Book Review | First Time Manager

In this blog, I will summarise topics from the book, First Time Manager.

Srihari Udugani
The New Manager
3 min readMay 1, 2024


Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

The book, First Time Manager is written by Loren B. Belker, Jim McCormick, and Gary S. Topchik.

The book is for managers who have just taken up the management role and want to avoid mistakes while starting in the new role.

The authors believe that a well-led team will always achieve results that are superior to those of an individual. The book broadly conveys two messages.
1. Be thoughtful in your actions.
2. Always conduct yourself with class.

The Problem

The book starts by highlighting, the process gap of choosing those who will move to a managerial position.

The judgment is often solely based on the performance of a person in their current position. This means that successful past performance is the best indicator of future success.

However, management skills are very different from the skills one needs to succeed as an individual contributor.

Also, the book talks about the unfortunate situation that far too many organizations still use the sink-or-swim method of management training.

Another main problem in many companies is that the opportunities for promotion are limited if one does not go into management. As a result, some people go into management who shouldn’t be there.

Due to the above many individuals struggle, to get through the management role and this book provides many solutions and suggestions.

The most common belief such individuals will have is, that if you want something done right, then better do it yourself. This belief will rarely make good leaders or managers as these individuals will not know how to effectively delegate responsibility.

The Solutions

The book then starts by providing solutions for some of the problems of first-time managers.

The solution starts with a definition of a Leader.

As per the book, a Leader can see into the future and visualize the results of their decisionmaking. Leaders can also set aside matters of personality and make decisionmaking based on fact.

Then the book continues by indicating how the first week as a Manager will be unusual and how sudden changes will result in a fear response that will work against the manager.

Further, the book highlights that the manager who starts off acting like “the boss” by issuing orders and other directives is off to a bad start.

Then, the author moves on to talk about providing good practices to tackle management duties like open communication and defining clear roles and responsibilities.

An important point that the book makes is, that a Manager being always calm, even in troubled situations will help to think clearly, and a Manager will be in a better position to handle tough problems. Also, Managers can show feelings without losing one’s cool. This indicates that a manager cares about the people.

Similarly, the book provides many suggestions on habits for a manager, like,
- Building trust
- showing appreciation
- being an active listener
and so on.

Further, the book talks about generation gaps, steps on performance appraisal, and how to effectively manage your own time.

The book also touches on topics like emotional intelligence, delegation, coping with stress, and balancing one’s life.


The book provides some of the key inputs to managers who are in managerial positions who are starting.

The book highlights key mistakes that a Manager must avoid and the right set of mindsets that should be used for managing people to see success in the role.

The chapters in the book are easy to read as there is not much jargon. Each chapter is small enough that you will not feel like reading a long-running never-ending chapter.

I enjoyed reading this book as it provides good suggestions that every first-time manager must follow irrespective of whether the promotion to a managerial position was forced on you or you aspired to get into a management role.

Happy management!



Srihari Udugani
The New Manager

Knowledge Made Simple and Structured, Decisions Made Clear. Happy success!