Leadership Training Gives First-Time Managers the Tools They Need to Succeed

Managing others, especially for the first time, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. First-time managers face common challenges, such as balancing multiple demands,  leading a team, and motivating others.

Ileana Starwood knows this first-hand. She went from a highly structured corporate role to a management job at a smaller firm where she manages 21 people. Some of her strengths, such as speaking up, being decisive, and thinking analytically, combined with her blind spots and were getting in the way of building relationships, managing conflict, and building a team.

“I couldn’t see myself clearly, or understand the perceptions other people had of me,” she says.

Encouraged by her boss, Starwood attended CCL’s Maximizing Your Leadership Potential program.

Leadership Training for First-Time Managers

Maximizing Your Leadership Potential helps managers get a solid grip on their own leadership style and learn a variety of tactics for getting the best performance out of others. Training focuses on influencing, conflict resolution, and communication, as well as self-awareness and the ability to understand the perspectives and needs of others. Program elements include:

  • 360-degree feedback
  • self-assessments
  • 100 minutes of one-to-one coaching.

“On the drive to CCL, I decided I was going to get everything I could out of it, then give it my all back at work,” Starwood recalls. “The assessments — both the positive and negative feedback — were so helpful. I took it all in and really learned things that were directly related to the issues I was having at work.”

Starwood left with a new perspective and a clear idea of how she needed to focus on day 1. “Of course, it’s not like everything has changed overnight, but now I’m confident I can improve — and I’m working to become a leader, not just a boss.”

Why to Invest in First-Time Managers

Moving from individual contributor to manager is the biggest shift most employees make in their careers — and 60% of first-time managers don’t get any training for how to do it. When money is budgeted to support first-time managers, it is 2-to-5 times less than money budgeted for leaders further on in the talent pipeline.

This lack of preparation has huge implications. First-time managers — whether early in their careers or long-term professionals taking on team or project leadership — make up the biggest population of managers. They directly lead the most people. Their effectiveness directly affects team productivity, customer satisfaction, sales, operations — any metric you measure.

Like many first-time managers, Alisha Atlas-Corbett was promoted because she was successful as an individual contributor and was tackling a range of new challenges in her new role. And like Starwood, she attended Maximizing your Leadership Potential. For Atlas-Corbett, learning about different working styles and having the chance to talk to and learn from others going through similar experiences had great value. The personalization was important.

“The CCL focus was on knowing who you are,” she says. “We learned how to use our existing strengths and energy and repurpose them, and to try new things to better handle our challenges.”

First-time managers need to hear this overriding message: What got you promoted won’t make you successful at the next level. Learning — and being genuinely interesting in understanding the new mindset and behaviors you’ll need — is essential.

Learn more about our Maximizing Your Leadership Potential program, which develops the perspective, knowledge, and practical skills that first-time managers need to effectively lead others.

Or for virtual training, check out Frontline Leader Impact, an online program for anyone preparing to move into a first-level manager role. 

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