L&D Best Practices

How to design a results-driven program to empower first-time managers – Part 2

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First-time managers, part 2

Managing a team for the first time is a critical step in any career. It involves many significant changes in terms of status, responsibilities, and tasks. We all know the saying “If you want something done right, do it yourself”. But as a manager, the main goal is to delegate tasks while leading their team towards accomplishing short- and long-term objectives. To do this effectively they’ll need the right skills to foster collaboration, drive performance and demonstrate impact. 

As L&D professionals, your goal should be to give these new managers all the tools they need to prepare for their new role and effectively lead their team to success. 

We recommend starting with the following basics:

Debutant managers must also be encouraged to set the right tone from the beginning. The first goal should be to make an impact during their first 100 days, because this is the most crucial period when managing a team for the first time. 

Where should you start when designing your program?

To design an impactful program, start by asking the right questions. 

First, identify their current skills and challenges

  1. What are the skills they need to become effective managers? 
  1. What specific challenges will they encounter in their new role? 
  1. How can they build the right foundation to build a successful career? 

Second, identify who your new managers are and the skills they need 

  1. Who are my first-time managers? (experience, age, languages, current skill set and present role) 
  2. What are the skills that need to be developed (reference framework, values)? 
  3. What behaviors do they need to develop? 

Then use this information to create your program’s framework 

  1. Are you looking for a customized or off-the-shelf program (schedule, resources, budget), or will you create it in house? 
  2. What is your timeline and plan for rollout? 
  3. What resources do you already have that could enhance the program?  

The ideal program for first-time managers is based on 3 key pillars  

Premium content – Exclusive content, created by renowned experts, gives new managers the essential knowledge to excel in their role. This content should focus on the skills they’ll need to be effective managers.

Engaging activities – Innovative digital activities, designed by Blended Learning experts and supported by innovative technology, provide an immersive and effective learning experience.

Experienced facilitators – Experienced facilitators are there to guide first-time managers through practical exercises to put their learnings to the test, ensuring maximum engagement and fortification of new skills. 

How to ensure your first-time manager program is a success

Program objectives 
Use the answers to your questions in the previous section to clearly identify the objectives for the course and make sure they’re clear to learners too. Then design your course with high-quality, diverse content that’s relevant to a new manager’s duties and supportive of these objectives. 

Blended learning 
When you provide the right blend of training, you’ll keep your first-time managers focused and motivated. But before you can design an effective blended program, it is critical to define the business and learning outcomes that you want your program to achieve so that your efforts align perfectly with business needs. Blended learning also allows them to put their new skills to the test with real business problems they need to solve using their newly acquired knowledge. 
We know that people learn best together, so the ideal blended program should mix live virtual sessions (synchronous) with online individual training (asynchronous). The right blend builds understanding and collaboration through peer-to-peer interaction, expert facilitation, feedback, and assessments, enabling new managers to take charge of their own development while also learning to collaborate with colleagues

Measurement & data 
You want to give your aspiring managers the skills they need while measuring progress and impact. Leverage your dashboard to track progress, identify strengths and soft spots, and suggest other training (leadership, team building, soft skills) to keep them on the right path. 
By tracking and reporting progress per learner and per path, you can gain a better understanding of what works for your new managers and what doesn’t. This way you can adjust your programs within shorter time intervals to continually drive business outcomes and deliver results. 

Follow-up steps to reinforce learning and practice skills 

Learning new skills is just the first step. To be sure they know how to put these management fundamentals into practice, your new managers should frequently test their new knowledge in real-world scenarios.  

They should also focus on the key steps needed for successful team management. Establishing best practices early on is key to being a successful manager, and drilling down on these essentials will buttress expected behaviors.  

Finally, first-time managers should have the opportunity to actively contribute to their team’s performance. A top performing team is one that’s built on strong foundations. A manager with skills like collaboration, problem-solving, curiosity, and a growth IQ mindset will help them reach their goals. 

Get more tips from our experts on how to effectively train and empower your new managers.