It’s not about me…

“It’s Not About Me.

It’s Me & You.”

You’ve been promoted to leadership. Congratulations!

But it’s nothing like your old job, is it? It’s time to flip your script.

We all have mental scripts that tell us how the world works.

Your old script was all about “me” — standing out as an individual. But as a new leader, you need to flip your script from “me” to “we” and help the group you lead succeed.

One of the biggest and most difficult changes for any leader is the one from an individual contributor or professional who does the work, to a manager who must continue to do the work and more importantly, leads others doing their work.

It’s important for a leader’s long-term career to make that transition as quickly and successfully as possible.

It’s also important for the success and sustainability of any organization. Why?

First-time managers (FTMs) make up the vast majority of the largest population of leaders in any organization—those at the entry- or first-levels of management.

They directly lead a majority (as much as two-thirds) of people in organizations.

1 They are the pipeline for future leadership positions in the organization.                        They represent the leadership benchstrength of the organization. Yet why is it that the largest population of leaders, the benchstrength and pipeline of future leadership talent in organizations, are the ones who get the least amount of money and support in training and development dollars; less than C-level executives, less than middle-level managers, way less than high potentials who may not even be managing?

2 First-time managers may be doomed to failure from the start.

One out of every two managers in organizations is deemed a failure.

3 That’s 50% of your future top talent. Their failure may be the result of not being supported or given the opportunity for training and development early enough in their careers as leaders.

First-time managers at entry- and first-level leadership positions have as much of a right for leadership development as others, but their voices so often go unheard. Organizations take for granted the difficulty of transitioning into leadership, and this blind spot is costly. Not supporting and developing first-time managers is wasteful, impedes work, and damages relationships. Ultimately, leaders and the led become turned off to leadership.

But the solution is simple:

Help first-time managers realize what it takes to make a successful transition into leadership.

As front-line leaders at entry- or first-levels of leadership who manage individual contributors and professionals, first-time managers are so important to the success and future sustainability of your organization.

They’ve kept their heads down, worked hard, did everything they were told to do, and more.

What’s the reward for these top professionals and individual contributors in your organization? Oftentimes it’s a promotion into management.

Congratulations to the new bosses. No doubt, they are excited about this new opportunity. But then it hits them—they have never managed anybody one single day in their lives. Do you know how they feel?

Many are confused. Helpless. Hopeless. Overwhelmed. Uncomfortable. Scared. Insecure.

All of the above, all at once. And for so many of them who have succeeded at every stage in their lives in everything they have done, these feelings are new. Now think about how widespread this feeling is. The largest population of leaders in your organization right now are people in entry- or first-levels of management and the vast majority of them are leading others for the first time in their lives, ever.

Your organization is depending on their success; first-time managers are the pipeline for the top leadership positions of your organization in the future. Yes, many of them can be in that corner executive office one day if they want it.

But look at the stats: One out of two managers is ineffective in their roles. Yes, 50% of your managers are ineffective or fail in their jobs. Why?

Many FTMs don’t realize that the transition from an individual contributor or professional who has done the work and done it well, to a manager who must now lead the work of others, is one of the toughest transitions they have to make so far in their working lives. It’s so hard because the transition means going against something ingrained in all of us and natural to us since birth.

Go back in time.

Safe to say FTMs have said something like this before?

  • “I studied hard and got my degree.”
  • “I interviewed well to get that job.”
  • “My efforts and skill make me successful at my job.”

Up to this point in life, the sole focus of many FTMs has been on “me” and “my” talents and abilities to get awards, accolades, and approval.

That “me” focus brought

  • recognition and rewards
  • impressed others.
  • made people see how good they were
  • made them feel good
  • feel valued
  • made them stand out from others
  • It got them ahead


For FTMs, it truly has been all about “me.”

That “me” focus is what makes individual contributors and professionals in organizations

so effective. And it’s what even got them that promotion into their first managerial jobs. If you get to the real heart of why individual contributors and professionals get promoted to their first managerial roles, each one would probably say something like:


For FTMs, it truly has been “all about me.” But as soon as they get that promotion, they can no longer rest on their own abilities, skills and technical savvy.


Using “I” and “me” pronouns won’t make FTMs successful anymore as leaders of others.

If FTMs themselves don’t realize that they can no longer rely solely on their own skills and abilities, they will struggle.


A major reason why so many FTMs get tripped-up, struggle, and so often fail is because they focus so much on their own abilities, and getting their own work done that they neglect others. They can’t make the transition from a technical expert to a leader of people.


So, one reason why many FTMs struggle is their own lack of ability, and possibly awareness, to move away from an individual contributor role to a leadership role.

But there’s also another reason, something that organizations can change, right now.

Think about any competition: a bad start out of the blocks will hurt future chances for success.


Compared to the top management team or middlelevel managers in organizations, so many FTMs get relatively no help, no support, no guidance, no development from the start. Nothing. Just a pat on the back and a “Go get ’em” as final words of encouragement.

Many FTMs aren’t provided with the means, support, and chances for development

from the beginning to be great leaders. FTMs aren’t educated on how to learn about leadership, what to learn, and how to apply what they learn. So what will help FTMs be more successful?

What follows provides a way.


At Pathfinders, we hold hands of FTMs for support and guidance.

Suresh Shah, Pathfinders Enterprise



Inspired from a write by Bill Gentry, in the Blog by CCL

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