[Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from Alexandra Levit, workforce futurist and author of Humanity Works.]
The first time I was promoted into a managerial position, I closed the door of my fancy new office and held back tears born of fear and Impostor Syndrome. But here’s the thing. I could leave said office, walk down the hall and get a pep talk from my boss.
In a distributed workforce where you rarely or never see your own manager or direct reports and are often doing the jobs of three people, you may be experiencing the toughest time in recent history for managers.
According to a Gallup survey, depression increased for managers in 2021 despite being unchanged for leaders and individual contributors, and one in three managers often or always feel burned out.
In my recent column for the Wall Street Journal’s Workplace Report, I spoke with Alyssa Lahar, chief human resources officer for ZoomInfo, a subscription-based database service. Lahar shared that managers often find themselves not at the bottom rung and but also not in positions of influence, which leads to a feeling of powerlessness. “Middle managers tend to be stretched the thinnest, and their work tends to be unseen,” she said.
Especially vulnerable are first-time middle managers, who too often are thrust into new roles without proper guidance, mentorship or training. Without the in-person management experience to draw from, it’s even more important that organizations use technology to fill the gaps.
Specifically, they should identify a solution that immerses new managers in the organization’s approach to leadership, performance, engagement and productivity.
Not only should the technology be customizable for the unique needs of the individual manager, but it should also have the capability to flex with evolving business requirements. If you are smartly rethinking your first-time manager offering, here are five elements to consider including.
- Retention: Providing detailed information on new role expectations and team contributions, reducing the uncertainty, frustration and burnout that leads to attrition.
- Knowledge Transfer: Communicating with key stakeholders to ensure continuous project management and workflow.
- Recruitment: Making the hiring process as seamless as possible so that managers can quickly select and onboard new talent for vacant roles.
- Talent Management: Facilitating consistent and timely performance evaluations for and engagement with direct reports.
- Internal Mobility: Clarifying manager career paths and opportunities for internal movement and transition.
If you’d like to learn more about the challenges and opportunities of today’s first-time manager experience in the era of distributed work, join me for an interactive webinar on April 6th at 11AM EST. Register here and I’ll see you there!