The First Time Managers Handbook

How to prepare for your new role?

  • Set personal goals
  • Educate yourself
  • Clarify expectations
  • Be professional


The 7 skills you need to be a successful manager.

1. You have to know how to get people to respect you.

  • Respect yourself.
  • Instead of shallow niceness, be respectful of all people even in difficult situations.
  • Don’t try to please everyone, but lead them.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Their feelings aren’t your fault.

2. You have to be organized.

  • Make a habit of writing things down.
  • Be goal oriented.
  • Practice optimism.
  • Pay attention to detail, but forget about being perfect.
  • Use the todo list wisely.
  • Avoid procrastination.
  • Use technology to speed up tasks.

3. You must understand the value of collaboration.

  • Clarify the goal to your team.
  • Help them stay on task. Don’t micromanage. Remove roadblocks.
  • Make communication safe.

4. You must be able to motivate people.

  • Stop bribing them.
  • Make them care, make them feel passionate, show them their work matters, show them how they are making a difference.
  • Make note of their progress and show it to them.

5. You must have critical thinking skills and emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is important because you are leading people and critical thinking skills are needed for identifying and solving problems.

  • Being aware of your own, and other’s emotions.
  • Control and harness those emotions in a productive, problem-solving direction.
  • Regulate those emotions for positive outcomes.
  • Identify and analyze existing problems.
  • Gather and interpret data relating to the problems.
  • Determine actions to solve problems with the best results for the business.
  • Communicate the plan of action and why it’s the right one.

6. You must have communications skills.

  • Give them the context.
  • Communicate with them individually.
  • Repeat, and often.
  • Listen.
  • Provide action.

7. You must know your industry.


How to manage friends?

  • Be fair to everyone; not show favoritism.
  • Use documentation; you might need to prove that you are not showing favoritism.
  • Lose old grudges.
  • When on the job, be the manager, not the friend.
  • Work gossip and complaints are inappropriate, on the job and off the job.
  • Accept the change in the relationship.
  • You can still be friendly.
  • Get a mentor.


How to deal with disciplinary situations?

  • Understand the situation and know what the problem truly is.
  • Refer the employee handbook or company rules.
  • Six different types of problem employees:
    1. The Victim:  They have no accountability for their actions. They like to blame others or the environment for everything. You must clarify their accountability, that they are responsible for their actions no matter the situation.
    2. The Hisser:  They lie in wait and then lash out. Unless they care about how their behavior affects others and making changes, they will have to move on.
    3. The Negative:  This person turns every new thing into a negative. They bring everybody down and could be very demotivating. They could be good for collaboration being a devil’s advocate, but not fit for leadership positions.
    4. The Ghost:  Always absent and they always have a reason. If they don’t change after you talk to them frankly, they need to find a job that’s a better fit.
    5. The Narcissist:  They are had to manage. You need to find ways to turn their self-preservation and self-motivation into an asset for the business.
    6. The Einstein:  These people are smart but also arrogant. You need to guide them so they use their intelligence to build and encourage others instead of making them feel like less.

You must document these things about them.

  • Repeated or excessive tardiness or absence.
  • Poor job performance or outright incompetence.
  • Failure or refusal to comply with company policy.
  • Violence or threat of violence.
  • Sexual harassment complaints.
  • Discrimination.
  • Proven drug abuse while on the job.

Don’t forget to document good with bad. You don’t want to discriminate against a specific employee.

When writing up an employee: 

  • Be consistent and follow your policies equally for everyone.
  • Be specific and be factual.
  • Note consequences if the behavior continues according to policies. Keep the employee informed about the consequences according to policies.
  • Have the employee sign and date the write-up. If the employee doesn’t sign, write that up too.
  • Allow the employee to respond in writing.

Firing an employee. 

  • Be sure documentation is in place.
  • Rely on your documentation, not on your emotion.
  • Plan ahead how and when the firing occurs. Work with HR.
  • Have HR present.
  • Be direct.
  • Don’t argue.
  • Don’t let guilt control you.


How to deal with managerial stress?

  • Reassess your perspective. Is it really as bad or impossible?
  • Manage your time. Block time to get things done.
  • Exercise, eat healthily, pay attention to your mental and physical health.
  • Find a support network of other managers.


Building a strong team.

  • Hire the right person.
  • Build on each member’s strengths.
  • Be transparent about the big picture, the direction, the business, expectations, problems, goals, victories. Don’t hide things. Secrecy inspires gossip and division.
  • Build trust and confidence.
  • Use mentorship. Set up mentorship programs.
  • Focus on building a team; skip gimmicks or tricks.


Driving your team to success.

  • Their success is your success.
  • Build leaders within.
  • Take retention seriously.
  • Use rewards, but cautiously.
  • Be goal focused.
  • Make it safe to be creative.