Hi All,
First off I am not a manager; I am what is commonly referred to in these forums as a DR.
A new manager has started in my organization and has not been particularly vocal or engaging with anyone. So you can imagine my surprise yesterday when I, and everyone else in my team, received an extremely long e-mail about upcoming one on ones.

At first I was taken by surprise and read the mail a few times through and though well, maybe this is a good step. A particular phrase in the mail just didn't resonate with me so I looked to the oracle of the internet (google) and typed it in, and was presented with, pretty much verbatim with the Manager Tools one-on-one sample e-mail.
How should I, as a direct report, address this??
I would honestly have valued 4-5 lines from the manger requesting a one on one and a broad outline, I and the rest of the team are now disappointed and he's only here three days.

Interested to hear feedback.

(Appologies for duplicate, formating issue)

DuanePoorman's picture

Why are you and the rest of the team disappointed?


vp102's picture

Personally because I would have perfered an e-mail composed by my manager as opposed to something which was found on the internet.

I'm all for internet research but at least paraphrase it and add your own ideas and touches, it makes it more personal and after all that's what the one on one is all about.


SamBeroz's picture

I would be inclined to give him credit for trying to build relationships and lay a foundation for high performance. The template is just there to get rid of the "I don't know what to write" excuse so a manager can get things rolling.

Being new to the group (3 days?) he's probably still getting his berrings. I'd imaging he's probably somewhat busy meeting with his new boss too. As a direct I'd answer any questions and volunteer information on things that you know to be high priority.

There are many people who would be overjoyed if their manager did just 10% of the things suggested by Mark and Mike. I would take the email as a good sign. - Sam

buhlerar's picture

You frankly sound like you have it in for this manager.  It baffles me that you (and others on your team) are disappointed by this revelation.  All you really found out is that the manager is trying to become a better manager.  Sure, you googled the language in the email, but the manager didn't.  Maybe they googled "How to make a successful transition as a new manager," and found it that way.  But isn't that exactly what you want in a manager?  Don't know whether they've followed MT for years or only for 3 days, of course, but I struggle to see this as disappointing.

If you haven't listened to the original one-on-one podcast, Mark specifically tells people to cut and paste the email.  In short, it does the job and it takes away any hurdle to getting these meetings started.  I'm sure many (maybe most) of us who follow MT came up with our own language.  I announced it in staff meeting -- I hate to drop something like this in email and not be able to read people's reactions (you've confirmed my fears).  But email is certainly in fair territory for this kind of announcement.

I may be coming across somewhat harshly, but what I'm really saying is this -- your job is to make your manager successful.  I don't care if you're reporting to the shift manager at McDonald's or the CEO of General Electric, that's always on your job description.  Like you, I'd prefer to see the manager be more actively engaged with your team right away, but if they've only been there 3 days and they're setting up O3's then they're clearly "engaging" with you to some extent.  People have different natural tendencies, and this person may simply be more reserved or struggling with the stress of a hundred new things coming at them at once.  You might study the DISC model a little bit to understand better how to read this manager on an ongoing basis (perhaps a High "C"?).  But whatever the case, they're in a new place and looking for allies right now, and in the long run you'll be best served by putting your energy into helping them make a successful transition.  Make it easy on yourself and interpret every situation in the manager's favor for a while.

Good luck!  Tell us how it goes.

smorison's picture


I personally tell my (new) managers - as they become a MT manager - that they don't need to personalise it, the same as M&M recommend just cut and paste it - most of them do personalise it, as the language doesn't work so well in Asia.

The fact that your new manager after only 3 days in the job is already scheduling one on ones with you is a fantastic sign!

it sounds to me like you wanted the position or one of your close co-workers wanted the position, don't let this colour your view of the new person. I recommend you review the pod casts on this site about working with a new boss. Start with a positive attitude, otherwise you'll end up burnt.


DISC: 7511

maura's picture
Training Badge

By all means start listening to the podcasts, and preferably before you attend your first One on One meeting!    Particularly, listen to the ones on "Rolling out the Trinity" because that is going to tell you what your next few months are going to be like (pretty sure that's also where you hear Mark and Mike TELLING us point blank to use the template verbatim if we want... your manager did nothing wrong there even though you seem to have suspected plagiarism).

A Manager Tools manager is a DREAM to work for if you are serious about your career progression and want to become more effective overall, and help the organization be successful while growing personally and professionally.  We MT junkies consider it a huge accomplishment to get our directs promoted, and we have specific tactics for making that happen.  This could be very good for you and your colleagues if you embrace it.  On the other hand, a Manager Tools manager is going to be tough to work for if you are more of a "9 to 5-er", comfortable with the status quo, and prefer the more common style of "management" where you are seldom challenged or asked to grow and adapt. 

Whatever you do though, don't "address this" with your new manager in the way you seem to be planning.  One on ones are for building the relationship.  Get started on the right foot.  If you go in there and tell them that you found the template they used, and would have preferred them writing their own email, I don't see that going well for you.  Personally I wouldn't see any harm in mentioning that you are familiar with Manager Tools and interested in listening to the podcasts to learn more.  Just keep it positive.

DuanePoorman's picture

Echoing the previous responders, I encourage you and your team to not be concerned or disappointed by his method of delivery.  Instead, be excited about the future, because as a manager tools manager he's commited to all of you and helping you become more effective.  Organizations with more effective people grow, and more effective people get promoted.  It's a step in the right direction even if it wasn't executed perfectly or to your expectations. 

robin_s's picture
Training Badge

I agree with everyone here that you need to give the guy a break, and some support.  One thing you said that was particularly disturbing to me was  " I and the rest of the team are now disappointed and he's only here three days."  So it seems you googled and found out where your manager came up with the email, then shared that information with the rest of his new team, and have been commiserating with each other about him.  I can tell you from experience that it's really hard being a new manager.  You will do him and yourself a favor if you approach the relationship with more support and less suspicion.

smomarien's picture
Licensee Badge

 All of this is great advice.  Additionally I'd say if you want to make this workt with your new manager, you should at least start out assuming positive intent until you really have a reason to think otherwise (and it doesn't sound like you do yet).  No one, manager or direct,  comes to work to make the lives of those around them worse.  If you and the team are going to be successful working together you have to build trust.  The easiest first step is to assume good intent and ask honest questions if you don't understand what's going on or why something is happening.  O3s are all about building relationships.  Take this email as a good sign.  

Smacquarrie's picture

 I have trouble seeing the problem with the manager. You seem upset that he is using a tool. Do you have a better way to introduce the same ideas? Do not give your manager, new or old, a list of problems. Try giving suggestions of how to improve the process instead. 

sbiggin's picture


I'd be disappointed if I thought my new manager was just trying to lay some internet technique on me and my team just to manipulate us. However, I agree with the other posters here that you ought to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, at least for a little while. Maybe he's trying to do the right thing for everyone. Maybe he's done it successfully before. Ask him at your first one on one.

For what it's worth, I'm a new manager with no real managerial experience. I found this site when I Googled "how to be a good manager". I think they give good advice that will benefit your manager, yourself, and your organization.

I've been in this seat for six months and haven't yet started one on ones. Plan to start very soon. I'll take your advice and offer a personal explanation to my team as well as a customized email.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

and this post is to show that I have seen your post.




gpeden's picture

"I'd be disappointed if I thought my new manager was just trying to lay some internet technique on me and my team just to manipulate us. ".  This tells me you and your team may have had ineffective managers in the past and had no basis of trust or communication.  Your team needs the MT Trinity (aka "technique from the internet') more than ever.  You don't trust managers. Trust is the foundation of MT, starting with O3s.  

Sure, your manager could have pre-wired this a bit with your team rather than laying it out the first time in email (aka "Rolling Out The Trinity" - the thinking behind it) - but are you really telling us you are 'disappointed' that your manager wants get to know you better?  

In my time learning and implementing MT - I have been amazed at how many people have no problem with standards for other disciplines (software development, accounting, aviation, air traffic control. etc.) , but consider formal management training like MT as - you say - "techniques from the internet".  Would you turn to your software engineers when they suggest implementing Agile Software Development  and say "wait a minute, is that some technique from the internet" do you... oh,wait - Agile might actually be a technique from the internet.  

If it works why do you care?  Given your current perception of management as "untrustworthy and manipulative" whats the worst that could happen? Especially since one of the primary outcomes of the Manager Tools approach is that *you* as a direct get better?  What do you have to lose?

Since you took the effort to post here I assume you are curious about MT - thats great.  Welcome.



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gpeden's picture

See this comment / thread from @piratedave:


_At my going-away, one of my directs stood up and told everyone, "When he first got here, he insisted on this weekly meeting.  I thought 'Oh great, another meeting, just what I want.'  After a few weeks, though, I reailzed, 'Wow, this guy really gives a d*** about us.'"  Then he thanked me._


hopefully you will have a similiar experience in 6 months as MT direct.

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smorison's picture

Now I feel like we lynched the poor guy.

DISC: 7511

DuanePoorman's picture

Hopefully, he doesn't feel that way.  I'm hoping he posts an update soon.