4 Essential Management and Leadership Skills for New Managers and Supervisors to Help You Become a Great Leader That the Board Trusts and Employees Admire

As you’ve probably realised, there are many changes that occur when you move from being ‘one of the guys’ into a position of authority. And one of the biggest changes is that, while you may have grown accustomed to communicating ‘upwards’ with your own manager, you’re now in a ‘middle man’ position where you not only need to communicate up the organisational hierarchy to the board, but also down the hierarchy to your team. If you’re feeling unsure of your management skills, rest assured you’re not alone. Deloitte reports that only one third of new managers feel prepared for a leadership position

The key to becoming a great leader - one that feels confident carrying out a board presentation and someone who employees admire - is to remember that the skills that got you ‘here’ won’t get you ‘there’. You need to ensure you have good management skills under your belt, but management and leadership skills for new managers and supervisors are quite different to the skills that are required by already established leaders. That’s because a new leader’s actions (or lack of them) will be visible - all eyes will be on you - so management and leadership skills for new managers and supervisors really need to have an impact. 

So just what are the best management and leadership skills for new managers and supervisors, and how can these skills impress the board while nurturing the team?


  • Trust Skills

To really get a team onboard with the organisational changes that are taking place, a new leader should show from the very start that team development is a priority. Sadly, it’s reported that just 40% of team members feel that their leaders understand the best ways to develop their skills within the role. What is typically seen is that new managers try to develop their team through constant supervision and an ‘always on’ approach. 

However, Jaime Roca, HR practice leader at Gartner, notes that leaders who provide continuous feedback can reduce performance by as much as 8%. He states that ‘the always-on manager often provides misguided, irrelevant, or too much feedback’, hindering development. As a new leader, it’s important to understand when your team needs you to lead, and when they need you to let them get on with their own tasks. Performing a skill gap analysis is invaluable here.


  • Coaching Skills

When moving into a managerial position, the infamous directive management style may be all you know. This style involves lots of command-type communication, such as ‘I need this by Friday’. However, directive skills can be detrimental to success, according to Forrester Principal Analyst Katy Tynan, who says that ‘many organisations spend either too little or no time at all teaching their leaders how to be good coaches’. 

Tynan believes that adapting communications - for example, ‘why don’t you get me this by Friday?’ - is a key component in developing a strong coaching skill. This skill can help new managers to realise that their role isn’t to direct an employee, but rather to guide the overall employee experience in the right direction. The effects of leadership styles on team motivation and performance are well documented. Succeed in facilitating a two-way relationship and you will not only benefit the employee, but also yourself as a leader.


  • Nurturing Skills

So far, the management and leadership skills for new managers and supervisors that we’ve looked at have been focused on getting employees to trust their new manager. However, these skills can also be instrumental in gaining the trust of the board. After all, having your employees agree with your approach is the secret to delivering impact, and what your superiors are looking to see from you is impact. 

As a new manager, you may feel pressure to deliver impact through productivity; through solid, proven facts and figures that you can deliver to the board. You may be tempted to overlook aspects such as social chats, breaks, rest periods, and fun - they don’t deliver direct impact. But they do nurture; they do help you to build the type of team you’ve always envisioned, and show the board you’ve got a team that delivers. 

Making a Successful Transition

Moving into a managerial role is rarely easy and stress-free. There are naturally many challenges that come with organisational restructuring and employee promotion. 

However, taking the time to better understand the most effective management and leadership skills for new managers and supervisors can significantly increase the chance of success. According to research by McKinsey, leaders that successfully transition into their new roles generate a 90% greater chance that their teams will meet their 3-year performance goals. Being a new leader can be nerve wracking, but the truth is that you don’t need to face it alone. Leadership training can give you the skills and understanding you need to guide your team to success, and impress the C-suite executives. 

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