What Does It Take to Succeed As a New Manager?

Male office employee smiling

Managers play a critical role in any business. They are the connecting tissue between Ownership and employees. Through Managers, Owners can delegate tactical responsibility for specific areas of the business to others so they can focus more the strategic vision for the company. Managers help an Owner leverage their own time, but only if proper planning and structure are in place.

Management expert Peter Drucker outlined five things that Managers do:

  1. Set objectives
  2. Organize
  3. Motivate and communicate
  4. Measure
  5. Develop people

Setting Up a New Manager for Success

How do you find a great Manager? For many in our industry it involves taking their best Technician or Installer and changing their title to Service Manager or Installation Manager. Presto: new Manager in place. However, the skills needed to succeed in a management role are much different from those needed to succeed as an employee. Just giving someone a new title and expecting them to do well is a recipe for failure. In fact, up to 60 percent of new managers fail within their first 24 months (source: cebglobal.com).

How can you set up a new Manager to succeed?

Manager Development Blog Series

Becoming a new manager requires new skills, new knowledge, and a new mindset. In this 3-part blog series, we’ll look at how you can set up a new manager for success. We’ll start by looking at why a growing company needs managers in this article. In Part 2 we’ll identify steps you can use to “build a great manager.” And finally, in Part 3, we’ll investigate what great managers do to be successful.

The Best Workers Can Make Poor Managers

Here’s how a chemist who was promoted to a Manager described her transition:

“Before my promotion, I was a good-to-excellent chemist. Now, I’m an okay chemist and an okay manager.”

(source: Center for Creative Leadership)

That’s typically what happens in the home services industry as well. A company takes their best Technician or Installer and makes them a Service or Install Manager. After all, they’ve been a successful Technician or Installer, shouldn’t they be able to “manage” these folks? Unfortunately, what usually happens is the company loses one of their top revenue producers and gains, at best, an “okay” manager.

Why doesn’t a great worker make a great Manager? A great worker usually has a plan – for themselves. They may be your most efficient and productive team member. Typically, they enjoy the control they have over their personal success. However, a Manager must have a plan for their team and understand how to get work done through others, instead of doing it all themselves. And Managers must also understand that everyone may work differently and be able to develop a personalized approach for each team member. This is a completely different skillset from what it takes to be a great individual worker. These skills must be developed for a team member to successfully make the transition from employee to Manager.

Why Do We Need Managers?

One of the battle cries for every growing business should be to: “free the Owner up!” While you may think this statement is directed at smaller companies, it’s astonishing how many Owners of larger companies can’t relinquish control of parts of their business, whether out of fear, not knowing how, or feeling that they are the only ones who can “do it correctly.”

Ultimately, this limits company’s growth and creates an unending burden for the Owner. If you don’t have Managers in place that you trust, how can you take a vacation or spend time away from the business? It’s all on your shoulders. That stress adds up. But here’s a thought to consider: a great Manager, with the right training and guidance, can make your life easier. They may even be able to do some aspects of their job better than you could!

Young woman sitting at a desk in an office

Free Up the Owner!

Freeing up the Owner allows you to work on your company versus in your company. This gives the company the capacity to grow and creates opportunities for team members to develop and excel. With a deeper team and a strategic focus, your company can deliver more and better services to your clients. Your clients will benefit by having employees who are motivate and engaged, creating loyalty, repeat sales, and referrals.

Managers are the linchpin in the company’s structure. They help communicate Ownership’s vision to the rest of the company. They develop the tactical steps to implement the goals created in your company’s business plan with the team. They measure and report on their department’s progress and success. They plan an important part in developing your company’s culture and in developing your employees. Develop a great Manager and you’ll improve your employee retention. Often, employees don’t leave the company, they leave the Manager. Great Managers inspire loyalty and get the best from their team members.

Want to grow your company, get more time to focus on your strategic vision, and improve your lifestyle? Make the investment – and commitment – to develop your new generation of company Managers.

Next Up: Building a Great Manager

Check back for Part two of our series, as we investigate how to build a great manager, by identifying the right candidate, providing them with training, and setting up the parameters for how they will be measured.

About the Author 

Chris Koch has nearly three decades of HVAC experience, starting at the ground floor and working his way up to VP of Service. His expertise ranges from a start-up to $60 million in sales. Chris has gained rich, diverse exposure to many forms of doing business. He is a team-building leader and possesses necessary hands-on experience. 

During his career, he has been hired into managerial positions, and promoted multiple times. Each experience came with exciting opportunities and terrifying realities. But as time went by, he identified the things he needed to change in his approach to transition from an employee to a successful manager. But he could have done it a lot faster with some training!

It was the desire to help both new managers and their owners that led him to develop a new workshop available through BDR University: Creating the New Generation of Company Managers.

This workshop is designed to help new managers:

  • Know what the expectations of their role are
  • Understand how to implement and achieve their (and the organization’s) goals
  • Understand and apply key profitability and efficiency metrics for their department
  • Learn how to create a great work environment that will make your company the employer of choice
  • Allow their Owner take off a couple of hats
  • Provide opportunities to their key employees

If you’d like more details on upcoming events, click here.

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