3 Things I WISH I KNEW As A Brand New Manager

Aug 23, 2023

Ever had one of those "I wish I knew that earlier'' moments at work? I haven’t had one… I’ve had a thousand of them. Why? Because leadership can be a bit like diving into the deep end without floaties. Sure, it's exciting, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t daunting as hell too! Which is exactly why today’s the day I’d like to give you a cheat sheet, a few golden nuggets of wisdom, that will help you swim rather than sink.

In essence, I'm going to spill the beans on three game-changing insights I wish someone had whispered in my ear when I first donned the leadership hat and found myself up to my waist in the trenches of management. So if any of the below apply to you:

  • Curious about the biggest pitfall new leaders often stumble into?
  • Ever won an argument but felt like you lost something bigger?
  • Tend to get a little starry-eyed with every new opportunity

The stick around. I’ve got a story for you with a reality check or three that just might save your bacon. And by the end of this, you'll be armed with insights that'll make your leadership journey a tad smoother. Ready to level up?

1. People Before Process: the Heartbeat of Leadership

Why It's a Game-Changer

Every organisation has its processes. Think of them as the tracks guiding a train. But here's the thing:

  • Processes are static: they're set paths.
  • People are dynamic: they bring energy, creativity, and passion.

So, while processes give structure, it's the people who breathe life into an organisation. And that's why they ought to come first.

The Day I Realised People Matter Most

Let’s illustrate the point with a personal example. On one particularly hectic afternoon some years back, I lamented to a colleague, "Why doesn't everyone just stick to the procedure? It would make things so much smoother!" while busily scanning a checklist. 

He silently took me to Mary's desk, our top performer, who was comforting another team member having a rough day. He whispered, "She hasn’t completed her tasks today. Would you penalise her?"

After a pause, he continued, "Sometimes it’s not about the process, but the person.” I nodded, understanding for the first time the importance of valuing people over procedures.

The Real Deal on Balancing People and Process

Of course, not everyone will be like Mary comforting another team member who’s having a rough day. Which is why there needs to be a touch of balance. Three points I suggest keeping in mind when seeking this balance are:

  • Listen Actively: Before rolling out any new process, make it a point to listen. What are the team's concerns? What are their suggestions? This way, they feel involved and valued.
  • Flexibility is Key: More often than not, processes should be guidelines, not rigid rules. If something isn't working for the team, consider ways of tweaking it. After all, a process should enhance productivity, not hinder it.
  • Celebrate the Small Wins: When a team member finds a way to improve a process or adapt it in a way that benefits the team, celebrate it. It's these small innovations that lead to big changes.

Golden Nugget to Take Away

People drive passion and innovation. Processes are tools to help them do it more efficiently. Always remember to put your team at the forefront. When they thrive, so does the organisation (and so do you).

This lesson was a bit of a turning point in my own leadership journey. Granted, it can be a delicate balance, but when you get it right, it can make a lasting difference in how your team operates with you at the helm. Remember, leadership is as much about understanding people as it is about strict processes.

2. Being Right Isn't Always Rewarding: The Art of Choosing Battles

The Trap of Always Being Right

We've all been there. That moment when you know you're right, and you're determined to prove it. Seems doesn’t it? Perhaps. But here's a revelation I once had:

  • Being right feels good, no doubt about it.
  • But sometimes, the cost of being right is too high. It could be a strained relationship, a dented team morale, or even a lost opportunity.

My Personal Encounter With This Truth

Again, let me illustrate this point with a personal example. I recall this one intense discussion with a colleague, many moons ago. The topic? A project direction. Factually, I had all my bases covered. But as the debate heated up, I noticed something:

  • The atmosphere in the room grew tense.
  • Other team members became silent spectators, clearly uncomfortable.

In the end, I "won" the argument. But at what cost? The relationship with my colleague took a significant hit, and the team's dynamic noticeably shifted. It was a wake-up call. I realised that sometimes, the victory of an argument just isn't worth the fallout.

Navigating the Tightrope of Right Vs. Rewarding

So here’s three tips that you can go out and employ right now:

  • Pick Your Battles: Not every disagreement needs a winner. Sometimes, it's okay to agree to disagree and move on.
  • Empathy Over Ego: I've since learned to put myself in the other person's shoes more often. Understanding their perspective often sheds light on the bigger picture.
  • Open Dialogue: When disagreements arise - and they inevitably will - approach them as opportunities for open dialogue. Too often, it’s less about proving a point but more about finding common ground.

Golden Insight to Remember

Relationships are invaluable. Being right is fleeting, but the trust and respect of your team? That's lasting. Always weigh the cost of "winning" an argument against the potential impact on relationships.

This lesson was a humbling one for me. But it's made me a better leader and communicator, and I hope it does the same for you. Remember, leadership isn't about always having the last word. It's about building bridges, not walls.

3. Not Every Opportunity Should Be Pursued: Embracing the Power of 'No'

The Allure of New Opportunities

Ah, the thrill of a new opportunity! It's like spotting a shiny object in the distance. It beckons, promising growth, success, and innovation. But here's the catch:

  • Not all that glitters is gold. Some opportunities, no matter how shiny, might not align with your core mission.
  • Spreading yourself too thin can dilute your focus and drain your resources and those of your team.

My Dive into the Sea of Opportunities:

Here’s how I learnt this lesson the hard way. I remember one time, fresh into my leadership role, when an "unmissable" project landed on my desk. It promised growth, visibility, and seemed like the next big thing. I was tempted and, being the greedy seagull that I am, took the bait.

But as I delved deeper:

  • The project demanded much more resources than anticipated.
  • It sidetracked my team from our primary goals.
  • In the end, the returns weren't as nearly stellar as the initial promise.

Ultimately, I ended up looking like an idiot in front of my own bosses and I felt terrible for unnecessarily diverting my team’s energy and resources. It was a lesson in discernment that I hold to this day.

Mastering the Art of Saying 'No':

And what does all of this mean for you? It means that every now and then, you just need to say “no”. Here’s how:

  • Evaluate Alignment: Before jumping on board, ask, "Does this align with our core mission and values?"
  • Assess Resources: It's crucial to gauge if you have the bandwidth to take on a new opportunity without neglecting your existing commitments.
  • Trust Your Gut: Sometimes, intuition is a leader's best friend. If something feels off, it probably is.

Golden Nugget to Hold Onto

Saying 'no' can be as powerful as saying 'yes'. It's about making informed choices that serve your team's long-term vision, rather than getting swayed by short-term gains. Here’s a metaphor to sink that in: navigating the world of opportunities is a little like sailing the seas. While every island might seem like a potential treasure trove, not all are worth docking at. As a leader, your compass is your mission and vision. So stay true to it, and you'll be much more likely to chart a course to success.

A Quick Recap

So those there are three things I wish I had the fortune to know at the start of my adventure into leadership. But, like all adventures, it's filled with highs, lows, and plenty of learning curves. It’s my hope that this content brings a these three pivotal learning curves forwards for you in your own management adventure:

  1. People before Process: Always remember, it's the heartbeat of your team that drives success.
  2. Being Right Isn't Always Rewarding: Relationships and trust? They're worth their weight in gold. Sometimes, it's better to let go of the need to be right.
  3. The Power of 'No': Not every shiny opportunity is your golden ticket. Stay true to your mission and learn to discern.

And that's a wrap! Keep learning, keep growing, and we'll speak again soon.



Want more? Then check this out:

Brand New Free On-Demand Webclass Reveals...

3 Steps To Get Next In Line For PROMOTION ...FAST! (WITHOUT An Expensive Degree Or Years Of Management Experience)

It sounds obvious, but it seems like a lot of times we get bogged down with all kinds of stuff that might keep us busy

…but doesn’t get us results when it comes to actually moving up the management ladder.

This web-class will fix that.

So click to access it now.

It's free. It's tactical. And it might just change your life.

It shows you exactly what to do to get next in line for a management promotion.

Lots of examples.

Yes! I Want This!


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.