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6 Ways to be a Great Manager!

Dear Coach Joan,

I’ve just accepted my first role as a manager after years of being

an individual contributor . Any tips on how to do a great job?

How do I best on-board my new employees for a great working relationship?

Are there best practices in bringing out the best in people?

Thank you,


Dear Andrea,

Yes, there really are strategies (almost) guaranteed to make you a great manager!

In working with hundreds of clients and colleagues over many years, sitting on both sides of the table myself, and hearing all kinds of stories, behaviors and situations as a coach, I’ve boiled it down to 6 best management practices. If you want to build a solid relationship of trust and integrity, get the best performance from your people, and have the most enjoyment along the way, here you go. From the beginning:



Everyone likes to feel welcomed to their new work environment.
Bring your employees on-board with a strong welcome and introduction.
Invite them to a team meeting where you introduce them, their background and their
their area of expertise.  Show that you know their background and what they have to offer.

The intent is to make them feel like a valued part of the team and begin to get to know the other team members.

Bonus Step:

New employees often appreciate getting a ‘buddy’–someone to go to lunch with at the beginning
and someone to show them ‘the ropes’. This is something most employees appreciate.


Have a one-on-one with your new employee where you explain the big picture mission of the company or organization. Be clear on how their work contributes to the mission. Explain the role of others in their department and other functions in the company.

Bonus Step:

Introduce your new employee to other key people in the company, outside of your own department. Proudly introduce them to your peers as well. Show that you are starting to build their visibility.


Let the employee know their specific goals and objectives and  what success measures will be used to evaluate them. Give examples.  Explain how past employees have been successful with you.  Be honest. Ask them their preferred style and to define past work environments that have brought out the best in them.
Be clear on when and how performance reviews are given.  Put any promises and performance goals in writing.

Bonus Step:

Show them the performance review  worksheet and or framework and have a discussion about how you view the various categories. Ask for their thoughts and questions to clarify requirements and expectations.


Everyone wants to be respected and listened to. Make sure to truly listen to your employee.
Ask them how they are doing, and respond to both their emotional and factual content.
Always show them respect and consideration in front of others. Save any negative feedback for private meetings. Conversely, share any and all positive feedback with others in earshot! Positive feedback goes a long way to ensuring extra energy and commitment.

Bonus Step:

Periodically ask employee for feedback on how you are doing in showing respect and listening.
Share any concerns you have with them in those areas, too. Keep the relationship real and share.  Tell them more about your background, interests and perspectives on the job, the company and your role. Ask them more about their background and aspirations.


Discuss how often the two of you will meet. Set up a plan for the employee to provide you with status reports. Include the agreed upon goals and objectives and how their performance is meeting those goals. Ask the employee to red flag any problems as soon as they occur, before they might escalate. Nip problems in the bud with good communications.

Bonus Step:

Acknowledge and share when you notice employees are doing something particularly well. In writing or verbally, mention it to them and to other relevant colleagues and managers in the company. Share the news with your manager and show that you are giving credit where credit is due. Show that you care about their reputation.

That effort will go a long way in ensuring productivity and peak performance!


Discuss the employee’s goals and aspirations. Encourage their development and provide ways they can advance.
This can can include company training programs, outside educational classes, industry development opportunities and/or special projects.  Encourage your direct reports to learn more about other functions in the company and ways they can contribute more and develop more skills.

Bonus Step:

As your employee advances in competency, impact and contribution, proactively share company job listings and promotional opportunities you think they might be ready for, or could work toward. Discuss how they can develop their skills to reach the next level.


Your goal as a boss is to get the best work out of your employees. And the way that happens is by building a relationship based on trust, honesty and integrity.  Sadly, sometimes managers who are the hardest working, and brilliant, are blinded to the things they do that inadvertently  insult, demotivate and sometimes even  push their employees out the door. And often they are not even aware of what they’re doing, or not doing.

You do not want to be one of those bosses!!!

You want to be a GREAT BOSS. Please review and implement the 6 steps above!!

And Andrea, all the best to you in your management career,

Coach Joan

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