How Small Businesses Can Transition High-performing Employees into Relatable Managers

Investing in employees can be an expensive proposition for small businesses. Corporate training for skills like leadership and people management benefits both first-time managers and their co-workers. But what if your budget, and your time, is limited as a small business owner. Where can you find training that will help your highest performers excel at the next level? Here we look at the three biggest challenges first-time managers face and how you can help them over that hurdle with affordable online training.

  1. Think like a leader; be a leader

Leadership is a complex skill and remains ambiguous to even experienced managers. It may be because only 15 percent of first-time managers receive training in their new position according to a study by the Ken Blanchard Companies. If you’re a small business owner and want to prepare an exceptional performer for management, there are online classes that can help make it a smoother transition, allow them to gain confidence, and simplify learning on the job.

Udemy offers classes on practical leadership skills for as little as $10.99.  This popular leadership course allows new managers to master their new skills with practical advice and techniques.  So far, nearly 40,000 students have participated.

Udemy has many business and management classes that students can take at their own pace, and the best part is that it’s affordable.

  1. Managing Former Co-workers

It’s a tricky balance to manage former co-workers. In the new power dynamic, manager trainees need to strike a balance. First-time managers shouldn’t appear to be too overbearing or authoritative, yet they should stay calm and authentic to help existing co-working friendships adjust to the new situation. 

Coursera has just the course for people who are presently managing people or about to start their new position. The course, The Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Managing People at Work, covers how to make those difficult decisions, how to motivate team members, and how to resolve conflict with co-workers and clients.


This course takes at least 1 to 3 hours each week for six weeks and is free without certification.

  1. Closing Skill Gaps. While new managers were previously judged on their technical skills or sales ability as a contributor, first-time managers are going to be evaluated on their ‘soft skills’ or people skills. Soft skills include empathy, vulnerability, and self-awareness. By first sharpening their emotional intelligence, they can self-identify their strengths as well as those skills which need improvement.

With improved soft skills, managers can quickly build relationships through trust and mutual respect. There isn’t a working individual who doesn’t want to work for a leader who can relate and communicate across an entire organization.

With the Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work edX course, students learn how to engage co-workers, lead with a sense of influence, and maneuver a team through ambiguity and change. 

This 4-week course is free without certification.


Small business owners now have the tools to train their best employees without the high expense of travel or the cost of tuition. Now, as your business grows, so can your employees.


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