5 Questions With Sharlyn Lauby - Author of "Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success"....
Sharlyn Lauby is an author, writer, speaker and consultant. And a friend of mine!
She is president of ITM Group Inc., a consulting firm which focuses on developing training solutions that engage and retain talent in the workplace. The company has been named one of the Top Small Businesses in South Florida.
She's also an incredible, trusted, practical voice on all things related to talent. That's why I wanted to feature this book today.
She is well-known for her work on HR Bartender, a friendly place to talk about workplace issues. The site has been recognized as one of the “Top 5 Blogs HR Pros Love to Read” by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Sharlyn is the author of “Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success” and “The Recruiter’s Handbook: How to Source, Select, and Engage the Best Talent” (both available in the SHRM Store).
Sharlyn previously served as a member of SHRM’s Membership Advisory Committee (MAC) and Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility special expertise panel. Her personal goal in life is to find the best cheeseburger on the planet.
I loved the Manager Onboarding book and wanted to learn more. Below is my 5 Questions Feature with Sharlyn on Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success:
1--Sharlyn, employee onboarding has been a hot topic for a while, but you zigged while others zagged and wrote an entire book on MANAGER onboarding (which I love). What drove you to write an entire book on the need to properly onboard managers of people?
When it comes to new hire onboarding, there’s no training program that I’m aware of that says, “This is how you effectively onboard employees.” We learn how to onboard from our own onboarding experiences. So, if we onboard managers badly, guess what?! They will onboard employees badly. And there’s a statistic from Korn-Ferry that says 98% of CEOs think the key to employee retention is good onboarding.
The other piece that’s frustrating for new managers (and I’m sure you’ve heard this too) is when managers receive no guidance or instruction on something, then they make a mistake, and then they’re scolded by “Here’s how you do it…” Why not avoid the mistake and just tell managers what they need to know so they do it right the first time?
2--When it comes to manager onboarding, what’s the focus point or activity we neglect that has the biggest return on investment of time or money?
I believe it’s telling managers what their goal is. And I’m not talking about the common functions of management: planning, staffing, organizing, directing, and controlling. A manager’s true goal is to find and train their replacement.
Managers can’t work on the CEO’s super-secret pet project, take a vacation, or participate in training if every time they leave their office, their department falls apart. Managers need to learn how to develop talent and delegate. And they need to realize that doing this will not make them dispensable. It will make them more valuable.
3--What are some tips you have from your deep experience in helping organizations perform at a higher level related to introducing a new manager to an incumbent team? How can we create a form of trust/transparency/authenticity with the team earlier with a new manager through onboarding?
I believe it starts with the hiring process. Does the incumbent team know what’s going on? Are they a part of the recruiting process? I’m a big fan of collaborative hiring. It allows key stakeholders – like the incumbent team – to get involved and be invested in the new manager’s success.
Then when it comes to onboarding, there’s an opportunity for the new manager and incumbent team to start building camaraderie. I recently read about a concept called a “personal guide”. It’s what you would think it is – a personal guide of how someone likes to work. Years ago, I had a boss who every time he took a profile or assessment, he would copy the results and distribute them to his direct reports. At first, I thought it was weird. Then I came to realize that he was teaching me how he liked to work. And how he wanted me to work with him. I could see that type of activity being a great way for new managers to build relationships and create a sense of team.
4--What’s 3 things that new managers do (without the help of your onboarding blueprint) that undermine their ability to be effective?
Here are three but let me say that I don’t know that all of these are the new manager’s fault. Organizations need to take some responsibility for setting the right expectations with new managers.
- They focus on the technical aspects of the job and not relationship building. The biggest mistake organizations make is hiring/promoting the most technically competent person and not giving them the people skills to do the job. Many managers think they’re being given the job for the technical expertise and forget they need people to get the work done.
- They forget to manage up. I learned a long time ago that I needed to build a relationship with my boss. And if I wanted them to support me that we needed to agree on A) when I could do something and never tell them B) when I could do something and drop them an email later and C) when I need to go to their office and have an immediate conversation. It builds trust.
- And they forget to develop their team. We’ve already touched on this but if managers want to move up in the company, they need to start thinking about developing their team. Otherwise, when they get a promotion, there will be no one to take their job. That leads to a new manager doing their “old job” and their “new job” until a replacement is found. No one wins when that happens.
5--Think about TV or the movies – and give us 2-3 Managers featured in Hollywood that are so good at managing others that you’re wondering if they’ve gone through proper onboarding for managers.
Wow! This is a toughie. Especially since there are so many ineffective managers on TV or in the movies who are simply portrayed that way to make us laugh – like Michael Scott in The Office or Director Ton in Aggretsuko.
I would point to a couple of managers like Morgan Grimes in Chuck who start out as a total goof but as he grows professionally, he really begins to deliver for his team. And he’s willing to admit and apologize when he makes a mistake. Another one is the Commissioner in Death in Paradise. He’s not actively directing all of the police investigations, but he’s there when the team needs him and seems to say just enough to help the team keep moving in the right direction.
Sharlyn Lauby is awesome. You can order this book here - she's real people and a voice you should be following - Subscribe to her blog and follow her via the social accounts below: