Friday, March 15, 2013

Ask the Expert: First-Time Manager

We got two excellent questions recently which spurred two awesome answer from Jennifer. Today's is about something that many people my age are going through: the anxiety that comes from being a manager for the first time and your responsibility to the people you are to manage. Here's the Q&A:

David Asks

I was recently made a real manager for the first time in my career but I'm a little nervous since I've never really been in charge of people before and I'm not sure what I'm doing is correct (there isn't much guidance from my company and the past inhabitants of this position weren't exactly role models of good managing skills). Is this something that people go into or are there courses that should be taught to managers to make sure they're doing the right thing? Or is there something I could suggest to my employer to do that may be beneficial not just for me but the whole company? I don't want to seem incompetent and unworthy of the new role but I also don't want to be a fish out of a water. Any advice?

Jennifer Answers

Congratulations on your promotion! How exciting for you! Managing employees can be one of the most rewarding aspects of work, and also one of the most challenging.

I am thrilled to see that you are proactively interested in developing your management skills. Many times, employers promote individuals who are technically savvy and experts in their positions, but lack the necessary skills to manage people. These individuals continue on for decades, not realizing their people skills could use some help! Your employees are lucky to have someone as caring as you for their manager.

Both Dale Carnegie Training ( and the American Management Association ( offer courses designed to help managers – both new and seasoned – excel in their roles!

You could also ask your employer about providing you with a mentor, someone within the organization who you perceive to be an effective manager. You could learn from him / her at your pace, with less out of pocket cost than a formal training course. One on one coaching could also be another option if you organization has internal coaches available. You could even explore all three of these options – they’re not mutually exclusive!

Good luck with your new role! I hope you enjoy the professional development opportunities this growth position offers you.


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