Why do early employees make bad managers?

Jan 19, 2023

Why your first employees in Year 1 often become your worst managers.

As your company transitions from 6 or 7 employees to 15 or 40 ... this happens.

In the early days everyone takes on a variety of roles and projects. They become jacks-of-all-trades.

But as you grow to more and more employees, you start having managers who now must transform from jack-of-all-trades to masters of one.

They have to become experts in their areas and lead a team of people with the same narrow focus.


In the early days, everyone chipped in to land new customers.

- a little marketing
- a bit of sales
- and some customer service

And the one you thought was great in sales should now become the manager of sales.

Usually a big mistake!


Because too often, they can't lead. And as you hire more and more sales reps with more and more experience, the new reps expect a seasoned leader.

What to do?

Before you promote, set clear expectations of what will be required as you grow and hire more team members.

It's always exciting as a CEO when you select your first team of managers. Feels like a huge accomplishment. Like you're growing into a bigger company.

But CEOs often make huge mistakes here because their manager choices are so limited.

So if you promote, be very honest with your new managers.

Let them know the odds aren't in their favor. But that you're willing to take a chance IF they are willing to master this role as a leader.

As your revenues grow, you'll be able to afford a whole new level of managers. Keep this in mind when you're giving out the early promotions.

It will save you the agony of cleaning house later on, and avoid the team churn associated with bad managers.

Let's make our first choices our best choices.

If you are a faith driven founder, let the Holy Spirit guide you.

He promises to teach us all things. Not only spiritual things, but entrepreneurial things. His prompting will help you make the perfect talent choices.


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