Becoming A Manager For The First Time

Becoming a manager for the first time as we all know is no easy walk in the park! However it is one of the most important transitions you will make in your career.

Here are three things that I know for sure that can ensure your success:

  • Understanding your environment in order to overcome or avoid obstacles with ease is one of my BIGGEST secrets to being successful as a new manager with no prior experience
  • Embracing the fact that your team is made up of unique experiences and opinions is a crucial factor in becoming a leader
  • Taking the initiative to ask your team questions and getting to know their job and environment is super important in order to better solve all of the challenges they may be faced with

These are just a few crucial steps that you must take to experience success in your new role.

For a deeper dive into the 6 critical shifts check out the New Manager Starter Kit.


Would you prefer to read rather than watch? Not to worry! You can read the blog post below.

But first, to really help you stand out in your new role I highly recommend downloading the New Manager Starter Kit. A free downloadable interactive guide to help you show up and stand out and take the right action steps.

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Today’s video is part 2 in the first time manager mini series. In last weeks episode, we talked about identifying your strengths and weaknesses through a SWOT analysis which would help you identify and leverage your teams talent.

Missed last week’s episode? Not to worry check it out HERE.

Here are a 3 essentials that you need to know in order to really stand out in your new role.

Tip 1: Get in the trenches regularly

Have you ever been part of a team where the leaders around you are making decisions and implementing processes and policies that just make life harder and sometimes make no sense?

I know I certainly have! In fact, I remember thinking in those instances, it’s like you don’t even know what in the world we do!

The reason why leaders make those types of decisions and knee jerk reactions is because they have no clue what’s going on. They are often reacting to hearsay, customer insights and sometimes the pressure to grow rather than the actual needs.

This is a symptom of them not having their finger on the pulse. They are far too distant from it all.

In the last episode, we discussed how important it is that you are creating a working environment where your team can bring and be their best, and do their best work. That is impossible if you are not actively keeping your ear to the ground and jumping in the trenches with them every once in a while.

One of my favorite things to do was jumping on the phone with the frontline staff. This kept me humble, informed, and sensitive to their needs and challenges.

This wasn’t something that I thought of on my own. I had the privilege of going to the Zappos Culture Camp for a three day intensive training where the trainers informed us that their CEO Tony Hsieh would make it an aim every holiday season to get on the phones with the frontline staff.

When I heard this I fell in love. I mean if the CEO of a big company with 1500+ employees can do it, I figured I could too. And I loved every moment and I know you will too. So block off some time in your schedule to spend some time with those doing the work so that you can keep your finger on the pulse and as an added bonus – build relationships with them.

Tip 2: Learn to ask questions

Trust me, learn from my mistakes.

Let me tell yah I had a really bad habit of answering the question, solving the problem and doing the work. And this one was one of the worst things I could do for my team and for me.

When I did the work, and answered the question, I was not allowing the team to develop. I was not allowing them to stand on their own two feet. And by the time I clued in to my error it was a job and a half to turn the ship around.

So trust me when I say it’s better off to start off right by asking just the simple question – what do you think? Or, I have my thoughts, but first I’d like to hear what you think?

You will find that oftentimes they know the answer, but are a bit too shy to bring it to you or voice it. But when you bounce it back – you are helping them find their voice and as a result creating a much better environment.

Tip 3: Identify, anticipate and plough down roadblocks

Arguably one of the biggest spaces where you should be spending your time is in the roadblocks. If your awesome team mate can’t do their job – that’s on you. So you have to develop the mindset of a roadrunner.


Think about what’s impeding the way, and knock it down for them. Ask them consistently what they need, observe what will make things easier and do it.

There is honestly just no excuse for not doing this.

Do what you gotta do to make time to update those tools, ensure their working space is workable, that their computers actually work, whatever it is that they need to do their jobs effectively. That is your role.

The good news is that since you are going to be regularly in the trenches you will have an idea of what the roadblocks and obstacles are ;).