I've heard horror stories of people failing at being a manager when they first start out, particularly if they're kind. Can anyone who's been in a management role for only 6-12 months tell me what it was like when you first started vs now?

US41's picture

Welcome to Manager Tools! 

I've been managing quite a bit longer than 12 months. In fact, it was 12 years ago when I met Mark and Mike and was first exposed to the principles they teach.

If you are a new manager, you need to start out with the Trinity of Management:

  • Feedback
  • One on Ones
  • Coaching


  • Delegation

It's the only Trinity with four items. :)

Go here:  and listen to the free podcasts. Queue them up on your phone, and play them in your car during your commute, perhaps. However, I find that there is so much meat in these podcasts that you really want to take notes during them. 

The supporting materials contain everything you need: One on One form, introductory email script to use to invite people to one on ones (which regularly has employees say "that was such a nice message"), and other items you will need to get started.

Check out the basics, and remember the rule about starting off with a new team: Go slow. Don't try to change things today or tomorrow. Get in your job, learn what your people do, observe, and hold back the urge to reconstruct everything. Just get involved for now and participate. Start your one on ones, and start positive feedback right away. 



Kevin1's picture

It even has a 5th part.



kabky108's picture

Welcome new manager!  I have been in a management role for the past 18 months and still consider myself a new manager.  Being a new manager definitely comes with struggles, but US41 is right horror stories are just stories.  The best thing you can do is listen to the trilogy podcast and the One-On-One podcast.  These are the best tools at your disposale.  The best recommendation I can give with the One-On-One forms that Manager Tools provide is not to be scared to edit the form as you go until you find your fit but definitely start with their form.  I also strongly recommend listening: and These are not trinity,  but they were very useful.

mrreliable's picture

New manager syndrome.

You're in the right place. Most people who are "promoted" to management positions have no management training, and they aren't given any guidance on their new role. They get a bump in pay and take on additional responsibility, often without any commensurate elevation of authority. I was promoted to manager three times along the way with zero guidance. Not fun. This site has some great guidance. I would also suggest attending as many management seminars as you can, and work those seminars into your ongoing routine.

Good management is not about being "kind." In fact, many managers actually do more damage to the relationships and productivity by trying to be kind. The best manager I ever knew, who was the first to train me in management, is the nicest guy I've ever met. He also had the highest standards I've ever seen. It's a matter of setting standards and holding employees accountable. What I learned was that employees are happiest with their jobs when expectations are crystal clear. Most want to be accountable to high standards. It becomes a source of pride.

For example, if you ever watch shows like Kitchen Nightmares or Restaurant Impossible or Hotel Impossible (my guilty pleasures), a very common problem with these failing businesses are owners who treat their employees like family. They give the the shirt off their back, coddle them, don't confront them when they fail at their job, and try to "nice" them into performing. And the business inevitably fails. Interviews with the employees reveal that they are dying for the owners to set high standards and hold them accountable. When a manager is not strict with standards, they actually drive employee morale down.

I guess I can summarize my long-winded answer. Worry about setting standards and holding your directs accountable. That is being kind. Don't try to treat your directs like family or friends. If you have a direct that pushes back, deal with it by feedback. It's great to have empathy, but hold fast to your standards.

Faye1920's picture

Congratulations on your promotion!

When I was promoted into management the closest thing I had to management experience was being RA in college. I was fortunate that my team at the time was pretty easy going and I was able to lean into it. However, I've had my ups and downs with it. 

Seek out a mentor and talk to them often. It is truly the best thing I did. She really helped me through that first two years of management and continues to help me.