How to Mentor a Manager: Helping New Team Leaders Excel in Their Position

In this article, we'll delve deeper into why mentorship programs are a must for new managers and how they can make an impact on both their personal and professional development.

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In today's fast-paced business environment, effective management is key to the success of any organisation. One way to ensure your new managers are equipped with the tools they need to thrive is through mentorship programs, but these are often overlooked by organisations.

While great employees are often promoted to the management role, too many of them need to learn how to handle conflict, lead a team, or perform tasks representative of a great leader.

By providing guidance, support, and valuable insights from experienced professionals, mentorship programs boost the confidence of new managers and foster personal growth.

In this article, we'll delve deeper into why mentorship programs are a must for new managers and how they can make an impact on both their personal and professional development.

Why Mentorship Programs are a Must for New Managers

As you step into your role as a manager, you might feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities that come with it. This is where mentorship programs come in handy. They provide guidance, support, and valuable insights from experienced professionals who’ve been in your shoes.

But too often, employers assume that new managers are experienced enough to take on the leadership role. That isn’t the case. Managers rarely “figure things out as they go,” and too often, this practice sets them up for failure. This is evident when we look at available research.

According to various studies and sources:

• 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with employees
• 50% of employees quit their boss/manager, not their jobs
• 70% of the variance in employee engagement is accounted for by managers
• 98% of new managers feel they don’t have the skills to handle conflict resolution
• 58% of new managers receive no kind of formal training
• 40% of new managers fail in less than two years
• 50% of managers are considered ineffective by their employees

Managers should never be left to their own devices. Doing so can not only affect the manager, but it can also leave a lasting negative impact on your organisation and your own employees.

Many free email newsletters, course materials, books, training seminars, and podcasts can help keep your managers informed on new management techniques. But before you can use them as a source of truth, you need to establish a baseline through a great mentorship program.

How Can Mentorship Programs Improve Success?

Mentorship programs are one of the best ways to help your managers grow into leaders. A mentorship program presents a win-win situation for both organisations and new managers.

How Mentorship Programs Help Organisations

A great manager can do a lot to improve an organisation, but it’s hard to be great when you lack important skills. When a mentor teaches new managers the necessary skills, it closes the gap. Not only that, but it eliminates bad habits that could impact how the manager leads in the future.

An organisation that trains great managers will produce even more. As managers start mentoring subordinates, they’ll start engaging in peer mentorship, which is often more effective.

How Mentorship Programs Help Managers

All organisations must understand the importance of training and development. Formal training won’t always go in-depth, as they’re more theory than practice. However, a mentorship program gives new managers a support network where they can learn skills from experienced leaders.

70% of employees would be somewhat likely to quit their current role if their boss didn’t invest in employee learning and development, stressing the importance of continuous mentorship.

How to Create a Great Mentorship Program for Managers

Now that you understand the importance of a great mentorship program for managers, you can start creating one from the ground up. Here are 6 steps to creating the perfect program.

Step 1: Create Reasonable Goals

Establishing clear and achievable objectives allows both parties to track progress and measure success over time. This helps maintain motivation and ensures that the experience is fruitful and rewarding. Remember to align management development needs with the organisation’s vision.

For example, if managers are required to lead team meetings but have no formal training in this area, the organisation should focus on building these skills. This type of goal setting is very effective, according to LSA Global Research, which found that these goals improve profitability.

Step 2: Decide on the Right Mentorship Model

There are multiple kinds of mentorship training models you can use to build your program. As a rule, it’s better to design the program around the mentors' needs. However, if cost is a factor, then consider which model works best for your budget and the largest number of employees.

Here are 5 common ways to structure your program:

• 1-on-1 Mentoring: When one mentor is paired with one manager.
• Group Mentoring: When one mentor is paired with multiple managers.
• Peer Mentoring: When the mentor and mentee are of the same hierarchy.
Reverse Mentoring: When a junior passes on skills to a senior, Virtual Mentoring: When the mentor program is conducted online.

1-on-1 mentorship is often the best way to teach new skills. Sometimes, reverse mentoring will be necessary if you want to provide visibility to managers from underrepresented backgrounds.

Step 3: Set The Right Managers and Mentors Up

Managers and mentors won’t always get along, and it’s very important that they do. When a mentor and mentee find something in common (i.e., interests, communication style, career background), the program is more successful. It also helps to have shared expectations.

It’s a mistake to think that a mentorship program should move forward, even when both parties are clearly unresponsive to each other’s style. If possible, let mentors and mentees pick their students and teachers. Consider allowing them to select from a handful of professionals.

Step 4: Have a Detailed Meeting Agenda

A mentorship program is similar to any educational program in that they require meeting agendas. If you want the program to succeed, it has to come with questions, discussion topics, and materials that provide a basis for their learning. Otherwise, it’ll be hard to stay organised.

Before the mentor meets the mentee, there needs to be a plan in place. However, the plan shouldn’t be stringent. The best meeting agendas are flexible and encourage both parties to do what’s right for them. On meeting agendas, be sure to communicate the partie’s expectations.

Step 5: Do Regular Check-Ins and Feedback Sessions

As the employer, you’re responsible for feedback sessions regarding your mentorship program. Without regular feedback, it will be difficult to understand what’s going right or wrong. This feedback session doesn’t have to be formal; it just needs to ask the right questions.

Here’s what you should ask at a mentorship feedback session:

• How is your mentoring relationship developing?
• Are you making progress on the goals you’ve set?
• Are you open to becoming a mentor in the future?
• Did the mentorship program meet your expectations?
• Is there anything you’d change about the program?

There is nothing more valuable to your program than genuine feedback. Creating a culture that encourages open communication is the best way to get this information from your managers.

Step 6: Make an Evaluation Plan for Next Time

Whether new managers love or hate your program, it’s important to use that information to grow. You can do this by measuring the success of your mentorship program via metrics. Some common metrics for this program include signups, business outcomes, and met goals.

It can help to set your own goals prior to tracking progress. For example, if you wanted 10 signups to your mentorship program, you’ll know if you have to adjust to meet it. Or, if you go above and beyond, you can set a higher goal. Alternatively, you could set entirely new goals.


In conclusion, investing in mentorship programs for newly promoted managers can significantly impact their personal and professional growth, setting them on the path to unwavering success. Don't let your new managers navigate the challenges of leadership alone; provide them with the support and guidance they need through mentorship. Encourage them to set reasonable goals, learn from experienced professionals, and expand their skill set with the help of their mentor. By doing so, you'll empower your managers and enhance the overall performance of your team.

This article was guest written by Jessica Perkins.

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