Developing the next Generation of People-Digital Managers

The global digital transformation has only just begun. The majority of industries are undergoing some level of digital disruption, and the transformation is only in an initial phase. To make sure organizations can adapt and develop technology capabilities,  they need to prepare its leaders to lead in the age of disruption, support an agile culture and help companies to differentiate and execute strategy. 
Let’s see a business case first:
Stefani has just joined a consulting technology organization based out of California. She is part of one of the key consulting projects within the firm and is excited because of the opportunity to learn, contribute and the level of exposure. She also felt a connection with her direct supervisor; they shared the same teamwork spirit, passion to deliver results and leadership style. Furthermore, Stefani’s supervisor provided assertive feedback when it was necessary to re-align targets and/or expectations.
Stefani felt that her manager was great connecting with each team member while sponsoring their success. However, one day, Stefani’s direct supervisor decided to leave the organization and Josh, who was an outstanding high performer and high potential in the IT architecture division, was promoted to be the team manager and that’s when things started to change drastically. Different leadership style, micromanagement with lack of recognition of the team’s success and limited personal touch to provide constructive feedback just to mention a few.
Stefani loves the company and company’s culture but she was not able to adapt to Josh’s managing style. Other millennials team members started to felt the same way generating an impact on the team engagement. However, Josh was meeting goals (pushing his team to the limits) and senior management did not want to deep dive into the problem and decided to dismantle the team in order to avoid conflict and figure out the issue later.
What can we do to create a better work environment and help Josh to become a better “First Time Manager”?
There are different ways to approach the case described above. Here is an initial way to start:
First Time Manager
The transition from an individual contributor to a team leader role involves the development of new skills and a different approach on how to deliver results. Many organizations set “First Time Manager” training programs that include different aspects related to culture, managing others, relationship building and leadership. First line leaders need to understand culture, team leadership and business execution. In this context, organizations can set the path for new team managers to succeed following these steps:
1.    Prepare: 
Have a clear picture about the profile for the ‘First Time Managers”; identified skills, behaviors and leadership characteristics that these new leaders need to embrace to engage their teams, clients and organizations. HR plays a key role partnering with business leaders to identify the leadership framework and capabilities that new leaders will need to develop to leverage corporate strategy and empower teams.
2.    Engage: 
Senior Management needs to work closely to provide support to new team leaders. “First Time Managers” usually take an initial test to identify their leadership style. Some organizations use 360 feedback assessment (usually between 6-8 participants provide feedback about their managers. You can also include peers and clients if necessary), behavioral tests, and/or leadership assessments to assess gaps and use that information for development plans. At this stage is critical to communicate properly to new team managers that this process would allow them to develop new skills and shape their leadership style to keep progressing within the organization while becoming a cultural ambassador and team manager.
3.    Follow up: 
It is important that new team managers are aware that their performance goals have a “leadership” element that reflects the way they are leading and delivering results through teams. Time management is another element that first line managers need to address to be more productive and effective. Lastly, regular check-ins would help new managers to see their progression and receive feedback.
To round up, “First Time Manager” training is the foundation of every leadership development framework and is applicable to any company size and or industry. This way companies are developing future leaders by carefully planning and executing the organizational leadership imperative while embracing in its leaders the passion to lead others.
Finally, for startup organizations, I suggested the following “First Time Manager” agenda:
  • Me as a team leader
  • Managing digital teams
  • Managing emotions
  • Building relationships across the organization
  • Recruiting and Developing top talent
  • Feedback and Coaching
  • Setting goals and expectations
  • Employment law basics
Program design:
 “First Time Manager” training can be designed, in my experience, creating modules. This program varies from 1 day to 3 days of training. It is important before you start this program across your organization confirm what are the learning objectives that need to be accomplished and aligned with your business. If this is the first time you are going to design this course, my advice would be to involve senior management using surveys, focus groups or workshop to identify leadership behaviors for the “First Time Managers” and confirm competences. Furthermore, the program, need to have a strong communication process where you explain the outcome of this training and the way how it is going to be executed. Coordinate with your business managers to confirm the availability of participants in this of amazing leadership journey.
To sum up, this program would assist “First Time Managers” on:
  1. How to manage teams and build a strong organizational culture
  2. How to hire, retain and develop talent
  3. How to delegate, set goals, manage relationships and deal with conflict
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Author
Albert Loyola is Managing Partner with Ignite Organizations, a talent and organization consulting firm. He serves as a trusted advisor to leadership teams on future workforce strategy, HR technology capabilities and integrated talent and HR solutions, he enables clients to address their future workforce needs and lead change in the face of digital transformation.
Albert is a People Technology Advisor & Speaker on the Future of Work, Employee Experience, Design Thinking and Artificial Intelligence in HR. His work has been featured on different business and HR tech magazines. Albert holds a Master Degree from Cornell University, in Human Resources
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© Copyright 2018. This article may be reprinted provided the following credit line is present: Albert Loyola, Global Talent & Organization consultant |Artificial Intelligence HR advisor |Future of Work speaker & writer| All rights reserved

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