The Game Changers

Supporting the Transitioning Leader

By Temitope Azeez

Sep. 3, 2019

Sometimes you get to a certain stage with all your HR projects and believe there is nothing more to be accomplished. This is not the case for me.

This roller coaster of an HR ride has been awesome in revealing that your job as an HR professional is never done and you can always find something that needs improving. This month it’s been the challenge around setting up a transition programme for new managers and team leads.

I run a weekly barometer across all countries, and I love that my colleagues have taken to owning their self-development. From this barometer has come suggestions on how we can better help new managers and team leads transit better into their new roles.

It might come as a shock to you that this is an issue, but it is. Generally, people are promoted more for their technical capabilities whilst paying less attention to the softer side of things like managing and communicating with a team, developing a team, influencing a team and sustaining a performing team.

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All of this has become critical to the success of new managers and team leads because now they are no longer just individuals working within a team, they are in charge of managing one. Some of the challenges faced so far have been:

  • My manager doesn’t know how to give constructive feedback.
  • My manager is not nice at all (oh yes, some people say that).
  • I need her/him to be clearer and what should be done.
  • S/he needs to be more considerate and caring.

The list is endless.

blogThis has spurred the new programme I have set up to address this. Consider it more like an in-house certification track where you need to go through five stages to earn a certificate of completion for the programme certifying you as an effective manager or leader once there is a chance that you would be promoted, or you have been promoted and also for those who already are managers within the system.

So many programmes exist externally, but I believe first in setting up one customized to your organization that utilizes internal resources. Later in some of these stages there can be considerations for including external support.

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Here are some considerations in setting up your own internal manager transition programme:

  • Assessments and personalities tests: This ensures you are getting their leadership styles or profiles right and, as a bonus, points out any areas of improvement.
  • Coaching/mentoring: It should feature either an attachment to a coach for specific skills areas and/or a mentor within the organization who is seen as exemplary when it comes to his/her leadership style and has had success with leading performing teams.
  • Training: This could either be online or in-class, but there definitely needs to be some form of social learning that will take place within the programme to emphasize clear objectives of the programme and encourage engagement, especially if you have remote or diverse teams.
  • Project/exam: Consider having it end either with a Capstone project, case study, multi-choice questionnaire or exam to ensure knowledge and experiential sessions was retained.

Just like any certification programme I also recommend a reflection on the following questions

  • How do they recertify?
  • When they don’t do well on in one stage, what happens? Do they start from the beginning or take only the stage failed?
  • What is the pass rate or success criteria for each stage?
  • How long should the programme last?
  • Who will manage each stage?
  • What is the deciding body within the organization to vet the submissions of employees that have gone through the stages?

I hope you found this helpful, and I look forward to seeing comments on what you are doing in your organization to help new managers and team leads transit into their new roles.

Have you been selected as a Workforce Game Changer over the past 9 years? If so, please contribute to this blog! Reach out to Rick Bell at or Andie Burjek at if you’d like to contribute to The Game Changers blog.

Temitope Azeez leads Jumia Services globally, the first African e-commerce company to be quoted on the NYSE, a global leader in People, Culture and HSE. She is a member of Workforce’s Game Changers Class of 2019. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @jadetos and LinkedIn/topeazeez.


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