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Enable the Transition to Leadership for First-Time Managers

Move beyond a do’s and don’ts training deck to create a robust first-time manager (FTM) development program.

  • Where development activities do exist, they are often delivered ineffectively, and aren’t engaging to learners. This leads to decreased learning retention and application, and represents a waste of valuable resources.
  • Due to a lack of investment and attention, FTM development often comes in the form of self-help. FTMs receive little support in the transition into leadership, hindering them in future leadership roles.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Empower your organization’s future leaders. FTM development is a vital first step in priming employees to become leaders. Teach them to do things right now, so that they can do the right things later in the leadership lifecycle.
  • It is up to HR to acknowledge the elephant in the room: FTMs may not know anything about people management and development. Reassure them that ongoing development and support will get them there.
  • FTM development should not fall solely on HR as there are equally important roles to be played by direct managers and the FTMs themselves. It is HR’s responsibility to guide an FTM’s transition by setting expectations and connecting them with resources. Effective development requires shared accountability.
  • When planning manager development, we tend to only think about formal training. Move beyond a do's and don’ts training deck to create a robust FTM development program, modeled after onboarding programs, that emphasizes continued development.

Impact and Result

  • Outlining expectations and including various stakeholders in FTM development, not just the FTM themselves, creates a culture of support and development that sets new leaders on the path to success and drives organizational outcomes.
  • Identify and address critical knowledge and competencies that your FTMs should be well versed in, to ensure their path to leadership begins on the right foot.
  • Create an ongoing development program that engages learners and sustains and reinforces key concepts for demonstrated results.

Enable the Transition to Leadership for First-Time Managers

1. Establish FTM expectations in your organization

Determine FTM expectations according to administration, team management, people development, and personal leadership development components of the role.

2. Assess the current state of your FTM development initiatives

Assess existing FTM development initiatives to find gaps, establish goals, and set metrics for a new FTM development program.

3. Design your FTM development program

Add or tailor development initiatives in the new FTM development program in order to design an FTM learning path.

4. Implement the program and measure success

Determine a roll-out strategy for your FTM development program and assess the program based on feedback and analysis.

Workshop: Enable the Transition to Leadership for First-Time Managers

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Define FTM Expectations, Audit Current Development Initiatives, and Identify Future Opportunities

The Purpose

  • Determine expectations across FTM components.
  • Assess current practices for effectiveness.
  • Determine metrics for driving FTM program success.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • FTM expectations determined and current initiatives evaluated.
  • FTM program objectives and metrics set.




Determine FTM expectations.

  • Established organizational expectations for all FTMs

Identify existing FTM development initiatives in your organization.

  • Created an inventory of existing development initiatives

Generate insights from qualitative and quantitative data collected.

  • Analyzed data to identify gaps and set goals

Set program metrics.

  • Determine high-level program objectives with corresponding success metrics

Module 2: Design Your FTM Development Program

The Purpose

  • Create an action plan and allocate resources for the new FTM program design.
  • Determine a roll-out plan for the FTM program.
  • Assess potential benefits and hurdles to implementation.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • FTM program plan mapped out.
  • Program implementation plan designed.




Assess whether FTM expectations are being met.

  • Determined whether expectations are being met or not

Determine whether to stop, start, or continue development initiatives.

  • Analyzed existing development initiatives

Plan out training logistics.

  • Allocated FTM development initiative resources

Create an FTM learning path.

  • Established an FTM learning path using a blended approach, and assigned accountabilities

Assign learning path accountabilities.

  • Allocated FTM learning path resources

Evaluate and finalize program rollout method.

  • Devised a program rollout plan

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Try Our Guided Implementations

Get the help you need in this 4-phase advisory process. You'll receive 7 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation #1 - Establish FTM expectations in your organization
  • Call #1 - Confirm FTM expectations for your organization and ensure that critical components are being addressed.

Guided Implementation #2 - Assess the current state of your FTM development initiatives
  • Call #1 - Analyze data findings to determine gaps in the existing program or initiatives.
  • Call #2 - Set goals and metrics for your new FTM development program.

Guided Implementation #3 - Design your FTM development program
  • Call #1 - Evaluate whether current initiatives are being met and determine how to incorporate or modify existing initiatives.
  • Call #2 - Craft an FTM learning path.

Guided Implementation #4 - Implement the program and measure success
  • Call #1 - Determine an appropriate FTM program roll-out and communication strategy.
  • Call #2 - Analyze data to determine program strengths and areas of improvement.


  • Lorena Alcantara, HR Business Partner, Unilever Canada
  • Nitzan Cohen Arazi, Co-Founder, Jolt
  • Korinne Collins, VP, Professional Development & Education, Canadian Credit Union Association
  • Melanie Denis, CHRP, HR Generalist, Andrew Peller Limited
  • William A. (Bill) Gentry, Ph.D, Director, Leadership Insights and Analytics & Senior Research Scientist, Center for Creative Leadership
  • Ayiri Harrison, CHRP, HR Generalist, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Ed Holinski, Strategic Learning Consultant, Conduent Learning
  • Karmen Knezevic, Senior QA Analyst, Project Management Office Division (PMOD), Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Anonymous, Director Talent Management, Various Industries
  • Roberta Matuson, CEO, Matuson Consulting, Author of Suddenly in Charge and Talent Magnetism
  • Teal McAteer, Associate Professor, DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University
  • Linda Miller, Executive Coach and Consulting Partner, The Ken Blanchard Companies
  • Elena Palumbo-Sergnese CTDP, Manager, Learning & Development, HOOPP (Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan)
  • Yael Rimon, Employee Success Manager, Jolt
  • John M. Roberts, Founder and Principal Managing Director, Philomathia Group
  • Rika Snip, Learning & Development Consultant, Lethbridge College