Most new managers are unprepared and inadequately trained to lead other people, and so Art Petty provides a five-point operating system to help guide them through real-life scenarios they’ll face. “The new manager should work unceasingly with their boss to uncover key goals, understand strategies and then translate this into, ‘Here’s what this means for our team,'” he writes.
Imagine you are tapped on the shoulder to lead an upcoming training program for a cohort of soon-to-be first-time managers in your organization.
You’re probably flattered, excited and just a bit nervous. While you’ve been successful as a manager, it’s daunting to think about how you will translate your experiences into lessons these new managers can learn from and apply.
You wonder, “What can I possibly teach in a classroom that will help these individuals avoid my mistakes and succeed sooner as managers?” The short answer to that good question is, “Not much.”
It takes “time in the job” to learn to manage
The situation described above highlights the dilemma of new-manager training. Learning to manage is a kinesthetic experience. It takes time in the job and ample experimentation to promote true learning. Classroom time creates exposure to tools and approaches, but for new managers with little context for the role, the benefits of training are muted.
I faced this situation as a senior manager and executive responsible for new-manager development on my teams. Today, I deal with it regularly in front of groups of aspiring new managers. The lesson I’ve learned is to reframe classroom time with new managers as an opportunity to teach them to think, not manage.
Specifically, I challenge new managers to learn a fresh set of operating instructions different from those they employed as contributors, then bring those operating instructions to their new roles, where real learning occurs. I call this the New Manager’s Operating System, and it consists of five instruction sets which I share below.