Meeting Training for Newly Promoted Managers

Jeff ChaffinUncategorized

Helping Newly Promoted Employees Succeed

Have you ever been in a situation like this? Consider this scenario:

Recently promoted into a mid-management level position, Jordan was investing a great deal of time and effort into preparing for his first meeting on the new job.  The standing committee met on a quarterly basis to review actual price and cost performance on two products and related service lines.  Jordan was asked to prepare material cost and inventory analyses to present to the group.  Once his time came to share his information, Jordan not only rolled through his charts and graphs, but also provided ongoing commentary on variances from plan and how the responsible parties shirked their duties in creating negative outcomes.

The representatives of the departments that were being criticized quickly reacted and began providing defensive responses and questioned the validity of Jordan’s numbers.  As a result of the ensuing heated debates, the committee neglected to review nearly half of the items on the agenda.  Attendees left shaking their heads, very disappointed that they had not made any progress during the meeting.  Jordan’s manager was called into a discussion with his boss about the meeting and requested that Jordan be held out of upcoming committee activities until further notice.

What had just happened?  An ambitious and driven employee had just blindsided an established committee and potentially sabotaged his growth and advancement at his current company.

Let’s look at a few thoughts on how the meeting, and Jordan’s career plans, could have had a much better result:

Meeting preparation: While it appears that Jordan’s manager prepared him for the technical aspects of the meeting, he/she did not adequately review Jordan’s oral presentation, if at all.  Asking an employee to walk through practice presentations will allow managers the opportunity to comment on content, style and time considerations.  Practice runs will also reduce stress for the employee while providing managers the venue to perform their managerial duties which include: developing a newly promoted employee; providing immediate feedback on new responsibilities; and setting a platform for future conversations based on technical and soft skills.

Review Group and Participant Dynamics:  It is common that work groups and their members have their own style and dynamics. A new member of the group should be educated on the prevailing attributes prior to a meeting.  This can be accomplished through informal meetings during preparation review or in a more relaxed setting, like over a cup of coffee. Taking time to introduce the newly promoted employee to committee members that they have not worked with in the past is also good practice and will begin to form a familiarity and is beneficial to do before conducting business in a more formal setting.

Set Realistic Individual Goals: A good manager should provide guidelines of presentation expectations for new employees.  Managers should attend high visibility meetings with newly promoted employees and provide a narrow scope of responsibility in the first few meetings or until the employee is accustomed to the content and pace of the meetings.  Employees should be reminded that the largest impact that they can have in the beginning is to be prepared and on time.  Higher-level contributions will come with time – don’t rush or force the issue.

Relax:  Participation and contribution is not pass/fail in the meeting.  Recently promoted employees have been asked to participate to gain knowledge of a larger field of play and contribute as a result of past performance and potential upside.  College exams are not given on the first day of the course (thankfully!) and new committee participants should not put pressure on themselves to invent the next generation of cell phone in a matter of weeks.  Managers can and should make the meeting important but a “matter-of-fact” in regular operations.

Success favors the prepared mind.  High potential employees can be properly developed with mindful and deliberate mentoring in both formal and informal settings.  Effective preparation of employees for increased participation benefits not only the immediate area of responsibilities, but the long term performance of the organization.