Developing First Time Managers

Developing First Time Managers

Prioritizing, planning, and conduction training programs for first time managers and mid-managers based on competencies 

Organizations have traditionally placed an emphasis on developing senior leaders and frontline employees. Mid-level managers are crucial in both fostering employee performance and developing future leaders. It is therefore imperative that managers are trained in both behavioral and functional management skills through specialized training programs. This would enable managers to be more effective, resulting in a more productive organization and team. 

The management training programs for first-time managers differ from those for senior managers. Let us begin with first-time managers. To become a people manager, a person must transition from being an individual contributor. Many employees promoted to the position of people manager have difficulty adjusting to the demands of a management position. According to a recent survey, 60 percent of first-time managers fail within the first two years of their new position. Approximately 85% of managers fail to receive the training required for their position. Having been left unprepared for the next task, they are left in an uncertain state and can only manage and learn the ropes on their own. 

Consequently, new managers should attend training programs that emphasize supervision, practice sessions, and basic management skills. As part of this process, a manager may be required to direct and delegate, create a motivational environment, deal with conflict, set goals, and provide constructive feedback. In addition to planning and organizing, self-confidence, assertiveness, influencing skills, and emotional intelligence are also addressed. 

There is a strong emphasis on solving the dilemmas of first-time managers, aiding with identifying what aspects of individual contributor ship are not relevant to their current responsibilities, and developing them as managers. For first-time managers, training programs are typically longer, lasting from a minimum of 3 months up to 12 months so that  


The need for growth is always fundamental and should be inevitable. With promotion and advancement also come responsibilities and expectations. As an employee climbs the ladder from an individual contributor to a manager, they face various dilemmas and questions. One of the greatest challenges is to translate a persona geared toward personal success into an environment where the success of the team is paramount. 

Here are some common dilemmas faced by first-time managers: 

  • Task versus People-Orientation 
  • Leading oneself versus leading others 
  • Organization versus team perspective 
  • Performance of the individual versus that of the team
  • Org vs self-perspective (own internal value system) 
  • Strategic (long-term) versus tactical (short-term) thinking 
  • Delegate versus do the work yourself 
  • Delegate to develop versus delegate to accomplish (area of challenge versus area of strength) 

A first-time manager may have difficulty adjusting to the changing demands of their new role and dealing with these dilemmas. To ensure success of First Time Managers, it is essential to equip them with key skills so they can deal with the demands of the job. 


By investing in developing competent managers, one would develop cohesive and well-functioning teams. Dealing with a team and being accountable for team’s performance is a huge responsibility and it requires quite several skillsets. 

Training First Time Managers benefits an organization majorly in three different levels. Training employees to lead teams is crucial for the organization and the individual as it helps determine the success of the organization by rightly tapping the potential employees and imparting skills. Organizational excellence, people manager training enables individuals to develop skills like strategic thinking, indulge in change management, and to plan and organize effectively. For Team excellence, training enables leaders to tap rightly into the team power, delegate effectively and mentor employees to form a cohesive team. Personal excellence enables a manager to influence others with their communication, manage situations with emotional intelligence and acquire effective facilitation skills. 

Training people managers guarantees a managed and cooperative environment within the team leading to organizational growth. Managing Resources effectively is a key gain from such an intervention. People Managers learn how to effectively arrive at the delicate balance between task and people.  


New managers face several challenges and understanding how to handle these challenges is essential to their success as well as that of their team. For instance, they may have difficulty delegating or communicating effectively. You may find that they are unable to think like a boss or cannot effectively manage their former peers. The transition from being an employee who does his or her work well to becoming a manager, who must still perform the work while managing others, can be extremely challenging. First-time managers often do not understand the challenges they face and struggle to fulfill their responsibilities. Below are some of the challenges that new managers face, along with some advice on how to overcome them. 


It is common for new managers not to express their ideas and concerns for a variety of reasons, including fear of repercussions, conforming to the company’s top-down culture, and even when they do, they often have difficulty persuading the people at the top. Managers may sometimes need approval from the executive team or business owner before beginning a project. Managers need to learn how to get a buy-in of the management, build consensus, manage multiple stakeholders, and also manage their teams. Whenever the decision-making process takes longer than anticipated, progress for the team is likely to be slowed down. The solution to this problem lies in honest communication. You should inform the executive team that you are awaiting information and, if possible, allow your team to complete other tasks. Arrange a one-on-one meeting with the decision-maker in order to expedite the process. 


Negativity is not inherent in a situation or an individual except for the emotions that accompany it. A person’s attitude or outlook contributes to the spread of negativity. The presence of a single negative employee can turn the positive working environment of an organization into a chaotic, unhealthy, and negative environment. Diverse perspectives and mindsets bring about a more diverse working environment. Optimism is crucial during times of adversity and the manager should always maintain this attitude. Therefore, it is imperative that managers resist these negative attitudes in the workplace. Employees often doubt the transparency of management when they feel distant from their supervisors, particularly if they perceive themselves as doing more than others. Trust is compromised when people feel that they are not part of the plan. Communicating clearly and being honest can help resolve skepticism in most cases since it establishes a bond of trust between manager and employee. Provide an explanation for why you delegated a task, as well as how it contributes to the overall objective. 


Typically, first-time managers are promoted for their exceptional performance as individual contributors. Although an employee may have been an excellent individual contributor, that does not guarantee they possess the skills needed to be a successful leader. Employees may find the transition to leadership challenging. There is a widespread lack of leadership management training that takes place when people move into management roles, even though new managers are faced with a host of new responsibilities. To think like a leader, first-time managers need to consider the factors that led to their promotion, and then they need to re-evaluate all the skills and talents that will help them in this new role. 


Managers often manage former colleagues, some of whom may have competed with them for a management position. When a manager is promoted, all of these conflicts are exacerbated. In managing former co-workers, new managers need to strike a balance between being collegial and exercising appropriate authority. It is not necessary for new leaders to distance themselves from their former colleagues, nor do they need to compensate for their new roles by overcompensating. Rather, they should continue to confront the problem head-on. Be careful not to make your promotion awkward, because it would already be awkward if you were promoted over your peers. As new managers seek to build trust and communication among team members and assist them in adapting to the new power dynamics, it is vital that they remain authentic to themselves. 


The first step to improving leadership skills is to develop emotional intelligence so that you can recognize your own strengths and figure out what parts of management you tend to dread. After you’ve identified their training needs, you can send them through a course or program that will help them learn new things. Many new managers have strong technical skills they acquired during their time as high performing individual contributors. The skills of a leader are judged and evaluated based on their people management skills, not on their technical skills. Manager training programs must provide management trainees with soft skills such as the ability to motivate, empathize, be vulnerable, and self-aware.  


Training programs designed specifically for senior managers will not be concerned with fundamentals, but rather with developing advanced competencies, ones that will aid them in improving the performance of their team and demonstrate their leadership potential. 

Competencies such as

  • Performance management 
  • Developing strategies 
  • Making decisions 
  • Risk management 
  • Problem Solving 
  • Using critical analysis 
  • Emotional intelligence 
  • Management of change 
  • Mentoring and coaching 

It is important for candidates at the senior level to possess competencies such as international business etiquette, cultural sensitivity, and cross-cultural communication. Senior managers must be promoted to higher positions of leadership and global responsibility by focusing on them. The training programs for mid-level and senior managers may be relatively short in duration, for example, two days to three months. The duration of the training program will be determined by the number of competencies to be addressed. There is a greater focus on coaching sessions for senior managers, which may not be necessary for first-time and mid-level managers. 

Despite the differences in competencies and training duration, the methodology is the same across all programs. Throughout all training programs, multiple learning elements can be incorporated to create an effective learning journey. Various components, including classroom training, live virtual instructor-led training, eLearning, mobile learning, leader connects or industry expert sessions, storytelling, coaching and mentoring, seminars, learning cafés, projects and assignments can be integrated or combined in various ways to create holistic learning paths. Particularly for First-Time Managers, this is particularly important since the training duration is longer and different elements ensure greater adoption and sustainability. 

Therefore, when planning a training program to improve managerial skills, it is important to consider the level of the managers. Based on a thorough analysis of the needs, the competencies that need to be addressed, the duration of training, and finally the methodology to be used with its various components.