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Going from developing software to managing people

A proven process for navigating the transition into leadership

Topic: Software Development
Dave McKeown

The number one reason people leave their job is an incompetent or uncaring boss. Yet too few organizations provide new managers with the adequate skills and tools they need to make the shift from being an individual contributor to a manager of people. Nowhere is this more prevalent than the software development and engineering industries.

In this fast-moving two-hour course, Dave McKeown draws on well-researched best practices to provide you with a framework to elevate your focus, develop your people and get more done. You'll get hands-on experience with a set of lightweight tools you can use immediately to elevate your job performance and communication skills.

Specifically, you’ll walk through exercises that will improve your ability to:

  • Manage your time
  • Delegate more effectively
  • Coach your team to success
  • Handle difficult conversations
  • Build shared accountability

You’ll walk away with a 6 step process for practicing these crucial skills and a way to ensure you achieve your goals. Whether you're a new manager or are just looking for a refresher, you'll gain the confidence and ability to lead your team to new levels of success.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • Why "what got you here won’t get you there" as a new manager
  • The six key skills that new managers should develop (time management, delegation, coaching, feedback and difficult conversations, working cross-functionally, and accountability)
  • The importance of actively practicing your leadership skills
  • Why having an accountability partner will double your chance of achieving your goals

And you’ll be able to:

  • Identify the managerial skills you're strongest in and those that need development
  • Regularly set goals to develop key managerial and leadership skills
  • Practice the development of key leadership skills in an everyday setting
  • Use an accountability partner to drive through results
  • Review the success of your development plan and adjust it as necessary

This training course is for you because...

  • You're considering a transition into management and want an accurate look at how your job will change.
  • You're a new manager and need to get up to speed quickly with the best way to lead a team.
  • You’ve been in a management position for some time but know that there’s another gear you can kick into with your team if you only had the right tools.
  • You’re hoping to build leadership skills in yourself or your team and are looking for a proven way to do so.


  • Participants should be in or considering a managerial role.

Recommended preparation:

  • Watch the "Thinking like a manager" course introduction video and then download and complete the self-assessment quiz prior to the course.

About your instructor

  • Dave McKeown is the CEO of Outfield Leadership, a leadership consultant, and the author of The Self-Evolved Leader: Elevate Your Focus and Develop Your People in a World That Refuses to Slow Down. He has a wealth of experience in connecting individual and team performance to improved business results, with a particular focus on fast-growing, complex organizations. Dave speaks, coaches, and trains on moving from execution to excellence. His goal is to help organizations build a culture of real, authentic, and ultimately results-driven leadership. He’s shared his leadership strategies at the Inc. 500 and GrowCo Conferences, for Bank of America, the British Government, Entrepreneur's Organization, and Bamboo HR, and with countless others. He’s the host of the podcast Lead Like You Give a Damn and writes a regular leadership column for Inc.com.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

The key shifts new managers go through (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: The key shifts that first-time managers go through; the types of work you’re now responsible for; why it’s an inflection point in your career for building strong management and leadership skills; what it means to be an effective manager
  • Hands-on exercise: Set your goals for the session; reflect on what good management and leadership looks like compared to poor management and leadership
  • Q&A

The six key skills every manager needs (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: The six key skills every manager needs—time management, delegation, coaching, feedback, difficult conversations, working cross-functionally, and accountability; why they're important to becoming a successful manager
  • Hands-on exercise: Conduct a baseline assessment of your managerial strengths and development points
  • Q&A

Time management and delegation (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: The importance of quickly prioritizing new inputs; building delegation into your daily and weekly workload using a simple six-step process
  • Hands-on exercise: Analyze your current workload and build a "do or delegate" plan for each appropriate action
  • Q&A
  • Break (10 minutes)

Coaching, feedback, and difficult conversations (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: How the skills of coaching, feedback, and difficult conversations combine to form a powerful force that helps you develop your people and get more done and allows you to focus on the medium to long term direction of your team
  • Hands-on exercise: Expand on your delegation plan from above to include how you can best follow up with coaching and feedback
  • Q&A

Working cross-functionally and driving accountability (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: Reaching across the organization to help your team get more done; building key relationships; holding your team accountable to deliver on their projects and actions
  • Hands-on exercise: Build an accountability plan for the work you need your team to deliver on; set clear goals, boundaries, and expectations
  • Q&A

Deep practice and building your plan (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: The value in practicing your leadership skills and the best way to do so; how to build an accountability framework to ensure you’re developing at the speed and rate you need to
  • Hands-on exercise: Fine-tune your development plan and build an accountability system to accelerate the impact of your results
  • Q&A

Wrap-up and Q&A (15 minutes)