuals take on increasingly challenging tasks and projects, they will build confidence in their abilities and refine managerial decision-making skills.

The scaffolded approach is particularly advantageous for organisations embracing remote work, as it encourages self-reliance and autonomy among team members. In time, delegation fosters a sense of accountability and responsibility — keeping your team members on track with their work no matter where in the world they’re doing it from.

For instance, entrusting a team member with a complex project allows them to enhance their problem-solving capabilities, develop strategic thinking, and improve time management. And in turn, this supports individuals in navigating the novel challenges they might come across in managerial positions.

It also allows team members to practise and strengthen their leadership skills, with opportunities to communicate effectively, motivate peers, and make informed decisions. These experiences contribute to the cultivation of a leadership mindset, a critical attribute for successful managerial roles. Plus, employees gain valuable experience in overcoming managerial challenges such as effective team coordination, decision-making under pressure, and balancing multiple priorities simultaneously.

As individuals learn from these experiences, they become better prepared to assume managerial responsibilities with competence and confidence.

2. Embrace feedback and performance reviews

It might seem counterintuitive, but one of the key benefits that you could offer your staff is actually a well-delivered critique.

Regular performance reviews and constructive feedback are instrumental in preparing employees for managerial roles, offering insights into their strengths and areas for improvement. This feedback is crucial for personal and professional development, setting the stage for building leadership skills.

For instance, feedback on project management may prompt staff to refine their organisational skills. By addressing specific areas for improvement, employees can actively work on enhancing their skill set and aligning their professional growth with the requirements of managerial positions.

Engaging in feedback sessions also provides team members with opportunities to practise and apply leadership skills. For one, offering constructive feedback requires a level of empathy and communication finesse, while the process of reviewing and providing feedback on peers’ work fosters a collaborative environment and encourages individuals to take ownership of their projects.

As they become more adept at processing constructive criticism, employees develop resilience and openness to improvement — qualities indispensable for navigating the complexities of a leadership role.

3. Emphasise continuous learning

Promoting a culture of continuous learning is instrumental in preparing employees for managerial roles. You can do so by encouraging active participation in workshops, seminars, and industry conferences. This emphasis on ongoing education equips team members with the knowledge and skills essential for managerial duties, fostering a proactive approach to professional development.

New learning opportunities keep employees updated on the latest trends and best practices in their industry, ensuring their skill set remains relevant. This exposure will enhance their expertise and cultivate a forward-thinking mindset, which is an essential quality you’ll want to trickle down to reports once they’re in a managerial position.

Continuous learning also provides opportunities to practise and apply leadership skills, such as networking, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. Engaging with diverse perspectives in workshops and conferences enhances communication skills, while actively participating in learning initiatives within the team fosters a culture of mentorship and knowledge exchange.

Ultimately, building a culture of learning into your ethos will facilitate resilience and innovation — and as we know, these are qualities crucial for addressing the many challenges managers encounter and lead their employees through.

4. Build a culture of leadership

Emphasising that abilities and intelligence can be developed with dedication and hard work plays a foundational element for preparing staff for managerial roles. This mindset shift fosters a positive approach to learning and overcoming challenges, encouraging individuals to view setbacks as opportunities for growth and development.

For example, a cultural shift to emphasise leadership qualities can inspire team members to actively seek out learning opportunities and willingly take on challenging tasks. As employees develop their skills through experience, they’ll become motivated to self-improve,

Incorporating leadership principles into the culture of your workforce will also provide team members with various opportunities to practise their leadership skills and prepare for managerial responsibilities. Encouraging collaboration, allowing individuals to lead initiatives or projects, and promoting open communication channels within the team all contribute to the development of leadership skills.

Over time, employees will become confident in their abilities to navigate uncertainties, make informed decisions, and lead their teams through complex situations. This culture also promotes effective teamwork and communication, mitigating some of the interpersonal challenges that new managers often experience after being promoted out of the level of the organisation’s hierarchy still occupied by their reports.

5. Develop your team of leaders with Sanctus Coaching

Leadership development training is a key strategy leveraged by countless scaled organisations and startups alike, preparing their employees at every level for progression opportunities. Sanctus leadership coaching, for example, focuses on supporting staff to develop the essential soft skills required to achieve leadership excellence.

Our coaches go beyond technical expertise to hone both personal and professional skills, emphasising the importance of an integrative approach to development. In collaboration with our coaches, staff can hone their interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and communication skills — all valuable attributes belonging to the most successful leaders. Once enrolled, participants discover the leadership strengths they didn’t know they possessed and address the target areas for their development.

Learn more about our coaching programmes and empower your employees both in and outside of work hours. The future leaders of your organisation can reach their potential both healthily and happily — no burnout required.