Essential Skills for the First-time Manager - ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT

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Managing people is a huge responsibility and a great honor. For the first-time manager, making the transition from being an individua...

Essential Skills for the First-time Manager


Managing people is a huge responsibility and a great honor. For the first-time manager, making the transition from being an individual contributor to a leader of people can be a dramatic shift. Skills the person used as an individual may not serve him or her as a leader. And the failure rate for first-time managers can be staggering. But with the right tools, skills, and training, individuals can beat the odds and make the shift from successful individual contributor to successful first-time manager.

The Best Leaders… When people think about their best leader, he or she was most likely someone who truly listened, was flexible, acknowledged the work and contributions of others, and made them feel like they made a difference. He or she was probably trustworthy, accessible, and a good role model, and gave helpful and appropriate feedback. This is what all first-time managers must aspire to

What are your people saying about you?

It’s critical for new managers to be mindful of the interactions they have with others. People take their work personally and form emotional attachments to their results. And they are constantly forming opinions about what’s happening to them and whether it’s pleasant or unpleasant; effective or ineffective; fair or unfair. Especially when it involves their communication with their manager.

These opinions go home with people at the end of the day and become the topic of dinner conversation. So it’s critical for managers to be aware of the impact of their tone of voice, their words, and their interactions with others throughout the day by becoming adept at the art of conversation and interaction with others.
{The best minutes you spend are those you invest in your people.}

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 What are the Four Essential Skills managers need?

Good managers understand that conversations are the key to creating relationships. Over time, they learn how to make these conversations a cornerstone for developing their direct reports. Through our research, we’ve found that there are Four Essential Skills that facilitate more effective interactions with their people. These micro skills assist managers in creating purposeful, intentional, quality conversations that are the lifeblood of productive relationships. 
  • Listen effectively to learn from others 
  • Inquire for insight and understanding 
  • Tell their truth with empathy and compassion 
  • Express confidence in their people
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