Are you anxious about your first time being in a management role? You’re not alone! The leader’s journey is packed with many challenges for a first-timer.
According to Aaron Regev, a Sales Manager from a well-known home warranty company, “Experience is the key to becoming a truly GREAT manager or leader.” BUT that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn a couple of tricks along the way to help you improve faster.
Today, to give you an idea of what will be expected of you as you fill in your new role, we take a deep dive into Aaron’s own Leader’s Journey!
First, let’s get to know each other! What was your early life like Aaron?
Aaron Regev: My early life was one of potential, I think that’s the best way to describe it! I lived with my parents in Brooklyn, New York — after they had immigrated there from the Middle East. They raised me with that ‘potential’ as hard-working people who wanted to see their son succeed and live life to the fullest as they did.
It was a strict childhood, but not a confining one like you might expect. I was raised to believe in God, and to stay humble. I was also raised with a large, loving family. I still remember visits with my grandmother to this day.
What one word would you use to describe yourself?
Aaron Regev: Hard-working. As mentioned, my parents were the hard-working type. And they taught me, early on, just by being good role models, what successes one can find when they work for it. I use that word to describe me now because it is what I aim to be always.
And what about your favorite quote?
Aaron Regev: My favorite quote came from my grandmother.
It’s short and simple: Always be content. It took me a while to really learn the lesson that the quote imparts, but it means a lot to me.
What special meaning does your favorite quote have for you?
Aaron Regev: I went through a couple of years where I think I got a little lost, you know? As I’m sure a lot of us do. I got too hungry for success. Not necessarily even just for me, but for the companies and the people that I worked for and with. It took a couple of stumbles along the way to truly learn what it meant to me. But now, I work towards that ideal every day — that is, being content with what I have, even when I go chasing off for more. In this way, I know that I’ve got the correct mindset when pursuing new heights.
Now on to your career! What did you use to do before landing your career now?
Aaron Regev: I was in sales! With another company, of course. Different from the one that I work for now (and from an industry entirely separate from the home warranty industry to boot!) I was just a regular salesperson then. Working the regular 9-5 like everyone else was and building experience a bit at a time.
Now, while my career there wasn’t anything impressive by most standards, it was a time for growth for me. I learned what I needed to be a good salesperson and I took that with me.
How did you end up working with the company that you do now?
Aaron Regev: I was out of a job after the company that I was working for went bankrupt, and I was forced to find a new one. I tried not to rush it, of course. I wanted something that would last. And I was fortunate enough that my credentials and skills were enough to get me hired on as a sales manager in the home warranty industry so that I can continue supporting my family.
How did you end up landing your job in the home warranty company, Total Home Protection?
Aaron Regev: As mentioned, a lot of it depended on work experience. I worked for years as a salesperson, and that was able to translate just fine to a more leadership role. I was hired on as a sales manager and trainer because Total Home Protection (THP), which was still pretty new at the time, needed someone to train their salespeople.
What was your first year as a Sales Manager like?
Aaron Regev: Difficult but rewarding! I knew that I had a lot to learn and learn I did to make sure that I could do the job correctly.
In terms of my work and responsibilities as a team leader, I took a lot of inspiration from the people around me to make it work. My boss, the CEO of THP, was one. And then there were also the mentors that I had over the years — who had more than enough wisdom to share.
But, of course, it wasn’t just about the responsibility for my people that I had to learn about, it was also the industry itself. I had to really study it from the ground up as well, and that’s something that I continue to do now, as the market evolves along with the practices around the home warranty space.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Aaron Regev: Strict, but open. When it comes to my team, I’ve learned how to be stern, when necessary, but also always available to help when they need it.
What’s the most important thing any leader should know?
Aaron Regev: As a leader, I think the most important thing is to make sure that you are encouraging your people to grow along with you. That means making sure that they know that your door is always open for them. It also means earning their trust and respect — which I find comes easier the more I communicate with them, and especially more so when I’m right there to work along with them when things get tough.
What advice would you give to someone who may just be starting out on their very first leadership role?
Aaron Regev: I’d tell them the same thing that I tell all my students: keep learning! That’s something that I’ve taken as a sort of a mantra over the years.
I know some that kind of push aside education and power through on experience alone, and for a small few, that works just fine. But I’ll tell you now, when you’re out in the real world? You need to be able to prove that you have the skills that you do. And even more than that, you need to prove yourself an indispensable part of any time.
And to do either? You need to keep learning. Experience is important, yes. And, I think, is what will ultimately make you a GREAT leader. But to be able to reach that level of greatness, you need to educate yourself and become a good one first!
What is one common mistake that first-time leaders make? (And how can they avoid it?)
Aaron Regev: Earlier I think I mentioned that I stumbled a couple of times throughout my career because of my thirst for success. It’s not an altogether new thing. I think that can happen to just about everyone — but most especially for those that are just starting out, and thus are eager to prove, to grow, to accomplish.
So, my advice to first-time leaders is to learn humility. To be ‘content’, as my grandmother used to say. My point here is not to stop you from pursuing growth. It’s to make sure that you know that you are chasing after your goals responsibly, as any great leader should.
It’s much too easy to get lost when you’re just starting out. And the sooner that you’re aware of that? The better off you’ll be!
What is one piece of advice that you were given starting out that you don’t agree with now?
Aaron Regev: I’m not sure if it really categorizes as advice or a value for some… But I had this mentor who went about his professional life with a ‘put everyone down’ kind of approach. Mostly his competitors, I guess. In his eyes, the way towards success is beating the competition. But again, like with what I said earlier about getting stuck on chasing after success, I’ve found that his approach just didn’t work for me.
I think that you should be aware of your competitors. Of course, you should. But your focus should always be on yourself. Don’t underestimate them or ignore them (cause they’re not going to go away). But don’t get so lost in trying to bring them down that you forget that what you should really be doing is bringing yourself up.
Thank you very much for all your advice today! Where can our readers find you after this?
Aaron Regev: I’m not all that big on social media because I like to keep myself busy with work and spending time with my family — and my career really isn’t something that is set for social media anyway. But I am available on certain platforms online — as everyone must be these days!