A new manager, whether promoted from within or hired from abroad, must learn to communicate and model the values and expectations of the organization. For the internal hire, that person has the advantage of in-house experience and a demonstrated potential to manage. (That’s why you promoted them.) 

For the hired manager, it’s unreasonable to plug them in and expect that they will seamlessly adhere, model, and reinforce the “core values” of your firm. Sometimes, yes, you simply need to get that newly hired manager onboard and rolling because everyone is working overtime, the wheels are falling off the bus, and the barbarians are at the gate. Regardless, close support and explicit nurturing improve the chances for success for the manager and the team.  

In an earlier post – Train or Hire? Both – I wrote about the importance of continually looking to upgrade the skills of a team through developing younger talent for future roles within the organization. In this post, I focus on a few priorities and approaches for helping newly hired and promoted managers succeed.

Values Come First

Your new manager must, first and foremost, share the values of the team and then also have the aptitude and interest in building the skills needed for the role. In my experience with human beings, it simply does not work the other way around. Values come first.

When someone becomes a manager or executive, the allocation and use of his or her time changes. Making this transition is hard; I struggle with it to this day. You spend more time managing and coaching and less time doing and analyzing.  In football, the head coach cannot run out onto the field and catch the ball, but in a business a manager can easily inject themselves into the process, so this is one of the hardest things to avoid and manage and develop. Know when to step in and when to step back, and this becomes easier when the person aligns with the values of the team.

Use Milestones and Timelines

The successful onboarding and (initial) performance of the manager is on you or me or whoever hired this person. Provide structure to this by working off of a clearly communicated plan with systematic support. Put your mentoring on a timeline, and let it work for both of you, as a source of reinforcement, and as a path for the new manager to reach back for feedback and ideas.  

In the early days, you guide and reinforce and advise; in the latter days, the manager updates and communicates with you. In addition to technical and business-specific skills, areas you may explicitly cover during the onboarding phase may include values and business priorities, business metrics and scorecards, and approaches to coaching and mentoring. Throughout, your best path is to role model the behaviors expected from the other managers, and then follow-up to ask questions and confirm understanding.

This “short” term investment explicitly reduces risk and increases the probability of a strong hiring ROI and well-functioning team. 


It is tempting, as the experienced veteran or senior executive or company founder, to show everyone how their jobs should be done and to push them to keep up with you. However, at some point, you must decide whether you want to “serve” the team, or glorify yourself as the leader and alpha dog. Remember, it takes a team to build a rocket ship and get to the moon. Finding ways for the team and for everyone to get better and succeed has a compounding effect. Ten individuals each getting 10% better outperforms you getting 20% better. Prioritize values, mentor and onboard with a plan, and role model what you want to develop and help others become productive managers and colleagues.