Buddy system

While trainings and tools are great to build your management skills, the most impactful method is trial and error. Incorporating lessons immediately into your repertoire is much easier with a peer who is going through the same thing. Get yourself a management buddy. Here’s how to ask:

“Hi Amy,

I’ve been working on being a more effective manager and since we are in a similar situation—both new managers, same team size/function, similar tenure, etc—I thought it would be cool for us to chat about how we’re doing as managers. Like, lunch once a month?”

Copy. Paste. Send. You did it.

What you’ll find by doing this is that:

  • some mistakes you thought were huge might not have been
  • some mistakes you thought were small should be given more attention
  • you’re doing well in ways you don’t realize
  • you are not alone.


Manager action: Identify a buddy, someone who you think has good judgment and is in a relatively similar situation. Don’t be disappointed if your first person says they’re at capacity. Move on to someone else. In a small company, this might be tough. Ask someone outside your company, just keep actual names of direct reports confidential.

Self-reflection: Will you be able to be vulnerable and honest with your management buddy, or will you tend to paint yourself in the most flattering way?

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