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Build a Better Manager

Support IT success with a solid management foundation.

  • Management skills training is needed, but organizations are struggling to provide training that makes a long-term difference in the skills managers actually use in their day to day.
  • Many training programs are ineffective because they offer the wrong content, deliver it in a way that is not memorable, and are not aligned with the IT department’s business objectives.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • More of the typical manager training is not enough to solve the problem of underprepared first-time IT managers.
  • You must overcome the key pitfalls of ineffective training to deliver training that is better than the norm.
  • Offer tailored training that focuses on skill building and is aligned with measurable business goals to make your manager training a tangible success.

Impact and Result

Use Info-Tech’s tactical, practical training materials to deliver training that is:

  • Specifically tailored to first-time IT managers.
  • Designed around practical application of new skills.
  • Aligned with your department’s business goals.

Build a Better Manager Research & Tools

1. Build a Better Manager Capstone Deck – This deck will guide you through identifying the critical skills your managers need to succeed and planning out a training program tailored to your team and organization.

This deck presents a behind-the-scenes explanation for the training materials, enabling a facilitator to deliver the training.

2. Facilitation Guides – These ready-to-deliver presentation decks span 8 modules. Each module covers a key management skill. The modules can be delivered independently or as a series.

The modules are complete with presentation slides, speaker’s notes, and accompanying participant workbooks and provide everything you need to deliver the training to your team.

3. Participant Workbooks and Supporting Materials – Each training module comes with a corresponding participant workbook to help trainees record insights and formulate individual skill development plans.

Each workbook is tailored to the presentation slides in its corresponding facilitation guide. Some workbooks have additional materials, such as role play scenarios, to aid in practice. Every workbook comes with example entries to help participants make the most of their training.

Build a Better Manager

Support IT success with a solid management foundation.

Analyst Perspective

Training that delivers results.

Jane Koupstova.

Ninety-eight percent of managers say they need more training, but 93% of managers already receive some level of manager training. Unfortunately, the training typically provided, although copious, is not working. More of the same will never get you better outcomes.

How many times have you sat through training that was so long, you had no hope of implementing half of it?

How many times have you been taught best practices, with zero guidance on how to apply them?

To truly support our managers, we need to rethink manager training. Move from fulfilling an HR mandate to providing truly trainee-centric instruction. Teach only the right skills – no fluff – and encourage and enable their application in the day to day.

Jane Kouptsova
Research Director, People & Leadership
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

Common Obstacles

Info-Tech’s Approach

IT departments often promote staff based on technical skill, resulting in new managers feeling unprepared for their new responsibilities in leading people.

The success of your organization hinges on managers’ ability to lead their staff; by failing to equip new managers adequately, you are risking the productivity of your entire department.

Despite the fact that $14 billion is spent annually on leadership training in the US alone (Freedman, 2016), only one in ten CIOs believe their department is very effective at leadership, culture, and values (Info-Tech, 2019).

Training programs do not deliver results due to trainee overwhelm, ineffective skill development, and a lack of business alignment.

Use Info-Tech’s tactical, practical approach to management training to deliver training that:

  • Is specifically tailored to first-time IT managers.
  • Is designed around practical application of new skills.
  • Is aligned with your department’s business goals.
  • Equips your new managers with essential skills and foundational competencies

Info-Tech Insight

When it comes to manager training, more is not more. Attending training is not equal to being trained. Even good information is useless when it doesn’t get applied. If your role hasn’t required you to use your training within 48 hours, you were not trained on the most relevant skills.

Effective managers drive effective departments by engaging their teams

The image contains a screenshot to demonstrate effective managers.

Engaged teams are:

  • 52% more willing to innovate*
  • 70% more likely to be at the organization a year from now**
  • 57% more likely to exceed their role’s expectations**

Engaged teams are driven by managers:

  • 70% of team-level engagement is accounted for by managers***
*McLean & Company; N=3,395; **McLean & Company; N=5,902; ***Gallup, 2018

Despite the criticality of their role, IT organizations are failing at supporting new managers

87% of middle managers wish they had more training when they were first promoted

98% of managers say they need more training

Source: Grovo, 2016

IT must take notice:

IT as an industry tends to promote staff on the basis of technical skill. As a result, new managers find themselves suddenly out of their comfort zone, tasked with leading teams using management skills they have not been trained in and, more often than not, having to learn on the job. This is further complicated because many new IT managers must go from a position of team member to leader, which can be a very complex transition.

The truth is, many organizations do try and provide some degree of manager training, it just is not effective

99% of companies offer management training*

93% of managers attend it*

$14 billion spent annually in the US on leadership training**

Fewer than one in ten CIOs believe their IT department is highly effective at leadership, culture, and values.

The image contains a screenshot of a pie chart that demonstrates the effectiveness of the IT department at leadership, culture, and values.

*Grovo, 2016; **Chief Executive, 2016
Info-Tech’s Management & Governance Diagnostic, N=337 CIOs

There are three key reasons why manager training fails

1. Information Overload

Seventy-five percent of managers report that their training was too long to remember or to apply in their day to day (Grovo, 2016). Trying to cover too much useful information results in overwhelm and does not deliver on key training objectives.

2. Limited Implementation

Thirty-three percent of managers find that their training had insufficient follow-up to help them apply it on the job (Grovo, 2016). Learning is only the beginning. The real results are obtained when learning is followed by practice, which turns new knowledge into reliable habits.

3. Lack of departmental alignment

Implementing training without a clear link to departmental and organizational objectives leaves you unable to clearly communicate its value, undermines your ability to secure buy-in from attendees and executives, and leaves you unable to verify that the training is actually improving departmental effectiveness.

Overcome those common training pitfalls with tactical solutions



1. Information Overload

Timely, tailored topics

The more training managers attend, the less likely they are to apply any particular element of it. Combat trainee overwhelm by offering highly tactical, practical training that presents only the essential skills needed at the managers’ current stage of development.

2. Limited Implementation

Skills-focused framework

Many training programs end when the last manager walks out of the last training session. Ensure managers apply their new knowledge in the months and years after the training by relying on a research-based framework that supports long-term skill building.

3. Lack of Departmental Alignment

Outcome-based measurement

Setting organizational goals and accompanying metrics ahead of time enables you to communicate the value of the training to attendees and stakeholders, track whether the training is delivering a return on your investment, and course correct if necessary.

This research combats common training challenges by focusing on building habits, not just learning ideas

Manager training is only useful if the skills it builds are implemented in the day-to-day.

Research supports three drivers of successful skill building from training:


Organizational Support

The training modules include committing to implementing new skills on the job and scheduling opportunities for feedback.

Learning Structure

Training activities are customizable, flexible, and accompanied by continuous learning self-evaluation.

Personal Commitment

Info-Tech’s methodology builds in activities that foster accountability and an attitude of continuous improvement.


Info-Tech Insight

When it comes to manager training, stop thinking about learning, and start thinking about practice. In difficult situations, we fall back on habits, not theoretical knowledge. If a manager is only as good as their habits, we need to support them in translating knowledge into practice.

This research focuses on building good management habits to drive enterprise success

Set up your first-time managers for success by leveraging Info-Tech’s training to focus on three key areas of management:

  • Managing people as a team
  • Managing people as individuals
  • Managing yourself as a developing leader

Each of these areas:

  • Is immediately important for a first-time manager
  • Includes practical, tactical skills that can be implemented quickly
  • Translates to departmental and organizational benefits

Info-Tech Insight

There is no such thing as “effective management training.” Various topics will be effective at different times for different roles. Delivering only the highest-impact learning at strategic points in your leadership development program will ensure the learning is retained and translates to results.

This blueprint covers foundational training in three key domains of effective management

Effective Managers

  • Self
    • Conflict & Difficult Conversations
    • Your Role in the Organization
    • Your Role in Decisions
  • Team
    • Communication
    • Feedback & Coaching
    • Performance Management
  • People
    • Master Time
    • Delegate
    • Accountability

Each topic corresponds to a module, which can be used individually or as a series in any order.

Choose topics that resonate with your managers and relate directly to their day-to-day tasks. Training on topics that may be useful in the future, while interesting, is less likely to generate lasting skill development.

Info-Tech Best Practice

This blueprint is not a replacement for formal leadership or management certification. It is designed as a practical, tactical, and foundational introduction to key management capabilities.

Info-Tech’s training tools guide participants through successful skill building

Practical facilitation guides equip you with the information, activities, and speaker’s notes necessary to deliver focused, tactical training to your management team.

The participant’s workbook guides trainees through applying the three drivers of skill building to solidify their training into habits.

Measure the effectiveness of your manager training with outcomes-focused metrics

Linking manager training with measurable outcomes allows you to verify that the program is achieving the intended benefits, course correct as needed, and secure buy-in from stakeholders and participants by articulating and documenting value.

Use the metrics suggested below to monitor your training program’s effectiveness at three key stages:

Program Metric


Program enrolment and attendance

Attendance at each session / Total number enrolled in session

First-time manager (FTM) turnover rate

Turnover rate: Number of FTM departures / Total number of FTMs

FTM turnover cost

Number of departing FTMs this year * Cost of replacing an employee

Manager Effectiveness Metric


Engagement scores of FTM's direct reports

Use Info-Tech's Employee Engagement surveys to monitor scores

Departures as a result of poor management

Number of times "manager relationships" is selected as a reason for leaving on an exit survey / Total number of departures

Cost of departures due to poor management

Number of times "manager relationships" is selected as a reason for leaving on an exit survey * Cost associated with replacing an employee

Organizational Outcome Metric


On-target delivery

% projects completed on-target = (Projects successfully completed on time and on budget / Total number of projects started) * 100

Business stakeholder satisfaction with IT

Use Info-Tech’s business satisfaction surveys to monitor scores

High-performer turnover rate

Number of permanent, high-performing employee departures / Average number of permanent, high-performing employees

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

Guided Implementation



“Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful.” “Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track.” “We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place.” “Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project.”

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Guided Implementation

What does a typical GI on this topic look like?

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3

Call #1: Scope requirements, objectives, and your specific challenges.

Call #2: Review selected modules and discuss training delivery.

Call #3: Review training delivery, discuss lessons learned. Review long-term skill development plan.

A Guided Implementation (GI) is a series

of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

A typical GI is 1 to 3 calls over the course of several months, depending on training schedule.

Workshop Overview

Contact your account representative for more information. 1-888-670-8889

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4

3-Hour Training Session

3-Hour Training Session

3-Hour Training Session

3-Hour Training Session


Training on topic 1 (selected from a pool of 8 possible topics)

Training on topic 2 (selected from a pool of 8 possible topics)

Training on topic 3 (selected from a pool of 8 possible topics)

Training on topic 4 (selected from a pool of 8 possible topics)


Completed workbook and action plan

Completed workbook and action plan

Completed workbook and action plan

Completed workbook and action plan

Pool of topics:

  • Master Time
  • Accountability
  • Your Role in the Organization
  • Your Role in Decision Making
  • Manage Conflict Constructively
  • Effective Communication
  • Performance Management
  • Coaching & Feedback

Phase 1

Prepare to facilitate training

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3
  • Select training topics
  • Customize the training facilitation guide for your organization
  • Deliver training modules
  • Confirm skill development action plan with trainees
  • Secure organizational support from trainees' supervisors

Outcomes of this phase:

  • Training facilitation deck customized to organizational norms
  • Training workbook distributed to participants
  • Training dates and facilitator finalized

1.1 Select training modules

1-3 hours

  1. Review the module descriptions on the following slides.
  2. Identify modules that will address managers’ most pressing development needs.
    To help make this decision, consult the following:
    • Trainees’ development plans
    • Trainees’ supervisors
Input Output
  • Module descriptions
  • Trainees’ development goals and needs
  • Prioritized list of training modules
Materials Participants
  • Prioritized list of training modules
  • Training sponsor
  • Trainees’ supervisors

Effective Communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of good management

Effective communication can make or break your IT team’s effectiveness and engagement and a manager’s reputation in the organization. Effective stakeholder management and communication has a myriad of benefits – yet this is a key area where IT leaders continue to struggle.

There are multiple ways in which you communicate with your staff. The tactics you will learn in this section will help you to:

  1. Understand communication styles. Every staff member has a predisposition in terms of how they give, receive, and digest information. To drive effective communication new managers need to understand the profiles of each of their team members and adjust their communicate style to suit.
  2. Understand what your team members want communicated to them and how. Communication is highly personal, and a good manager needs to clearly understand what their team wants to be informed about, their desired interactions, and when they need to be involved in decision making. They also must determine the appropriate channels for communication exchanges.
  3. Make meetings matter. Many new managers never receive training on what differentiates a good and bad meeting. Effective meetings have a myriad of benefits, but more often than not meetings are ineffective, wasting both the participants’ and organizer’s time. This training will help you to ensure that every team meeting drives a solid outcome and gets results.


  • Better buy-in, understanding, and communication.
  • Improved IT reputation with the organization.
  • Improved team engagement.
  • Improved stakeholder satisfaction.
  • Better-quality decision making.
  • Improved transparency, trust, and credibility.
  • Less waste and rework.
  • Greater ability to secure support and execute the agenda.
  • More effective cooperation on activities, better quality information, and greater value from stakeholder input.
  • Better understanding of IT performance and contribution.

Effective Communication

Effective manager communication has a direct impact on employee engagement

35% Of organizations say they have lost an employee due to poor internal communication (, 2021).

59% Of business leaders lose work time to mistakes caused by poor communication (Grammarly, 2022).

$1.2 trillion Lost to US organizations as a result of poor communication (Grammarly, 2022).

Effective Communication

Effective communication is crucial to all parts of the business


Human Resources



Increases production by boosting revenue.

Reduces the cost of litigation and increases revenue through productivity improvements.

Reduces the cost of failing to comply with regulations.

Increases attraction and retention of key talent.

Effective Communication

The Communicate Effectively Facilitation Guide covers the following topics:

  • Understand Communication Styles
  • Tailor Communication Methods to Activities
  • Make Meetings Matter

Learning outcomes:

Main goal: Become a better communicator across a variety of personal styles and work contexts.

Key objectives:

  • Reaffirm why effective communication matters.
  • Work with people with different communication styles.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively within a team.
  • Make meetings more effective.

Info-Tech Insight

First-time IT managers face specific communication challenges that come with managing people for the first time: learning to communicate a greater variety of information to different kinds of people, in a variety of venues. Tailored training in these areas helps managers focus and fast-track critical skill development.

Performance Management

Meaningful performance measures drive employee engagement, which in turn drives business success

Meaningful performance measures help employees understand the rationale behind business decisions, help managers guide their staff, and clarify expectations for employees. These factors are all strong predictors of team engagement:

The image contains a screenshot to demonstrate the relationship and success between performance measures and employee engagement.

Performance Management

Clear performance measures benefit employees and the organization

Talent Management Outcomes

Organizational Outcomes

Performance measure are key throughout the talent management process.


  • Want to know how they will be assessed
  • Rely on measures to become productive as soon as possible


  • Benefit from training centered on measures that are aligned with business outcomes
  • Are rewarded, recognized, and compensated based on measurable guidelines

Promotions and Evaluations:

  • Are more effective when informed by meaningful performance measures that align with what leadership believes is important

Performance measures benefit the organization by:

  • Helping employees know the steps to take to improve their performance
  • Ensuring alignment between team objectives and organizational goals
  • Providing a standardized way to support decision making related to compensation, promotions, and succession planning
  • Reducing “gaming” of metrics, when properly structured, thereby reducing risk to the organization
  • Affording legal defensibility by providing an objective basis for decision making

Performance Management

The Performance Management Facilitation Guide covers the following topics:

  • Develop Meaningful Goals
  • Set Meaningful Metrics

Learning outcomes:

Main goal: Become proficient in setting, tracking, and communicating around performance management goals.

Key objectives:

  • Understand the role of managers and employees in the performance management process.
  • Learn to set SMART, business-aligned goals for your team.
  • Learn to help employees set useful individual goals.
  • Learn to set meaningful, holistic metrics to track goal progression.
  • Understand the relationship between goals, metrics, and feedback.

Info-Tech Insight

Goal and metric development holds special significance for first-time IT managers because it now impacts not only their personal performance, but that of their employees and their team collectively. Training on these topics with a practical team- and employee-development approach is a focused way to build these skills.

Coaching & Feedback

Coaching and feedback are effective methods to influence employees and drive business outcomes

COACHING is a conversation in which a manager asks an employee questions to guide them to solve problems themselves, instead of just telling them the answer.

Coaching increases employee happiness, and decreases turnover.1

Coaching promotes innovation.2

Coaching increases employee engagement, effort and performance.3

FEEDBACK is information about the past, given in the present, with the goal of influencing behavior or performance for the future. It includes information given for reinforcement and redirection.

Honest feedback enhances team psychological safety.4

Feedback increases employee engagement.5

Feedback boosts feelings of autonomy and drives innovation.6

1. Administrative Sciences, 2022
2. International Review of Management and Marketing, 2020
3. Current Psychology, 2021
4. Quantum Workplace, 2021
5. Issues and Perspectives in Business and Social Sciences, 2022
6. Sustainability, 2021

Coaching & Feedback

The Coaching & Feedback Facilitation Guide covers the following topics:

  • The 4 A’s of Coaching
  • Effective Feedback

Learning outcomes:

Main goal: Get prepared to coach and offer feedback to your staff as appropriate.

Key objectives:

  • Understand the difference between coaching and feedback and when to apply each one.
  • Learn the importance of a coaching mindset.
  • Learn effective coaching via the 4 A’s framework.
  • Understand the actions that make up feedback and the factors that make it successful.
  • Learn to deal with resistance to feedback.

Info-Tech Insight

First-time managers often shy away from giving coaching and feedback, stalling their team’s performance. A focused and practical approach to building these skills equips new managers with the tools and confidence to tackle these challenges as soon as they arise.

Your Role in the Organization

IT managers who understand the business context provide more value to the organization

Managers who don’t understand the business cannot effect positive change. The greater understanding that IT managers have of business context, the more value they provide to the organization as seen by the positive relationship between IT’s understanding of business needs and the business’ perception of IT value.

The image contains a screenshot of a scatter plot grid demonstrating business satisfaction with IT Understanding of Needs across Overall IT Value.

Source: Info-Tech Research Group

Your Role in the Organization

Knowing your stakeholders is key to understanding your role in the business and providing value to the organization

To understand your role in the business, you need to know who your stakeholders are and what value you and your team provide to the organization. Knowing how you help each stakeholder meet their wants needs and goals means that you have the know-how to balance experience and outcome-based behaviors. This is the key to being an attentive leader.

The tactics you will learn in this section will help you to:

  1. Know your stakeholders. There are five key stakeholders the majority of IT managers have: management, peers, direct reports, internal users, and external users or customers. Managers need to understand the goals, needs, and wants of each of these groups to successfully provide value to the organization.
  2. Understand the value you provide to each stakeholder. Stakeholder relationship management requires IT managers to exhibit drive and support behaviors based on the situation. By knowing how you drive and support each stakeholder, you understand how you provide value to the organization and support its mission, vision, and values.
  3. Communicate the value your team provides to the organization to your team. Employees need to understand the impact of their work. As an IT manager, you are responsible for communicating how your team provides value to the organization. Mission statements on how you provide value to each stakeholder is an easy way to clearly communicate purpose to your team.


  • Faster and higher growth.
  • Improved team engagement.
  • Improved stakeholder satisfaction.
  • Better quality decision making.
  • More innovation and motivation to complete goals and tasks.
  • Greater ability to secure support and execute on goals and tasks.
  • More effective cooperation on activities, better quality information, and greater value from stakeholder input.
  • Better understanding of IT performance and contribution.

Your Role in the Organization

The Your Role in the Organization Facilitation Guide covers the following topics:

  • Know Your Stakeholders
  • Understand the Value You Provide to the Organization
  • Develop Learnings Into Habits

Learning outcomes:

Main goal: Understand how your role and the role of your team serves the business.

Key objectives:

  • Learn who your stakeholders are.
  • Understand how you drive and support different stakeholder relationships.
  • Relate your team’s tasks back to the mission, vision, and values of the organization.
  • Create a mission statement for each stakeholder to bring back to your team.

Info-Tech Insight

Before training first-time IT managers, take some time as the facilitator to review how you will serve the wants and needs of those you are training and your stakeholders in the organization.

Decision Making

Bad decisions have tangible costs, so managers must be trained in how to make effective decisions

To understand your role in the decision-making process, you need to know what is expected of you and you must understand what goes into making a good decision. The majority of managers report they have no trouble making decisions and that they are good decision makers, but the statistics say otherwise. This ease at decision making is due to being overly confident in their expertise and an inability to recognize their own ignorance.1

The tactics you will learn in this section will help you to:

  1. Effectively communicate decisions. Often, first-time managers are either sharing their decision recommendations with their manager or they are communicating a decision down to their team. Managers need to understand how to have these conversations so their recommendations provide value to management and top-down decisions are successfully implemented.
  2. Provide valuable feedback on decisions. Evaluating decisions is just as critical as making decisions. If decisions aren’t reviewed, there is no data or feedback to discover why a decision was a success or failure. Having a plan in place before the decision is made facilitates the decision review process and makes it easier to provide valuable feedback.
  3. Avoid common decision-making mistakes. Heuristics and bias are common decision pitfalls even senior leaders are susceptible to. By learning what the common decision-making mistakes are and being able to recognize them when they appear in their decision-making process, first-time managers can improve their decision-making ability.

20% Of respondents say their organizations excel at decision making (McKinsey, 2018).

87% “Diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions” (Upskillist, 2022).

86% of employees in leadership positions blame the lack of collaboration as the top reason for workplace failures (Upskillist, 2022).

Decision Making

A decision-making process is imperative, even though most managers don’t have a formal one

  1. Identify the Problem and Define Objectives
  2. Establish Decision Criteria
  3. Generate and Evaluate Alternatives
  4. Select an Alternative and Implement
  5. Evaluate the Decision

Managers tend to rely on their own intuition which is often colored by heuristics and biases. By using a formal decision-making process, these pitfalls of intuition can be mitigated or avoided. This leads to better decisions.

First-time managers are able to apply this framework when making decision recommendations to management to increase their likelihood of success, and having a process will improve their decisions throughout their career and the financial returns correlated with them.

Decision Making

Recognizing personal heuristics and bias in the decision-making process improves more than just decision results

Employees are able to recognize bias in the workplace, even when management can’t. This affects everything from how involved they are in the decision-making process to their level of effort and productivity in implementing decisions. Without employee support, even good decisions are less likely to have positive results. Employees who perceive bias:


  • Hold back ideas and solutions
  • Intentionally fail to follow through on important projects and tasks

Brand Reputation

  • Speak negatively about the company on social media
  • Do not refer open positions to qualified persons in their network


  • Feel alienated
  • Actively seek new employment
  • Say they are not proud to work for the company

Decision Making

The Decision Making Facilitation Guide covers the following topics:

  • Effectively Communicate Decisions
  • Provide Valuable Feedback on Decisions
  • Avoid Common Decision-Making Mistakes

Learning outcomes:

Main goal: Understand how to successfully perform your role in the decision process.

Key objectives:

  • Understand the decision-making process and how to assess decisions.
  • Learn how to communicate with your manager regarding your decision recommendations.
  • Learn how to effectively communicate decisions to your team.
  • Understand how to avoid common decision-making errors.

Info-Tech Insight

Before training a decision-making framework, ensure it is in alignment with how decisions are made in your organization. Alternatively, make sure leadership is on board with making a change.

Manage Conflict Constructively

Enable leaders to resolve conflicts while minimizing costs

If you are successful in your talent acquisition, you likely have a variety of personalities and diverse individuals within your IT organization and in the business, which means that conflict is inevitable. However, conflict does not have to be negative – it can take on many forms. The presence of conflict in an organization can actually be a very positive thing: the ability to freely express opinions and openly debate can lead to better, more strategic decisions being made.

The effect that the conflict is having on individuals and the work environment will determine whether the conflict is positive or counterproductive.

As a new manager you need to know how to manage potential negative outcomes of conflict by managing difficult conversations and understanding how to respond to conflict in the workplace.

The tactics you will learn in this section will help you to:

  1. Apply strategies to prepare for and navigate through difficult conversations.
  2. Expand your comfort level when handling conflict, and engage in constructive conflict resolution approaches.


  • Relieve stress for yourself and your co-workers.
  • Save yourself time and energy.
  • Positively impact relationships with your employees.
  • Improve your team dynamic.
  • Remove roadblocks to your work and get things done.
  • Save the organization money.
  • Improve performance.
  • Prevent negative issues from reoccurring.

Manage Conflict Constructively

Addressing difficult conversations is beneficial to you, your people, and the organization

When you face a difficult conversation you…

  • Relieve stress on you and your co-workers.
  • Save yourself time and energy.
  • Positively impact relationships with your employees.
  • Improve your team dynamic.
  • Remove roadblocks to your work
  • Save the organization money.
  • Improve performance.
  • Prevent negative issues from reoccurring.

40% Of employees who experience conflict report being less motivated as a result (Acas, 2021).

30.6% Of employees report coming off as aggressive when trying to resolve a conflict
(Niagara Institute, 2022).

Manage Conflict Constructively

The Manage Conflict Constructively Facilitation Guide covers the following topics:

  • Know Your Ideal Time Mix
  • Calendar Diligence
  • Effective Delegation
  • Limit Interruptions

Learning outcomes:

Main goal: Effectively manage your time and know which tasks are your priority and which tasks to delegate.

Key objectives:

  • Understand common reasons for difficult conversations.
  • Learn Info-Tech’s six-step process to best to prepare for difficult conversations.
  • Follow best practices to approach difficult conversations.
  • Learn the five approaches to conflict management.
  • Practice conflict management skills.

Info-Tech Insight

Conflict does not have to be negative. The presence of conflict in an organization can actually be a very positive thing: the ability to freely express opinions and openly debate can lead to better, more strategic decisions being made.

Master Time

Effective leaders spend their time in specific ways

How effective leaders average their time spent across the six key roles:

Leaders with effective time management skills spend their time across six key manager roles: strategy, projects, management, operations, innovation, and personal. While there is no magic formula, providing more value to the business starts with little practices like:

  • Spending time with the right stakeholders and focusing on the right priorities.
  • Evaluating which meetings are important and productive.
  • Benchmarking yourself against your peers in the industry so you constantly learn from them and improve yourself.

The keys to providing this value is time management and delegation. The tactics in this section will help first-time managers to:

  1. Discover your ideal time. By analyzing how you currently spend your time, you can see which roles you are under/over using and, using your job description and performance metrics, discover your ideal time mix.
  2. Practice calendar diligence. Time blocking is an effective way to use your time, see your week, and quickly understand what roles you are spending your time in. Scheduling priority tasks first gives insight into which tasks should be delegated.
  3. Effectively delegation. Clear expectations and knowing the strengths of your team are the cornerstone to effective delegation. By understanding the information you need to communicate and identifying the best person on your team to delegate to, tasks and goals will be successfully completed.
  4. Limit interruptions. By learning how to limit interruptions from your team and your manager, you are better able to control your time and make sure your tasks and goals get completed.













Source: Info-Tech, N=85

Master Time

Signs you struggle with time management

Too many interruptions in a day to stay focused.

Too busy to focus on strategic initiatives.

Spending time on the wrong things.

The image contains a screenshot of a bar graph that demonstrates struggle with time management.

Master Time

The Master Time Facilitation Guide covers the following topics:

  • Understand Communication Styles
  • Tailor Communication Methods to Activities
  • Make Meetings Matter

Learning outcomes:

Main goal: Become a better communicator across a variety of personal styles and work contexts.

Key objectives:

  • Understand how you spend your time.
  • Learn how to use your calendar effectively.
  • Understand the actions to take to successfully delegate.
  • Learn how to successfully limit interruptions.

Info-Tech Insight

There is a right and wrong way to manage your calendar as a first-time manager and it has nothing to do with your personal preference.


Accountability creates organizational and team benefits

Improves culture and innovation

Improves individual performance

Increases employee engagement

Increases profitability

Increases trust and productivity

Enables employees to see how they contribute

Increases ownership employees feel over their work and outcomes

Enables employees to focus on activities that drive the business forward

Source: Forbes, 2019


Accountability increases employee empowerment

Employee empowerment is the number one driver of employee engagement. The extent to which you can hold employees accountable for their own actions and decisions is closely related to how empowered they are and how empowered they feel; accountability and empowerment go hand in hand. To feel empowered, employees must understand what is expected of them, have input into decisions that affect their work, and have the tools they need to demonstrate their talents.

The image contains a screenshot to demonstrate how accountability increases employee empowerment.

Source: McLean & Company Engagement Database, 2018; N=71,794


The Accountability Facilitation Guide covers the following topics:

  • Create Clarity and Transparency
  • Articulate Expectations and Evaluation
  • Help Your Team Remove Roadblocks
  • Clearly Introduce Accountability to Your Team

Learning outcomes:

Main goal: Create a personal accountability plan and learn how to hold yourself and your team accountable.

Key objectives:

  • Understand why accountability matters.
  • Learn how to create clarity and transparency.
  • Understand how to successfully hold people accountable through clearly articulating expectations and evaluation.
  • Know how to remove roadblocks to accountability for your team.

Info-Tech Insight

Accountability is about focusing on the results of a task, rather than just completing the task. Create team accountability by keeping the team focused on the result and not “doing their jobs.” First-time managers need to clearly communicate expectations and evaluation to successfully develop team accountability.

Use the Build a Better Manager Participant Workbooks to help participants set accountabilities and track their progress

A key feature of this blueprint is built-in guidance on transferring your managers’ new knowledge into practical skills and habits they can fall back on when their job requires it.

The Participant Workbooks, one for each module, are structured around the three key principles of learning transfer to help participants optimally structure their own learning:

  • Track your learning. This section guides participants through conducting self-assessments, setting learning goals, recording key insights, and brainstorming relapse-prevention strategies
  • Establish your personal commitment. This section helps participants record the actions they personally commit to taking to continually practice their new skills
  • Secure organizational support. This section guides participants in recording the steps they will take to seek out support from their supervisor and peers.

The image contains a screenshot of the Build a Better Manager Participant Workbooks.

Info-Tech Insight

Participants should use this workbook throughout their training and continue to review it for at least three months after. Practical skills take an extended amount of time to solidify, and using the workbook for several months will ensure that participants stay on track with regular practice and check-ins.

Set your trainees up for success by reviewing these training best practices

Cultural alignment

It is critical that the department leadership team understand and agree with the best practices being presented. Senior team leads should be comfortable coaching first-time managers in implementing the skills developed through the training. If there is any question about alignment with departmental culture or if senior team leads would benefit from a refresher course, conduct a training session for them as well.

Structured training

Ensure the facilitator takes a structured approach to the training. It is important to complete all the activities and record the outputs in the workbook where appropriate. The activities are structured to ensure participants successfully use the knowledge gained during the workshop to build practical skills.


Who should attend the training? Although this training is designed for first-time IT managers, you may find it helpful to run the training for the entire management team as a refresher and to get everyone on the same page about best practices. It is also helpful for senior leadership to be aware of the training because the attendees may come to their supervisors with requests to discuss the material or coaching around it.

Info-Tech Insight

Participants should use this workbook throughout their training and continue to review it for at least three months after. Practical skills take an extended amount of time to solidify, and using the workbook for several months will ensure that participants stay on track with regular practice and check-ins.

1.2 Customize the facilitation guides

1-3 hours

Prior to facilitating your first session, ensure you complete the following steps:

  1. Read through all the module content, including the speaker’s notes, to familiarize yourself with the material and ensure the tactics presented align with your department’s culture and established best practices.
  2. Customize the slides with a pencil icon with information relevant to your organization.
  3. Ensure you are comfortable with all material to be presented and are prepared to answer questions. If you require clarification on any of the material, book a call with your Info-Tech analyst for guidance.
  4. Ensure you do not delete or heavily customize the self-assessment activities and the activities in the Review and Action Plan section of the module. These activities are structured around a skill building framework and designed to aid your trainees in applying their new knowledge in their day to day. If you have any concerns about activities in these sections, book a call with your Info-Tech analyst for guidance.
Input Output
  • List of selected modules
  • Customized facilitation guides
Materials Participants
  • Facilitation guides from selected modules
  • Training facilitator

1.3 Prepare to deliver training

1-3 hours

Complete these steps in preparation for delivering the training to your first-time managers:

  1. Select a facilitator.
    • The right person to facilitate the meeting depends on the dynamics within your department. Having a senior IT leader can lend additional weight to the training best practices but may not be feasible in a large department. In these cases, an HR partner or external third party can be asked to facilitate.
  2. Distribute the workbooks to attendees before the first training session.
    • Change the header on the workbook templates to your own organization’s, if desired.
    • Email the workbooks to attendees prior to the first session. There is no pre-work to be completed.
Input Output
  • List of selected modules
  • Facilitator selected
  • Workbook distributed
Materials Participants
  • Workbooks from selected modules
  • Training sponsor
  • Training facilitator

Phase 2

Deliver training

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3
  • Select training topics
  • Customize the training facilitation guide for your organization
  • Deliver training modules
  • Confirm skill development action plan with trainees
  • Secure organizational support from trainees' supervisors

Outcomes of this phase:

  • Training delivered
  • Development goals set by attendees
  • Action plan created by attendees

2.1 Deliver training

3 hours

When you are ready, deliver the training. Ensure you complete all activities and that participants record the outcomes in their workbooks.

Tips for activity facilitation:

  • Encourage and support participation from everyone. And be sure no one on the team dismisses anyone’s thoughts or opinions – they present the opportunity for further discussion and deeper insight.
  • Debrief after each activity, outlining any lessons learned, action items, and next steps.
  • Encourage participants to record all outcomes, key insights, and action plans in their workbooks.
Input Output
  • Facilitation guides and workbooks for selected modules
  • Training delivered
  • Workbooks completed
Materials Participants
  • Facilitation guides and workbooks for selected modules
  • Training facilitator
  • Trainees

Phase 3

Enable long-term skill development

Phase 1Phase 2Phase 3
  • Select training topics
  • Customize the training facilitation guide for your organization
  • Deliver training modules
  • Confirm skill development action plan with trainees
  • Secure organizational support from trainees' supervisors

Outcomes of this phase:

  • Attendees reminded of action plan and personal commitment
  • Supervisors reminded of the need to support trainees' development

3.1 Email trainees with action steps

0.5 hours

After the training, send an email to attendees thanking them for participating and summarizing key next steps for the group. Use the template below, or write your own:

“Hi team,

I want to thank you personally for attending the Communicate Effectively training module. Our group led some great discussion.

A reminder that the next time you will reconvene as a group will be on [Date] to discuss your progress and challenges to date.

Additionally, your manager is aware and supportive of the training program, so be sure to follow through on the commitments you’ve made to secure the support you need from them to build your new skills.

I am always open for questions if you run into any challenges.


[Your name]”

  • The date of participants’ next discussion meeting
  • Attendees reminded of next meeting date and encouraged to follow through on action plan
  • Training facilitator

3.2 Secure support from trainees’ supervisors

0.5 hours

An important part of the training is securing organizational support, which includes support from your trainees’ supervisors. After the trainees have committed to some action items to seek support from their supervisors, it is important to express your support for this and remind the supervisors of their role in guiding your first-time managers. Use the template below, or write your own, to remind your trainees’ supervisors of this at the end of training (if you are going through all three modules in a short period of time, you may want to wait until the end of the entire training to send this email):

“Hi team,

We have just completed Info-Tech’s first-time manager training with our new manager team. The trainees will be seeking your support in developing their new skills. This could be in the form of coaching, feedback on their progress, reviewing their development plan, etc.

Supervisor support is a crucial component of skill building, so I hope I can count on all of you to support our new managers in their learning. If you are not sure how to handle these requests, or would like a refresher of the material our trainees covered, please let me know.

I am always open for questions if you run into any challenges.


[Your name]”

  • List of trainees’ direct supervisors
  • Supervisors reminded to support trainees’ skill practice
  • Training facilitator


Brad Armstrong

Brad Armstrong, Senior Engineering Manager, Code42 Software

I am a pragmatic engineering leader with a deep technical background, now focused on building great teams. I'm energized by difficult, high-impact problems at scale and with the cloud technologies and emerging architectures that we can use to solve them. But it's the power of people and organizations that ultimately lead to our success, and the complex challenge of bringing all that together is the work I find most rewarding.

We thank the expert contributors who chose to keep their contributions anonymous.


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