5 tips when promoting someone new
In your journey as a leader, there will be plenty of challenges you face along the way. One of the best and most rewarding opportunities I hope you get to experience is getting to promote someone on your team to lead others.
It is a big deal for them, for you and the team. Over my last 30 plus years, I have gotten to promote some great people to a leadership role. Let me share 5 quick tips that I have found very useful for their success, which in turn leads to your organization’s success.
Start with clarity. Be clear on the new role, responsibilities and expectations of your new leader. Your conversations and communications with the new leaders are important as they start this journey. You don’t want them to form wrong habits or wrong frameworks in their thinking. Your clear messaging will help them lead well. Clarifying your message builds confidence and keeps leaders going in the same direction. Don’t be afraid to repeat the message of new responsibilities and expectations.
Second, make the announcement of the promotion to the team. This gives clarity to the team that the roles have changed and we have a new leader. Many times, we promote someone and forget to tell anybody, so the new leader is trying to operate without the authority they have been given. This leads to confusion, which is an enemy of the organization.
Thirdly, follow-up with your new leader regularly. This is one of the most effective ways to give and get feedback on the leaders’ progress. I have found with new leaders or leaders that are struggling that setting up a regularly scheduled meeting brings tremendous value to everyone.
I like to keep notes in either a notebook or my Evernote app during my meeting. I found this allows me to quickly check in on situations, challenges and follow-ups without me having to remember all the details. Like you, my best memory is when I've written something down.
During the follow-up, I have found this is a good time to ask questions, answer questions, work out issues and coach them for the week of work ahead. Remember, you need this new leader to think like a leader, a problem solver and an owner. It helps them to hear me process it out loud, but what works best is for me to ask questions and let them process it out loud to me. I always give them an assignment for our next meeting. Write down the things you did to get ready for the day for the next 7 days.
Number four is gratitude. Most new leaders took a risk to leave the comfort zone to be a boss. You want them to stay and be really good, and that starts with expressing a bit of thankfulness. For one, you are thankful they stepped up and took on this new role. It is easier to be friends with the rest of the team, but they have taken on a new challenge of being a leader.
Sometimes, you’re the only encouragement that leader will hear; it is humbling to know what a difference you can make in someone’s life by just showing your gratitude. When we show gratitude, it is a bit easier for them to accept some of the coaching that will come from you during this process. This one practice is one that most leaders struggle to do.
Lastly, invest time into training. Be proactive with your team and schedule regular growth, training and development opportunities that will equip them in their leadership role. This new leader has to know the technical part of the job, but also, they now need to motivate and inspire people to want to work.
Don’t make it a one-time-only occurrence. People and situations are constantly changing. New leaders usually will welcome people skills training because this is the hard stuff if it’s not done right.