Dear Dr. Jim,
I promoted our communications coordinator to manager. She is skilled and experienced, but her direct reports are still coming to me instead of her. How do I help her assert herself?
Your statement: “she is skilled and experienced”—yes, skilled and experienced in communications, as a coordinator, but not skilled and experienced as a leader or manager (yet).
So, your job is to help her learn how to become a better manager. If she’s lacking development, she’s going to become what we call an “accidental leader”, and she’ll likely not succeed in the new role. Here’s what you do:
- Identify articles for her to read about leadership and management.
- Initiate/establish weekly meetings with her to talk about (1) what’s going well in her new job and responsibilities, (2) what needs improvement, and (3) what might be missing.
- Finally, encourage her!
The other thing that’s really important—if her direct reports keep coming to you, direct them back to her. (I’m assuming you’ve been through significant leadership or management training and you know how to do these things.)
If you too are an accidental leader who has been promoted but not developed, that’s a problem. Consider connecting with us!
– Dr. Jim
*names have been changed