Becoming a manager typically looks like this. An individual contributor (IC) works hard to become excellent at their job, a sort of rock star in their role, making the team look great, and gaining attention from management for their contribution. Then one day they’re asked to step into the role of manager. They were so good in their role that it just makes sense that they would be able to manage other people doing that same job, right? Wrong! Management is a big jump that requires self-awareness, emotional intelligence and social skills, which is why sixty percent of new managers fail within the first twenty-four months of their new position. And when they fail personally, they also fail their team and often the larger organization as a result of the negative affect on morale and the bottom line.  

So, why do so many new managers fail? It’s simple really. They struggle to make the transition from focusing on a product or service to focusing on the people that report to them. It’s hard to pick the right person for a management job and according to Gallup, companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent 82% of the time! Managers are crucial to the output of an organization which means it’s important to set them up for success before they have people reporting to them. Seriously, why give someone an opportunity to manage if you only hope they will make it? Instead, organizations should provide professional development to ensure that new managers have the tools they need to succeed. At Brilliant People™ we believe there are 3 areas that a new manager should develop first so they can effectively hit the ground running. 


First, is personality development because personality impacts our behaviors and these behaviors impact management style. However, in reality, most of us are unaware of how we are perceived by others. So, personality profiles can offer detailed information on how and why an individual shows up at work the way they do. Training sessions on personality can take this knowledge even further by providing self-reflection exercises. Self-reflection is key to growth, so a manager must be able to see themselves objectively before they can begin to sincerely develop relationships with those they manage. And since relationship building is one of the most important aspects of a manager’s role, it’s critical that they understand how personality affects the team dynamic.  

Different personality types are motivated differently, take criticism differently and respond differently to stress. And these differences create problems when a group of people work together day in and out. Problems arise in how individuals respond to the responsibilities that have been assigned to them, how people around them do their work, how they talk to each other, and whether or not trust has developed between coworkers. It’s also important to understand what types of activities energize the different personality types and which ones drain them.

All of these things directly impact the relationship between a manager and a direct report as well as the dynamic of the entire team. So understanding one’s own personality type is just as important as understanding the personality types of the rest of the team. 


The second thing a new manager should understand is how to motivate their team. Getting a good handle on personality type will create a better understanding of how each team member is motivated. Recognition is an excellent way to motivate employees because currently 82% of American professionals feel they aren’t being adequately recognized at work.  And employees who don’t feel valued will look for a new place of employment. But, you can’t just publicly announce the winners of the monthly ‘High 5 Friday’, and think you’re cutting it. 

Recognition is important to every personality type, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. That really only works for ponchos and shawls, and yet that’s how a lot of companies pay kudos to their people. So you might make the ‘i’ personality type happy, but the ‘C’ type would be mortified. The reality is you need to know who is on your team and how to motivate them based on their personality type and preferences. Doing so will help them feel valued and when someone feels valued they’ll work harder and be more likely to stay put. 


Directing and delegating is the third area where a new manager should devote their time, but again, there are nuances to consider. Although the actions are fairly straightforward, the ways in which people respond to them are quite varied. And this is because of how the directing and delegating comes across from a particular personality type as well as how it is received by a different personality type. There’s a lot at play here and the stars don’t always align.

For instance, if a manager is friendly, chatty, outgoing and optimistic, they will usually have an easier time delegating to someone who is like minded. The direct reports who are more analytical, abrupt or slow to respond would be more challenging. And yet, it’s just as important to direct and delegate to them in ways that will yield the desired results. Managers then need to understand what energizes each team member and what drains them so they direct and delegate appropriately and can then offer the support employees need when they need it.  

For example, let’s say a new manager has tasked a ‘D’ type personality with mentoring the newest member of the team. Their role is to show the newbie the ropes and then be their go-to for any questions or concerns. This ‘D’ type is a star player with a no-nonsense straight-shooter attitude who thinks and talks in bullet points. A new manager may be unaware that this team player comes across as abrupt and demanding, and yet has chosen to pair them with someone who is introverted and quiet. This pairing will most likely end up with the mentor telling the new person everything he needs to know up front and then moving on to do their own job. I mean, they told them how things work, right? The rest is up to them! The new person may not feel mentored at all causing them to shut down, choose to find another team, or even another place of employment.

How you communicate with other people is one of the most important aspects of any job but as a manager it can make or break you. At Brilliant People™ we call this speaking someone’s ‘personality language’. Being able to communicate in a way that another personality type can receive will help a new manager be more effective at delegating and directing, and you can encourage your direct reports to do the same by helping them understand how the different personalities show up at work. There are no star players. We need them all to create successful teams. 


Individual contributors who make the leap to manager are not guaranteed success. Management is a whole new ball game that requires the individual to change their focus. They have to stop focusing on themselves and instead focus on how well the team plays together. They need to determine the strengths and weaknesses, and how to motivate and hold people accountable, and that’s just for starters! But if a manager dives deep into their own personality and those of their direct reports and uses that information to the best of their abilities, they’ll be more likely to communicate effectively, build trust and increase belonging. All of which contributes to higher productivity, which is exactly how a manager is being judged. 

Call us today about the Everything DiSC Management™ training. It’s a 1 day course that helps participants deepen their understanding of themselves, their direct reports, and their own managers. Participants walk away with concrete strategies to help them adapt to the styles of their direct reports so they can bring out the best in them. It’s effective management 101!

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