The First-Time Manager | Loren B. Belker

Summary of: The First-Time Manager
By: Loren B. Belker


Embarking on the journey of becoming a first-time manager can be both exciting and daunting. In ‘The First-Time Manager’, Loren B. Belker provides valuable insights and crucial tips on how to successfully navigate this transition. With a focus on building confidence and trust, developing the right management style, delegating, running efficient meetings, and cultivating emotional intelligence, this book summary provides essential guidance for new managers looking to build strong, motivated, and successful teams. By diving into a wide range of essential leadership topics, this summary offers practical advice on becoming an effective manager for those at the beginning of their management careers.

Building Trust as a New Manager

As a new manager, it’s crucial to prioritize building trust and confidence rather than using excessive authority. Listening to and showing appreciation for your team’s work are key to establishing open communication and gaining their trust. Avoid major changes in the first week and instead schedule an initial conversation with every person on your team within the next two months. Avoid giving insincere praise and be specific about their behavior and how it benefits the company. Building trust takes time, but ultimately leads to honest, supportive, and trustworthy relationships with your team.

Adapting Your Management Style

Successful management requires adapting your style based on the situation and individual needs of team members. The autocratic and diplomatic styles alone are insufficient, as different people and circumstances require different approaches. The awareness approach focuses on each team member’s motivation and competency to customize the amount of control or encouragement given. Adapting your management style in this way creates a balanced approach that motivates and encourages employees, making them feel like they are working with you and not just for you.

Delegation for Developing Employees

Successful managers delegate tasks to develop their employees. Delegating is not about passing off work but about helping employees learn and grow. A manager should assess current tasks before delegation and avoid delegating tasks like salary reviews, performance appraisals, coaching, and terminating employees. When delegating, choose the employees who demonstrate the skills required for the task and may benefit from developing them. Meet with the chosen employee to describe the task thoroughly and agree on required outcomes and timelines. Successful managers know that accepting some less-than-perfect results is more important than taking on all the work themselves.

Run Efficient Meetings

Effective techniques for managing and participating in productive meetings while minimizing costs are outlined. The following points are emphasized: meetings should be used sparingly, keep the participant list small, share the floor, send an agenda in advance, start and end on time, delegate tasks, and listen to everyone’s opinions.

Have you ever attended a meeting that seemed to be a waste of time or felt completely unproductive? The truth is, meetings can be expensive both in terms of time and money. Imagine a two-hour meeting of ten people whose average salary is $80,000 per year and who each receive two weeks of vacation. The cost is approximately $800!

As a manager, however, there are steps you can take to create more effective and productive meetings while minimizing costs. For example, meetings should only be used when they are truly necessary. Disseminating information can be done more efficiently through email with attachments or other methods.

When a meeting is necessary, it is important to schedule it with a clear agenda and try to keep the participant list as small as possible. An efficient meeting includes every topic to be covered and a time frame for each. This ensures that participants know what to expect and are more likely to focus on the topic at hand. Giving participants enough advanced notice to prepare will make them feel more engaged with the discussion.

To make the best use of everyone’s time, start and end meetings promptly. Prioritize the most important discussion points first, but if some topics remain unaddressed, consider whether to continue the meeting, reconvene, or resolve the issues via email.

Delegate different agenda items to others when possible. This will make them feel more involved and help them develop leadership skills. As a meeting facilitator, it is crucial to move the conversation forward and make sure everyone is heard. Avoid speaking the whole time so that others can contribute and share their opinions.

Finally, always remember your position as a manager. If you want everyone to share their opinion on a topic, hold off on sharing your own ideas until after everyone else has spoken. This ensures that no one plays up to you or withholds information that may go against your opinion. By listening to your team members, you’ll learn the value of hearing different points of view.

In conclusion, running efficient meetings requires careful planning, clear communication, and effective management techniques from the meeting facilitator. By implementing the strategies outlined above, meetings can be more productive, engaging, and cost-efficient.

The Importance of Attitude in Hiring

Avoid bad hiring decisions by prioritizing attitude over qualifications and experience. A candidate’s attitude can make or break their success in a company, and using tools such as questions and references can help assess their fit.

Making the right hiring decision is crucial for any company’s success. Rather than relying solely on a candidate’s education or experience, it’s essential to prioritize their attitude. A bad attitude can cause numerous problems, leading to wasted time and money spent on rehiring and solving issues caused by a poor hire. On the other hand, a good attitude can make an employee thrive, even if they initially lack qualifications.

When interviewing a potential hire, starting with small talk can ease their nerves, but it’s essential to shift the focus to assessing their attitude. Ask questions about their previous job and what they enjoyed about it. If their response only includes aspects like social activities and non-work-related perks, it’s a sign they may prioritize socializing over productivity. However, if they mention educational opportunities and challenges, it suggests they value a healthy work environment.

It’s also vital to pay attention to the questions the applicant asks. Those focused on training or promotions tend to be better employees than those asking about vacation time. However, don’t automatically discredit someone for inquiring about company policies as they may have familial obligations.

Hiring the right candidate can be tricky, but prioritizing attitude over qualifications can make a significant difference. By using tools like interviewing techniques and references, companies can find the right fit for their company culture, leading to positive long-term results.

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