I am looking for advice for a first time manager... me.

What do you know now that you wish you knew back when you were just starting out as a manager.

jhack's picture

Three pieces of advice:

Don't be an individual contributor. Focus entirely on managing.

Let them make mistakes you would not have. You could do the job better than they (or so you believe) .... and you must not step in and do it. Let them learn; coach, but let them do it.

The MT Trinity: O3's, feedback and coaching.


MattJBeckwith's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I totally agree with John.

I will also say wow... you are a first time manager and have found Manager-Tools. I'm sure many of wish we knew some of this stuff when we first started.

When I first became a manager I was so focused on my team members' attitudes when I should have been focused on results and behavior. The trinity of feedback, one-on-ones and coaching can help you focus on the right areas: results and behavior.

Welcome aboard.

juliahhavener's picture
Licensee Badge

As a fellow first-time manager, I will say that I get huge value from O3's, feedback, and coaching. My O3s mean I know fairly well what makes each one of my directs tick. I know who I need to approach early when change is coming, who will best handle the project coming down the line, and who is going to need a little extra nudge to get over the hump.

These things also mean that when I have to make decisions for my team, I can make them quickly and (relatively) easily and know the impact it will have on them. I recently had a discussion around one such decision. Someone didn't understand it, and thought it wasn't the right decision for the team - perhaps I had made it just to make a decision because I could. My response was pretty direct - No, I made it because of this, and this, and this, and this, and this, as well. "You mean you thought of all of that in the 60 seconds you spent making the decision?!" Yep. Without O3s, I wouldn't have had the information to do so. open to feedback, no matter what format it comes in. It may be sheer criticism. It may be a complibut. Take it in stride and go forth and succeed.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Know and care about your team (Do One on Ones)
Don't be afraid to talk all the time about performance ((Feeback)
Ask everyone for more all the time (Coaching)

And finally, be nice to everyone all the time.


ktnbs's picture

[quote]Know and care about your team (Do One on Ones)
Don't be afraid to talk all the time about performance ((Feeback)
Ask everyone for more all the time (Coaching)

And finally, be nice to everyone all the time. [/quote]

The flip-side of that, as I see it and experience it with my manager goes like this:

[list]Care about your team and assume you know them cause, heck, they've been there a few years.

Never talk about performance except once a year at performance review time.

Rarely ask for more because....well because...and if there is more to be done, do it yourself.

Think that all of the above, [i]is[/i] being nice. And admonish those that bring up the subject of performance as [i]not[/i] being nice.[/list:u]

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

I just want to say it one more time:


Peace is far better a life result than a promotion.


WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

Me, I would embrace my inner "D." I totally agree with what Mark says about always being nice, but never lie to be nice. Don't "soften the blow" to be nice.

If someone is messing up, don't hesitate. You might think that's "nice," but it isn't. It's not nice because if they don't know they're messing up they can't fix it. Then they end up with bigger issues. By all means, deliver the message nicely, but don't dodge it.

This is part of the feedback model which is part of the MT trinity, but as a beginning manager I think clarification on NICE is important. If you're not willing to do the uncomfortable, get out now.