How to Successfully Promote a Guide into a Management Role

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As a supervisor or owner, you are always on the lookout for those guides who stand out—the guides who are extra responsible, have put in the time, and show they are ready to take on more responsibility. Promoting from within is often the most logical solution when it comes to your outfitter operation. But if you think the work is done after the official talk and the new title, you have not prepared your team for a successful transition.

Here are six ways to be the leader your new manager needs:

1. Focus on the difficult topics. By now, you’ve probably hammered “risk-management best practices” into the minds of your guides. New managers need to be prepared to take charge in a crisis, be the one to make the call, and possibly deliver bad news. They need to know how to handle themselves if the press shows up after an incident. It’s your job to make sure these conversations are not glossed over.

Another topic is sexual harassment. Your manager should be comfortable addressing an incident of sexual harassment, should be approachable for the other guides and staff, and should know the signs so they can be ahead of any potential problems when possible.

Protect your business and tackle these two critical topics quickly with new managers. Make sure your new managers are connected with the right resources, such as the America Outdoors online cache of documents, which includes risk management and other important topics. Make sure your manager is set up with a username and password to the associations you are a part of so he or she can take advantage of these resources.

2. Announce the new role and responsibilities to the team. Set up your manager for success—make it official and congratulate him or her publicly. Seeing someone get promoted for being a stellar employee with a strong work ethic will encourage your staff and foster a strong culture. And being recognized will help your new manager navigate their peer network with more confidence knowing they have your full support. 2.

BONUS: Marketing opportunity: your staff members are often some of your best stories and reflections of your company culture. This is a great opportunity to beef up your “about us” page on your website, write a press release, or simply post a photo or video on your social media outlets to show that you are excited about the new addition to your management team. These types of posts build great brand awareness for your business AND encourage your new manager. It’s a win-win!

3. Understand the balancing act they now have. When a guide transitions to a manager, the first season can be difficult for them to navigate. Often, they are now supervising their peers. They must navigate this new role and find their leadership style during this time. As the leader, you should help the new manager understand how to communicate with peers and how to remain friends outside of the workplace. We encourage outfitters to be hyper aware of this concept as it dominates our industry: Your staff often feels more like a family. Talk to your new manager about how to navigate this at your business. After all, every family is a little different. Whether a small or large outfitter, covering your expectations ahead of time with your new manager will save you on surprises later. This topic will also be covered at the America Outdoors Managers Academy.

4. Communication is key. It is important to have the job responsibilities established ahead of time, and have periodic check-ins your new manager. Set aside time to sit down one-on-one—away from the chores and to-do lists—to go over what is working and what their difficulties are. The fewer surprises you have, the smoother the transition. As facilitators, we know the importance of debriefs, but we sometimes forget to do this with our management teams, especially one-on-one. This extra care does not need to continue indefinitely, but during the first season of a new manager transition, it is recommended to have a more thorough check-in every 2-4 weeks.

5. Encourage the new manager to find a good mentor. Managing presents new and unexpected challenges. Finding someone to talk to while navigating a new role is important. It’s crucial that your manager has someone out-of-company or at their level within the company to lean on from time to time. You may choose to invest in the America Outdoors Managers Academy to immediately provide a network of peers for your new manager. Or perhaps you have an in-house program to help them find a seasoned manager within the company. Whatever your route, employees will stay longer and work harder for someone who builds them up.

It’s also important to recognize that sometimes you may not be the best mentor to your employee! By encouraging a mentorship relationship outside of your employer-employee relationship, you are allowing your new manager to lead more successfully with positive professional outlets. Mentors are a key to their success and ultimately to the success of your business.

6. Find a manager training: A comprehensive training program for your new manager is the best way to make sure all these topics are covered comprehensively. It allows your manager to have open dialogue with industry leaders and other managers in the same position. An upcoming training to be aware of is the America Outdoors Managers Academy, taking place March 19-20 in Asheville, N.C. It covers sexual harassment, minimizing risk exposure, how to cultivate a great team atmosphere, developing a leadership style and more.

As you prepare for the busy season, make sure to keep these six tips in mind and don’t forget: America Outdoors is here as a resource for your business when you run into complications and questions. As the leading association of outfitters for 30 years, we have compiled years of knowledge and best practices that we can help you tap into. For additional questions about the association or the Managers Academy, visit or call 865-558-3595.

This sponsored content is provided by the America Outdoors Association.


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