open Resource

Manager Playbook

Managers need to get up to speed quickly, but often their bosses and HR teams are too busy to work out how to help them do it.

Our Manager Playbook is a practical guide to levelling-up managers in an engaging, effective way.

Circle imageCircle image
lets get started

How it Works

The new manager playbook

A fast, effective approach to developing first-time managers

Tips icon

Start here

We believe managers learn best in the flow of their work, and when they have someone to talk to about their unique challenges as they arise (and they will).

This playbook makes that possible with our Learn, Do, Discuss model. For each core skill, managers 1) learn key techniques 2) put them into practice, and 3) reflect on their successes and challenges with others.

We call these three steps a ‘sprint’. Each sprint takes 1-2 weeks. Across nine topics, that means managers can be up to speed in 9+ weeks.


We have provided learning resources below for nine topics we know are crucial to succeed as a new manager. For each topic, we have compiled the best tips and guidance from leading companies and experts. Each resource is designed to provide managers with plenty of ideas on that topic for how they can best run their team. Each sprint begins with reading through the relevant resource to learn more about that topic.


Each resource includes suggested actions for managers to put into practice and questions to consider. We know every company and every team is different, but we believe across each resource there should be at least one new thing most first-time managers will take away to try with their team over the following weeks.


Now the most important part. 

At the end of each sprint, each manager should take time to discuss the topic, and the results of any new practices, either in a peer group or 1:1 (or a combination). 

This is invaluable.  It’s the opportunity to celebrate successes, learn from any challenges, and discuss issues in the context of your team/company (which no training resource could possibly offer or predict). 

For more information on setting up peer group or 1:1 discussions, see the FAQs.


And then onto the next topic!  

You can use these resources to run your own manager training course, or you can learn more about how we use them in our peer learning  and 1:1 coaching programs.
go to playbook
The Sprints

The Manager Playbook

Follow the Learn, Do, Discuss approach across these nine topics
to get managers up to speed quickly and effectively.

My Profile
sprint one

What it Means to Be a Manager

You'll learn about:

The opportunities and challenges of the role so you can make the most of it, for you and your team

The pressures you will face and how to respond to them.

13 things no-one tells you about becoming a manager that you will want to know

sprint Two

Alignment & Managing Up

You'll learn about:

What is managing up and why it's important

Understanding your boss's priorities so you know which direction to lead your team

Gathering context and information from your boss to help you manage most effectively

Keeping your boss informed

Using your boss's influence on your behalf

Building your reputation with your boss

sprint three

Getting 1:1s Right

You'll learn about:

Why 1:1s are such an important use of your time as a manager

How to approach your first 1:1s: how to arrange them, questions to ask, and how to follow up

How to build your 1:1s into a habit to grow your relationships with your team

Troubleshooting your 1:1s when they're not working as you hoped they would

sprint four

Career Development

You'll learn about:

Understanding your company's priorities so you can identify development opportunities for your team

Having great career development conversations with your team so you can get clarity on their aspirations

The importance of understanding promotion processes so you can navigate them on your team's behalf

Making effective career plans which will help your team members progress

sprint five

Achieving Results

You'll learn about:

Generating high performance through focussing on your team’s expectations, capabilities, motivations, and working environment

Diagnosing and managing under-performance in your team

Supporting and nurturing your highest performers

Avoiding micromanagement, and balancing autonomy and intervention

sprint six


You'll learn about:

Giving constructive feedback so it lands effectively

Making the most of opportunities to praise your team

Making feedback a habit and creating a positive feedback culture in your team

sprint seven


You'll learn about:

Considering the audience, impact, and format of your communication to improve its effectiveness

Managing three key communication scenarios well: updating your team, updating your boss, and managing a group discussion

Creating a positive communication culture in your team and setting healthy norms and boundaries

sprint eight


You'll learn about:

Choosing which of your responsibilities to delegate

How to delegate responsibilities effectively

Maximising career development opportunities through delegation

sprint nine

Managing Yourself

You'll learn about:

Using various time management techniques to reduce the pressure on yourself

Recognising issues you can’t fix alone

Developing your support network

Taking time off

Focussing on your own career

Getting feedback on your progress as a manager

Understanding your best and worst

Get started today

Use these resources to run your own manager training course or learn more about how we use them in our peer learning  and 1:1 coaching programs.

White circle imageWhite circle image

Frequently Asked Questions

Or Contact Us

How well does this work? What is it based on?

Very! We’ve run this course many times and it’s had consistently great feedback from managers (if you want to know more about how to run it, let us know) . The resources are based on hundreds of conversations with managers, People/HR professionals, and L&D professionals, along with best practice from leading practioners including Camille Fournier, Lara Hogan, Kim Scott, Julie Zhuo, Molly Graham, and many others.

How do I set up a peer group for the discussions?

Peer groups are a fantastic place for managers to discuss the learning resources and the outcomes of any new approaches they're trying with their teams. They can be done virtually or in-person. We recommend groups of no more than four managers plus a facilitator, with all the managers being genuine peers of similar seniority and experience.

We are compiling a full guide to running these peer groups. In the meantime, contact us if you have any questions or would like assistance facilitating them.

How do the 1:1 discussions work?

Whilst we're big fans of peer learning, there may be playbook topics which first-time managers are uncomfortable discussing with their colleagues. These are also often the areas that they need the most help with. This issue can be solved by the manager having a discussion 1:1 with someone who can coach them on that specific area. That could be their boss, another manager in the company, or an external coach - the important thing is that the discussion is with someone who they respect and can offer astute guidance on improving their management skills.

For managers who would like to have these 1:1 discussions, but can't access someone suitable to have them with, we provide coaches who are familiar with the playbook and specialise in getting new managers up to speed. Let us know if you'd like to learn more.

Is the playbook available as a pdf?

Yes, enter your e-mail here to receive a copy.
Thank you! We have e-mailed you a link to the playbook.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.