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3 min read

The Plight of the First Time Manager

Mar 20, 2020 10:04:55 AM

I remember my very first promotion, I was 24, barely 2 years into my first job - and I was being promoted to an Operations Lead! What did that mean? What were my new responsibilities? How was I supposed to “lead” my team? All good questions, none of which I received answers.

A year and a half after that, I was promoted to an Operations Manager! I grew to oversee a team of 15 people with 3 Leads under me as well. Was it due to all of that world-class manager training I received? Spending dedicated time with my leadership mentor? Nope, we had none of it. We were simply growing so much, so fast, that I got into the role and had to figure it out.

Luckily, I had a knack for managing people and was able to figure it out quite well, culminating in being the #1 ranked manager at the company. I tell this story not to brag, but to highlight what happens all too often at high growth companies that promote top performers into management positions with no more than a “good luck”.

Three things I learned on the fly early on were key to my success:

  • Find out what motivates my people. Everyone is different, it is not always money. And if it is, why do they want the money? There is nothing wrong with asking a direct report of what really motivates them, in fact, it is typically a great opener that leads to deeper conversation. Cater to that motivation every single day to bring out top performance.

  • Always have their back. I always sided with my people, even if I disagreed, I stood up for them and used it as a coaching moment. People work for their manager more than the company, who would want to work for someone that isn’t standing up for them?

  • Make moves and get things done. Pretty simple, but goes a long way. Be their advocate, run things up the chain when needed, stay late in the trenches with them. Too many people start to delegate and say things will get done but nothing happens. That is how you lose people.

In 2019, 93% of front line managers said they needed more training on how to coach their teams. A 2018 study found that 50% of all managers overseeing 1-5 employees received zero training.

High growth companies need to set their managers up to succeed and WIN, not leave it to chance. The ROI of training and cultivating young leaders in your company is infinite. It increases retention, reduces turnover, grows your next generation of leaders and improves your customer experience.

Are you giving your management team the tools and knowledge to be successful? Or just giving them a good ole fashioned “good luck”? And if it’s the latter, can you afford the long term cost of doing so...


Ready to really step up your management game?

We've compiled an excellent guide just for that - Step Up Your Game: The Complete Guide to Effective Sales Management.

Danny Gordon, SVP of Sales & Revenue Operations 

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Danny Gordon

Written by Danny Gordon