Empowering The New Leader

When a new manager/leader gets placed into a new management or leadership position, organizations don’t always do the best job setting this new person up for success.  The new person is commonly given given a very specific title, but brief or vague descriptions of the new role and responsibilities, and then told to go meet the new team.  Then over the next few months the new manager gets hit with surprises time after time after time because of something they didn’t do that they were supposed to do but nobody told them.  They feel like they are sinking, falling behind, and always in chase the responsibility mode, and other people in the organization are getting frustrated with the new manager because they are not doing their job like the last person, when in fact they didn’t even know that a specific task was their job to do.  To avoid the confusion and frustration, along with the promotion and the manager title, give every new manager a completed 120 Day Must Learn/Must Do Checklist so they have explicit direction and understanding of the full scope of their role.


The 120 Day Must Learn/Must Do Checklist is a wonderful way to communicate expectations and responsibilities of the new role to the new person. It’s almost a blueprint to success.   In fact, the best time to give this checklist to a new manager is before you hire or promote them so they can better understand the role and determine if they even want the new position.  Give this list to all pre-hires and then ask them “Here is what you have to learn and do in your first 120 days, are you willing to accept that?”  Wouldn’t it be fantastic if a potential new hire said NO to the checklist pre-hire instead of six months in after everything has fallen apart and disruption becomes normal?

New manager and leaders in their new role are often aware that they have to get to know their team and how to motivate them.  They may understand human behavior and how to develop trust.  What gets the new manager frustrated is the never ending stream of surprises that nobody ever told them about or trained them on that came with the job.  Examples of the things a new manager/leader may need to learn and do are:



  • Vendor contracts and tracking processes.
  • Paycheck, vacation, sick day reviews of people on their team.
  • Approval processes.
  • Decision-making authority.
  • Raw material sources and forecasting.
  • Company values.
  • Asset management.
  • Dietary needs for people.



  • Replace the old manager’s name with theirs on documents, systems, and lists.
  • Fill our insurance forms.
  • Check inventories.
  • Get keys to buildings, gates, and storage units.
  • Review team paycheck accuracy.
  • Send contractors and vendors weekly forecasts due every Wednesday.
  • Review and submit contractor requests for payment.
  • Review customer RTV’s.
  • Read a book.





These are the untold expectations new managers and leaders get hit with that they were never told about, and the unknowns can really be discouraging.  The best way to prepare this list is to have every manager/leader in the organization complete it for their role as they know it.  The checklist can communicate to the new person how to be more efficient, work the system most effectively, be prepared, and avoid obstacles.  The goal of a manager is not to just manage and a leader is not to simply lead, it’s to be successful in everything their role requires of them including the managing and leading.  The 120 Must Learn Must Do Checklist will also reveal to the boss and the organization gaps in their training process.  How unfair it is for the organization to expect a person to perform a responsibility when there is no training on exactly how the organization wants that certain task done and by when.


Managers and leaders inherently want to do a good job in any new role.  They want to demonstrate their worth, they want the company to rely on them.  Avoid the discouragement that accompanies the steady stream of surprises by preparing your new managers and leaders with the 120 Day Must Learn Must Do Checklist.