First Time Boss/Team Lead? What to do and what NOT to do!

As a leader, making mistakes is part of the job. However, there are some things that you can do to avoid some mistakes that often  Leader-1times become deep rooted and set the culture for the teams you lead.

The BBC article, by Elizabeth Garone, Five Sins of First-Time Bosses identifies tips of the leadership world including:

Taking Charge When You Should Take Charge

There is a time to make decisions. The article suggests not waiting to make important decisions. BUT it is also important not to make unnecessary decisions right off the bat just demonstrate your authority.

Going to Your Head

Garone suggests that just because you are in charge doesn’t mean you should be a boss – it means you should strive to be a leader. Telling people how to do their jobs every minute of the day, or “dominating decision making,” is not going to make you a leader, it is going to make you a member of the team that is demanding and unpleasant.


The “I can do it myself mentality”

This needs little explanation. Delegation is key. It also gived the team learning opportunities they might not otherwise have. The important takeaway from this article is finding mentors.

During my first week at my new job, I had a mentor stress the importance of not saying, “my employee, my staff, they, boss,” and use words like, “team, we, leader, steward.” I have fantastic mentors in my life who shape the way I view the workplace. During my employment in Washington D.C., the concept of being a team was not lost on me. I was and continue to be part of a fantastic team with leaders as employers.

Decision Paralysis

When in a leadership role, you are responsible for making decisions, particularly making hard decisions. Hopefully, if you have established a team-like atmosphere, and the decision you make ends up taking the business/company/organization in a direction that is not good for business, you can admit the problem, take responsibility for the issue, and come up with a new plan as a team.

This is easier said than done as pride tends to get in the way. I have seen bad decisions made and covered up – and blame becomes the name of the game. To help mitigate decision paralysis, it is so much easier for a leader to admit the decision mistake and work as a team to make a better one.

Above The Rest

As a leader, “your job entails much more than just management tasks.” Garone says that most first time managers want to do everything they can to succeed, but “[t]hey remove themselves from the production side of their job and devote themselves entirely to managing. But this is a bad idea. Instead, stay involved and be a player/coach as long as possible.”

The Forbes article 6 Ways to Make Your Leadership and Workplace Fun Again by Glenn Llopis, provides several other ideas that will help leaders develop a culture of work and encouragement, including:

  1. Allow People to Fail – encourage team to test ideas
  2. Build Teams that Last – allow them to be think-tanks
  3. Be a Great Communicator – hold no secrets
  4. Don’t Hide Behind the Title – be the real you
  5. Awaken the Organization – keep people on their toes
  6. Keep it simple – make it fun


There are many things that contribute to being a great leader. I have had opportunities in my personal and professional life that have strengthened my leadership skills, and have had hard conversations about what I need to be the kind of leader that people would want to follow. It has been important for me to actively seek those learning moments that drive motivation and improvement.