152. Having a Leadership Playbook

About this Podcast

Ep. 152 – We’ve all been there: feeling like we’re just repeating the same mistakes or not retaining the things we have heard.

But what if you took a lesson from those experiences, rather than letting them slip away?

On this episode of The Manager Track podcast, I’ll show how creating and using your very own leadership playbook is the key to advancing in your career! Discover when and why it’s useful as well as exactly how having one can help propel you forward on an upward trajectory.

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Ramona Shaw [00:00:00]:
This is episode 152 about having a leadership playbook. Let’s dive in. Here’s the question.

Ramona Shaw [00:00:05]:
How do you successfully transition into your 1st official leadership role, build the confidence and competence to lead your team successfully, and establish yourself as a respected and trusted leader across the organization? That’s the question, And this show provides the answers. Welcome to The Manager Track podcast. I’m your host, Ramona Shaw, and I’m on a mission to create Workplaces where work is not seen as a source of stress and dread, but as a source of contribution, connection, and fulfillment. And this transition starts with developing new generation of leaders who know how to lead so everyone wins and grows? In the show, you’ll learn how to think, communicate, and ask as the confident and confident leader you know you can be?

Ramona Shaw [00:00:48]:
Welcome to this episode of The Manager Track podcast. Today, I wanna talk about having a leadership playbook? If you have been a longer term listener of the podcast, then you for sure have heard me talk about Having a leadership system. A leadership system is very similar to having a leadership playbook, but the playbook takes a little bit of a different spin. So I’m gonna Just talk about the importance of developing your leadership system and your leadership principles from that angle of having a leadership playbook. Every sports team has a playbook. Right? And nowadays, even revenue teams or customer success teams, Startups in general, they use the term playbook all the time. It’s like the question of what’s to play, let’s create a playbook, comes up a lot. And the same reason for why we would create a playbook for a sales rep is why we would create a playbook for a leader? In fact, when I work with organizations, with startups who are growing fast and developing leaders at a pretty accelerated rate? And there are a lot of first time managers naturally in the company because of the organic growth or the steep growth Or because of funding rounds, because it was a young team and they get funded, and all of a sudden these people grow fast in their leadership roles.

Ramona Shaw [00:02:09]:
They often start doing the work around values and culture, but are missing the actual playbook or the operating manual for what it means to be a leader at the organization? Now you don’t have to wait for the organization. You don’t have to depend on the organization to create some kind of playbook or operating manual, for you to develop your own playbook? Because at the end of the day, anything that you do and learn as a leader Is yours just like going to college and getting a degree? Is yours, and it’s not the company’s. It’s not dependent on anyone else. No one else is gonna take it from you. Your degree will be helpful to you, beneficial for the rest of your career. The same is true with your leadership playbook. Developing your own playbook will be independent of the company you currently work at, and it’s therefore also your responsibility solely to create and own your leadership playbook? If your company does have clear expectations on what it means to lead here and clear values or principles related or applicable to leadership, then Use those, build them into your current playbook, but don’t delegate this work out. This is the work that you need to do and not depend on any organization or outsources it anyway? Now when you do have a leadership playbook, just like a sports team has a playbook and they look at the game and they look at different place, Your leadership playbook will give you clarity and guidance in how to address specific challenges.

Ramona Shaw [00:03:42]:
So if you, for example, have someone who’s underperforming on your team? We talked about that in a recent podcast. What are the questions that you’re gonna ask yourself to try to solve it? How are you addressing the challenge? What actions are you going to take? If you’ve done it in the past, you’ve learned a great deal through the process? But are you capturing it? Did you write down what you’ve learned and what worked and what didn’t work and what you do again? You might not have another underperformer for a year or 2. And if you don’t pause for a moment to capture your lessons learned and to write out your play, You might have to start all over again next time, or you’ll have to learn the same lessons over and over again. So your leadership playbook will be a place where you document and take notes on the things that work for you or didn’t work for you. If you have had Had a bad boss in the past, and they did something that you found terribly annoying, most of us have been there, and you decided I will never do this to my team members? What was that? Capture it somewhere of What not to do? And then write down what you wanna do instead, how you wanna lead instead, how you wanna set goals, How you wanna delegate? How you wanna ensure that they stay motivated or that they have clarity on their career goals? By the way, we’ve talked about this specific topic in our podcast here as well. I’m gonna link to it in the show notes. So what I wanna encourage you today with this episode is The idea of having a leadership playbook is to capture your lessons learned, to, write down what you’re picking up from bad leaders, what you’re picking up from good leaders, your insights from podcasts, from books, from courses, trainings, things where you’re getting exposed to some kind of leadership Philosophy, leadership principles, leadership tactics, behaviors that either resonate or don’t resonate. But write Them down to create your own playbook.

Ramona Shaw [00:05:44]:
Maybe you’re in a conversation with your manager, And they’re asking you a really good question about how you might be overcoming a conflict with a coworker. And the question really resonates with you, and By answering the question, you get greater clarity. Don’t just move on and goes off the conflict. Recognize that this is a learning opportunity. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Stand on the shoulders of those who have come before you. Take that question and write it down in your playbook so that when you find yourself in a situation where your direct report comes to you with a similar challenge, you have a question in your playbook that you can say like, hey. Let me look something up quickly.

Ramona Shaw [00:06:25]:
And you go back and you find that question, and then you ask that question. Or you might just naturally remember the question Way easier because you’ve taken a moment to capture it and write it down so you’re better prepared to handle a similar situation in the future. As a caring and driven manager, I know you want to strengthen your leadership skills, advance your career, and lead a high performing engaged team. And in order to do that, as a leader, you need to lead with a system, not by shooting from your hips or reacting to everyone else around you. To do so, you need to, first, learn what should go into a leadership system, and second, develop your own. Now the good news is that I teach you one must have part in your leadership system in a concise, actionable, and yet Comprehensive course focused on running successful 1 on 1 meetings with your direct reports. It includes over 67 minutes of tactical leadership training plus a set of resources to make this as easy and immediately applicable for you as possible? You can either watch the video lessons or listen to it through a private podcast feed on your phone? You can get your hands on this course, which I want every single manager to have, for a nominal $19 at ramonashaw.com/oneone. That’s 2 times the number one.

Ramona Shaw [00:07:48]:
You can check the show notes for the details or head on over to ramona shaw.com/oneone to get started right now. If you’re now in a first time leadership role, the chances are high that you wanna be in a leadership role again in your next job. And when you interview for a leadership role, especially more senior leadership roles, You have to be prepared to answer questions such as, what is your process for promotions? How do you deal with bad behaviors from a top performer? How do you run your team meetings? What’s your goal setting approach, and how do you ensure accountability on your team? What does your interview process look like? How do you identify a players? Or how do you manage performance? Those are questions you have to be prepared to answer. And if you find yourself in a interview sort of shooting from your hips and pulling things out your sleeves because you’ve never actually, in a methodical way, wrote this down and thought about your processes, your place as a leader. You’re not taking your leadership role seriously enough. You’re still relying way too much on your technical expertise for you to build trust and credibility and deliver results, but your expertise will not scale? Your leadership skills and your leadership plays, in that case, your principles and processes and systems We’ll scale with you as a leader. And as much as it was important for you to build up your technical expertise to get to where you are today in order to grow as a leader and exponentially increase your responsibilities or your scope of Responsibilities, the number of people on your team, the different departments that you might be leading or different sub teams or departments even that you might be leading. Your leadership has to scale.

Ramona Shaw [00:09:45]:
And that shooting from the hips kind of stuff, that might have worked back in the days when there was a lot more command and control in place. Right? So there were a lot more of directive approach, a rules based approach, a process based approach in terms of clocking in and clocking out, But that does not work anymore, especially in a situation where we work remotely or in hybrid teams where, Team members require flexibility. They require sort of this sense of self actualization, and they’re looking for recognition, impact, Significance, growth, all of these human needs they’re trying to meet with their career. It requires a way greater deal of leadership skills in order to do well in such an environment. It requires stronger skills from the leader in order to meet those needs? In the past, we might have needed those from high you know, Executives, they needed really strong leadership skills. Frontline leaders were a lot more rural and process driven. But nowadays, even the frontline leaders, your first time managers peers who are at the front? They need to have significantly stronger leadership skills in order to navigate the complexity and the increased demands and needs in the workplace? And so your leadership playbook will help you get there, help you do this so you don’t have to put years or decades into your leadership training on the job, learning similar mistakes over and over again, or not standing on the shoulders Those who’ve gone before you because you are too reactive and unintentional and not reflective enough in your role? So I hope I make a really strong argument here for having some kind of leadership playbook. And there isn’t one way to do this.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:32]:
It has to work for you in terms of the format that you use and the content of your playbook, what all that looks like? People that are in my programs, We work specifically on leadership principles as well as behaviors and tactical things that form a system or based on a framework that then together create the leadership play But you don’t have to wait for any of that. You could literally start today, grab a blank sheet of paper or open some kind of digital document, And start writing down the do’s and don’ts. Start writing down the key responsibilities you have as a leader in terms of leading a team, leading a direct report, and then what works for you and what isn’t working for you? And then Start paying attention to the people around you, the leaders around you, and add what you learn or what you see. Look up the books that you’ve recently read or that you are going to read in the future and capture your insights as well so that you’re developing your own leadership playbook? And if you ever find yourself in an interview or even if you interview someone for your team and they’re asking you about your leadership style or they’re asking you How you manage performance? Or they’re asking you how you set goals. It’s a great question to ask as a candidate to make sure that you’re joining a team with a strong leader. You’re that kind of leader who can have a very clear, concise answer to it that demonstrates your competence as a leader. If you’d like some help with creating your leadership playbook and you’re ready to invest in your leadership growth, check out either the leadership to accelerate a program or the leadership advisory program? Both are linked to in the show notes. And with that, we’re gonna wrap up.

Ramona Shaw [00:13:14]:
I wish you a productive and successful day. I’ll I’ll be back with another episode of the manage to track podcast next week. If

Ramona Shaw [00:13:21]:
you enjoyed this episode, then check out 2 other awesome resources to help you become leader people love to work with? This includes my best selling book, The Confident and Competent New Manager, which you can find on Amazon or at ramonashaw.com slash book and a free training on how to successfully lead as a new manager. You can check it out at ramona shaw.com/masterclass. Us. These resources and a couple more, you’ll find in the show notes down below.


  • Take the next step in your leadership journey by signing up for my Leadership Accelerator Program for new managers or Leadership Advisory Program for mid-level leaders.
  • Learn how to turn your 1-on-1 meetings from time wasters, awkward moments, status updates, or non-existent into your most important and valuable meeting with your directs all week. Access the course and resources here: ramonashaw.com/11
  • Have a question or topic you’d like Ramona to address on a future episode? Fill out this form to submit it for her review: https://ramonashaw.com/ama



Grab your copy of Ramona’s best-selling book ‘The Confident & Competent New Manager: How to Rapidly Rise to Success in Your First Leadership Role’: amzn.to/3TuOdcP

If this episode inspired you in some way, take a screenshot of you listening on your device and post it to your Instagram Stories, and tag me @ramona.shaw.leadership or DM me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/ramona-shaw

Are you in your first manager role and don’t want to mess it up? Watch our FREE Masterclass and discover the 4 shifts to become a leader people love to work for: ramonashaw.com/masterclass

Don’t forget to invest time each week to increase your self-awareness, celebrate your wins, and learn from your mistakes. Your career grows only to the extent that you grow. Grab your Career Journal with leadership exercises and weekly reflections here: ramonashaw.com/shop

Love the podcast and haven’t left a review yet? All you have to do is go to ramonashaw.com/itunes and give your honest review. Thanks for your support of this show!

* Disclaimer: Shownotes may contain affiliate links. That means that I am awarded a small commission for purchases made through them, at no added cost to you.


00:00 Preview

00:48 This is your leadership playbook

03:28 What is the purpose of your playbook?

07:58 Reflecting on your leadership

11:25 Recap

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