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Managers Learn by Being Managed Well
If you ask a good manager where he or she learned how to manage, the answer is likely to be from a manager who was important to their own career. While courses and trainings on management skills are valuable and should be used, people appear to learn the most about managing by being managed. And while a bad manager can provide valuable lessons in what not to do, people learn more about management by being managed well. Employees who are managed effectively tend to be happier and more productive. As a result, when they enter management, they want to recreate that environment for their own employees or direct reports.
Pair New Managers with Mentors
Mentoring is invaluable when developing new managers, whether they are freshly in the position or on the management track for the future. Identify the top managers in your organization, and encourage them to mentor up and coming managers. When you hire a new manager, or identify an employee with management potential, pair him or her with a manager who has a track record of effectiveness. Encourage employees who aspire to management to seek out mentor relationships with managers they admire as well. Mentoring relationships give employees a chance to see good management “in action” and also to seek feedback from someone they respect. Mentors can help provide development opportunities and can also serve as valuable sounding boards for new managers.
Reward Effective Managers
One of the surest ways to promote and reinforce effective, quality management is to reward effective managers. Recognizing and rewarding those managers who demonstrate the skills and competencies valued by the organization reinforces that good management is itself valued. When employees at all levels see effective managers being recognized and rewarded, they aspire to demonstrate the same traits they see from these individuals. Depending on your company culture, rewards for effective managers may be financial (as in raises), incentives (such as extra vacation time), symbolic (such as plaques or certificates) or a mix of the three. Finding out what motivates individual managers and tailoring the rewards is also an effective strategy. Whatever reward system you choose, take the time to not only reward effective managers but recognize their efforts in a public way.
Emulate Effective Managers
Who was the best manager you ever had? What qualities did he or she demonstrate? Managers who have been managed well often emulate behaviors and practices they’ve learned from past managers, which in turn give their own employees the experience of being managed well. Emulating effective managers whether they are currently inside your organization or not, is another way to model desired behavior and develop new managers. When working with new managers, encourage them to emulate the best traits and practices of managers they’ve had in the past, whether at your organization or another. Encourage new managers or those aspiring to management to reflect on the best bosses, supervisors, or other managers they have ever worked with. Have them list the qualities, behaviors, or practices that made them so memorable and so effective. Encourage employees to emulate these qualities, behaviors, and practices. Also encourage them to look to managers they see as effective in your organization, and identify traits of those individuals they can emulate as well.
Create and Document Best Practices
There are many ways to be an effective manager, and each organization’s culture will influence the type of management it values. Creating and documenting a set of best management practices helps to reinforce the organizational culture and serves as a resource for new managers – and indeed for all managers as they grow and develop in their careers. A best practices document need not be long or exhaustive, and it should be a living document which can change as new practices emerge as effective. Working with employees at multiple levels, identify what management practices and behaviors are consistently identified as effective, engaging, and motivating. Also review organizational policies (such as around hiring and termination) and develop a set of best practices based on these. Adopting a central set of best practices helps to ensure consistency, and also serves as another guidepost for managers as they develop and grow. Make the best practices document readily available.
For more on the Developing New Managers Course from Corporate Training Materials, please visit:
Understand Emotions and How to Manage Them in the Workplace
As previously stated, having emotions is an inherent part of all human beings. Understanding one’s emotions and learning how to use them is the responsibility of each person. Many times, it may feel like the workplace is no place for emotions, whether good or bad. But the truth is, emotions must be utilized!
For example, if you are the manager and your team is about to miss an important deadline, it is up to you to stress how necessary it is for you to meet the deadline. The approach you take is determined by your natural tendencies as well as level of professionalism. One level-headed approach may be to call the team to a meeting and explain the ramifications of not meeting the deadline. This would also be a good time to listen to the team members to find out if there is something out of their control that is preventing them from doing their job.
A less calm and volatile method would be to yell at everyone and tell them to get to work.
Deciding which style is best can be done by weighing the pros and cons of each as well as which would result in the most positive outcome. Do not rely solely on how you feel, but what makes logical sense.
Role of Emotional Intelligence at Work
Emotional Intelligence plays a vital role in the workplace. How one feels about himself, interacts with others, and handles conflict is directly reflected in the quality of work produced. Both social and personal proficiencies are developed as a result of Emotional Intelligence.
- Empathy – Being aware of others’ feelings and exhibiting compassion.
- Intuition – An inner sense of the feelings of others’.
- Political Acumen – Ability to communicate, strong influence and leadership skills, and conflict-resolution.
- Self-Awareness – Understanding one’s own emotions. The ability to asses one’s self as well as display confidence.
- Self-Regulation – Managing one’s emotions. Maintaining trustworthiness and flexibility.
- Motivation – Being optimistic about situations. Having the drive to take initiative and commit until completion.
To disagree constructively means to do so in a positive, productive manner. Its purpose is not to disagree for the sake of disagreeing or getting your point across. It is also not used to be negative or destructive of another’s thoughts. The workplace is a place where disagreeing is a common occurrence. Companies look for the most effective ways to carry out operations and therefore invest in process improvement strategies, which opens the floor for discussion and compromise.
What does constructively disagreeing look like in practice, you may ask. Well, it is acknowledging and confirming someone else’s ideas before presenting your own.
Ted: Because of the nature of their duties, I feel the customer service phone team should arrive 30 minutes before their shift to bring up their systems and test their equipment to make sure it is properly working so they are ready to take the first call as soon as their shift starts.
Michael: I understand your point, Ted and I agree the phone team should arrive early to prepare themselves for the start of their shift. However, I feel 15 minutes is sufficient time for them to get everything in place.
For more information on our Emotional Intelligence course, please visit:
Using Business Cards Effectively
Networking is not complete without receiving or giving a business card. The business card is a way for you to follow up on the people you have met. Likewise, it is a way for them to contact you for further meetings.
More than that, your business card is a way to brand yourself. Professional-looking business cards send the message that you’re professional. Adding your company motto or tagline in your business advertises you and what you’re all about.
5 Tips on Using Business Cards Effectively:
- Never be without your business cards! (Make sure there’s always a stack in your office desk, and in your wallet. You’ll never know; even a trip to the grocery story can present an opportunity to network.
- Follow the protocol on hierarchy. Cards should not be given to senior executives that you meet, unless they’ve asked for one.
- Time the presentation of your card. Don’t just hand over your business card at any random moment. Handing a business card in the middle of a discussion can be an interruption, as parties would need to take a moment to give it a look. You also want to make sure that your card is perused at point when the other person can give it his or her full attention. The best moments to hand a card is when you’re asked for one, when you’re asked to repeat your name, or when someone offers to send you something.If the two organizations that you represent are well-known to each other, although you haven’t met your host before, offering your card is probably best left to the end of the meeting. If your host is unfamiliar with your company, offering your card at the beginning of the meeting is good practice.
- Accompany your business card with an explanation of what you can offer them. When you hand another person your card, give a brief “action recommendation.” This can increase the likelihood of them contacting you again. For instance you may say: “I think I can help with your PR concerns, Mr. Johnston. Here is my card.” You may also ask for referrals. Invite the other person to send your contact details to anyone they know who can use your services or products.
- When receiving a business card, show the other person that you value their
card. Look at the business card for a few seconds. Comment about the card. Let them see that you take care in storing their card as well, instead of just jamming it in your pocket.
For more information on our Business Etiquette course, please visit:
Performing a Needs Analysis
Clients need many more things than you might be planning to sell them. The more you can do for a client, the more you will be seen as a valuable partner. Here are some suggestions about how it might be possible to meet some other client needs:
- Information. You might be able to act as a consultant to a client, providing information about the latest developments in your field.
- Training. If you provide a product that requires some training, make training part of the package.
- Financing. If your company does not provide financing, put the client in touch with banks that do.
- Community. Communities often grow up around particular products, especially high tech products. Introduce clients to users groups or trade organizations.
- Personnel. You probably know a number of capable people who are thinking about changing jobs. Helping a client find skilled employees can benefit everyone involved. If the people you recommend are hired, they will become some of your strongest advocates.
For more on our Sales Fundamentals training course, please visit:
Guidelines for Managing Ethics in the Workplace
Managing ethics in the workplace requires certain tools. Every organization needs a Code of Ethics, a Code of Conduct, and Policies and Procedures, which is discussed within the CTM Business Ethics course. These tools direct the organization as leaders attempt to manage ethics.
Guidelines for Implementing and Managing Ethics:
- Give it time: Managing ethics is a process-oriented activity that requires time and constant assessment.
- Focus on behavior: Do not give vague requirements; make sure that ethics management has an impact on behavior.
- Avoid problems: Create clear codes and policies that will prevent ethical problems.
- Be open: Involve different groups in ethics program and make decisions public.
- Integrate ethics: Make sure that all management programs have ethical values.
- Allow for mistakes: Teach employees how to behave ethically, and do not give up when mistakes happen.
Roles and Responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities necessary to effectively implement workplace ethics will vary with each organization. A manager should be in place to oversee the ethics program, but he or she will need the support provided by other positions. Smaller organizations may not need to fill all of the roles listed below; determine what your company needs before executing an ethics program.
- CEO: The CEO of every company needs to support business ethics and lead by example.
- Ethics committee: An ethics committee will develop and supervise the program.
- Ethics management team: Senior managers implement the program and train employees.
- Ethics executive: An ethics executive or officer is trained to resolve ethical problems.
- Ombudsperson: This position requires interpreting and integrating values throughout the organization.
Developing a Tracking System
Although there are many time management systems out there, we have found that most systems boil down to a few key principles. Here are our top three ideas.
Electronic Solutions: Most e-mail applications (including Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes) actually fall into the category of a PIM (Personal Information Manager) application. This means that they can store calendar, task, e-mail, and contact information all in one place.
To make the most of your electronic solution, follow these tips:
- Keep personal and professional information in two separate locations. (For example, you might have a computer at home and one at work, or two e-mail profiles on the same computer.)
- Take the time to learn about the features of the application and how to use them to be more productive. We’ll look at this a bit more later on in the course.
- Try to use just the application as much as you can. Switching between your computer and your day timer will waste time and increase the risk of missing information.
Productivity Journal: If you’re more of a traditionalist and prefer using something similar to an old-fashioned day timer, try this solution.
To start, get yourself a spiral notebook and label it as your Personal Productivity Journal or your Professional Productivity Journal. (We recommend keeping a separate journal for work and for your personal life, so you can focus on them at separate times, thus maintaining your optimal work/life balance.) Label each page with the day and the date and what needs to be done that particular day. Next, prioritize each task in order of importance. Highlight the top three items and focus on those first. Cross off items as you complete them. Items that are not completed should be carried over to the next page.
You can keep a long-term calendar in the back of the book (or use a three-ring binder with sections) to record upcoming events.
The Urgent/Important Matrix: Managing time effectively, and achieving the things that you want to achieve, means spending your time on things that are important and not just urgent. To do this, you need to distinguish clearly between what is urgent and what is important. This concept, coined the Eisenhower Principle, is said to be how former US President Dwight Eisenhower organized his tasks. It was rediscovered and brought into the mainstream as the Urgent/Important Matrix by Stephen Covey in his 1994 business classic, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Here is a breakdown of each quadrant.
- Urgent and Important: Activities in this area relate to dealing with critical issues as they arise and meeting significant commitments. Perform these duties now.
- Important, But Not Urgent: These success-oriented tasks are critical to achieving goals. Plan to do these tasks next.
- Urgent, But Not Important: These chores do not move you forward toward your own goals. Manage by delaying them, cutting them short and rejecting requests from others. Postpone these chores.
- Not Urgent and Not Important: These trivial interruptions are just a distraction, and should be avoided if possible. However, be careful not to mislabel things like time with family and recreational activities as not important. Avoid these distractions altogether.
For more information on the course Personal Productivity, please visit:
Critical thinking is akin to the study of logic. Critical thinking relates to how we make decisions and use our judgment. Critical thinking is more than just thinking about thinking or metacognition. It is also about how we take action. Critical thinking involves many components, lets have a look at four:
The ability to reason is often considered one of the characteristic marks of being human. Further, the individual’s ability to reason well is a critical thinking skill. Many of the definitions of critical thinking tend to focus on this ability to reason. Reasoning occurs when we use our knowledge of one thing, process, or statement to determine if another thing, process, or statement is true. When we apply reasoning, we use logic to determine “what follows what.” Human reasoning does not always follow logic and is often based on emotional bias.
Open-mindedness is the virtue by which we learn. In particular, being open-minded means taking into account relevant evidence or argument to revise a current understanding. It means being critically open to alternatives, willing to think about other possibilities even after having formed an opinion, and not allowing pre-conceived notions to constrain or inhibit reflection on newly presented information. Open-minded inquiry is a central theme in education.
In critical thinking the step of analysis helps us to discriminate and access information. Going back to Bloom’s taxonomy, remember that learning occurs in three domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. In the cognitive domain, analysis is the fourth level and a higher ordered thinking skill. Analysis involves the process, as previously mentioned, of discriminating or separating.
Logic and reasoning are similar but not the same. Logic is the branch of philosophy that gives the rules for deriving valid conclusions. A conclusion is valid if it follows from statements that are accepted as facts. For instance, a logical statement might be, 1 + 1 = 2. This is a rule based on fact. Factual statements are called premises. When reasoning does not follow the rules, we say it is illogical.
For more information on our Critical Thinking course, please visit:
Budgets are critical for businesses. Many stakeholders within the organization require that budgets be submitted for review every year. The budget sets spending limits and usually is broken down to the individual departments or business units. Typically, budget numbers are reviewed every month to determine how well the company is keeping within the budget.
In order to begin a budget, you will need the following three pieces of information:
- Goal: Identifying a goal is the first step to creating a budget. Think about what you need to accomplish. This could be a sales goal, an efficiency goal or quality goal. No matter what the goal is, it is important to think carefully about the feasibility of the goal. Use the SMART technique for goal setting, which is making the goal Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time driven.
- Money: How much money do you have? In the corporate environment, you may need to review the financial reports to determine how well the company is doing. When things are financially tight, the monies allocated to the budgets may be limited. Knowing how much is available will help you determine what you should request in terms of the business environment.
- Costs: You will need to determine how much are the costs related to your goals. This may require you to breakdown your goals in to smaller components so you can put a price on each of them. Knowing how much things will cost will help weed out unnecessary expenses in your budget.
These three items will point you in the right direction when you are ready to begin your budget.
For more information on our Budgets and Financial Reports course, please visit:
You probably have an idea of your own personality type. A personality type is defined by the aspects of your character that emerge when around others or when doing important work. These character aspects are, as often as not, described as “soft skills”. You may have been described as “maternal”, “skeptical”, “humorous”, or any number of other things. These are issues which do not relate directly to your work but can aid or restrict your ability to do it, and can aid or restrict others. It is considered beneficial to have as many different types of personality in a workplace as possible.
There are countless tests that can be done to detect a personality type, and many different ways the results can be expressed, but there are certain things which hold true in all personality tests. Perhaps the best way in the workplace to detect a personality type is to judge your reaction to a problem which affects a whole team, or a group within it. Are you immediately looking for a way of overcoming the problem? Are you instinctively worried by what happens, and do you look to other people to help out? Do you comfort people who are stressed out by the problem? Or do you perhaps sit on the fringes, making comments and playing for laughs? Strange as it may sound, all of these elements are worthwhile in a team. The person who immediately looks for the solution is a “problem solver”; the second type is a “consensus seeker”. The third is considered a “nurturer” while the last listed is a “humorist”. All of these are classic personality types.
Equally, all of these people, and others, play a major part in making up a workplace.
- Without the problem solvers, an organization would be in trouble if things deviated from the plan as laid out.
- Without consensus seekers, it would be easy for a problem solver to become too autonomous, solving the problem to their satisfaction without being particularly concerned for how others felt about the solution.
- Without the nurturers, people would feel that a problem could too easily become a crisis.
- Without the humorists a bad situation would depress everyone.
Reason and etiquette dictate how much we allow our personality to take control of us, but most people will avoid becoming too “cliché” in how they behave.
There are a several different ways that you can build some flexible time into your training. Having participants help to design the training (perhaps by selecting which objectives you will cover in the training), is one great way to do this.
Secondly, keep in mind that training is all about your participants. As trainers, sometimes we are so excited about the potential for growth that we cram way too much into the lesson design. Keep your materials content rich so that you have excellent training, but don’t feel that you have to incorporate everything that you know just because you can. Meet your objectives, be participant-centered, and design your lessons well.
The best way to build in some flexible time is to deliberately create a couple of spaces in your day that are light so that if you do need to incorporate something extra, or people get engaged in a particular learning opportunity, you won’t have to race to get through the rest of your material. This means that you have a couple of topics that are optional that will add to the training if you can include them, but can be left out if needed.