It can be difficult for first-level managers to find their way. They might excel at specific job skills, but if they’ve never led a team or project before, they’re likely to have a lot of questions about managing others. An enormous industry provides management research and advice, but it primarily targets executives and corporate leaders. The managers in the trenches, forming that middle layer between the rank-and-file employees and the executives, are often left out in the cold.
Particularly when newly promoted, managers need a source for objective, in-depth advice and coaching.The innovative San Francisco company offers just-in-time eLearning for first-level managers. The lack of useful, practical advice geared toward first-level managers inspired co-founders Rob Cahill, the current CEO, and John Howard to create Jhana. Believing that “first-level managers are the real key to organizational health,” Jhana delivers microlearning nuggets via a weekly email, providing performance support, coaching, and curated content to these crucial ambassadors.
“We see that first-level manager as a real linchpin of the organization,” said Loren Mooney, Jhana’s vice president of product. “If they’re successful, you’ll have engaged individual contributors; people are engaged at the employee level. You have company changes successfully implemented, so a much healthier organization overall.”
It is essential to train , of course, and some companies run or send new managers to seminars. But training tends to be concentrated—a managers’ retreat or a multi-module, in-depth eLearning course. A team leader can attend training, engage in the group bonding and morale-building exercises, and return to work with fresh enthusiasm and great ideas. But none of that will help several weeks down the line when she’s struggling to set the agenda for a meeting or broach a difficult conversation with a direct report.
Here’s where performance support comes in. The weekly message from Jhana includes tips, new content, and links to previously published articles and curated content. In addition, the growing library of topics on the Jhana website, always available to subscribers, is likely to have content that meets managers’ needs. It includes:
Templates and checklists
Suggestions for starting or navigating tough conversations—with direct reports and with higher-level managers
Resources, organized by topic, listing books and further web-based reading
Video interviews with managers