Why I Want to Help New Leaders #BeTheBossBook

I’m sitting at my desk, head in my hands, wondering how I got myself into this situation. Oh yeah, now I remember. My skills, my confidence, my talents, my smarts, my technical expertise, my ability to do things no one else could do. That’s what got me into this. And now, all those things aren’t helping me.


What situation am I talking about? Leadership.

I’ve done a lot of research specifically on new leaders and first-time managers. I’ve trained hundreds of them too. Now I am one.

Many of us first-time managers are up for the challenge of leading others and are proud to be regarded as leaders. But we are also struggling in fulfilling our potential or even knowing what we should do. Why? We can’t rely on what got us promoted into leadership in the first place: our own individual strengths, talents, skills, smarts, and abilities. And it’s likely no one told us (1) stop doing that, (2) start doing something else, and (3) here’s how. I’m not exaggerating. A good many of us – almost 60% – get no training or development when we go from superstar to leader (see footnote 1). And the lucky few who get training receive way less than more senior and seasoned leaders (see footnote 2).

How senseless is that? First-time managers and new leaders are usually part of the biggest population of leaders in most organizations: entry- and first-level managers, supervisors, and directors on the frontlines. We are the future leaders of organizations, the indicator of strength for our organizations’ leadership pipeline. And we aren’t getting the support, training, and development needed to make the biggest psychological and emotional shift in our working careers. Though so many of us aspire to be great leaders, it’s challenging and difficult, oftentimes humbling and discouraging.

That’s why I want to help new leaders.

That’s why I wrote Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For: A Guide for New Leaders published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers with the Center for Creative Leadership. Set for release August 29, 2016, the book offers actionable, practical, evidence-based advice and examples from my own newest and latest research of new leaders from around the world; from training new leaders; and my own failures and triumphs in leadership. I want this book to support and coach new leaders no matter their industry, sector, or where they are in the world.



So let’s start a conversation about how to be an effective and successful first-time manager and new leader. Leave a comment. Share this post. Use #BeTheBossBook to talk about it. Let’s even begin a virtual support system to help us first-time managers and new leaders on the frontlines.

In my opinion, the system for strengthening our leadership pipelines and ensuring the success of the next generation of leaders is broken. Through awareness, dialogue, and support immersed in the science, practice, and art of developing leaders the right way, we can fix it. Going forward, I promise to use my passion and knowledge to the best of my ability to help all of us new leaders be the boss everyone wants to work for.

That’s why I want to help new leaders.

And that’s why you should too.


1 CareerBuilder Survey, March 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?id=pr626&sd=3%2F28%2F2011&ed=12%2F31%2F2011

2 O’Leonard, K., & Krider, J. (2014, May). Leadership development factbook® 2014: Benchmarks and trends in U. S. leadership development. BERSIN by Deloitte.

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