Change is never easy—especially when it involves transitioning a manager to a new leadership position. Whether employees are moving laterally or vertically at their current or a new organization, having a thoughtful transition plan is key to a successful assimilation to the new team.
In her blog post, Senior Leadership Changes Can Interrupt Organizational Culture, author, speaker and consultant Sharlyn Lauby says, “Organizations don’t always get to plan for management changes, so when they do, it’s a big deal. It’s a visible process that demonstrates whether the company really lives their cultural values.”
And at a time when organizations are making greater efforts to develop and retain employees, managers are making internal lateral moves to grow skills and experience. “In today’s work environment, we are going to be faced with more situations where a manager transitions and doesn’t leave the company,” Lauby says. “Maybe they move to another department, division or position. Maybe they retire and come back as a part-time consultant. Organizations have to put more thought into the transition process.”
HR can help ease the stress and confusion that often accompanies these transitions by assisting with the communication plan that will help introduce the new manager to his or her team. This goes beyond the canned “please welcome your new manager” message to a customized transition onboarding plan that will help increase transparency; answer employees’ questions; and reduce the chances of rumor, fear and uncertainty. Additionally, if a previous manager was toxic, HR can assist by facilitating communication for those employees who may be afraid to ask questions or express concerns.
After the initial introduction, the transitioning manager must work diligently to understand the business, establish relationships, and build credibility and trust. Meetings with individual members of the new team will help the new leader to better understand employees’ professional goals as well as departmental issues such as impediments to getting work done and the challenges to accomplishing larger organizational goals.
While transitioning managers may be eager to implement new plans and solutions, careful consideration must be given to the collaboration and communication that will be required for a smooth rollout.
As an HR professional, how are you working to help your organization transition managers into new roles? And, as a manager who has experienced these types of transitions, what advice can you share?
Please join @shrmnextchat at 3:00 p.m. ET on February 27 for #Nextchat with special guest @sharyln_lauby. We’ll chat about how managers can make smooth transitions into their new roles regardless of the circumstances or cultures that surround them.
Q1. What challenges can transitioning managers anticipate as they move laterally or vertically into a leadership position?
Q2. What are the factors that will impact a transitioning manager’s success in his or her new role?
Q3. What kinds of questions should transitioning managers ask their employees to get to know them and their roles within the team better?
Q4. While the process of transitioning a new manager can take up to nine months, what are the most important things to do in the first month?
Q5. When transitioning into a team that previously had a toxic boss and environment, how should a new manager proceed and what special considerations should be given to his or her new team?
Q6. How can HR assist new managers as they transition—either laterally or vertically—into their new role?
Q7. What advice can you share with others who are about to assume a new management role on how to handle the transition successfully?
If you missed this #Nextchat you can read the RECAP here.
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