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Stepping up – how to support your new leaders

You’ve identified a burgeoning leader in your organisation. They’ve impressed you with their work ethic, hit all their KPIs and are able to work well with others. You’re thinking of promoting them and giving them more responsibility, but what do you need to do to ensure their success?

The truth is that the best leaders are made, not born. Even if your employee has shown strong initiative and leadership potential, you’ll need to give them support to help them transition into their new role. 

Unfortunately, this is something that many organisations fail to take into consideration. A recent DDI study found that as many as 83% of leaders worldwide feel they are unprepared for their roles. CEB (now Gartner), the industry leader in providing talent management insights, found that organisations typically utilise an “unsystematic ‘hands-off’ transition approach [which] relies heavily on new leaders to self-manage their transitions. However, most leaders experience only a handful of transitions … so for them, each transition remains more art than science.”

To get the best results and set your new leader up for success, you need to provide them with a framework to ease the adjustment period and allow them to grow into the role. Here are 5 tips for supporting your new leaders. 

01. Start by delegating more responsibility in their current role.

Before you transition your employee to a role with greater responsibilities (and greater impact on your organisation), you’ll want to make sure that they can handle everything on their plate. By giving them more independence and expanding their role before placing them in a higher position, you can give them a taste of what to expect when they transition. This also allows you to see how they approach problem-solving and whether they are confident in their abilities. 

02. Train their soft skills.

Your new leader may have the technical knowledge they need to perform, but what about their interpersonal skills? This is where many leaders miss the mark and where your employee may need a little extra help. 

Honing their communication skills, conflict management skills, and their ability to delegate and run a team is essential. There are a number of soft skills that mark the difference between good leaders and great ones – it’s crucial that you give your new leaders opportunities to develop them.

03. Support stakeholder engagement. 

Apart from the team that they are leading, your new team leaders will be required to engage with a number of stakeholders – both inside your organisation and out – and gain their support. Identifying the most important stakeholders, knowing what their expectations are, and learning how to effectively nurture these relationships is a must. 

04. Lead by example and foster connections.

When it comes to new leadership, having someone who can mentor or exemplify the leadership expected within your organisation can be a key factor in supporting new leaders. 

By providing opportunities for your new leader to network with the more experienced leaders in their midst and to observe how they approach the challenges of leadership, you can help them to find their own leadership style. 

05. Support their learning.

Leadership is a journey without an endpoint. As leaders progress in their new role, they should be given opportunities to expand their knowledge and hone their skills. 

Providing regular access to internal training programs and specialist training courses can be a great way to satiate your leader’s thirst for knowledge, helping them to continue their development as they progress in your organisation. 

Want to give your employees the edge they need for their new leadership role? Our New Team Leader course is designed to help them navigate the responsibilities of their new position. 

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