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New Manager Training: How to Develop Successful Leaders

blog header - first-time manager training - how to develop successful leaders

First-Time Manager Training:
How to Develop Successful Leaders

Mark Pincus, co-founder of Zynga, was looking for a way to lead people more effectively while helping create an instant feeling of ownership and accountability among his team. That’s when he made everyone a CEO. . . yes everyone became a CEO of something!

Zynga is an online social gaming company considered to be the pioneer of social gaming founded in 2007. He has often told the story about how he would put sticky sheets on the wall with one person’s name per sticky. He would then instruct them to write down what they were the CEO of on their sticky by the end of the week. That way, everyone would know who is the CEO of what and would know who to ask questions instead of always just asking him.

He shares how a really motivated and smart receptionist had told him that they needed a whole new phone system. So she became the CEO of that project and not only did she complete it, she did so with flying colors, and ultimately ended up running the whole office.

So does every organization need to be full of CEOs? Not exactly, but every organization needs to think about what kind of leaders it needs and how to create them.

Training successful leaders is about creating a culture where everyone has been given the tools they need to competently own their leadership role. Here are some essential steps to consider when building a pipeline of successful leaders:

Step 1. Identify leadership potential

Begin by assessing your employees’ skills, traits, and potential for leadership roles. Look for individuals who demonstrate strong communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and interpersonal skills. Consider conducting assessments, structured performance reviews, and seeking input from managers and peers on a regular basis.

A thought-through framework or matrix to evaluate performance and potential is a key component for this. It offers transparency and clarity to employees and helps mitigate unconscious biases.

Step 2. Establish a leadership development program

Create a structured program to develop leadership skills and competencies. This program can include a mix of formal training, coaching, mentoring, job rotations, and stretch assignments. Tailor the program to meet the specific needs and goals of your organization and the specific expectations your organization has on leaders..

Step 3. Provide formal training & encourage continuous learning

Offer leadership training workshops and seminars that cover essential topics such as effective communication, strategic thinking, conflict resolution, team building, and decision-making. Encourage employees to attend external leadership development programs or conferences to gain broader perspectives. Foster a culture of continuous learning by providing access to resources like books, online courses, webinars, and industry publications. Encourage employees to pursue professional certifications relevant to leadership and provide support, such as financial assistance or study leave.

Step 4. Foster mentorship

Pair employees with experienced leaders within your organization who can provide guidance, support, and feedback. Encourage regular one-on-one mentoring sessions to discuss challenges, set goals, and track progress.

Recommended Book for Steps 3 & 4: “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni. Through a fictional story, this book highlights the common dysfunctions that can hinder team performance and provides practical strategies for leaders to address them and build cohesive teams. While this book primarily focuses on team dynamics and overcoming dysfunctions, it also emphasizes the importance of providing formal training for leaders and teams. It offers practical strategies and insights for improving teamwork and leadership effectiveness through training workshops and seminars. It offers insights and strategies for leaders to address team dysfunctions and build cohesive and high-performing teams.

Step 5. Promote cross-functional experiences

Offer opportunities for employees to gain experience in different departments or roles through job rotations or project assignments. This helps broaden their perspective, develop diverse skill sets, and foster a holistic understanding of the organization.

Step 6. Encourage self-reflection and self-awareness

Leadership development should include activities that promote self-reflection and self-awareness. Encourage employees to seek feedback from colleagues and managers, consider conducting 360-degree feedback assessments, and incorporate personality or behavioral assessments.

Recommended Book for Step 6: Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box” by The Arbinger Institute. This book explores the concept of self-deception and how it hinders leadership effectiveness. It offers insights on building better relationships, improving communication, and taking responsibility for one’s actions. It helps leaders understand the importance of recognizing their own self-deception and biases to develop stronger relationships and effective leadership skills.

Step 7. Develop emotional intelligence

Emphasize the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. Provide training on understanding emotions, managing stress, empathetic communication, and building strong relationships. Help employees recognize and leverage their own emotions and those of others to navigate challenging situations effectively.

Recommended Book for Step 7: “Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee: This book emphasizes the importance of emotional intelligence in effective leadership. It explores how leaders can develop self-awareness, manage their emotions, and inspire and motivate others. It provides guidance on developing self-awareness, managing emotions, and using emotional intelligence to inspire and motivate others.

Step 8. Support autonomy and decision-making

Give employees opportunities to make decisions, solve problems, and take ownership of their work. Gradually increase their responsibilities and provide constructive feedback to enhance their decision-making abilities. Encourage autonomy while providing a safety net for support and guidance when needed. To make this work, tolerate failure and mistakes and turn them into learning opportunities.

Additional Resources for Step 8:

Step 9. Evaluate and recognize progress

Regularly assess the progress of employees in their leadership development journey. Provide constructive feedback, recognize achievements, and celebrate milestones. Adjust the training and development programs based on feedback and evolving needs.

Recommended Book for Step 9: “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. Although not specifically focused on evaluating progress, this book provides valuable guidance on how to have crucial conversations, which is an essential skill for leaders when providing feedback, addressing performance issues, and recognizing achievements.

By implementing these steps, your organization can create a company culture that develops and retains the most successful leaders. But remember, developing successful leaders is an ongoing process. It requires a long-term commitment from both the organization and the individuals involved. By investing in their development and providing the necessary resources and support, you can help your employees grow into effective and influential leaders.

Click here to learn more about our leadership training programs that cover a number of these topics all in one program.



blog header - 6 tips to share with first-time managers

6 Tips to Share With First-Time Managers

blog header - 6 tips to share with first-time managers

6 Tips to Share With First-Time Managers

Picture yourself at the base of a massive rock, staring up at the towering cliffs that seem to touch the sky. You’re about to embark on an exhilarating rock climbing adventure, heart racing with excitement and a tinge of apprehension.

Now, swap out the climbing gear for the tools of leadership because, my friend, being a first-time manager can be just as adventurous. New managers are about to scale the challenging cliffs, ready to tackle everything that comes your way.

Just like in climbing, careful planning, swift decision-making, and avoiding treacherous missteps are vital. Here’s our list of the six perilous mistakes that can send newbie managers tumbling, on their journey to the summit of effective and respected leadership.

1. Failing to give feedback:

The first peril is failing to give feedback. Although many may find it uncomfortable, it’s as essential as knowing the basic information about what rock you are going to be climbing. Just like without the proper information about your climb, it’s difficult for your team to know whether they are meeting expectations or how they could further improve their performance if whether or not they are progressing in the right direction. Without effective feedback employees may never know whether they are meeting expectations or how they could further improve. Managers should develop methods for providing both recognition and appreciation for good performances as well as constructive criticism when needed – this will help keep teams engaged and motivated while also helping them develop professionally over time.

Additional Resources:

2. Not soliciting or listening to feedback received:

It’s important to recognize that there are actually two sides to feedback and new managers need to quickly embrace it from both sides, both as the person giving it and being the one to receive it. It’s easy for managers to become stuck in their own way of thinking, disregarding the perspectives of their employees. Managers should take the time to solicit, listen to and, when appropriate, act on inputs from their team members in order to maximize productivity and create an environment of trust and respect.

Additional Resources:

3. Focusing on results rather than relationships:

New managers may also fall into the trap of overemphasizing results and underestimating the importance of relationships. While it is important for managers to set and track measurable goals, they should also be mindful of fostering strong relationships with their team which will help create a productive workplace atmosphere. Managers should strive to motivate their employees through recognition and encouragement in order to unlock the power of collaboration within the team. Managers who set unrealistic expectations or fail to foster strong relationships with their team can struggle to achieve lasting success.

Additional Resource: Ep. 77 – Curiosity: Your Doorway to Positive Relationships and Collaborative Leadership

4. Refusing to delegate tasks & being the bottle-neck:

Poor delegation skills can have negative impacts on both management and employees. It can lead to micromanagement by the manager and employees have a hard time understanding what is expected from them – both of which can damage morale and reduce efficiency over time. Therefore it’s essential for new managers to take the time necessary to properly delegate tasks and agree on timelines to check in while showing trust in individual team members’ abilities at the same time – this will help ensure that objectives are met while empowering direct reports along the way!

Additional Resource: Ep. 7 – How to Delegate More Often & More Effectively

5. Not addressing conflicts early on:

Ignoring conflicts for too long will make situations worse, damage relationships between teams and lead to decreased efficiency within the workplace. it’s essential for management teams to be aware of potential sources of tension within teams so that any disputes can be addressed promptly before becoming major problems!

Additional Resources:

6. Overlooking self-development and failing to seek support:

Transitioning into a management role can be demanding and overwhelming. As new managers focus on leading others, they may inadvertently neglect their own personal and professional growth. Failing to invest in their own development through continuous learning, seeking mentorship, or honing leadership skills can limit their potential and hinder their ability to effectively lead and inspire their team.

In addition, some new managers hesitate to seek guidance or support from mentors, colleagues, or leadership coaches. Failing to leverage the resources and support systems available can limit their growth and effectiveness as a leader.

Continuing to seek opportunities for personal self-development and seeking the support from coaches and mentors will help new managers reach the summit of leadership faster than if they don’t seek out those opportunities.

Additional Resources:

As you embark on this new journey of leadership, let these lessons serve as your guide, helping you navigate the rugged cliffs with confidence and competence. Just like a climber meticulously plans each move, you must carefully navigate the path of leadership, avoiding the treacherous missteps that can send you tumbling.

By watching out for these 6 missteps, your journey will result in happier teams who perform better together. Embrace the challenges, learn from the mistakes, and keep reaching for the summit of success as a leader.

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter below to receive more leadership tips and resources.

blog header - 7 to-do's as a first-time manager

7 To-Do’s as a First-Time Manager

blog header - 7 to-do's as a first-time manager

7 To-Do's as a First-Time Manager

One of the most exciting things about being a new manager is that you have the incredible opportunity to impact your immediate work environment, foster a culture of innovation and growth, and ultimately lead your team to success.

Piece of cake right?

Well, not exactly. Studies have repeatedly shown that up to 60% of new managers fail or underperform in their first two years on the job.

So, how can you gain the respect and trust of your direct reports while creating a positive and productive atmosphere that benefits everyone? Here are seven crucial actions every first-time manager should undertake to be successful in their first leadership role.

1. Invest in Relationships 

As a new manager, it is important to invest in building relationships with your direct reports. Spend time getting to know each person and taking an interest in their work. This will help establish trust, open up lines of communication, and set you up for success in the long run.

Here are 3 tips to help you develop the right relationships:

    1. Practice active listening: Take the time to truly understand your team members’ perspectives, concerns, and ideas. By actively listening, you demonstrate empathy, build trust, and create a supportive environment.
    2. Provide regular feedback: Offer constructive feedback and recognition to your team members. Regular feedback helps them grow, stay motivated, and feel valued. Remember to balance positive feedback and areas for improvement in your feedback to foster continuous development.
    3. Be approachable and accessible: Encourage open communication by being approachable and accessible to your team. Create an environment where your team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, asking questions, and seeking guidance.

Additional Resource:

2. Check for Understanding

Effective communication is vital for any manager. Checking for understanding ensures that your messages are received and interpreted correctly. After explaining expectations to your team, regularly check in to make sure everyone understands what needs to be done. Ask questions about upcoming tasks or discuss any misunderstandings that may have occurred along the way so both parties are clear on how to move forward successfully.

To help you check for understanding, you can:

    1. Encourage questions: Foster an environment where questions are welcomed and encouraged. When assigning tasks or providing instructions, invite your team members to ask questions to clarify any doubts or uncertainties.
    2. Seek understanding: Regularly engage in two-way communication with your team members. Aim to get insights into their understanding of goals, expectations, and project requirements. This allows you to address any misunderstandings promptly.
    3. Recap and summarize: After important discussions or meetings, recap the key points and ask your team members to summarize their understanding. This exercise helps ensure alignment and gives you an opportunity to correct any misconceptions.

3. Keep Learning 

Staying updated on new trends and best practices related to managing teams helps keep you at the top of your game as a leader.

Participate in leadership training, consider working with a coach or talk with seasoned managers in order to gain more insight into team dynamics and effective management techniques that can benefit your own team’s performance over time.

Click here to learn more about how we help leaders grow.

4. Share Updates & Set Deadlines 

Make sure you’re keeping everyone informed by sharing updates on projects and the company as well as keeping them up-to-date on any changes that may arise along the way. Establishing deadlines helps keep everyone on track, so be sure to set deadlines for tasks when applicable and provide timely reminders when needed.

Three ways you can effectively share updates and set meaningful deadlines include:

    1. Implement a commitment tracker: Keep a record of the commitments and agreements you make with your direct reports. This practice not only helps you meet your set deadlines, enhancing your reputation for reliability and trustworthiness, but it also fosters an environment of accountability. You can use this tracker to check in with team members who may have missed agreed-upon deadlines.
    2. Use project management tools: Leverage project management tools and software to track progress, share updates, and assign tasks. These tools streamline communication and provide transparency on project timelines and responsibilities.
    3. Break down goals and deadlines: Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable targets with specific deadlines. This approach helps your team stay focused, measure progress, and meet deadlines consistently.

Additional Resources:

5. Maintain Transparency 

Communicating openly with employees encourages trust throughout the workplace and sets clear expectations for everyone involved. This transparency also helps reduce feelings of isolation, which can help prevent or counter any negative “political” activity within the organization.

We’ve already discussed the importance of sharing updates and deadlines but when maintaining overall transparency, it comes down to a lot more than that. Your team needs to trust that you will share any timely information about decisions and changes that could impact their work. Not only does this build their trust in your leadership, but it also helps the team understand the context behind organizational decisions made at the top levels.

Transparency also means owning up to and admitting mistakes. Be open and honest about any mistakes, challenges, or setbacks. By acknowledging and addressing them transparently, you create an environment where your team feels comfortable discussing issues and working collaboratively to find solutions.

Be sure to involve your team in decision-making as much as possible. Seek their input, opinions, and ideas. This not only fosters a sense of ownership but also generates diverse perspectives that can lead to more innovative and effective solutions.

6. Avoid Gossip 

While it may feel natural to chime in when coworkers are chatting about a certain situation or individual, it’s best to stay out of office gossip whenever possible – such conversations are rarely productive and could lead to further mistrust among team members. Instead, redirect conversations by introducing more positive topics or asking people to focus on the work being done.

Additional Resource: E41 From Bud to Boss – A Coaching Conversation with Jen

7. Compromise When Possible 

Leadership often requires finding common ground and reaching compromises. While it’s important to stand up for your beliefs and ideas and to present your opinions with conviction, it’s also essential to show flexibility and be willing to compromise when necessary in order to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

Three things you can do to master the art of compromising are:

    1. Understand different perspectives: Take the time to understand the viewpoints of your team members or stakeholders involved in a decision or negotiation. Seek to find the underlying interests and priorities driving their positions.
    2. Identify shared goals: Look for shared goals or objectives that align with the interests of all parties involved. Focus on finding win-win solutions that address these common goals while considering the diverse perspectives at play.
    3. Foster a collaborative environment: Create an atmosphere where collaboration and compromise are valued. Encourage open discussion, brainstorming, and active listening. By fostering a culture of collaboration, you can encourage creative problem-solving and build stronger relationships within your team.

By following these seven essential to-do’s, you’ll establish a solid foundation for success as a first-time manager. Remember to prioritize building relationships, communicate effectively, continue learning, maintain transparency, avoid gossip, and seek compromise when needed. With these strategies in place, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an effective and respected leader in your organization.

To learn more about our new manager training programs, click here.


blog header - advice for first-time managers - 6 tips to lead successfully

Advice for New Managers: 6 Tips to Lead Successfully

blog header - advice for first-time managers - 6 tips to lead successfully

Advice for First-Time Managers:
6 Tips to Lead Successfully

Stepping into the role of a first-time manager can be an intimidating experience and you may be feeling a mix of emotions. You may feel excited to have the opportunity to lead a team but also overwhelmed by the responsibility that comes with it.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Research by Grovo has shown that as much as 87% of managers wished they’d had more training before assuming their leadership role, 58% never received any formal management training, and 44% felt unprepared for their role. It’s a big responsibility to lead a team and ensure that everyone is working together to achieve the goals of the organization.

To help you navigate this exciting new journey, we’ve put together six key tips that will set you up for success. By following them you’ll be on your way to becoming a leader that fosters a culture of growth and collaboration.

Tip #1) Lead by Example

Your attitude and behavior can have a significant impact on how your team performs.

Remember, actions speak louder than words, so make sure your actions are sending the right message. If you want your team to be punctual, be punctual. If you want them to be respectful, be respectful. If you expect your team to work hard and be accountable, then you need to model that behavior yourself.

Taking initiative goes far in inspiring others to put forth their best efforts each day! You can inspire your team to work hard and be their best selves by modeling the behavior you want to see. Demonstrating hard work and dedication towards projects sets a positive tone throughout the office, showing employees that you expect the same level of commitment from them as well.

“A leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible.” – Mark Yarnell

Tip #2) Establish Expectations

As a new manager, it’s important to acknowledge the fine line between being friendly and maintaining professional boundaries. Yes, you want to have a friendly and approachable relationship, but you also need to maintain a level of professionalism and make it clear what behavior and performance you expect from your team. This means defining your expectations for their behavior and performance, as well as what you are willing and not willing to tolerate.

If team members become too comfortable with their manager, they may push boundaries, become complacent, or won’t follow guidance. Moreover, managers who become too friendly with their team members may find it difficult to make tough decisions or hold team members accountable.

Although socializing outside of work can have a positive impact on workplace relationships and team cohesion, excessive socializing can lead to boundary violations and favoritism, which can be detrimental to team dynamics. This is one of the areas that is hardest for new managers because they are often leading their former peers and people that they have developed friendships with. Excessive socializing outside of work can lead to favoritism and resentment among team members who feel they are not receiving equal treatment. It’s best to avoid exclusive and cliquish socializing.

Tip #3) Don’t Take Sides

Your job as a manager is to be a mediator and help resolve conflicts that arise within your team and find a resolution that is fair to everyone involved. If a conflict arises within the organization, make sure you don’t take sides but rather remain impartial while still committing to resolving the problem at hand. Remaining unbiased will help you gain the trust of your team and create a positive work environment, while taking sides can create resentment and damage relationships.

When disagreements do happen, try to foster constructive conversations that allow both parties to express their views without attacking each other’s ideas or intentions in any way. Open dialogue creates understanding between individuals and helps identify solutions that are mutually beneficial for all involved. Maintain a neutral position by listening to both sides of the story, strive to treat everyone on your team equally, and make objective decisions about how to move forward.

For more information about navigating conflict, check out my podcast, Episode 125, “Navigating Conflict at Work – with Sarah Albo.”

Tip #4) Offer Support & Feedback

Your team needs you to answer their questions, provide guidance, and offer feedback on their work so that they are equipped with the knowledge and information they need to succeed. Regular check-ins can help you stay connected with your team and ensure that everyone is on the same page while also reducing the number of times you get sidetracked with “quick questions” throughout the day.

It also means offering constructive feedback that can help your team members grow and improve.

When you provide constructive criticism, make sure it’s specific and actionable, so your team members know exactly what they need to do to improve.

It’s also important to remember that feedback isn’t always constructive or about how to improve. It’s also important for your team to receive positive feedback and praise. Giving employees recognition for a job well done can also boost morale and create an atmosphere of appreciation within the organization.

Grab the Ultimate Feedback Guide here!

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Tip #5) Encourage Open Communication

As a manager, you need to create an environment that encourages open communication. Not only is good communication an essential component of every successful team, but when your team members feel heard and valued, they are more likely to feel motivated and engaged.

Encourage your team members to communicate openly with you, and with each other. This means listening to your team members’ concerns and ideas and providing them with the resources they need to be successful.

Create a safe space where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. Avoid shutting down ideas or sharing your opinion first which may make your employees less likely to speak up.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

Tip #6) Aim for Collaboration

Collaboration is key to any team’s success. When everyone is working towards a common goal, you can achieve great things. In your role as a manager, you need to foster a collaborative culture within your team. This means encouraging your team members to work together, share ideas, and support each other.

When your team members work together toward a common goal, they can achieve more than they could individually. Encourage your team members to share their expertise and work together to find creative solutions to problems. Intentionally pair people up or assign a more senior member as a mentor or guide to a junior team member.

To learn more about how to create a strong team culture, check out my podcast, Episode 137 “How to Create a Strong Team Culture – with Gustavo Razetti.”

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” – Bill Gates


While stepping into a new manager role can feel overwhelming, applying these six tips can make your journey smoother. You will be better set up to create a positive work environment, build strong relationships with your team, and achieve your organizational goals.

By leading by example, establishing boundaries, not taking sides, offering support and feedback, encouraging open communication, and aiming for collaboration, you can set yourself and your team up for success.

To learn more about our leadership training programs for first-time managers, click here.


  1. a)
  2. b)

Bill Gates quote:

Bernard Baruch quote on communication and leadership:

Blog Header - 3 pieces of advice for first-time managers

3 Pieces of Advice for First-Time Managers

Blog Header - 3 pieces of advice for first-time managers

3 Pieces of Advice for First-Time Managers

Being a first-time manager can be a daunting task. Entering a managerial role for the first time requires patience, good communication skills, and an understanding of the expectations from those you manage. To help any first-time managers successfully navigate through this new position, here are three pieces of advice:

Tip #1: Establish clear lines of communication

Good communication is essential in any professional setting, but especially as a manager. To ensure that expectations are clear and tasks are completed on time, it’s important to set up consistent and specific channels of communication between yourself and your employees. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what needs to be done and how they must go about doing it.

One way you can get off to a fast start when it comes to establishing clear lines of communication is by setting up weekly team meetings to discuss current projects and expectations. Weekly team meetings also provide a platform for everyone to voice their thoughts and address any issues that need to be resolved.

You could also do deep dives in individual 1-on-1 meetings with your direct reports. They give you the chance to get to know your direct reports on a more personal level. During your meetings, you’ll be able to understand their strengths and weaknesses better and provide valuable feedback that can help them grow and develop professionally. Additionally, 1-on-1s are great for tackling any issues that may arise between employees or in the work environment more generally. They also allow direct reports to have a forum where they feel comfortable sharing ideas or proposing solutions.

Holding weekly team meetings and recurring 1-on-1s with direct reports isn’t just for creating open lines of communication, it can also help create focus time within your week. During these meetings, team members can come together to discuss any potential issues or ideas that may require further attention. This allows for everyone to be on the same page and reduces the amount of time you’d otherwise have to spend reaching out individually. Furthermore, having a dedicated meeting time each week will reduce distractions during other tasks, leading to better productivity for you and your direct report.

Additional Resource: E42: How to Run 1-on-1 Meetings Your Direct Reports Actually Enjoy

Tip #2: Show appreciation

A little recognition goes a long way in the workplace. Whether it’s saying thank you after receiving a report or giving out bonus incentives for hard work—showing your employees that you recognize their efforts can foster an environment of motivation and trust between them and yourself.

When it comes to showing appreciation, new managers can use tactics such as providing verbal recognition for a job well done, giving out bonus incentives when appropriate, and hosting team-building activities to create a positive work atmosphere.

As for showing appreciation, Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White developed the “5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” as a framework to understand how individuals prefer to receive appreciation and recognition in a professional setting. These languages are based on their earlier work on the “5 Love Languages,” adapted for the workplace context. We recommend considering these different options and offering a range of different types of appreciation to your direct reports.

Here is a summary of the 5 Languages of Appreciation:

    1. Words of Affirmation: People who appreciate this language value verbal recognition and praise. They feel most appreciated when they receive spoken or written affirmations, compliments, and encouragement for their efforts and contributions.
    2. Acts of Service: Individuals with this appreciation language feel valued when others help them with tasks or provide practical support. Actions such as assisting with workload, offering assistance, or going the extra mile to make their work easier are meaningful to them.
    3. Quality Time: Some individuals prefer spending quality time with their colleagues or superiors to feel appreciated. This means having meaningful interactions, one-on-one discussions, or team-building activities that foster a sense of connection and camaraderie.
    4. Tangible Gifts: For those who value tangible gifts, physical tokens of appreciation, such as gift cards, small presents, or symbolic rewards, are most meaningful. These items serve as tangible reminders of recognition and gratitude.
    5. Physical Touch: This language involves appropriate physical gestures like handshakes, pats on the back, or other non-invasive forms of touch. While this language is less common in the workplace due to professional boundaries, it can still be used in some situations.

When you make sure that all team members feel valued for their work will help build relationships and create a positive work atmosphere. Showing appreciation in the workplace doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming – taking small steps such as acknowledging achievements or celebrating milestones goes a long way towards creating a positive working environment where everyone feels valued and motivated!

Additional Resource: Episode 173 – Must Know: The Languages of Appreciation at Work – With Dr. Paul White

Tip # 3: Help your directs build their skills & progress toward their career goals

As a leader, take an interest in each employee’s career development by offering tailored guidance on how to improve their individual strengths or weaknesses. Taking time to focus on the development of these skills helps build loyalty among your staff as well as promote growth within the company in the long run.

When helping their direct reports build individual skills, new managers can offer mentorship sessions to discuss career goals and development plans. 1-on-1 meetings are a great time to do this because it gives both parties a chance to discuss individual goals and career aspirations. During these meetings, have an open discussion about where employees want to be in the future and what steps they need to take in order to get there. Plus, talk about your directs’ strengths and use the time to go over challenging tasks that stretch their comfort zone.

Be transparent about promotions, raises, and job openings within the company. This provides employees with an understanding of how they can advance within the organization and gives them an idea of what qualifications or experience is necessary for higher positions down the line. Encourage directs to take relevant courses or workshops as part of their growth plan and provide any necessary resources they need in order to do so. Offer online classes, seminars, workshops, or other learning opportunities that can provide valuable skills related to the industry they work in or directly with their job function. Additionally, consider providing mentorships or pairing more experienced staff members with new hires to increase knowledge transfer between departments within the organization.

By taking small steps such as regularly meeting with each direct report or developing clear pathways for advancement within your company, you can create an atmosphere where employees feel supported and motivated towards achieving their career goals!

Turn your 1-on-1’s from time wasters into the most valuable meeting with your directs with this course, “How to Hold Successful 1-on-1 Meetings.”

Overall, these 3 tips should give first-time managers more confidence in transitioning into the role successfully while also helping them create strong working relationships with their team members and management alike. In conclusion, developing clear communication channels, showing appreciation towards achievements, and building individual competencies can go a long way in ensuring successful management practices overall!

Be sure to connect with us on social media for daily leadership inspiration and advice.

To learn more about our new manager training programs, click here.


Blog Header - 5 Tips for first-time managers how to win as a new people leader

How to Win as a New People Leader

Blog Header - 5 Tips for first-time managers how to win as a new people leader

5 Tips for First-Time Managers:
How to Win as a New People Leader

Congratulations on your promotion to manager! You’ve worked hard to get to this point, and now you have the opportunity to make a bigger impact on your team and organization. However, transitioning into a leadership role can be a daunting task, especially if it’s your first time. That’s why we’ve put together five fast-action tips to help you hit the ground running and set yourself up for success.

According to a survey conducted by CEB (now Gartner), 60% of new managers underperform or fail within their first two years in the role. We are on a mission to change this and give every first-time manager a fair chance to succeed. Below are five tips based on research, data, and the wisdom of some of the most respected leaders in business and management.

Tip #1: Clarify Expectations

One of the most important things you can do as a new manager is to clarify expectations with your team. A study by Harvard Business Review found that 70% of employees say they are more engaged and motivated when they know what is expected of them at work.

You need to communicate what is expected of them and what they can expect from you. This includes:

    • setting clear goals and behavioral expectations
    • outlining roles and responsibilities,
    • as well as establishing deadlines.

Be sure to communicate these expectations early and often to avoid confusion or misunderstandings. Doing this upfront will make sure everyone is on the same page from the start and eliminate confusion down the line.

Tip #2: Ask for Input

As a new manager, it’s important to recognize that you don’t have all the answers. You need to rely on the expertise and experience of your team. Asking for your team’s ideas shows their opinions matter, which encourages employee engagement and creative thinking within the organization.

Consider setting up brainstorming sessions or quick polls among your team to gauge interest in new projects or get feedback on existing ones. Encourage your team members to provide input and ideas, and be open to feedback. By doing so, you’ll foster a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement.

Dig deeper into having a curiosity mindset in Episode 77, “Curiosity: Your Doorway to Positive Relationships & Collaborative Leadership – with Alison Horstmeyer.”

“Great leaders are willing to learn from anyone who has something useful to say.” – Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric.

Tip #3: Be Decisive

As a leader, you’ll be faced with many decisions, both big and small, and your ability to make urgent decisions quickly is an important part of managing a successful team.

A study by McKinsey found that decisive leaders are 12 times more likely to be high-performing than those who are slow to make decisions. Being able to make urgent decisions quickly, even when risks are involved or when adversity is expected, ensures that tasks are completed in a timely manner with minimal delays or confusion among team members.

To help improve your decision-making skills, there are two things you can do. First, be intentional about avoiding indecision or analysis paralysis, as this can lead to a lack of progress and frustration among team members.

While it is okay to take time to consider options, be sure not to procrastinate too long when time is of the essence. Once a decision has been made, be sure to communicate your decisions clearly and explain the reasoning behind them. This will help your team understand the decision and feel more engaged and invested in the process.

Secondly, delegate decisions to empower your team and ensure objectives are met. Poor delegation skills can have negative impacts on both management and employees. As a new manager, take the time necessary to properly delegate decision authority where applicable.

Being decisive is less about making rash decisions, and more about being intentional with your time in the decision-making process. Through avoiding indecision and delegating ownership and the agency to make decisions when possible you will be able to make timely decisions that are well-informed, thoughtful, and effective. This means you can prevent delays and frustrations for yourself and your team.

“Leadership is about making decisions and the right decisions are those that are made with the best information and with the best intentions.” – Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State.

Tip #4: Focus on Solutions, not Problems

According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, a positive work environment leads to a 31% increase in productivity. Whether the problems are due to technical errors, inefficient processes, or interpersonal in nature, the sooner problems such as these are addressed, the better. Choosing to ignore them will only cause them to increase in size or escalate over time, which ultimately damages relationships and erodes trust.

It’s essential for new managers to shift their mindset from being problem-oriented to solution-focused. This means that instead of dwelling on the problem, you start by asking, “What can we do to overcome this challenge?”

Shifting this perspective not only empowers both you and your team but it creates a more positive and proactive work environment. Your team members will feel encouraged and motivated by a culture that fosters problem-solving and innovation, which in turn drives your organization to continuous improvement.

Another reason it is important to focus on solutions is because it demonstrates your ability not only to identify problems but to take decisive action to solve them. This can open doors for career growth and opportunities to increase your value as a leader.

For more information about how to respond when your direct reports vent, be sure to listen to Episode 95, “Do You Validate or Elevate Your Directs?”

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan, former U.S. President.

Tip #5: Listen to Your Team

Finally, it’s crucial to listen to your team members. They are the ones doing the work, and they often have valuable insights and ideas. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. Be sure to listen actively and attentively, and avoid interrupting or dismissing their ideas.

When you take the time to listen to your employees and consider their perspectives when making decisions, it will help create an environment of trust and respect between the team and the management, enabling better collaboration and higher productivity overall.

By doing so, you’ll create a culture of respect and trust.

“The best leaders are the best listeners.” – Chris Hadfield, former astronaut and author.

For more information on how to navigate your first 30 days as a new manager, check out Episode 58, “Your First 30 Days as a New Manager.”

Sources for the data, statistics, and quotes mentioned in the blog:

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