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Ask Andi: From doer to manager

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Our shop guy needs help. His hands are on the machines because he doesn’t have the right people working for him. He doesn’t give out enough warnings, says he doesn’t have time to look for people to hire. He’d rather do the work than step back and manage. What should we do?

THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Managers are made, not born. You will have to help your shop guy make time to step back and assess. Recruiting is a specialized skill. Find someone in the shop who can be a great second in command.

Managers are made, not born. 

At this point, it would probably help to take stock of the skills, deficits, strengths and weaknesses of this new manager. What does he do well? What does he skip or avoid? In which situations does he keep his cool? And what causes him to get stressed out?

Figure out what additional areas of training would be beneficial. Consider upgrading skills related to workflow management, purchasing, IT and cyber security. Look for courses on leadership. Include decision-making and ethics.

Make it clear that you expect your manager to beef up skills. Encourage reading, meet regularly to discuss how things are going, build a schedule that includes time off for training. Encourage pursuit of certifications that are relevant to the job.

You will have to help your shop guy make time to step back and assess. 

Encourage your manager to explore his personal behavior style, as he learns to recognize the behavior styles of others. Practice ways to provide positive and negative feedback. Get training on managing teams and empowering people to perform.

Promote diversity training, so that your manager gets comfortable recruiting, educating and managing people from different backgrounds. You’ll help your manager expand the pool of suitable job candidates, and probably increase the longevity of workers who don’t currently fit neatly into the manager’s comfort zone.

Encourage your manager to over-hire, so that there are enough people in place when someone leaves or goes on vacation. Cut out delays related to waiting too long for an employee to turn around poor behavior. Put in place a policy that anytime a person goes on probation, the job is automatically posted internally and externally.

Recruiting is a specialized skill. 

Sit in on several interviews to see how your manager handles herself. Does she focus on getting to know the candidate by listening to the candidates’ stories? Does she spend too much time talking about herself or the job or the company? Make a list of suggestions that will help your manager improve at interviewing.

Develop scripts for a phone screen, first and second face-to-face interviews. Have someone in administration place job ads and screen candidates. Implement screening tests that assess candidates’ skills for a particular job. Insist on finalists going through interviews with other managers, and ask the managers to hash out any differences or concerns before making any offers.

Find someone in the shop who can be a great second in command.  

Ask your manager to identify and train a second in command. This person can step up when the manager is out on vacation and when things get too busy for one person to manage effectively. Send this second in command through the same training program as the one you’re developing for your manager. Encourage your manager to take regular breaks — time off from work — which will give him time to think and gain perspective.

LOOKING FOR A GOOD BOOK? Try “The Effective Manager” by Mark Horstman.

Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics: 877-238-3535. AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles: AskAndi.com.

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