How HR can Help Turn Managers into Strategic Leaders (Part 2: Challenges of a First Time Manager)

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In our last post, we covered some of the various suggestions that Christine, Shane, and Bart shared to help identify when someone is ready to be a manager. Once you identify who is ready to be a manager, how can you prepare your employee for that transition, especially if they’ll be a first time manager?

The transition into a managerial role for the first time is a tough one. Often times, first time managers experience many of the same challenges. During the fireside chat Christine, Bart, and Shane shared some common challenges they’ve seen first hand. We’ve highlighted some of those below along with tips on how you can help your employee overcome these challenges.

Not being true to themselves.

A common challenge that many first time managers face is not being true to themselves and copying the leadership style of others, but this doesn’t always work. Just because an approach worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. Encourage your employees not to worry too much about sounding “right” and instead work on feeling and sounding more authentic.

Keeping the mindset of an individual contributor

Another common challenge that new managers face is keeping the mindset of an individual contributor. This often happens because people are uncomfortable and scared to change, so they stick with what they know. When you promote a new manager, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with them to let your employee know it’s okay not to know everything. This will gradually help them become comfortable with change.

Operating in silos

First time managers often focus solely on their team and operate in a silo, but a manager’s role is elevating team members and managing across. Being strategic is key as a manager. People, especially new managers, often think strategy means having a plan drawn out, but it’s really about expanding their perspective. The higher up someone is in the organization, the broader their view should be.

Although becoming a new manager for the first time might be tough, it’s something that can easily be overcome. If you know someone who is making the transition, be sure to offer support and resources to help them thrive!

Want to learn how Sounding Board can help new managers overcome some of these common challenges? Ask us a question or set up a call to chat with a coaching professional to learn more. 

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Lori Mazan

Co-Founder & Chief Coaching Officer

Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

Christine Tao

Co-Founder & CEO Sounding Board, Inc.

Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
Christine advises several startups, is a budding angel investor and is also a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a foundation dedicated to investing in the success and sustainability of women entrepreneurs.
Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

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