Episode 289: New Manager Training with Ramona Shaw

In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics found that companies with fewer than 100 employees gave only 12 minutes of manager training every six months. Organizations with 100 – 500 employees provided just 6 minutes of new manager training (source: HR Professionals Magazine). According to Gallup State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders, 50 percent of employees have left jobs to get away from their manager at some point in their careers. Additionally, only 35% of U.S. managers are engaged in their jobs and managers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually. This is a costly problem that just gets more complicated when you put remote working into the mix. 

Episode 289: New Manager Training with Ramona Shaw 

I am so pleased to have Ramona Shaw with us on the podcast today to talk about new manager training. Ramona is a certified professional leadership coach and facilitator. Her mission is to develop confident, high-performing leaders and teams people love to work for. Through coaching and training she helps new and mid-level managers establish leadership behaviors, skills and habits to reach new levels of productivity and impact in their roles. 

Ramona’s career began in finance working for a private equity firm. I asked Ramona how her background led to her current work as coach and facilitator. “It was fairly early on in my career that I was given the responsibility and the opportunity to start building a team. At that point, I never had any prior leadership experience in a professional context. But I felt like I was on a good track and I thought, I’ll be fine. I’ll figure this out as we go and it’ll all work out.”

Ramona added, “Little did I know how much changes once you are in an official leadership role. That transition from an IC, an individual contributor to a manager is actually, in most cases the biggest career transition people go through. I realized in the first couple of years of me being in this new role, leading a team of my former peers, a lot of them older than me, and we were hiring a bunch of new people, setting up processes, and it was fast growth in a very intense and fast paced work environment.”

“Just like in any other area of life, like learning how to swim, learning how to ski, you go look for an instructor or a coach or someone who helps you train that new skill. I I felt that for the two years that I was struggling, I was trying to figure this out on my own, not having the tools that I needed in order to do it while not understanding best practices, but figuring everything out through trial and error. And through that personal experience of working with a leadership coach and then getting really fascinated with leadership development and training…that’s what really got me hooked. So it was this personal experience of stepping into a new manager role and then building from there and starting to coach the new managers and helping them go through this transition until I then decided to make this my career.” 

Putting Our Own Professional Development First 

Our audience consists of so many HR professionals who want to be managers or step into leadership and management roles and grow in their careers. I asked Ramona what her advice is to HR professionals with regards to our own career development.

“Any professional development is actually about your career. And it is not just connected to the job that you’re performing right now. For us to take our own career in our own hands and not to wait for someone to deliver a training on a silver platter is really, really important. So if you feel I need a mentor, I need leadership training, I need to learn this one specific skill. Go out there, find the people, find the resources, find the programs, invest in yourself. Because what you’ll learn, especially early on as a leader, those things will benefit you and serve you for the rest of your career, way beyond probably that current organization that you’re with.” 

“Look for what resonates with you and what you want to cultivate.” - Ramona Shaw #WorkologyPodcast #NewManagers Click To Tweet

I asked Ramona how managers can help when it comes to ensuring that the employees on their teams are thinking and considering and making time for their mental health. “It’s hard to cope with challenges and stress at work. That also doesn’t allow us to really thrive in a workplace, which is what we’re all hoping to create and do for ourselves, but also for our team members. If you don’t make time yourself to take care of your own mental health and maybe even normalize needing help from others or looking for resources or practices to help with with how you’re personally doing, then that sends a message to others said it’s either not safe to ask or not to share or not even OK to really need it.”

“This also means being vocal about it and letting people know that this is something that you truly encourage that is important on the team and then demonstrating this yourself with your own actions and that may be setting really clear boundaries and sticking to them.”

 It’s so important for HR leaders to create resources and support for new managers, especially around leadership, empathy, people management, communication, productivity, and more. Manager training is critical, and that’s why Workology launched our first ever New Manager Training Program. It’s twelve weeks of training for a new manager who has less than three years’ experience with weekly coaching, training, and support – and an opportunity to work with experts like Ramona in one-on-one and group training sessions. I asked Ramona to talk a bit about what this program looks like.

“The goal of the program is to help managers build competence, confidence, and accountability, and the way that we do this is through a blended approach. We’re using on demand training lessons that new managers can watch each week. We’re including resources and toolkits, including self assessments and templates to help them apply everything that they learned, and the faster that they apply what they learned, the better the results. Then we’re amplifying all this with weekly coaching calls and through personalized support in those group coaching calls, helping new managers absorb the information and help them take action as a result of it that is specific to their situation.”

“We’re also doing this through our Slack channel, so they get ad hoc support whenever something urgent pops up. I do this all the time throughout the day when I support clients and I give them little suggestions or moments to reflect on what’s currently happening for them, and that personalized support and guidance is what really creates an impactful experience for new managers.”

Listen to the full podcast for more, including the four steps Ramona recommends HR professionals follow when seeking career development, what a leadership mindset looks like, and how new managers (and all managers) can be better at coaching and communicating with remote employees. 

Connect with Ramona Shaw


– Ramona Shaw on LinkedIn

– RamonaShaw.com

– Workology’s New Manager Training Program

– New Manager Training: The Feedback Sandwich

– New Manager Training: Coaching & Difficult Conversations

– 5 Employee Development Resources for New Managers

– Episode Transcript

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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