By Ray Estrada

When I was a boy, my father used to tell me how he was going to teach me how to swim: “I’m going to throw you in the river and yell, ‘alligator!’”
I like to swim, but I’m still not very good at it, despite my dad’s pressure.
Many new managers are told to do their job with as much incentive as I was given to swim. Good managers are made, not just made up.
During about 25 years in various management roles, I initially learned the ropes from mentors and other managers. My experience as a manager was mostly trial and error, hit or miss. However, it was not until I received a scholarship for formal management training at the Medill Campus of Northwestern University that I realized how to do my job as an office leader.
While there is no substitute for experience, training is invaluable. Want to be a successful manager? Get some real training and your experience, and success, will grow exponentially.
Another reason why new managers fail is micromanagement. Many times their supervisors will not let them manage effectively. Looking over a middle manager’s shoulder makes for a less than desirable situation. Managers should be allowed to fulfill their job descriptions without significant changes for at least one year.
A performance review is a good idea after a period of time in which the new manager can prove himself or herself in a designated role.
A third reason why new managers fail is that they are the proverbial square peg in a round hole. This often happens when nepotism or other types of favoritism are involved. It is vital to hire – and train – the right person for the proper management role. Not doing so is costly and frustrating.

In short, to assume that an employee is management material can be folly. The way to be even more certain involves training and proper evaluation. Find the best people for management roles and back them up with proper support.
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