First-Time Leader

Leverage several lifetimes of leadership insights to accelerate success.

"Incredible insight essential to leaders at all levels. I will refer back to these often." Jaime Mazza – Human Resource Manager

If only I had known then what I know now about leadership.” Our goal for this book is that years from now…this thought will never cross your mind. Most people become good leaders only after stumbling through new situations, making mistakes, and learning from them. Not you. You’re going to benefit from several lifetimes of leadership insights, learning from others' mistakes and positive experiences to cut out a lot of unnecessary stumbling and pain and accelerate your success as a first-time leader.

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Listen to a "CEO in 10" discussion of the ideas in the book or one on Total Picture Radio

[Note "First-Time Leader" is for, amazingly enough, first-time leaders. More experienced leaders will do better with our book, "The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan".]

The First-Time Leader book begins with a discussion of taking charge of your new team and then tracks through BRAVE leadership components from the outside in:

  • Environment: setting the context for everything else by understanding where you are playing.
  • Values: the bedrock of a high performing team. Get clear on what really matters and why.
  • Attitude: encompassing strategic, posture, and culture choices around how to win
  • Relationships: the heart of leadership. If you can’t connect, you can’t lead.
  • Behaviors: the actions that make real lasting impact on others.

We pull it all together by talking about leading teams of different sizes from smaller starter teams to larger teams that need to embrace hierarchy.

"This book will help first-time leaders be BRAVE and inspire others to be BRAVE through its worksheets, steps, acronyms, lists, insights, real life stories which really provide color commentary to the content, and even simple stuff like running meetings." Kris Adler – Program Manager

This book provides foundational frameworks, processes and tools to help by:

  • Laying out a way of thinking and a structure for action for your leadership at both conceptual and tactical levels. We’ll tell you what to do next, later, never, why, and how.
  • Providing examples and stories from experienced leaders and experts to guide you through risk-filled situations you may not have experienced yourself – yet.
  • Making available 48 downloadable tools, easily adaptable for the situations you face.

"BRAVE is very useful to apply to many different leadership challenges from setting strategy to crafting effective communication plans. Loved the stories." MaryBeth Schroeder – Director Talent Development and Internal Communication

"Combines crisp identification of critical leadership concepts with detailed and comprehensive resources to assist leaders (both new and experienced) of organizations of any size or function." Seth Gardner – Executive Director

"Where was this book as I cruised up the corporate ladder at P&G, PepsiCo and Paramount? It is written with clarity, conviction and common sense.

First-Time Leader is the quintessential book for new leaders. If you don't have a board of advisors, make this book your North Star. This book is foundational to helping new leaders and their teams deliver better results faster.

Our Life Lessons Network and CEO in 10 shows has voted this book in our top 10 MUST read for 2013. We found George and Gillian's approach with B.R.A.V.E. and the three secrets of happiness as the new backbone for leadership!" Rick Tocquigny – Host – Life Lessons Radio- "America's Favorite Lessons Show"

George Bradt headshotms

Follow this link for a video with attitude

Read Eric Jacobson's review in the Examiner

Read Madanmohan Rao's review on Your Story

(See Feb. 18 2014 Press Announcement)

“First-Time Leader” Q&A  – with Authors George Bradt and Gillian Davis

Who is this book intended to help?

 “First-Time Leader” is primarily, as the title aptly describes, for first time leaders. It is relevant for anyone taking on direct reports for the first time. With that said, there many non-traditional leadership situations where this book would also be helpful such as when experienced professionals start a new division and must build a team to support it. The book is also relevant for start-up owners that are expanding. And, because the basics of leadership always apply, it is for anyone looking to take a fresh look at the basics of leadership.

What is “First-Time Leader” about?

Leading requires entirely different strengths than managing, and this book outlines strategies to help managers become leaders by uniting their team around a shared cause. Many mistakenly assume that you need charisma to be an effective leader, and you either have it or you don’t. This is a false assumption. Charisma might help for a short period of time, but the long-term path to effective leadership is using our BRAVE framework to identify a cause and rally the team around it. This can be learned; charisma cannot.

What core framework is the book built around?

BRAVE is a leadership framework that helps first-time leaders successfully build their team by uniting them around a shared purpose. The term reflects an acronym that stands for behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values and environment. Carefully considering and analyzing each component will help first-time leaders discover this shared purpose and incorporate it into the company’s larger strategy and their team’s implementation of same. 

Specifically, how are the five components defined?

  1. Behaviors –  The actions that make real lasting impact on others
  2. Relationships – The heart of leadership. If you can’t connect, you can’t lead
  3. Attitudes – Encompassing strategic, posture, and culture choices around how to win
  4. Values – The bedrock of a high performing team. Get clear on what really matters and why
  5. Environment – Setting the context for everything else by understanding where you are playing

How is BRAVE put into practice?

When you actually approach each of the five components, you’ll do it in reverse order:

  1. Start with your analysis of the Environment. Get clear on where you are going to play, who you are going to compete with.
  2. Then, align your team around shared Values and what success will look like. At this point you know what you want to achieve, and why.
  3. Attitude is all about strategy and the organizational posture and culture that will drive it. Once the strategy is set, execution happens through relationships and behaviors.
  4. Relationships are how you communicate your strategy internally and externally and delegate appropriately. This step also involves acquiring and developing talent, as appropriate.
  5. Finally, Behaviors are what put your strategy into action. It’s the art of getting things done through other people by effective project management.

The end result is an actionable plan that will help you become a leader that produces results – not just a manager that delegates – by inspiring others around a shared purpose and enabling them to do their best work. 

What are some misconceptions new leaders have about leadership that this book dispels?

Many first-time leaders fall into the trap of believing there is a one-size-fits-all approach to success in their new role. That’s why we added a chapter on the differences between leading small (less than 10 people), medium (10 to 20) and large (30+) teams. The BRAVE framework gives leaders the flexibility to focus on the area(s) that are most applicable to their specific leadership situation.

How is “First-Time Leader” different from other leadership books and the other titles that you’ve written?

Other books for first-time leaders put too much emphasis on management processes like delivering difficult feedback, firing employees, etc. These are important issues and we address them in “First-Time Leader,” but other books lack a framework to help managers become leaders by uniting the team around a shared purpose.

The main difference between “First-Time Leader” and “The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan” (NL100DAP) is that the latter is for experienced leaders moving into complex situations. We incorporated content from NL100DAP in “First-Time Leader,” specifically around our proven onboarding processes. However, “First-Time Leader” is built around our BRAVE leadership framework, and also addresses tactical items specific to first-time leaders.

“Onboarding” is written for the direct supervisor of a new employee, and is designed to help them manage the process of recruiting, orientation, and then managing the employee on an ongoing basis. We incorporated insights from this volume about how to hire great people and onboard them into “First-Time Leader.” “The Total Onboarding Program” is designed to help human resource professionals institutionalize a systemic approach to onboarding within their organizations