September 22, 2023
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The Novice Leader

This week I wanted to talk about a white paper that Michelle Manganaro (CSU School of Business Faculty) and I are writing.  The title is “The Young Female Novice Leader in the 21st Century”.  I truly have a passion for helping young leaders get to where they need to go.  Even the youngest leader can benefit from understanding the purpose of being a leader. In my own leadership roles, I started out at the young age of 19 in the marketplace. I had so much to learn and did not realize how many dead ends I would encounter. I had my Dad as a model and he was a strong leader and entrepreneur. I was fortunate to have him coaching me along the way, but looking back, I still wish I had a resource that was directed towards me, a young novice leader.

As a young leader, I wanted more understanding of how to lead others and how to connect with my team. I had the enthusiasm and the drive but no clue as to how to be connected with my team. I think as a young leader and maybe even a seasoned leader, we let our professional title get in the way of how our team perceives us as a person. A leader needs to ask ‘Who am I to my team?’ The professional title can put a wedge between you and your team if you allow it.  You then become someone whom your team fears or tries to avoid as a leader who demands from the team rather than getting involved with the team. When you are young and ambitious, you don’t really know what you are doing and how to do it unless you have some guidance when you jump into the experience. Young leaders need mentoring on how to lead others and most importantly how to develop themselves as well.

In much of the research and discussion that Michelle and I have done, we did not find much that deals with real life situations and how you handle yourself in a leadership position for the first time.  These first time experiences can be tricky in many ways. As a leader you have to tackle many different situations with your team and some you might not handle well and others you might get right the first time; but you might not know how or why it went well. Michelle and I have each come to the conclusion that experience is a key factor in becoming a great leader. Good leadership takes time and effort in learning to lead a team with precision. In our white paper, we pinpoint classic scenarios and somewhat typical situations that leaders often come upon. We expounded on each scenario in order to point out solutions for young leaders.

Among some of the concepts investigated are: As a leader one must learn to lead themselves wisely. Know when to listen and when to speak. Understand that there are always two sides to an argument as you lead your team. Remain true to your moral convictions and attitudes. Learn from others.

Personally, I think finding out who you are is the most important task for today’s young novice leader. What I mean by this is to be comfortable in who you are as a person and not trying to become someone you are not. Once you get that handled and set straight, then you are on the path to becoming an incredible leader because you are authentic.

I want to leave you with just a few tips on leading:

  1. Be confident in you.
  2. Find a mentor who you trust and listen to their advice on leading.
  3. Network with other leaders (this is a must).
  4. Listen to your staff. This builds trust.
  5. Understand teamwork. It is instrumental to your success as a leader.

I hope you’ll take the time to share your leadership journey with me in the comments below.



  1. Michelle Manganaro

    Hello everyone,

    Chantell and I have created a great guidance model for novice leadership than can be used in a multitude of ways — either by an individual faced with the unknowns in a new leadership role or by a faculty member teaching principles of leadership or by a department Director who is coaching newly appointed employees. We hope you glean as much as we did during our process.


  2. Michelle Manganaro

    I just returned from the Leadership Educator’s conference with CSU’s Vice President, Chantell Cooley; there, we presented at a scheduled round table discussion as well as a workshop about how young, 1st time leaders are unique – particularly due to issues that face women today.

    What we learned was that there are variances in their presence and subsequent effectiveness/abilities that young women must hone differently than men, if not for any other reason that perceptions of others. We also heard from various folks in corporate worlds as well as in the academic world who felt the characteristics (stereotypes) are getting closer to becoming ‘human traits’ but are still considered feminine versus masculine traits.

    Let’s consider the many sides of this discussion: For instance, what do you think about the task of providing critical constructive feedback – Is one gender typically better at it in your experiences? Explain.

    Please chime in if you have time.