LMSM 73 | New Managers


Few transitions are more challenging than managing a group of people who were once your peers. One day, you are grinding it out in the trenches. The next, you are giving them directions. In this episode, we talk about the four types of former peers you will encounter as a new manager. What are the pros and cons of the Advocate, Doubter, Worrier, and the Exposed?

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

How Do I Manage My Former Peers After Being Promoted?

One of the thorniest issues that new managers run into is when they are faced with managing former peers, folks that they had been in the trenches with and they had shared some very personal things about how they felt about the company. They are being asked to tow the company line and hold policies. They have been elevated into a position of leadership.

I find that as I coach new managers, they tend to have four different employees that roll up into them. In this episode, Frank and I look back on our own experience as new managers but also in working with lots of new managers and talk about the four different types of peers that you are going to have to manage and how to navigate some of those waters, how to get them on your side and in some cases, how to say goodbye. I hope you enjoy this episode. If you do, please share it with another new manager.

Frankie, how long ago was it when you took your first management job?

As a Project Manager, I was managing people since January of 2000.

How many people reported to you?

I had a handful. I was a true Manager for the first time on January 1st, 2004. There were three of us in the same role. We had 25 people who report to us but I was responsible for at least 8 to 10.

What was that position?

Production Manager was my first true management role.

You had 7or 8 guys reporting to you who built houses?

Yes. I moved division. It wasn’t a lot of peers but a lot of people were older.

When people don't get behind you as a new manager when you're feeling imposter syndrome, puff your chest out. Remind everyone about your title, authority, and the pecking order. Click To Tweet

Were you probably 27 at the time?

I was 27 or 28 years old.

When I had my first management job, I was probably 25. It was managing a dozen different sales reps. Every single one was significantly older than me in that role. That was the first time I had anyone reporting to me. It was a long time ago. From that first management job, I probably took another 10 or 12 new teams on when I would be promoted over twenty years at least both at GE and NVR.

I found a pattern in the way teams start to break up when you were a peer of some folks, and then you’ve got promoted up a level. People tend to fall into four categories. What we are going to talk about is how to manage your peers when you get promoted into a leadership position. The best way to know how to manage them is to think about them in categories.

There are four categories and we are going to go through all of them. There’s the Advocate, Doubter, Worrier and Exposed. Those are the four terms that I use. Usually, I’m teaching a class to new managers when I talk about this. One of the main things that I get questions about from new managers is, “How do I manage people that used to be my friend or my peer and I’m in a leadership position?”

It’s challenging when you are young. I can remember going from Region Manager to Senior Vice President in regionals that I have been friends with and bitching about the same things. I had to be their boss and the one delivering the direction that I used to bitch about to them. That’s touchy because they could look at me sometimes and be like, “You don’t believe what you said. I sat in rooms with you for years while you railed against the very policy that you are asking us to go fulfill.”

That can be challenging, regardless of what position you are in. If you go from a President to CEO and there were 6 presidents before and you manage the 5 presidents, it’s as hard as going from a project manager to a construction manager, managing five project managers that used to be your peers. The same challenges are there.

In a lot of instances, when I’ve got promoted, it wasn’t that I was managing the exact people. When we get into the Exposed, it’s not too dissimilar from someone who has what’s called Imposter syndrome. When you move into a management role, you have a lot of Imposter syndrome. If you are humble, you don’t know what you are doing as a new manager and you think everybody knows it. Most people do know it. There is that part of it.

In my instance, I’ve got promoted and was moved. I wasn’t managing the same people. I was moved to a different division and would manage the type of people but it was different humans that I knew. What you could do when you get into a new management role is you want to be friends with everybody. If you become friends with everybody, you can’t manage them. As a manager, you have to separate the management side and the business side.

I’ve gotten to a point in my business where I like to be friendly with everybody. I’m a young dad. I have a bunch of friends. I have a very busy life. Employees can become friends but it takes a very long time to get to a certain point. It’s one of those things that I have learned. You can’t allow those people to quickly become your friends because it’s very hard to manage them.

LMSM 73 | New Managers

New Managers: Employees can become friends, but it takes a very long time to get to a certain point. You can’t allow those people to quickly become your friends because it’s very hard to manage them.


I want to stay on Imposter syndrome because it’s real and everyone feels it. I feel a bit of it every day still. I still feel the things I’m involved in, that I’m not experienced in, that I’m trying to figure out on a day-to-day basis. I’m sure you feel the same way some days of running a huge company that you started where you are like, “I don’t know.”

There are parts of your day, week, and month where you don’t feel you belong. You are not growing. At first, it could be something that’s crippling but eventually, it becomes something that fuels. When you are in a position like I’m in, I own the business. Let’s all put this out there. I’m not the expert. Someone else needs to take the reins of this. It permeates a lot of your business and dealing.

Your words are hurtful, Frank. You should be careful with words. They are powerful.

The truth can be.

When someone is feeling Imposter syndrome, the advice I always give people is to label the thing that you are most worried that everyone is thinking and say it out loud to the group or individually. If you are a brand new manager and figuring it out, a lot of people tell me that, I will say, “Why wouldn’t you tell everyone that? I’m figuring this out. I’m new to this. I don’t have all the answers. I’m hoping to learn and grow along with you in this role. There’s a lot I can bring to it with energy, my thoughts, background, skillset, and curiosity. I’m going to get better in this role. I’m not a finished product on day one.”

There’s no reason not to label your Imposter syndrome, the way you are feeling. If you are nervous, tell everyone you are nervous. “I’m a little nervous being of a group that’s big. It’s my first time doing it.” Everyone will get behind you in a rally. When people don’t get behind you as a new manager when you are feeling Imposter syndrome, puff your chest out and remind everyone about your title, authority, and the pecking order. “Get focused on the organization chart and listen to me because I said so.”

That’s how you get everyone to back down when you try to lie to everyone that you’ve got it all figured out. Sometimes it’s best to come in. Frankie, I came from a different industry when I came to a home builder. I would sit in front of Ryan Homes’ seasoned executives. They would want to know what I was going to do to fix the finance company.

I would say, “Let’s get this on the table. I have zero experience with home builders, finance, and this specific company. I don’t have the answers yet because I haven’t spent enough time talking to folks like you and people in the office. I have a lot of experience fixing other broken companies. Here’s some stuff I have done. If I were to sit here and tell you I had the answers, I would be lying to you. I don’t think you would appreciate that.” It would dissipate the room because they came in to fight me like, “What are you doing here? Why did they hire you?” I would come in and say the same thing I knew they were going to say and take the air out of the room.

It sets the M in Moment. Tell everybody what’s wrong with you and say, “What are you going to say about me?” It leaves the person with no bullets. The next part of that conversation is this. “What I would like to do is understand your business. Can you give me an overview? It doesn’t need to be hurtful. Can you give me a summary of what we are not doing? Maybe you can give 3 to 5 things that if we fix, you would be quite happy with the process.”

I will take and internalize it. I’m meeting with all the other regions and see what can I do in short order to start making some changes. “I have been in that meeting with you. I’m committed to helping. I can’t fix what was here before. I have to learn.” There’s going to be a steep curve. “I’m committed to that. I need your help.” Everybody wants to help. Who doesn’t love someone who asks for help? People relish that.

A lot of times people at work become your best friends because your other friends don't know what you're going through. Click To Tweet

Let’s go through the four people. At the end of this, there’s a series of questions that I ask a new team that can help you get through some of this. First, you want to figure out who on your team is who. Let’s start with the easiest one, the Advocate. Let’s say there are ten people on your team and you get promoted. You are the manager of a team you were on. There are probably a handful of people you were close with, friends you would go out after a meeting, drink beers and talk shit about the meeting or people you would go lean on when you needed to complain or vent.

A lot of times people at work become your best friends because your other friends don’t know what you are going through. They don’t know how bad the software is that you are trying to use to get through your day and how ridiculous some of the antics and policies of your senior executive are. They don’t get it.

You can make good friends within a company because they are going through that shared battlefield moment, almost like a military where veterans have a common bond. You get that common bond because you have been through the trenches in business. When you get promoted, there are going to be a handful of people that, for this very reason, are so excited you’ve got promoted. They know you, your culture, values, and that you are the right stuff.

Selfishly, they know that their friendship with you is going to mean opportunities to get promoted, more pay, autonomy, and freedom to do things they want. You are not going to micromanage people you trust and you are on top of. These are the folks that call you when you get promoted. They are the first you would call to say, “I’ve got promoted.” If they didn’t find out another way, they could not be more excited.

I’m going to take this from the opposite side. You are talking about rooms where you were promoted and you knew people. In rooms where you are promoted and don’t know new people, you are also going to find people who come to you. They are advocates for one of a couple of reasons. They are the leader of the group and not threatened by you.

They are excited to see new blood. That person exists. There are the new young hungry people who don’t care who the leader is. They are more worried about their careers but they want to ingratiate themselves to you. There’s the person who’s fallen out of favor with the last regime. When I moved in, I was a third manager in a division where there were two prior. One of the guys was a dick and everybody disliked him. They saw in me a new opportunity to reinvigorate their career and became advocates right away.

As a manager, it’s great when you have advocates but you also have to realize those aren’t going to get very far. You have to be very careful of who you want into your inner sanctum even if you do have a handful of advocates. You’ve got to be careful of who you pick and choose. Those are the types of things that will happen if you get promoted into a different group of people that you don’t know.

When I came to NVR, I was a hire from the outside. I was not promoted from within my peer group. I had advocates within the first day of the meeting. They were people that were very talented and frustrated with the way the previous regime was running things and I represented change. They wanted change.

We are going to get into the worrywarts. Most teams and people don’t want change. This group was talented people that liked the company and what we were doing but they didn’t like the local direction. They needed to see that there was light at the end of the tunnel, that someone was coming there to change.

By me being there as an outsider, not from the industry, there were 10%, 15%, maybe 20% of every office that I would go stand in front of as an executive that was fired up. I was there like, “We are so excited you are here. Can I sit down with you and share some of my thoughts on what we could do to change?” Even though they didn’t know me, they were advocates right out of the gate.

LMSM 73 | New Managers

New Managers: You can make good friends within a company because they’re going through that shared battlefield moment. It’s almost like a military where veterans have a common bond.


That’s real if senior-level management is good. In Brian Holmes’, the senior level management is very good. They knew. They went and found you because the founder was great but he had lost touch with management and the younger crowd. He wasn’t in a position anymore where he wanted to do the roll-up your sleeves work you were needed to do. He was in a position where he earned those rights. They gave it to him.

At the same time, some people work at that company like, “This management system doesn’t fit me. I love everything else but it’s not right for me.” What you represent as a new piece of blood is, “Maybe this is what I have hoped, that is the person I can latch onto who will see that I’m talented, working hard, and doing these things.”

Some of the advocates you have initially will fade. Others will remain the advocates because they are going to put in the work. You are going to realize this person has got the goods. You knew that walking in. I have walked into situations where two people are stars. In some instances, they were right. In some instances, they weren’t. You will also see there are emerging stars. These people are under the radar. Nobody mentioned them but they put together great results.

Ian and I both measure things similarly. We look at reports and results. You start to realize pretty quickly. An advocate and good with results get you with a circle around your name. That’s somebody who can become a long-term player and has potential upward mobility inside of an organization because you believe in the mission and you can do the job.

One of the pros of the advocate is they are going to get your back on initiatives right out of the gate. You don’t need to sell them. What you have wanted change for a long time, if they are an advocate, they know you probably think along the same lines as them. It’s not much about selling. They are going to tell you the truth. I love that about an advocate. They will be like, “That new initiative you rolled out fell flat. People are pissed.” You would be like, “I thought that meeting went well.” They will be like, “They are not going to tell you the truth.”

These folks can tell you the temperature of your team. Even though they know that you are a little closer with the leader, they are still perceived as safe to share versus you, as the manager, you are not perceived 100% to share on everything. One of the cons is if you are not careful, they could use this personal relationship to leverage you to take advantage of you. They will try to get little favors, start coming in a little late, leave a little early and take longer lunches because you are their friend.

They think that their relationship with you is going to net them a promotion. They are trying to angle that way to be likable so that you will push them into better communities.

They are not earning it. Maybe their production drops a little bit. “My friend is going to get me a promotion,” so they are not producing it. With this person, lean on them as much as you can and use them to check the temperature team to help lead some initiatives as they are using you to further their career. You want to slowly start to distance yourself out of work.

If this is a person you used to go out with for happy hour every Friday, maybe not so much, maybe occasionally you do that, you want to start to put some personal distance between this person. That doesn’t mean don’t get along or be close with them. I find that it’s hard to mix church and state for too long. It’s why there’s so much dysfunction in family businesses. They see each other all the time outside of work that it blurs. I’m not saying completely cut yourself but be careful.

The way I have handled this before with people I have been close with is, “Let’s take a break from some of these things. I still love you. Get in, do the job and prove to everybody you are here because you could do the job, not because you are my boy. When that happens, we will pick back up. We can still rely on each other and talk but publicly, we’ve got to do a little bit less of that because I’d be doing you a disservice as your leader to let people think you’ve got this because of your relationship with me.”

There are new young, hungry people who don't care who the leader is. They're more worried about their careers, but they want to ingratiate themselves to you. Click To Tweet

The next person is the Worrywart. This could be up to 60% of your team. The Worrywarts are always the majority of the team when there’s a new manager because people hate change. They like the status quo. This person worries about everything. They think the new manager is going to end every bit of happiness they have ever had at work. They are going to change everything.

At worst, they worry they are going to get fired every day when they come into the office because this new manager is going to clean the house. I dealt with a lot of that every time I would take on a new region. Rumors would start spreading like, “Ian doesn’t play around. You get results or you are out.” I was a hatchet-man in the company. They were always giving me the branch that was broken.

What do you do with a broken branch? Normally, replace the manager, their managers, and a few of the worst performers. Within 1 or 2 years of taking on a new office, a third of them were left standing. It was a neutron bomb in the office buildings there but there are a lot of shadows on the wall and there’s truth to that. Some of that is founded. The worrywarts should worry a little if they are not performing.

It’s like when I buy a portfolio and 75 single families are not performing. Old Frankie Cava is going to come through and get rid of all the non-performers. I dealt with it but less than you because I’m nicer. I’m not as much of a hatchet man.

I will guarantee you, you had as many Worriers as I did, maybe not as much but they were worried you were going to change things and do things differently. The Worrywart will calm down quickly if you show them how unfounded their fears are. It’s the old fear setting of, “What are you worried about with me being in this position?” You unpeel the onion. “What else are you worried about?” They need validation that you are not looking to shake the apple cart as much as they think you are.

I’m going to add in on this. Most of the worrywarts are people who are good performers, who have nothing to worry about. You need to remind them of that. This is a real story. I showed Ian my org chart. He goes, “There are a lot of changes up top and a lot of faces I don’t recognize.” Ian knows my business very well. He invests heavily. He’s got millions of dollars invested in my business. He’s worked with our leadership team and trained them. He knows my team. Carla was in here joking with him.

When he sees a bunch of faces he doesn’t know, it means we have had some change. We have had either some turnover, growth or something. The way that we do it is this. We precede it. We say, “So and so is coming in. These are their strengths.” When so and so comes in and takes that role, what the manager or I will have them do is to sit down and talk with these four people, the worrywarts. We don’t want them to go anywhere. They are great. We love them. They do great jobs. Assure them because that is real.

It’s usually people who don’t need the reassurance. Their performance doesn’t dictate it but their personality does. You have to be very careful. Make sure you are aware of those things and you foster those relationships. You can turn a worrywart into an advocate with a 30-minute coffee. Get to know them. Talk to them.

The last thing I will say on worrywart is there are worrywarts on every one of your team, especially when you are new. These could be very productive people that aren’t productive because they are worrying all the time about their job or what changes you might make. Until you make them comfortable with you, your mindset around management, and where the company should go, they are not going to be productive.

The problem with that is it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they are walking around all day, worrying about losing their job, they are not going to perform and lose their job. It’s your job as a manager to bring them into your inner circle, ask for their advice and check in with them frequently. When they give you recommendations, make some of them a reality. Give them comfort that their fears are unfounded.

LMSM 73 | New Managers

New Managers: One of the pros of the Advocate is they’re going to get your back on initiatives right out of the gate. You don’t need to sell them.


It usually can be a conversation. Did you ever see the thing called the Stranks Interview? That’s a whole episode we should use at one point and talk about.

Buckingham is the guy that first breaks all the rules. That’s a great little tool.

It’s a conversation starter. When I was 28, sitting down on people going through that, I can still remember the conversations and what people said. Their answers work. It was the first time I had done it. It’s a nice way to get the worrywarts onboard.

Before we get to the doubters, let’s talk about the exposed. The exposed is the person who was on your team who knows that you know all of their little dirty secrets. They have had the boss snowed for a long time. They are not a great performer but they have convinced the boss there are a lot of reasons outside of their control, which are bullshit.

You know it because you were their peer. Maybe they are saying that they had a bad territory but they spend half their time at the mall instead of doing their job. It could be someone who spreads a lot of misinformation and talks shit about the boss all the time. You know they are going to do that to you. The exposed knows they are exposed and their secrets are out.

You know a lot more than the last guy did because you have been in the muck with them. For a short while, this person is going to give you 110%. They are going to work harder than they have ever worked in their life because they know you know that they are not a hard worker or a good person. They are trying to convince you otherwise. You are going to get a short burst of energy and initiative from them.

If you know enough dirt, the way they have behaved with the last couple of managers, they are not going to change for you. Don’t be fooled by this person. A tiger does not change its stripes to spots. A tiger is a tiger. At some point, those old behaviors will come back. You are better off starting to look for their replacements right away.

This is also something that might be sensible depending on where you are as a new manager. If you move into a new role, find out who one of the exposed people is and get rid of them. If you work at a good company, you are going to know, as a new manager in a new division, who the non-performers or the malcontents are. You are coming in, getting rid of somebody who doesn’t fit your culture right away. You see this all the time in sports. A new coach comes in and gets rid of 20% in the roster who don’t fit their makeup. It’s a way to quickly establish and get people onboard.

I’ve got a quick story and we will move on to the doubter and exposed. Before my first promotion to Sales Manager, my boss was trying to help a guy who was in Iowa. He was a “who moved my cheese” guy. He wasn’t moving on with the times. His big customers were losing money so they weren’t spending. My boss would ask me to go out and help him, show him some things I was doing, how to prospect, find new leads, get into power plants, and other industries he wasn’t spending any time in.

I went out to Iowa three times. Every time, he would complain that he didn’t understand why Bob was sending me there. He had forgotten more than I knew about the business even though I was kicking his ass in sales, starting from nothing. He would grumble. I would try to help and show him things. He would say they were all stupid and he’s a better salesman than me three times.

There's so much dysfunction in family businesses because they see each other all the time outside of work. Click To Tweet

I would try to be politically correct with my boss because I knew he was trying to help him. I would be like, “He is coming along.” I wouldn’t trash him because he was my peer at the time. I’ve got promoted. That was the first guy that called me. “I want you to know I’m onboard.” He’s full of shit. That guy was gone in three months. I took him out.

I went on like, “You can’t tell him, me something different. When I wasn’t your boss, you told me to my face you didn’t believe in anything I was doing and that I didn’t know anything. You are not onboard. I’m going to find someone else to do this job.” I was honest because I didn’t like the guy. I didn’t want him on my team. He was exposed and wasn’t going to change who he was.

The last one we are going to talk about is the doubter. The doubter is different than the exposed. The doubter is blatant to your face, going to tell you that they don’t think you should have got the job. The reason they can do that is they are usually very good performers. The doubter thinks that you are not experienced enough and that someone else should have got the job. There’s a good chance that the doubter thinks they should have got promoted. It’s bullshit that you’ve got the promotion in the first place.

They might not outright tell you that but you can sense from them that there’s an overall disrespect and disregard for you getting the position. This is normally maybe 1 or 2 people on the entire team. This is 10%. Most people aren’t going to be that obnoxious. It’s going to be someone who has so much production and is so good at their job, that they feel a little bit untouchable that they can act this way.

I have two very different experiences with this. One was when I move into a Production Manager role. A grizzled veteran is in that role for fifteen-plus years. He’s great. Everyone loves him. He has no desire to do anything else. He’s in a perfect job for himself. There’s a young guy who’s about 2, 3, 4 years older than me who was pissed I was there. I move in and I’m his peer. He’s a dick for everything. He didn’t think I deserved the job. He didn’t want me there. He can understand anything in any way that I was there. It was acrimonious the whole time.

I very quickly turned the senior guy into my advocate and realized that I was going to be working uphill with this other person. I had to be successful despite him. The best manifestation of this was we had to do our annual plan, which is complicated at a corporate company. You have to go through line by line on the budget and put things together.

I was told, “Work with him on it. He did it last time.” I went with him and asked eight different times, “How can I have this?” I didn’t go to anybody else. I did what I was told. I went to him and he didn’t share any of it. We go into a meeting with our boss and I worked my ass off. I tried to conjure this. I have been with the company for four and a half years at this point. I was like, “I will figure these things out. This is how I have seen it. I will do my best.” I’ve got embarrassed.

My boss, Paul Mock, goes, “What did you do? Didn’t you get with so and so?” I said, “Yes.” He goes, “This is terrible. You need to redo this.” I waited for the meeting to end and walked into that dude’s office. I’m like, “You motherfucker set me up. You have a choice. Give me the damn shit from that, so I can build this or I will walk down the office and say you are not cooperating, pick.” He handed me the book and I did the work. You are going to face that as a manager. I don’t know if you ever faced anything like that but I faced the doubter as a peer.

In almost every promotion I have ever had, there was at least one doubter, whether they told me to my face or they tried to keep doing things their way and not change. The doubter is not like automatic fire. I don’t think that’s it.

Can I give a different story?

LMSM 73 | New Managers

New Managers: Most of the Worriers are good performers who have nothing to worry about. You need to remind them of that.



There’s another one. I interviewed for a general manager job and it was against a whole panel of people. One of those people on that panel was a woman who ultimately worked for me 90 days later. In some weird cosmic situation, she lost an interview with him. He got the job and they moved her to my division. I sat down with her within a month and said, “Welcome. This is awkward. Can we have a conversation?” She said, “Yes.”

I’m like, “Do you want to be here?” She’s like, “I do.” I go, “I’m new to the role. You are up for the same role as me. Everyone thinks very highly of you. Can I ask you what you want to get out of this?” I let this person have agency over what happened. I was younger. I was 31, 32. She’s like, “I would like to get that role.”

I said, “Why don’t you and I come up with how we can kick ass in this role and seek counsel together with one of our bosses? I won’t say it was my idea. We will say it was yours but I will facilitate it. What do you think of that?” She loved it. She ended up getting promoted to the same position within a year. She did an incredible job for me. She became an advocate of mine. It was very rocky to start but it turned into something positive because she was incredibly talented.

You only know it’s a doubter if they are a good performer. If you are not a good performer, you are probably going to fall into one of the other buckets. You need to endear yourself to the new manager because you don’t have the results. You know your job is a little bit at risk because you haven’t been doing a great job.

If you are incredible at your job, you can give signs that maybe I don’t respect the fact they put you in that job, where a lot of managers get this wrong is they let their ego get too involved. The question more should be, “What would happen if your doubter left?” The answer is, “That’s 30% of the production on my team. That would suck. They are good.”

I’m like, “Why don’t we imagine a world without your doubter? Tell me how you are going to go hit your number. Wouldn’t it be better if you spent the time to go convince the doubter you could be a good leader and you have their career-best interest in mind?” I’m going to go back to NVR. They high are a young guy. All the managers who reported to me were in their 50s.

Those managers had been promised that as the company grows, you are going to get opportunities to grow into a region manager job. They go hire me in the dark of night and announce me like Cleveland Browns leaving for Baltimore. They bring them all in two days before I’m starting and say, “We have hired a guy from the outside. He had no mortgage and home building experience.” They didn’t tell them I was super young.

I walk in and they are like, “What the hell?” I’m so much younger than them. All of them were doubters. You could see it. Their arms were crossed. They were frustrated. I had the same conversation with all of them. “I’m not going to say that the way that this was handled was great but I didn’t handle it. I was hired by someone because they weren’t convinced that you could do the job, whether that’s right or wrong, that’s how they feel up to the CEO of this company.”

“You can either work with me or you cannot work with me but it’s not going to help your career here if you don’t work with me because I was hired to come to fix this place. You could be part of the solution. If you are, I promise you, you are coming with me. If we fix this thing, I’m moving up and you are coming with me or you can fight me every step of the way. I will find someone else to do your job and I’m going to fix it anyway. That’s what I do. I come into businesses, fix them and move up. You are either with me or you are going to go somewhere else.”

As a manager, you need to realize you're going to enter choppy waters. The best way to do it is to embrace the tough stuff. Click To Tweet

I had to have that conversation with all of them. I had to show them that I cared and listened to them, and their ideas mattered. I had to promote them, give them lots of kudos in the corporate office and give them exposure. I had to win them over. I had 5 of them and 4 stuck with me for a long time. One of them couldn’t get their head wrapped around it and they were gone.

What ended up happening with the doubter for both of us is how we were presented with the data was that slightly different. We did similar things. We realized they had talent. We tried to get them onboard and show them we had support. We listened to them and helped them get where they ultimately wanted to go. It’s like that coach who gets a star performer and has to get that person to buy into the team. If you buy into the team, you get a better free-agent contract.

It happens a lot more in college but it’s the thing that has a system to it. As a manager, you need to realize you are going to enter choppy waters. The best way to do it is to embrace the tough stuff. The tough stuff is the doubter could ultimately become your best champion. As you are looking to move up personally, think about that. I took someone who was against me, that’s management, getting them onboard, producing and we are all going in the same direction.

The doubter is where you earn your money. Your job is to get your top performer onboard with you. You should spend all of the energy you possibly can to get them there. If they can’t get there, you can’t let them bully you for years. You have to give them some time to let them thrash around a little and say their piece. Your job is to convince them that you are going to be accretive to their career.

New Managers: A new coach comes in and gets rid of 20% in the roster who don’t fit their makeup. It’s a way to establish and get people on board quickly.


Frankie, I’ve got my car towed three times when I lived in Chicago from parking illegally and around Wrigley Field or being too drunk after the bars. I would drive home take a cab and come back in the morning. My car was gone but there was a sign. It’s the worst to get your car back. It’s in the Southside, scary neighborhood to go get it. You get a cab over there. You are waiting in this long line. It’s freezing ass cold. Snow is everywhere.

These ladies worked in a little trailer. They were ladies working at the door. There was a big sign over it that said, “The women at this desk didn’t take your car but were here to help you get it back.” I always remembered that sign. I love that sign because it was trying to say, “Please don’t yell at the ladies at this desk. They are doing a freaking job.”

I always remembered that whenever I had a doubter. I would tell that story to the doubter and say, “I didn’t promote me or put me in this job. I went for it as you did and I was chosen. I didn’t do this but I can tell you this. I’m going to be your biggest advocate if you perform for me and I’m going to make sure you get the next job.” I would always use that story. That’s what I’m going to finish this episode with. That’s the approach you should take with your doubter. Get that top performer onboard. I’m glad you are not a doubter, Frank. You are my biggest advocate because I am the star of this show and you do a great job of promoting me. I appreciate you.

With that, I’m leaving.

See you.