InsideOut Development

3 Hidden Lessons Managers Shouldn't Learn the Hard Way

by Pivot Point
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This is an excerpt from a brand new e-book: How to Help New Managers Communicate Like a Boss. Download the e-book here to learn more about on-boarding new leaders, including a whole chapter all about mastering tough conversations.


As an HR leader, your job is to empower others in your organization — and there’s no group of workers in more need of insider wisdom than new managers. Managers can be part of the problem or you can make them part of the solution. But without proper guidance from the get-go, who knows how much opportunity will be squandered while your new leader is settling in.

Provide your new managers with the tools and resources to be the managers coaches your organization needs. Start by sharing these universal truths early-on to avoid some heartache as they acclimate to their new role:

Truth #1 - They probably won’t receive regular feedback.

Individual contributors usually receive positive reinforcement after killing it on a project, be it a shout-out in a team meeting, or a talking point in their 1:1. As the boss, that individual will receive less feedback — positive or negative — for a couple of reasons:

The work is less quantifiable. Motivating others is hard to see, much less quantify. The results of their efforts will take time to notice, if they’re ever noticed at all.

Direct reports won’t feel comfortable giving feedback. No matter how down-to-earth or approachable they are, managers will receive less feedback from their team as the leader than they did as a colleague.

Sure, managers still need (and deserve) feedback. They just need a new approach or two in how they ask for it.

Truth #2 - Everyone (yes, everyone) will treat them differently.

Managers should expect a new level of respect from other managers, but being treated differently by their colleagues can be a tough pill to swallow. These peers — and friends — will no longer include them in venting sessions over vodka tonics and soon, those lunch invites will start to dry up, too. No matter how emotionally strong new managers are, it’s tough not to take these things at least a little bit personally.

Set their expectations and share that this happens to everyone who climbs the ranks. It’ll lessen the blow to their ego so they can focus on what really matters — motivating their team.

Truth #3 - Being the bad guy (or gal) is part of the job.

No one likes to have tough conversations. In fact, most employees clearly think their leaders are #failing in this area. New managers need to be prepared to tackle those tough convos, and listen to grievances about other team members. They can’t just ignore the talks and “do the work” because this IS their work now.

It will take constant practice and discipline for new leaders to learn how to handle these conversations in ways that are both constructive and positive. Coach new managers on how to leave their emotions at the door, or at least perfect their poker faces.

So, how do you help new leaders avoid these growing pains? By managing their expectations and helping them understand the change in perspective required to embrace their new role.

This is an excerpt from a brand new e-book: How to Help New Managers Communicate Like a Boss. Download the e-book here to learn more about on-boarding new leaders, including a whole chapter all about mastering tough conversations.

How to Help New Managers Communicate Like a Boss: The Ultimate e-Book for Onboarding New Managers

Category: Conversations Coaching Leadership New Managers Career Development

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InsideOut Development is the world leader in workplace coaching. Quite simply, we help clients hold the conversations that energize people, motivate action, and lead to better—even incredible—business performance. PivotPoint is the voice of the InsideOut Development blog. We hope you’ll find inspiration to act as a “pivot point” in your trajectory (be it personal or professional) and to fuel your everyday breakthroughs.

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