Are You a New Manager? Four Conversations You’ll Need to Master

I invited several top leaders, authors, and bloggers to share their wisdom with Leadership Freak readers. Thanks to Scott Blanchard for contributing this insightful post on four conversations new managers need to master.

Sixty percent of new managers underperform or fail in their first two years—often because they’re not prepared to lead conversations that support their people.

the key to leadership

Stepping into leadership requires different skills from those you developed as a high performing employee. New managers need to be ready to answer four basic questions from their direct reports:

  • What am I supposed to be doing? This begins the goal setting conversation.
  • Did I do it right? This prompts the praising conversation.
  • Am I doing something wrong? This initiates the redirecting conversation.
  • Did it matter and what did we learn? This leads to the wrapping up conversation.

Think you’re ready to manage people? These tips from our First-time Manager training program can help. Think about how you’d evaluate your skills in each of these areas:

  • Goal Setting. Schedule this conversation at the beginning of every project or goal and revisit as needed. It focuses people on exactly what needs to be done and by when, and works best when tasks and timelines are clear, compelling, and written down.
  • Praising. Have this conversation when you catch someone doing something right to reinforce their behavior. Tell the person you noticed a specific action and why you appreciate it.
  • Redirecting. This will guide someone back to their goal when their behavior is off track. Be sure the person understands exactly what needs to change and that they know you want them to succeed.
  • Wrapping Up. Schedule this conversation at the end of every project or goal. It serves a dual purpose: to celebrate accomplishments and to recognize what could be improved in the future.

All leaders, both new and experienced, must be effective communicators. Make sure your communication skills are as ready for that promotion as you are!

What suggestions do you have for succeeding with the four conversations new managers need to master?

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