What Makes a Good First-Time Manager? CEO, Paul O’Beirne’s Journey as a New Manager

View of the sunrise over the ocean waves.

It’s scary to be a first-time manager and the challenges that come with it may not be the same for everyone, but the journey is similar.

The transition from an individual contributor to a managerial role involves a significant shift in responsibilities and expectations. The pressure to lead and guide others toward success can be overwhelming, especially when faced with the uncertainty of handling diverse personalities, conflicts, and varying skill levels within the team.

Secondly, the fear of making mistakes and not living up to expectations can weigh heavily on new managers. The role of a manager often involves making crucial decisions that impact both the team and the organization. The fear of failure and the pressure to perform well can create anxiety and self-doubt.

Good Managers Are Trained Managers

We often hear the term “good managers” but what does it actually mean to be a “good” first-time manager”?

Good managers can inspire others which causes their teams to perform better. They’re also adept at engaging with and motivating others, creating more effective teams. A good manager will admit their failings openly, creating a culture where vulnerability is acceptable. They are effective communicators, with clear directives that others can understand without question. 

By comparison, poor managers rarely ask for help and only hold others accountable when necessary. They often lack the skills required to communicate effectively. First-time managers hired from within a company may struggle with control, leading to micro-management or over-management tactics. 

We believe that the main difference between these two types of managers is the training or lack thereof, they’ve received. 

High-Growth Organizations Are Only as Successful as Their Leaders and Managers

The knowledge and training needed to become a first-time manager should not be the sole responsibility of the individual.

Organizations must take responsibility to train their greatest asset: their people. It’s not only the right thing to do but it’s the right business decision. 

We know from research that employees leave managers before they leave organizations. That is to say, they likely leave unprepared managers. By comparison, managers with comprehensive training are more able to create an engaging work environment where attrition slows and production increases. Organizations that are looking for greater returns from their workforce should invest in their most valuable resources; their managers.

Paul’s O’Beirne’s Journey to Becoming a Leader

My journey as a first-time manager was interesting. I was placed in a manager role very early on in my career, and I was not given the proper investment in skills training.

I lacked the nuances of being an effective manager. Luckily, I had a coworker and a mentor who was candid with me and gave me some much-needed advice and support, which I was able to take constructively and improve myself. 

I also recall using one particular management style, simply because it was comfortable for me. It didn’t occur to me that I should tailor my approach based on the individual’s needs and not my preferences. Once I came to understand my method was lacking in clear communication and mismatched expectations I knew I needed to learn some different approaches. 

This led me to get more training and more experience in the many roles I’ve taken since then. It’s also why I truly believe in helping leaders and managers succeed and why we’ve created a manager training program that works. 

What a Holistic Manager Training Program Looks Like

To help front-line and first-time managers, we created ORCA’s Manager Academy©. It is a holistic training program for front-line managers focusing on skills development, self-awareness, and self-management

To learn more about ORCA’s Manager Academy© and how your organization can benefit from this training, book a meeting with our experts at experts@orcahrsolutions.com

Sign up for our upcoming Manager Academy© webinar to learn more about our program!

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