Fantasy football isn’t going away, it’s not a fad, and it impacts work. A recent survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., said that 31 million working-age Americans are playing fantasy football, and it could cost more than $13 billion in lost productivity over the NFL season. But this blog isn’t about the lost productivity, or what you can learn about organizational politics or strategy from a fantasy football draft like in years past.

This year, what I learned from my fantasy football draft is the importance of recognizing the feelings people have when they are doing something for the first time, ever. Our league had a new person join us, a first-time fantasy football participant, Samir Mehta. He serves as the Digital Learning Products Manager at CCL (you can read some great CCL blogs from Samir here).

I asked Samir what it felt like to participate in a fantasy football draft for the first time, ever. Here are some highlights from the video:

  • He was glad he was invited to be part of our league and was really excited to participate.
  • Not being from the United States, football was new to him, so he didn’t quite know the rules or what was going to happen.
  • He was nervous, and didn’t know what it would really feel like.
  • He did a lot of reading and tried to prepare as much as he could beforehand, but about 1/3 of the way through the draft, he had such a great insight: “I definitely see many things that the experience taught me that I didn’t think about before.”

And guess what – for people who are managing for the first time (#1stTimeMgr), they feel the same way. They are excited to be “invited” into a leadership position. But it is new to them. They are nervous. They feel lost. They might read some things, look up some things online, but they really have no clue what they are getting themselves into until they are actually in the experience of leading others for the first time, ever. [tweet this].

An obvious response? Help first-time managers (#1stTimeMgr). Sounds great. But when a survey by careerbuilder.com said that almost 60% of first-time managers never received any training when they transitioned into their first leadership role, there’s a problem. [tweet this] So what can be done?

  • Actually give #1stTimeMgr help through training and development. If you are a first-time manager, ask for training, like CCL’s Maximizing your Leadership Potential program. If you are in a position to offer training and development to your first-time managers, give it to them.
  • Actually give #1stTimeMgr help with tips and tools. My CCL vlog on what it means to lead others for the first time and the white paper “It’s Not About Me. It’s Me & You.” How Being Dumped Can Help First-Time Managers give not just the research, but practical and applicable advice that will help first-time managers be effective. It’s free, so there’s no excuse – give it away to your first-time managers, or use it if you are a #1stTimeMgr.
  • Pay attention to #1stTimeMgr. Look after your first-time managers. Talk with them. Prepare them. Mentor them. Coach them. Develop them.

Together, we have a chance to help this population of leaders who deserves a lot more attention and development than they are currently getting. So let’s do that. Let’s stay connected and continue the conversation online through the blog or on Twitter. Write a comment below about what it means to be a #1stTimeMgr or what you are doing to help #1stTimeMgr. Follow me (@Lead_Better) and CCL (@CCLdotORG) on Twitter and tweet using #1stTimeMgr. Also, if you are interested in how our fantasy football teams are doing, or just want to know our thoughts on leadership and other things, follow me and Samir (@TheSamirMehta) on Twitter and watch for our upcoming CCL blogs.

Wish me luck this year in fantasy football (my picks are in the picture below). As a first-timer at fantasy football, wish Samir luck too. But more importantly, wish all the first-time managers luck at being the best they can be. Better yet, give them the help, development, and support they need #1stTimeMgr. [tweet this].

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