Steal this: Use this email when you just started managing someone

We’re biased, but we think that the company that makes Leadfully, SYPartners, hires some pretty phenomenal people. One of them is Jessica Tillyer, a creative director in our New York office, who recently impressed us for approximately the 400th time when she sent the email below to some people she was going to start managing.

Hello hello!

I am so very excited to be your manager, advisor, coach, and friend over the course of the next year. I can’t wait to get to know you more, help as I can, and learn from you.

In the next couple of weeks we’ll meet to discuss your goals. In our first meeting, I’d love to really hear from you. What brought you to design? What brought you to SYP? Where are you in your life? Where do you want to go? I think setting goals works best with a much bigger view in mind.

I’ll be sending an invite for us each to get breakfast.

Here’s what I’d love for you to bring into our first meeting:

  • Your broader ambition for the next few years: A sketch or a few words. What’s the vision you set for yourself? What do you want to learn? What can you teach others?
  • Your goals for this year: A sketch or list. During our session, we can talk about how feedback you’ve received, SYP’s bonus compensation areas (Culture, Work, Team, Client/Customers, SYP Business) and the Mastery Map (what you want to learn) as inputs for setting your goals.
  • Thoughts about what’s standing in your way.
  • Thoughts about what you need to be successful.

Moving forward, don’t feel like you need to wait for our meetings together to discuss anything. I’m here to be a partner to you. Feel free to grab me whenever you need some coaching or guidance!

My mobile number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. Text me!

With love,

What we like:

Jess is warm and authentic. This is very representative of how we speak to each other here at SYPartners, and it may feel somewhat foreign if you work somewhere with a more formal company culture. That’s OK. You can change some of the words while still capturing the overall flow of the message, which fundamentally says:

  • I’m excited to be working with you.
  • Here’s how I see us working together to set clear goals.
  • Here’s how I’d like you to prepare for our first meeting.
  • And here’s how I see us communicating with each other.

Notice how Jess’s warmth paired with the clarity and focus of what she’s saying gives her authority, even as she describes a non-hierarchical working relationship. This underscores something we believe deeply here at Leadfully: that leadership isn’t about your title, or how many people report to you, or how big a budget you manage. Leadership is about how you show up.

How will you show up today?


Jess is quick to point out that her colleague Andy Chern, a strategy director at SYPartners, is a big source of inspiration when it comes to her coaching style. There’s a ripple effect that comes from how we show up. You never know whom you might inspire.

This post was originally published at on July 26, 2016.

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