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New manager training

Manager training

We have all been told to inspire, coach and motivate. But how does that translate to management behavior?

New manager training

Disclaimer: The following is not a preferred new manager training course. A new manager training would actually have a start and continue throughout the entire career. Even CEO’s receive management training. Most new manager training consists of their manager pointing to the team and providing the following encouragement: “There’s your team, don’t fuck it up”. The below is what I shared with a newly promoted manager over coffee. I was looking for the most bang for the buck I could provide while catching up over coffee. (We don’t work for the same company)  

I was just talking with a newly promoted manager who came to me because he didn’t know what the new role entailed. He didn’t receive any new manager training. There were no expectations set. So, in line with my Nasty style, I suggested we take responsibility for our destiny.

6 steps to success

  1. Create a job description by combining similar job descriptions from Monster or Indeed which they believe matches their manager’s expectations.
  2. Approach the manager and explain, “If I look good, you as MY manager – look good. I want to make you look good. This is what I think you want out of me, but I want to make sure we are both on the same page so I am set up for success. I don’t want to focus on the wrong projects for the next 3 months and fail because I didn’t know what I should work on”
  3. Get agreement on the job description and the priorities.
  4. Set up a weekly check-in where we explain’s what we are going to do next week and what we did last week against prior predictions.
  5. Rinse, lather, repeat 
  6. Check in with HRNasty on a quarterly basis

Only a starting point

Obviously, there is a LOT more to being a manager. I think this is as good a starting point as any. Let’s face it. The absence of new manager training program is pretty common. The initiative shown in the 6 steps isn’t a bitch move. This is a pro-active move and a move any manager can appreciate their newly promoted protegé.

But my 6 steps to success got me thinking. All I provided was what our newly promoted manager could do to protect HIS career. And frankly, this is advice I give to individual contributors. It didn’t help him become a better manager for the team. Of course, we talked about soliciting advice and making it easy on his manager to manage him, but how much guidance can a guy provide in 1 hour, over coffee? The above was strictly bang for the buck.

Student of the game

I work with an up-and-comer HR colleague who is a real student of the game. She just returned from an employee engagement presentation where the Gallup Q12 Index was discussed. Yes, she puts in the work! In our debrief of the session, I specifically asked her about the “Do you have a best friend at work?” question and explained it’s intent. (Which I will dive into below)

I like the Gallup Q12 Index because it is a measure of how engaged employees are. Best Place to Work surveys have VERY similar questions. Engaged employees are usually more productive and easier to manage. It is proven these employees add to the company’s bottom line. Engaged employees are also much less of a pain in the ass to the HR team and you know the elliptical path of the sun and the moon revolves around me! Managers who are NOT engaging their teams are usually losing employees. The employees they do hang onto are usually less productive. Below is the list of the Gallup Q12 Index. A manager with a team that answers in the positive to the below questions is on the right path to enlightenment. 

The Twelve Questions

  1. Do you know what is expected of you at work?
  2. Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right?
  3. At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
  4. In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
  7. At work, do your opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?
  9. Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?
  10. Do you have a best friend at work?
  11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
  12. In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?
  13. But at the end of the day, if a manager can strive to have their employees answering positively to these 12 questions, I would say “Winner!”  If I only had 1 hour and 30 minutes to train a new manager, I would go over 6 bullet points above and the Gallup Q12 Index.


Minimal collateral damage

The questions are not rocket science and a manager can have a direct impact on how they are answered. If a new manager is striving for positives on these questions, we can be assured that there will be minimal collateral damage. In the least, the newly promoted manager has a guide on what to ask for further mentorship. My personal advice is not to attack all questions at once. Prioritize and pick one or two questions and make an effort to move your team’s responses to just a couple specific questions. Build off of these over time a few questions at a time. 

Of course, every company culture, every team, every manager and their direct report are a little different. With this in mind, we can modify any of the parameters to our personal situations.

  1. “In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?” (Can be shorter or longer.)  
  2. “In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?”  (Not everyone gets a trophy, folks! 1 compliment a quarter is more than plenty)
  3. “In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?” (Depending on your company, this could be shorter or longer.)
  4. I was kidding about item number 3!!!

“Best friend at work” question demystified 

When testing the wording, Gallup found this was the best way to discriminate between groups in which friendships are sufficiently supportive and those that have only surface relationships that are unable to withstand adversity.

I personally stuck through a start-up after being laid off a number of times including a lay off on my birthday because I was so tight with the team. (The CEO hired me back on my birthday as well) Ten years later, we still hang out on a regular basis. Just this morning, the CEO from that company reached out with a recruiting question. I keep in constant touch with the HR team from that company. A few weeks ago, I introduced one of the team members from that company to a Chief Human Resource Officer I know. That HR peer just accepted a position with the CHRO.

Can your entire team answer “Yes” to the questions?

The point is that we were “next level” engaged at that company. It’s easy to do a good job when deals are being signed and the money is flowing. Will your employees continue to work when times are tough? When you have great relationships at work, your employees will last longer. I can honestly say we answered “yes” to all 12 of the questions. 

Here is how I usually explain the “Best Friend” question. We may have a significant other at home. Sharing our work trials, and celebrations with someone who isn’t familiar with our work isn’t as fulfilling. When I shared my hard times with my prior CEO and he understood and could help. When we celebrated a win, he knew the effort needed to score that win. Working in HR, I just do not share my work with folks outside of the company. Even within the company, the pool is very limited. A best friend at work makes a big difference. I will sacrifice for a tribe of best friends. I won’t abandon them.

New Manager? A manager who hasn’t received training?

Are you a new manager and haven’t received any new manager training? Check out the first 6 bullets and the Gallup Q12 Index. It’s not a guarantee of success, but it will increase your odds and give you a starting point to ask further questions.

See you at the after party,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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