5 unexpected lessons I learned as a first-time manager

Recently, a mentee reached out to me for advice on her first-time managing people. She was clearly stressed about the situation and was pouring over details, recounting different situations — team meetings, presentations, emails, text exchanges and live conversations. Why wasn’t this working? What was she doing wrong? Was she just not meant to a manager?

The first time I managed someone, I really struggled. Because our biases run deep. We think: I like me. I like people like me. And guess what? If they aren’t like me, let me manage them, mold them, force fit them into a mini version of me. Sometimes, the only version of success we can understand is one that looks just like our own.

This is something I had to learn. And in my afternoon conversation with my mentee, I shared with her some of the other things I’ve learned throughout my time managing teams, along with the five tough lessons I remember learning as a first-time manager.


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