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What you need to know about promoting a tech to a manager

If a tech isn’t ready for a supervisory position, here’s also how to tell them the time isn’t right for a promotion

Phoenix and Mt Horeb, Wis.—Wrenching and managing a team of technicians requires two very different skill sets. Some of the best technicians make the worst managers, and if those techs are promoted, it can wreak havoc on a shop. Here are a few tips from Fullbay and WrenchWay on what to do when considering a tech for a managerial role.

1. Do a skills assessment.
When considering promoting a technician, it can be extremely helpful to perform a skills assessment during the interview process. There are many different assessments out there (i.e., DISC profiling, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Gallup StrengthsFinder, etc.). Regardless of which one you choose, skills assessments can give both managers and technicians insights into what type of leader they are, where their strengths as a leader lie and where they can improve.

2. Set clear expectations.
Once a technician has been promoted to supervisor, it’s important for their manager to set clear, measurable expectations right away. The employee should know exactly what they are accountable for, what their goals are and how the goals are being measured.

3. Provide adequate management training.
Leadership does not always come naturally, especially when an employee hasn’t been in that role before. Management training allows new supervisors to build up their confidence, develop communication skills and learn how to effectively motivate their employees.

4. Be patient.
It takes time for employees to hone their leadership skills. Keep an open line of communication, encourage questions and provide ongoing feedback.

How to tell a tech they aren’t ready for a promotion

Oftentimes, a technician may think they’re ready for a promotion, but the truth of the matter is, they aren’t quite there yet. This can be a challenging conversation to have with an employee, but it needs to be addressed.

Whether it’s time for a formal review or not, set aside time with the technician to have this conversation. Avoiding it will only cause resentment and confusion, as the technician will have no idea why they aren’t getting promoted. A failure to communicate this to an employee is your failure as their leader.

Here’s how managers can handle the conversation tactfully and make it productive for both parties:

  • Identify the gaps.
    • Show the technician what skills or knowledge is required to be a successful supervisor and show where they are falling short.
  • Develop a growth plan.
    • Next, lay out a career development plan for the technician to show them how they can develop the skills they need to get the promotion they want. Identify any training that could be beneficial, get them set up as a mentor in the shop, and provide them with different avenues to grow themselves as leaders.
  • Provide feedback regularly.
    • Check in regularly to see what progress the technician is making. Ask them what’s going well, what challenges they’ve encountered, and what you can do to support them in their career growth.

In summary, there’s a lot to consider when thinking about promoting a technician to a supervisor. However, open communication, clear expectations and proper training go a long way. If shop owners/managers know how to identify a tech that is ready for a promotion, can successfully guide them into their new role, and provide constructive feedback to technicians who aren’t quite ready for a promotion yet, their shop and employees will benefit greatly.

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