first-time leader

4 Tips on how to Rock your Role as a First-time Leader

As a first-time leader, you’ll have to make decisions and take on responsibilities that are unfamiliar territory. It’s natural to feel nervous when facing a new challenge or taking responsibility for the welfare of your employees and customers. This will also include how to deal with stress and how to motivate your employees. But no matter the difficulties you face you should always act with confidence, as studies show that leaders are characterised by their strong self-esteem, self-confidence, and overall sense of self-worth. 

Keep on reading to find out how to be prepared to take on leadership confidently!

1. Have Clear Communication with your Team

Only 50% of employees feel that they know what is expected of them on a daily basis. One of the first things that every first-time leader has to learn is how to communicate with people. Communication is an art in itself. Along with listening, it makes up a 50% part of the job of any leader. Effective communication is crucial for the success of any organization. Being able to communicate in a professional manner will help people find you more approachable and easy to work with. People tend to perceive those who know how to communicate as smart and sophisticated leaders. Make sure your communication style is clear and straightforward while being approachable and understanding to your team. 

2. Learn how to Lead Teams Virtually as a First-time Leader

21% of leaders have classed themselves as ineffective at leading virtual teams. Teams that work remotely are becoming increasingly popular. One might even argue they’re almost unavoidable in today’s age of digital communication. But there’s a caveat to working remotely: virtual distance. Virtual distance creates an environment that allows misunderstanding, can cripple creativity, and create silos within a company. Every leader must face the inevitable: the day when you need to manage a virtual team. Telecommuting, remote workers or virtual teams allow employees to collaborate anywhere, anytime and with any device. One of the biggest challenges is how to keep your team engaged whilst on the virtual meetings? You can do this by using softwares like Butter and Miro who are our proud partners.


Butter is built specifically for hosting interactive sessions as smoothly as possible, without the need to manage multiple tools. You can prepare, run and debrief virtual sessions that participants love – all from one place! They focus on empowering facilitators and hosts by giving them all the tools they need in one place – and ultimately, run sessions that participants love. It comes with next-level breakouts, a session planner for your agenda, built-in polls, native integrations with Miro, Mural & YouTube, fun reactions, sounds, and more.


Miro is the online collaborative whiteboard platform that brings teams together, anytime, anywhere. It is built as a go-to tool for creating meetings, workshops, brainstorming, strategy and planning, and much more. Miro also empowers remote, in-office, and hybrid teams to communicate and collaborate across formats, tools, channels, and timezones — without the constraints of physical location, meeting space, and whiteboards.


3. Create Psychological Safety and Explicit Norms

“To build and manage a great team you need two things: Explicit Norms and Psychological Safety.” This quote is from Rachel Pacheco, a management author, lecturer, researcher and author of the book “Bring up the boss” We find this very inspiring especially for first-time leaders! But what in the world does that mean? Those are two of the key characteristics of high-performing teams. An explicit norm is a behavioral expectation that is clear, understood and unambiguous for the group. Leaders can shape these norms in different ways. Being an effective leader is all about giving people what they need to do great work.

Psychological safety is an important factor of effective leadership. Psychologically unsafe leaders can cause employees not to speak up at all. The opposite of psychologically safe is a toxic workplace, where people feel afraid to ask questions and air out concerns — something that no leader would want to see. As a first-time leader, your most important task is to build and manage a great team. You do this by making expectations clear, creating a supportive environment, and getting your people up to speed with clear goals and responsibilities

4. Understand the Principles of a Future Manager

first-time leader

“The shift is not just employees changing, managers are having to change the ways they lead, and are having to become leaders.” –Jacob Morgan, author of The Future of Work

Leadership is bringing out people’s performance by getting them to willingly follow you. In order to effectively do that, a leader must have certain traits including charisma, sincerity, and integrity. As a new leader, one of your tasks is to set the tone for how you’ll lead your team. First you need to understand that leading a team is much more complex and difficult than many would like to admit. Knowledge is valuable and you gain it through experience, but the more you know about leadership and the challenges it brings with it, the better a position you will be in to overcome these challenges and become the leader your team needs. If you successfully integrate these 10 principles of the future manager into your leadership traits, we promise you will be successful and your team will value you as a leader!


The tips above are meant to help you to take on your new leadership role confidently! It can be an opportunity of a lifetime, but also comes with new challenges. 

To be a confident first-time leader, you must first believe in your skills and capabilities as a manager. Reflect on your past experiences and ask yourself what you did successfully at work, or with friends and family. Think about the qualities that stood out. Take time to identify your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to leadership, and how your background helps shape your style of leading others. This reflection will allow you to develop a realistic sense of confidence in your abilities. Believing in yourself is just one part of becoming an effective leader; knowing what skills and traits to bring out of others is equally important. To be successful, you have to remain positive, confident, and level headed in the face of any obstacles. 

And lastly, don’t try to perfect it all. In today’s VUCA World, no one person has all the answers, and so neither you do. Have courage and honesty to say “I don’t know”, admit your mistakes and share your vulnerabilities. And remeber these are not excuses not to perform, they are invitations to assemble a great team, empower them to collaborate and collectively face challenges. The tips above will help you do just that.

Need more help in taking the first-time leadership role?

If  you have recently taken over the leadership of your first team or you are working on a program for leaders we recommend getting in touch with with Katrin Grunwald, our Expert, first-time leadership trainer and coach! She and her team put together 3 fantastic programmes aimed at supporting First-time leaders.

Check it out here:

Or get in touch directly with Katrin to build your confidence and rock as a first-time leader!