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New manager training

How to develop core leadership skills

Practicing a new leadership skill

It’s a typical corporate scenario — a high performing employee finds themselves taking on a management role. The go-getter employee is proud of her upward mobility. She is eager to learn new skills required to handle the challenges of leadership.

In addition to her domain expertise, the star employee now has a very new set of responsibilities — other people’s performances. This new manager must now navigate a precarious path — aligning employees with the company vision while taking care of their individual needs in the role.

Certainly, a new manager doesn’t need an MBA to become a great leader. But they do need professional development. Success depends on “soft skills,” that are critical for success. Managing and influencing people within an organization is much more complex than just delegating tasks and measuring performance.

And younger managers are demanding and expecting a level of people training. According to a research study by ExecuSearch in 2017,

76% of millennials think professional development opportunities are one of the most important elements of company culture.

But for many, people management can be surprisingly awkward. People are complex, emotional beings. Most new managers immediately find themselves outside their comfort zone — especially when presented with interpersonal conflict. This new skillset, ie “emotional intelligence,” is entirely learnable, but it can be an enigma at first.

How do you handle and resolve conflict on your team?

Many new managers make the mistake of thinking that leadership is simply a matter of leading by example: Watch what I do. Do what I do. That’s a myth. Each employee will have their own diverse set of skills, backgrounds, and perspectives. The challenge is to make sure each employee is the best version of themselves in their current role.

At BigTalker, we’ve been running “new manager training” in many formats and at many levels. It’s a big topic.

For example, we recently ran this “Leadership skills — emotional intelligence for success” session at General Assembly Denver with Kendall Colman of Total Coaching Systems. The goal of the session is to define and teach core manager skills.

Description: “71% of hiring managers value emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ. In this highly interactive session, leaders (and aspiring leaders) will sharpen their teamwork and management skills. You’ll learn key emotional intelligence skills like self-awareness, presence, empathetic listening. Specifically, this session will teach critical communication skills that are mandatory for anyone on a team that works on complex projects. Attendees will leave with actionable interpersonal skills and frameworks that increase the likelihood of their success at work.”

Here’s what attendees said about the session:

“How likely would you be to recommend this session to a friend or colleague?”

Average score: 9.3 / 10

What did you enjoy most about the session?

“Interactive exercises really brought concepts to life.”

“Actionable steps and activities, examples.”

“Felt comfortable, welcomed. Content and presenters were great.”

“Practical takeaways! It was just enough info for the timeframe. I was able to process the info (and hopefully implement it!) without being overwhelmed.”

“It was helpful to understand that EQ is this important in the business world. More important than IQ. EQ can be learned.”

“Exercise on managing emotional triggers and identify the emotion I’m feeling.”

“Very real and honest presenters. Vulnerable with their stories.”

“Great summary on EQ with excellent takeaways.”

“Really great and actionable. Felt doable unlike reading books about EQ.”

“Dave did an excellent job explaining things clearly. I enjoyed Kendall’s perspective of female leadership.”

It’s amazing how impactful these skill building sessions are for new managers. These are skills that we would typically learn from mentors, through years of experience, and through trial and error. The best approach is to bring in a credible facilitator to run a dedicated training session with actionable next steps.

These leaderships skills need to be defined, demonstrated, practiced and refined.



BigTalker helps companies support their employees with leadership and collaboration skill building programs. Professional development sessions include emotional intelligence, communication skills, storytelling, mindfulness and improv theory.

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