You’ve all heard of the expression, ‘thrown into the deep end of the pool’, right? (It’s an idiom, by the way!) The meaning behind this, especially when it comes to employees, is that you are forcing them to learn how to do a job or task by starting with the most difficult parts. I’ve never been a proponent of this mindset. Too many times, you’re just setting people up for failure. And where’s the fun in that?
Leaders lead and they also groom lower level employees. The best leaders seldom micro-manage; they train their people and give them responsibilities to carry out. For younger employees who show leadership traits, I think it’s important to let them walk first, get their sea legs about them, and then begin to lay on more responsibility.
My advice is to create low-impact environments for young leaders you are grooming for success. Surround them with a few experienced hands and ensure that senior management keeps an eye on everything without appearing to be taking command and control away from the new manager.
Of course, timely analysis and evaluations are also quite important. When someone is (perhaps not in the deep end) up to their neck in a new job environment, sitting down and re-visiting their decisions is one way to demonstrate your commitment to their success, and is a way of relieving pressure. What went right, what went wrong, why were certain decisions made, etc.
Creating a low-impact environment so new leaders can test their skill sets, along with timely, frank evaluations will instill discipline and allow new managers to experiment and gain confidence without getting thrown into the deep end of the pool.