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5 Ways to Help Employees Transition to Leadership Roles

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Some employees naturally evolve into leadership positions as they grow in their careers, and promoting from the inside has several advantages for the business, as well as for the employee.

Managers promoted from within lead more easily and are 81% more likely to feel supported by their teams. With the “Great Resignation” still ongoing, promoting from within can also be an excellent strategy to prevent losing valuable talent.

The Challenges of Transitioning into Leadership Roles

Not all employees are suited to a leadership role, but when there is an opportunity to promote existing employees, the benefits include reduced risk of a poor fit, savings in training costs, and incentive for people to put forth their best work. But there are challenges. Let’s review the most common ones: 

The New Manager’s Relationship with Former Colleagues

The new dynamic with former department colleagues can be challenging for new managers. They often struggle to set themselves up in a leadership role and in a position of authority towards those they consider their peers.

It can be awkward at the beginning, and there can be resentment toward the new leader. Others may have wanted the position or thought they could do a better job. These attitudes can undermine a new leader. 

Open, one-on-one conversations are a great way to address any awkwardness head-on. With communication and clear interpersonal boundaries, these dynamics can change.

Additionally, organizational change management consulting creates sustainable, measurable outcomes with leaders undergoing huge change.

Incorporating Leadership Capabilities, Not Only Management

Managing and leading are two different things. Leaders need to do more than just manage the budget and try to reach business goals—they must also inspire and guide their employees and create a sense of purpose for the team.

They influence and enable others to work for the organization’s success. 

 Leadership extends beyond the confines of traditional management to include fostering a culture that embraces change and innovation. This is particularly vital in the field of organizational change management consulting, where leaders play a pivotal role in steering their teams through transitions effectively. 

They must not only anticipate and manage the logistical aspects of change but also address the human side, helping their team adapt to new ways of working. Effective leaders in this domain are adept at communicating vision, engaging employees, and building resilience, thereby transforming potential challenges into growth and development opportunities.

Unlearn the Old Work Habits

Many new leaders continue doing their previous work out of habit or because of a reluctance to relinquish control. Learning to delegate the right tasks to the right team members is a vital feature of a leader.

To delegate effectively, a good leader must understand each team member’s strengths, communicate well, and provide context and guidance to the employees. 

When delegating tasks, be explicit about what success looks like. Define clear, measurable objectives and timelines, and ensure that team members understand their responsibilities and the expected outcomes.

Make sure that team members have the tools, information, and authority needed to complete their tasks. This includes providing appropriate training and ongoing support, and being available to answer questions and offer guidance.

Delegating effectively requires building trust with your team. Trust them to perform tasks on their own while being open to providing assistance when needed. This encourages autonomy and growth. Regularly check in with team members, offer feedback, and be receptive to their input. This helps in adjusting strategies as necessary and in building a collaborative work environment.

The Role of HR in Helping Employees Make the Shift.

Human resources departments play a critical role in internal promotions. They help employees find their career paths and explain the expectations of their new roles. HR also charts the careers of those on the path to promotion. 

But HR teams do not only work for the benefit of the staff; business leadership benefits from their support, as well.

In an interview, Sue Gebelein, the executive VP for Personnel Decisions International, a Minneapolis-based HR consulting firm, says: “Many HR people see promotion as their arena, but decisions about talent are made by line and function leaders. The job of HR is to help leaders make better decisions.

HR needs to take the role of linking strategy and talent so the talent can become a strategic competitive advantage.”

If interested in empowering employees, employers can research a guide to employee ownership trust advice.

5 Ways to Help Employees Transition to Leadership Roles

Preparing employees to take on a leadership role can be successful using thoughtful strategies and best practices. Here are five tips to help your new leader with the transition. 

1. Establish a Transition Plan

The first step when discussing opportunities for new leadership is to create a plan to smooth the transition. In this strategy, you should document who will be informed of the transition and when, as well as what the employee needs to learn before taking the role. Set times for mentorship meetings before the transition and create a communication schedule for staff members. 

2. Promote a Culture of Growth

If your company culture doesn’t focus on developing people into more prominent roles, this needs to change. A growth mindset is critical to empower people to take on more responsibility and challenge themselves. Soon, you will be able to identify who is demonstrating leadership qualities. 

3. Train New Leaders on Company Processes

The importance of ensuring new leaders have sufficient training before they take the job cannot be understated. Help them hit the ground running by training them on company processes, guidelines, and all the nuts and bolts of their new role.

It can be helpful if the person leaving the role takes on mentorship and training. If this is not possible, another senior employee or manager can provide guidance. 

A leadership program can sow seeds for those motivated to become the new leaders your company needs so there will be candidates in place, ready to take on their roles when the time is right. 

4. Mix Training with Hands-on Experience

Theory without practice is not helpful. You can mix leadership training with practical experience in the departments where you’re planning a new management role. This gives budding leaders the necessary field experience to take on their roles successfully. 

Don’t forget to train on soft skills. Encourage your potential leaders to engage and interact with teammates, solving problems and communicating effectively — which ultimately results in leaders who know how to work with and lead a team. 

5. Implement Mentorship Programs

We mentioned the importance of a mentor for the new leader in training. Even better, is to establish mentorship programs inside your organization. In this way, employees are encouraged and empowered in their personal development to identify, pursue, and achieve career goals.

A mentor can also help detect whether an individual has a gap in their skills and may need further training to apply for a specific role, and can help determine how to attain those skills. 

Plan Ahead and Develop Your Talent for Leadership Roles

Transitioning employees into a position of leadership comes with unique challenges.

Learning to delegate, difficulty managing former peers, and developing leadership style and skills are some of the obstacles a new leader may face.

To prevent that, organizations should implement leadership programs where employees can learn the skills they need to become successful leaders in your organizations HR Software. Having a mentor can also ease the transition for the new leader. 

Author Bio

Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an employee time tracking app that helps over 15,000 companies all around the world track time. 

Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many people’s lives are touched and changed for the better. 

When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family and friends, and finding ways to make the world just a little better.

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