Many first time managers face significant challenges as they go from a place as someone who “executes” to someone who’s responsible for a team.

Here are some tips to remember if you’re transitioning to a management role for the first time:

This one is hard for a lot of leaders to understand.

Most new managers think that becoming a manager is the “graduation.” Truth is, it’s the reverse.

1. Leaders work for their employees.

That means you have to understand what your employees want at a deep level. You have to be constantly adapting to their needs and what they want from the organization.

For example, one of my employees might want higher pay when he’s 24. But maybe he falls in love at 28 and decides he wants to spend more time with his family. Another might be more interested in a fancy title. Another might want to get access to me and build a relationship. Another might want to go to our state of the art corporate headquarters and work there.

There are a million different variables, and it’s on you as a leader to adjust to reality as it changes.

When you go from being someone who “executes” to someone who’s managing a team, you go from trading on IQ to trading on EQ. You go from doing the actual work to listening to employees, catering to what they want, taking blame, and being the bigger person.

The best managers are actually the best mentors.

2. Lead with empathy and kindness

Empathy and kindness are two massively underrated qualities when it comes to leading a team. They’re not qualities that most people would think makes a good leader, but I believe in them so much.

I genuinely believe that the best leadership qualities are maternal, not paternal. It’s a lot more appropriate and helpful to have a caring, empathetic, understanding personality when you’re a leader than something stern, paternal, or aggressive.

A lot of people overlook the idea that showing emotion is important.

Even if you already think of yourself as an empathetic or kind person, becoming a manager will change how you practically apply that empathy.

A lot of this just comes down to self-esteem. If you’re not secure in yourself, you’re not going to feel as comfortable being kind, positive, and empathetic to other people. It won’t come as natural to build someone up (instead of tear them down). It’s why so many leaders lead with aggressive, mean personalities. Many of them are just insecure on the inside and they project that insecurity on their understudies.

At Many companies today, you can’t lead with ego. They suffocate that out. People who lead with negativity and ego get fired really quickly too from what I’ve seen in business the past 3 decades here in America.

3. To Build Culture, Focus on Coaching and if they don’t shape up, don’t give up on them!

When I hire, I do look for certain qualities.

For example… emotional intelligence matters above everything else. Then, I care about the actual tangible skills candidates have.

It’s not even close. If someone’s a jerk, I won’t hire them – even if their numbers are phenomenal. It’s similar to sports — a team that sticks together will end up beating a team of superstars that were put together for one season (over the long term).

Another big piece of advice I give is hiring people that complement your strengths. If you’re a visionary type of person, hire someone who is obsessed with excel and freaks out if you’re a minute late. Hire someone who loves details.

A lot of leaders get “caught” because they hire friends that are similar to them, but aren’t what they actually need.

But ultimately, to maintain great culture within your team, you have to do one thing:

Focus on getting rid of the cancer by suffocating their negativity with coaching and mentoring. It takes time but it’ll be worth it in the end.

In the early days of my company, I would hire people real easily — but I would fire quickly if and when I realized they weren’t a good fit on my team. It didn’t matter to me how great they were on paper or how talented they were — if they didn’t play well with the other people on the team, they were out.

If you don’t cut that “cancer” out quickly, your team will crumble long term. Nowadays I limit my time with the toxic crabs, my hope is that through my content they’ll succumb to my POV.

4. Being nice is ROI positive

Truth is, you could have the greatest HR tools and software of all time to “monitor” how your employees are doing – but if you don’t actually care about your people at a deep level, you will lose. None of those tools are going to do anything.

As a leader, it’s my job to give my employees 51% of the value in the relationship.

But I’m not Mother Teresa. It’s just practical.

If you’re using negativity as a way to extract value from employees or people on your team, they’ll build resentment towards you and it’ll kill your culture long term.

I want to create a conversation around the practicality of positivity, kindness, and empathy within my organization. I’m not just saying it to be ideological — instilling those characteristics and traits as part of your culture has significant long term impact for your business.

And if there’s ever a debate on what’s good for our employees vs what’s good for our bottom line, she’ll win that debate nine times out of ten.

5. Say “Yes” to Everything

As a leader, I’m very “yes” minded. I say “yes” to virtually everything.

I say “yes” to everything because I look at business as a net-net game.

Let’s say I say “yes” to 12 things, and 7 succeed. On one side, I won 7 times. On the other side, I have to deal with failures — including trying to make up for them because I may have let people down directly or indirectly through those losses.

Even if it breaks down into those two categories, I will still take the 7 wins that resulted from saying “yes” to everything rather than just trying to do 2 or 3 with the goal of “getting them right.”

6. Give Trust Easily

I give trust a lot easier than most CEOs would.

I think it’s just smart. It’s offense.

The reason most people don’t give trust is because they fear losses. They’re afraid of an employee messing up, failing, or creating short term losses in business. But the truth is, at some point, you have to let your kid swim. You have to let your kid swing the bat.

And for me, I’d rather do that sooner than later.

Too many managers put restrictions around their employees, and then lift those restrictions as employees prove themselves. I’d rather give my employees unlimited trust in the beginning, and then slowly take that trust away if and when they do something to lose it. That’s what helps me move fast.

Giving trust also minimizes the risk of micromanagement. When people who are amazing at execution move into a management role, they tend to still be in that “execution” mindset which leads them to be stuck doing other people’s work instead of focusing on managing the team.

But the problem is, most managers are either 1) afraid of short term losses that come with giving trust, or 2) they’re afraid of potentially allowing their understudies to be better than them.

7. Communicate with underperforming employees

There are different types of employees that you’ll have to deal with as a manager — underperforming employees that have strong talent, hardworking employees that aren’t talented, and more.

The way I deal with them is strong communication.

When you have the luxury of being the “judge and the jury” as a manager, the pressure and the onus is on you. If there are employees at VaynerMedia that are highly talented but underperforming, it’s my fault for not creating the infrastructure for them to shine.

Maybe their bosses aren’t “clicking” with them and that’s making them feel demotivated. Maybe they’re just in the wrong department. Maybe we haven’t asked the right questions when it comes to the interests they have.

If you have an employee that’s talented but underperforming, sit down with them in a meeting and ask them:

“Hey Gabriel, I noticed you have talent oozing out of your eyes but you’re not delivering on the hustle – and that’s an important variable here. What am I doing wrong? What’s the company doing wrong? How can we help you succeed?”

Unfortunately, most managers have conversations that go like “Noah, you’re being lazy. Step it up.”

When you’re a leader, you have to put the onus on you. You’re the one creating the rules of the game.

If you don’t like how it’s played, change the rules.

If you got value from this article, it would mean a lot to me if you could share it on Twitter 🙂 #leadership #zarirmerwanji


I have no doubt that there are many people who, upon their introduction to me, didn’t like me – whether it was at a conference, or through a video I made online–

Or maybe they liked me and thought “this guy is full of it.” The cynicism around me and my brand is pretty high, and I’m very aware of it.

But I love it.

The reason I love this is because I know that once you look under the hood of this Alfa Romeo, I deliver. You can market your ass off, but if your product sucks, you’re dead. Your steak can sizzle and look crazy appetizing, but if it doesn’t taste any good, your customers aren’t coming back.

In order to build a functional business that can take on a life of its own, your product just has to be real.

You need to spend all of your time and energy on creating something that actually brings value to the people you’re asking for money!I know it sounds obvious, but it’s something I can’t overstate. It’s imperative.

So let’s take a step back and talk about me. I was 30 years old when I began to produce THE ZARIR MERWANJI AUDIO EXPERIENCE episodes. I had already built a very large business in my 20’s and 30’s.

By the time I segued into making videos about business and marketing, I was 45 years old. So as far as a spectator was concerned I came out of nowhere and was all this and all that, but I had already built the businesses to back up everything I said.

One of the reasons I created a personal brand in the last few years was to remind everybody (and myself!) that I actually build businesses.

It is insane to me that people can speak on marketing and business without having even built a business.

I mean I can respect that sometimes the best sports analysts never played the game, but those people tend to have other qualifications like being the son of a head coach who was groomed since birth or some other variable, they are also far and few between.

Do you have any idea how many social media experts were literally selling real-estate four years ago?

Now I’m not going to get dragged into that mess because the truth remains undefeated.

I mean how in the bloody hell does anybody listen to a marketing author if her/his book is a best-seller on its first week when he gets all his friends to buy, and then is ranked 100,000th on Amazon two weeks later?!

Now this is where some people might talk about the whole idea of “Fake it ‘till you make it,” but they’re missing a really important detail that’s right in front of them.

The part of that statement that really matters is that you actually have to make it eventually.

There is no such thing as “Fake it ’till you fake it.”

Even though I think a lot of people behave as though that were the case.

If you read this far, I just wanted to say thank you 🙂

Tweet me @ZarirMerwanji I want to buy you your favorite Kahawa ☕️



When it comes to building long term relationships with customers, it’s very similar to building long term friendships in kindergarten children are always encouraged to make new friends by talking with others, inviting them over to the house to play, being nice and kind to them.

A lot of times they’ll hear these words to have a friend, you have to be a friend. So in many business situations, customers a lot of times will become more than just your customers.

Would you guys agree with that? they become friends, not necessarily the kind that you’re going to invite over to the bar mitzvah or to ramadan or to non business gatherings, but people that you truly care about and they also care about you.

There is a feature in our local area newspaper where readers are invited to review their favorite non franchise restaurants. I love this because I get to go out and try different things every single month.

That is not a chain type of restaurant. now, the articles to me are absolutely a wonderful publicity for the restaurants. one of the key elements that I see over and over that’s repeated is that the patrons know the names of the owners, the hosts and the servers.

Many of the restaurant workers actually know something about them as well. they know if the guests prefer coffee if they like tea with breakfast, they even might remember their favorite meal asking, hey, do you want the usual black coffee?

Oh my GOD! I LOVE COFFEE!! Sorry, got side tracked 😂 ok listen to me, put yourself in the seats of those guests for a moment. How would it make you feel if you had a particular favorite automatically placed before you without having to explain your preferences?

It would make you feel unbelievable. It would make you feel at home or as if you’re at the home of a very good friend or someone who knows you so well and wants you to have what you want, they want you to be happy.

And that type of response is the ideal when it comes to serving up your customers needs and it can really be created no matter what your product or your service is. my friends.

You might think that you’re in the business of selling automotive services, home, remodeling, repairs, printing services, financial services, you might be a tutor, you might be into signs, you might be an entrepreneur, a baker or a candlestick maker, but you’re not.

Even if your products are sold, only two other businesses, the business doesn’t make the buying decision. a person does listen to me. you’re in the people business and learning to make people feel important and cared about is going to help you make both the initial sale and long term sales.

Over the course of time, no matter what your business is, every customer should always receive your best care during the sales process and after that’s important.

So during the initial sale, get them talking and take good notes, enter the information into your customer database. i’ve got a colleague of mine who has a long list of details that he requires his sales people to gather about their customers over a certain time period.

And you know what I really like that because it includes not just information that’s required to do business, but a few personal details like birthdays, whether or not they’re married, what their children’s names are, whether or not they have animals or pets. The information is then used to make contacts and to really start conversations with customers after the initial sale.

That’s pretty cool. I say all that to say this. People like to do business with people who are just like them. People who demonstrate that they care about them beyond making the sale and who keep them in mind when something new that might be of interest to them actually comes up and arises.

That type of treatment makes them feel super important. They come to rely on businesses and sales people that they know they can trust to have their needs and interests at heart. I really hope you got some value out of this training.

If you did, please smash that like button. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube, hit that bell so that you can get notifications on a weekly basis for a lot of sales in leadership training and i’ll see you in the next post.

Bye! everybody peace now, back to coffee. mhm. oh man! living the mug life, you know what I mean?

Why you want to live the thug life when you can live the mug life, you know what i’m saying bro? yeah.

Please check out the FAMOUS MUG LIFE COFFEE MUG ☕️


Building relationships is a strategic advantage.

If you give value to someone else first, you have a strategic advantage.

It’s as simple as that. I truly believe that when I go and make time to do a keynote or free masterclass (even though my wife and kids think it’s stupid and I should be charging for it), that I then have leverage with that business owner or leader.

It’s a funny statement, and I know it feels kind of dark.

I mean I am so happy that my generosity is viewed in a nice way and contributes to me having a nice reputation, but I’ve said it before: I’m not Mahatma Gandhi.

I just think it’s a smart thing to do. I’m extremely good at building emotional capital.

Now do I cash-in on that leverage?

Sometimes. I actually prefer not to.

I’m very “Old-school, East African”, so I don’t like to ask for favors.

I actually hate that I have a coffee mug, t-shirt and hoodie coming out this winter, and I have to use this leverage to go in for the sale.


That brings me to the other half of the equation, which I think is huge, and that is having zero expectation for others.

The reason that I’m able to give so easily and create that leverage is that I never assume that someone will reciprocate and come through for me.

Both of those sides have to be in play in order for this system to work.

If things get out of balance, one way or another, someone’s going to end up feeling bad.

It’s emotional. It’s taxing.

My wife for example, is just the greatest woman on earth, but boy does she ever get let down by people.

I’m just not like that, okay maybe I used to be and that allows me to play through and keep giving.

What I love best about this is that it allows me to be extremely happy 99.99% of the time.

Lack of expectation and generosity are two very lucky traits I have, and they’re something that I implore more new Managers and future leaders to focus on.

This piece was originally posted on my Linkedin account.

Take a look. I do tons of stuff there!

😉 ✌🏽 ☕️