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    Last week I made a presentation to a group about increasing employee engagement and improving culture. At the end I opened up for questions. "A couple of us are first time managers - what advice would you give us?" Great question! Here are five things that I think first time managers would benefit from knowing.

    1. Understand the difference between managing and leading. Many think that they mean the same thing, but there is a vast difference. The key is to understand that the challenge is that it's not either / or, but that you must do both.

    2. Be masterful at time management. This will allow you to be productive and efficient, thereby setting a good example for others, but most importantly, it will provide you with time to do the 'leadership stuff', which takes lots of time.

    3. Choose leadership over likership. We all want to be liked, but it is important to understand that being a leader will mean that you are sometimes required to make decisions and take actions that will be unpopular. Click here for a previous short video on this.

    4. Do what you say you are going to do. This will mean that you are reliable, and in turn build trust, which will help you build strong relationships. Leading others is all about relationships.

    5. It's not all about you. Leadership is about what you can do with and for others. It is about lifting their performance. You should be asking, "What can I do to help you do you job?"
    Come to think of it, this advice isn't only just for first time managers, but also for those of us that have been around the block a couple of times!


    As someone who provides leadership development programs and advice, I sometimes experience resistance to the time, cost or effort associated with building leadership capability. I was once asked by a senior executive who was considering a training proposal I had provided “What happens if I train them and they leave?”  I replied “What happens if you don’t train them, and they stay!”
    The largest study into leadership in Australia has just concluded and one of the key findings is that leadership development pays. The study found that investing in leadership development increases the leader’s self-confidence in their ability to lead and their leadership capabilities. It also found that organisations that have more confident, capable leaders perform at a higher level and are more innovative.

    A summary of leadership return on investment by business publisher Wiley shows that organisations that excel at leadership development perform better financially, attract and retain better people, are more agile when responding to change and are more productive.
    I have just finished delivering a customised, in-house leadership development for a national, ASX listed company and the evaluation showed some very positive results. 86% of participants reported that they had become better leaders as a result of the program. 78% said they felt better about working at the organisation. So, in addition to the business benefits of leadership development, there are significant engagement and cultural reasons to grow your leaders.

    In summary, leadership development pays. Let us know if we can help.


    The new financial year might just be the reason that you decide to invest in your team.

    I'd love to be a part of that. I'm calling July 'Free Speech Month' and I am offering a limited number of organisations the opportunity to book me to come along to your place for a team chat.

    I'm currently researching and writing my next book which is about employee engagement and improving culture. If this is of interest, drop me a line ( and we'll arrange a time for me to visit and share my thoughts, as well as provide you with some simple, practical ideas about building a strong culture.

    I hope to hear from you soon.



    Body language tells you a lot. I was working with a team some time ago and the way they sat at the meeting was reflective of each individual's willingness to take on responsibility.

    We were talking about some future projects that had to happen and we were breaking the projects down into individual tasks. Responsibility for the tasks was being allocated to team members. I was observing each team member. Some were literally sitting back, even leaning back. Others were leaning in.

    Without getting hung up on body language, there was a correlation between their body position and their willingness to accept responsibility. Those leaning back were the ones reluctant to put their hand up. Those leaning in were doing the opposite. 

    There has been a lot written about the difference between leaders and followers and even the difference between managers and leaders (you might be interested in the Manager 2 Leader workshop!).

    One difference I am certain of is that leaders step up. They actually love responsibility. Followers, on the other hand, sit back and wait for someone to take charge.

    What would it be like at your place if more people were stepping up instead of sitting back? Our Manager 2 Leader workshop makes that happen. Let me know if we can help.


    Stop hoarding responsibility. Share it and see what happens!

    Many aspiring leaders I work with have a lot of responsibilities. Trouble is, things get messy, and some are hanging on to things they would be far better off sharing around.

    Effective delegation is a key to good leadership. It means that you are making the highest possible value contribution to the organisation. It also means that you are sharing your corporate knowledge and giving others the opportunity to step up. The biggest benefit though, is that it creates some time and space for 'leadership stuff' that you otherwise may not get to. 

    Simple exercise: Take a clean sheet of paper and write down all of your current tasks and responsibilities. Now, put a tick next to those that only you can do. Put a cross next to those that someone else in the organisation could do. Identify five tasks on the list that you are going to delegate to others.

    Use this system (CREST) to effectively delegate the tasks to others.

    Context: First, explain the 'why' or big picture overview to the task. Why is it important?
    Result: Be specific about the outcome you want. What does success look like?
    Enquiry: What information does the person need to know in order to successfully complete the task?
    Support: What support or assistance do you need to offer or give?
    Timeframe: Be specific about when the job needs to be done by.

    A bonus tip to ensure effective delegation is follow up. This will depend on how experienced and competent your people are, but let them know you are there to help them succeed.

    What high value leadership tasks are you now going to focus on?