3 Things Every First Time Manager Should Know

The Angry ManagerHave you’ve been recently promoted and are now responsible for leading and managing a team, meeting deadlines and achieving set targets ?

Are you eager to show (to your bosses and your peers) that you are going to be successful young manager?

Young ManagerI was about 23 years old, when I was first given the responsibility of leading a team of help-desk technicians. It was not a managerial role but more of a supervisory role.

I recall thinking that it was unfair to be held responsible for the daily productivity of my team members and that my individual performance had little weight-age in my monthly performance assessment.

If being a supervisor was this hard I knew for certain that I did not want to be a manager because it meant being assessed on more parameters that were out of my control or at least that is what I thought.

The reason I used the term successful young manager is because the corporate landscape has changed quite a bit from the 50’s and the 60’s even the 90’s.ย  The average age of first time supervisors is 30 years old.


Three Things I Wish I Knew As A Manager.

Top Performance – By Zig Ziglar

I recently read Top Performance by Zig Ziglar and I really wished if I had only read this book earlier.

I highly recommend this book if you are not an individual contributor and your job involves supervising or managing people. In fact the the first chapter is going to be immensely helpful for you to build a meaningful ย and healthy relationship.

I urge you to use them as principles and not tactics




1.Getting Things Done

As a manager it’s your job to facilitate getting things done, not doing them yourself. I often made this mistake of trying to get everything done to ensure things were done on time and without errors.

This took much of my time and I was not able to dedicate enough time on things that I should have been focusing on instead.

Meddling too much or trying to do everything yourself could also build your image as someone who is very nosy and a micro-manager and does not trust anyone but himself to get the job done right and on time.

2. Communication is a 2 way street

Effective Communication is a 2 way streetAs a manager, communication does not mean just passing orders from the top or telling people what to do. Listening to your team’s concerns, grievances and suggestions and passing them up the order is important as well.

This will help build trust between you and your team member while at the same time, bringing the concerns and suggestions in front of your bosses will help you come across as a manager who is well invested in the working & well being of his team.

Also remember that body language is just as important. Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it that matters.

3. Expectations & Goal Setting:

Building on the previous point, you have to be very clear on what is your expectation from a given task is and leave no room for ambiguity.

Giveย clear and specific instructions aboutย what you want and by when do you want it.

One thing that I’ve really found effective and wish I used more often was also including why I wanted it. If my manager would ask me to do something and explain why, I would be more willing to do it, won’t you?

Zig has also covered creating 3 different levels of evaluation and described them in great detail. This is something that is going to come really handy when evaluating performance something which most managers hate and something that can work to set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd.

Remember, as a manager it is your job to help them do their jobs effectively.

36 thoughts on “3 Things Every First Time Manager Should Know”

  1. I recently applied for a shift lead position and this article really helps. I don’t know what is going to be in store for me quite yet but I am confident that if I utilize everything you wrote about it will go over smoothly. This will be my first time in a position of being higher up and while I am quite nervous, I am also excited. I’m essentially a big part of what make their day either really great or really poor. I get to inspire people and help them out, and to me that is a great thing.

    1. Congratulations on the lead position Hailey. I hope you manage your responsibilities exceedingly well in handling new responsibilities. It has been a while since I wrote this article or posted anything new but I am glad you found it help. Cheers

  2. Hey Josh:

    It truly is an important thing for first-time managers to be aware that they are actually THE support crew for the people who report to them.

    Since you are the one responsible for making sure a project gets done, then you’re the one who has to help make sure that your people can do their work by working on clear communication and keeping the expectations and goal in front of them properly.

    You are right. The number one mistake always seems to be trying to do the thing your own self rather than working on systems and processes that can help your people do the work that needs to get done.

  3. I have seen so many “first-time” managers crash and burn because they simply mistreat employees and assume they’re better than everyone else! This approach never works because employess do have voices, some will stand up for themeselves and some even make complaints to senior managers.

    I’ve seen it many times in my job! Managers with the wrong attitudes eventually back down and aplogize. After all, it’s them who have the most to lose!

    Sorry for getting carried away! LOL.

    Thanks for sharing the 3 important aspects when it comes to first time management.


  4. Wow man, what you’re teaching people here is extremely important. You write in a very easy to understand manner. Very nice post, i really like it. I really enjoy this type of self-help! Keep going with this man! I am definitely gonna bookmark your page. Maybe even show it to a couple of friends?

  5. My little brother is 21 and was just promoted to supervisor at his job. I was looking for a good book on management to buy him to help him along on his new journey.
    I really like the general outline that you have described this book to be and I will be buying it this week.
    Thank you for all of the advice.

    1. Hey Rachel,

      Thanks for visiting the site.

      It’s nice to hear you being a helpful sister and I hope your brother finds the book helpful.

      Thanks for your comment here and keep visiting the site ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. It really is an inspiring post. My own workplace just imagined in my mind.

    It’s essential that you are communicating well with other people, because it’s the center of everything.

    but mosst times we see people who are closer to bosses are the ones to be supervisors.

    this was fun to read. keep up the good work!!

  7. Very good advice. I could never be a manager because I am just too nice and would not be able to fire someone who gives me some heartbreaking sob story. I do think that your advice would be helpful to a lot of managers out there and believe me I have worked for some doozies. Is this a review on a book or based on your experiences as being a supervisor?

    1. Hey Kristena,

      I personally believe that we need more leaders than managers in our workplaces today.

      This post is a mix of my experience working with managers and leaders and feedback I wish I was given working in a supervisory role.

  8. Dude I love the pinguin. Did you create that one yourself? Seriously great stuff. Also the theme so simple but so good. Simple is really good in my opinion so keep it up. The content also a huge plus. Exactly what Im in need of written in a compelling way. Thank you for this keep it up!

    1. Thanks bro…I am glad you liked what you read, keep visiting.

      P.S: The penguin is a free stock image and not created by me ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. When I first saw your name I thought it would be a bid broad of a niche isnt this the case?

    Though you seem to do a good job at narrowing down and choosing your topic. I like the name and the theme you chose. Im also in this kind of related topic though its way more narrowed down, maybe a bit too narrow if you ask me.

    Keep up the good work

    1. Hey Maurice,

      Thanks for the visit and your feedback, I started this website with no particular niche in mind.

      I found that sometimes I did a decent enough job of making people realize that they are so much better than they think they are and by small consistent and conscious efforts they can be better.

      This website is something that I wanted to do for a really long time and then one day I asked myself “Why Not Now?”.

      Since you have something similar, the only thing I would tell you is to have the “end in mind”. Start with how exactly is your website going to be helpful and to whom and work your way backwards.

      P.S: The theme I use is Zoomify by ThemeRobo

  10. Hi there Josh,

    As I am reading this article, it struck me that these values aren’t only limited to managers, but bosses too. You see, my boss doesn’t practice 2/3 of what you have just mentioned.

    She has lots of expectations and very goal-driven alright – more like for herself than for the team. We are a small company so it’s not like we need to take the lift to find each other.

    She communicates very poorly with the staff – often with a lot of dictatorship and she blames people for not getting things done when her works are all piled up on one corner.

    If the boss doesn’t practice what she preaches, I don’t know how well the managers will carry out their jobs.

    *sorry for the rant*

    1. Hey Cathy,

      She sounds just like my ex-boss. I hated her more than anything but it all changed when I met her in person.

      Maybe you want to talk to her about it and how it affects you. I would recommend it only if she is the kind of person who is open for constructive feedback because often people take it as a personal attack.

      If direct approach is not possible, you could ask her managers to speak to her or better yet find a suitable occasion and gift her a copy of “Peak Performance” by Zig Ziglar.

      Let me know how it goes.

  11. Hi Josh

    I have been in several management roles in my career. I never reached my full potential until I stopped trying to do everything myself.

    What a remarkable difference it made as I soon started getting promotions past management and into corporate roles.

    Now I am self employed and being a great manager is more important than ever. Adored your other recommendations, I’ll be sure to put them into practice.

    Kind Regards


  12. I think the most important part of being a new manager is setting expectations clearly and consistently.
    I’ve worked for supervisors in the past who were not very clear about their expectations, which ended up being a difficult work situation. And these are managers who’ve been in that position for decades!

    If you don’t establish your expectation in a consistent manner up front then you risk losing your team’s trust, morale will plummet, and your team will also come to resent you.

  13. I did have a little bit of experience managing things for a short time, and I have to say the part where you say getting things done is spot on.

    This was my weakness too, I like to do a lot of things myself because I ensure it doesn’t get screwed up. It takes a lot to just sit on your hands and trust that they are able to handle it on their own.

    Will check out the book sometime in the future ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hey Syu,

      Micromanaging everything is something very common and comes very naturally as well. I struggled with this a lot too but If I would start building trust and grooming my team mates to be more responsible and own any task assigned to them.

      I do recommend the book, the very first chapter was an eye opener for me and I really wished I had read it sooner ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. After reading through your pages I found myself returning to this page twice! Lots of great information on all your pages and I will put it to good use, but this page “Things every first time manager should know” seems like the bread and butter. As I became older I decided to leave management, go part time and leave much of the stress behind, but I find value in what you have to say for everyone in the workplace.

  15. All my life until now I had never been a manager or given a leading role to others. This scenario may change sooner or later for me as more and more new employees are joining my company. Honestly, until now I have not prepared to hold such position or responsibilities as I am a shy guy. I don’t like to lead as I prefer to give it to other people. But this article sure help me to rethink some of the aspect of being a leader.

    1. Hey Thomas,

      I didn’t want to lead too, but back then I took it as that meant being off calls and I am glad I took the chance. I wish you give it a try and I am glad that this post made you rethink some aspect of being a leader.

  16. I’m lucky enough to run my own online business these days but when I was part of the workforce I did used to wonder about being a ‘top brass’. I’m sure the authority is great but the extra responsibility…is it really worth it?
    I guess you have to be a certain kind of person – someone who can carry out this without thinking twice. Your article covered a few interesting points on management I had not thought of – thanks for sharing!

  17. This is a nice article. Wow, you are given the responsibility of leading a team at 23 years old. I think at that age, I am just starting to work for a company. I also wish I know this information earlier as less trouble will arise when I first lead a team of juniors. It is extremely hard to lead adults these days as they grown up in a different environment then we did.

    1. Hey Lucas,

      Thanks for the visit. I think eventually for most jobs, you will end up leading a team of people and the more effective you are as a leader, the better the career prospects. I wish you all the best and I hope you have fun leading a team ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. My husband has just taken a lead role and this new position has put him under a high stress because there are so much responsibilities associated with it.
    Yeah, I understand that communication and giving guidance are critical because not only your work matters, but also work of those under your supervision.
    Getting things done is a real challenge because there are a lot of things to do! I think if he ever wants to finish them up, he will stay overnight in office. Any tips regarding how to get things done and yet feel relaxed about it?

    1. Hey Rina,

      First off, congratulations!!!

      The most logical thing would be, for you to forward him this link so that he can read this and hopefully find it beneficial.

      I think the transition to the lead position initially is going to be challenging and very stressful. One thing that I know for a fact is that staying late in office to get the work done is the least effective way to deal with it.

      I would immediately start with identifying what are the most critical aspects of the new responsibilities and focus on them and try to delegate as much as possible. Communication aspect (why I need you to do this) is also very important.

  19. I couldn’t agree more! I was a supervisor at Best Buy at the age of 17. I was a store manager for sprint at the age of 21. It’s not an easy task!

    I love that the first thing you list is to get things done! Delegate! That’s what your job is as the manager… Make things happen!

    1. Hey Jay,

      Thanks for the visit.To delegate task is the one thing that I struggled a lot with and I think that this is a problem common with most people who are given responsibilities to manage people.

      P.S: Supervisor at the age of 17?? Awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

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