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Managing for the First Time Articles

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The transition from team member to team manager can be overwhelming and participants will discover that an entirely different set of goals, rules and a different skill set is required for successful management.

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17 (Often Overlooked) Ways for Managers to Get the Edge

Article Overview:
Mark Moore gives his list of 17 ideas that will help managers develop their skills. Short, sharp and to the point - this is a really useful document that will get your manager's thinking and encourage discussion.

About

Article Overview:
Mark Moore gives his list of 17 ideas that will help managers develop their skills. Short, sharp and to the point - this is a really useful document that will get your manager's thinking and encourage discussion.

Opening Words:
1. Understand how the Mind Works.
Learn to use your brain purposefully to enhance focus, concentration, motivation, drive, memory, learning, and communication.

2. Learn how to Read More Intelligently and Faster.
Learn speed reading, strategic or 'range reading' techniques to enable you to handle incoming emails, reports, articles, and letters faster and more effectively. Invest the time to learn, and it will pay off considerably over your career.

3. Learn how to Focus Your Attention on what's Important.
Where you focus your attention will determine what you get done in your working day. Learn the psychology of effectiveness, not just 'time management' tools and techniques. Focus on your goals, and move boldly towards them.

Useful Reading For:
All managers.

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360 Degree Feedback

About this Article:
Carol Wilson identifies the tools and models frequently used during coaching projects. In this article she looks at 360 degree feedback.

About

About this Article:
Carol Wilson identifies the tools and models frequently used during coaching projects. In this article she looks at 360 degree feedback.

Opening Words:
360 degree feedback is a process used by many organisations today to provide managers with information about how they are viewed by the different categories of people they come into contact with in the course of their work, for example, the managers they report to, the staff who report to them, and their colleagues, customers and clients.

The feedback is usually delivered anonymously and participants are asked to fill in a series of tick-boxes (often on-line) and to provide individual comments about various aspects of the subject’s performance, typically around their skills, abilities, attitudes and behaviours.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who is thinking of using 360 degree feedback or upward appraisal mechanisms for their own or others' development.

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Coaching Feedback for Managers

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson looks at four key areas of feedback: Positive feedback, negative feedback, receiving feedback and coaching feedback.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson looks at four key areas of feedback: Positive feedback, negative feedback, receiving feedback and coaching feedback.

Opening Words:
Feedback is often regarded as the most difficult part of a manager’s job. However, in a coaching culture, negative feedback is experienced in a positive way; as an opportunity for making new discoveries rather than blame.

Positive feedback is an energy raiser for the giver as well as the receiver. However, it must be authentic and genuine or it will be dismissed as worthless.

People often say that they only hear feedback when something is wrong. However, it costs nothing to tell people when they have done well, or give a simple thank you. Both will make the recipient feel more valuable and raise their confidence. Self-belief is vital for success, and praise, when it is deserved, builds confidence and motivation to achieve more.

It is great to give positive feedback in public; it gives people a real boost to be singled out and admired for what they have achieved. There are also two possible areas for caution here:

Useful Reading For:
Managers, including first time managers, and anyone who wants to develop their ability to give, or receive, constructive feedback.

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Developing a Coaching Culture

Article Overview:
In this article Carol Wilson looks at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

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Article Overview:
In this article Carol Wilson looks at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

Opening Words:
Many organisations across the world today are putting coaching programmes in place, either hiring external coaches or training their own managers. The word is out that a ‘coaching culture’ is the goal to pursue, although there is some confusion about what the term actually means and even more about how to achieve it. In this article we will look at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

I have identified that there are three principles underlying a coaching culture:

Useful Reading For:
Managers and anyone else wishing to increase the use of coaching skills within their organisations.

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Don't Make Me Go Back to the Gym

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb wonders why he's not motivated to return to the gym after Christmas this year, and considers the lessons here for organisations and managers. The article outlines key thoughts and ideas about motivating people at work and managing change.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb wonders why he's not motivated to return to the gym after Christmas this year, and considers the lessons here for organisations and managers. The article outlines key thoughts and ideas about motivating people at work and managing change.

Opening Words:
I had one of those moments this morning, which seem to come with increasing frequency once you reach your forties. The image in the bathroom mirror just seemed to be a little more out of shape than normal – the sagging more noticeable, the posture a little worse. On really bad days I see my father in the mirror. Nothing against my father, you understand, but when he was my age (and I wasn’t) I thought he looked old, whilst I of course know that I’m still very much in my youth.

Anyway, this unfortunate revelation got me thinking and wondering whether once again I should try and lose some of the post Christmas excess via lots of exercise at the gym.

I’ve tried the gym before – many, many times, without any discernible difference being achieved in the few weeks my commitment lasted before the excruciating boredom became unbearable and I was driven back to the sofa - and chocolate.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and team leaders who need to motivate others.

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Firm Management or Bullying?

Article Overview:
This article from Sheila Williams looks at the differences between firm management and bullying and considers why behaviour might be interpreted differently in different organisations.

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Article Overview:
This article from Sheila Williams looks at the differences between firm management and bullying and considers why behaviour might be interpreted differently in different organisations.

Opening Words:
What are the differences between firm management and bullying?

ACAS characterise bullying as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.

Bullying is assessed as behaviour that is unacceptable by reasonable, normal standards and is disadvantageous or unwelcome to the individual. However, what is reasonable and normal for one may be unacceptable to others and, as Hamlet observed, ‘therein lies the rub’. It is hard to get agreement on objective measures of what constitutes bullying behaviour. Nowhere is this more apparent than when managers are dealing with staff under-performance.

Linda is a manager who came from a ‘command and control’ culture into an organisation with a radically different approach. She is ambitious, dynamic and has, as she puts it, ‘a short fuse’. Her style of management led to a formal complaint of bullying by one of her team. Other team members gave witness to this during the internal investigation that followed. The investigation team concluded that she had used inappropriate and bullying behaviour; in particular losing her temper with the individual on a number of occasions and belittling them in public.

Useful Reading For:
Line managers and supervisors.

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Good Practice in Appraisals

Article Overview:
All managers know that staff appraisals are an essential part of ‘performance management’. But Organisational Development Consultant, Jeremy Thorn, suggests that ‘performance enhancement’ might be a far more rewarding focus.

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Article Overview:
All managers know that staff appraisals are an essential part of ‘performance management’. But Organisational Development Consultant, Jeremy Thorn, suggests that ‘performance enhancement’ might be a far more rewarding focus.

Opening Words:
In some organisations, appraisals are widely reported to be dreaded, by both managers and subordinates. Managers often dislike conducting them, especially those who have not been trained, perhaps because they see appraisal interviews as a possibly embarrassing formality, which take up too much precious time. And across the desk, staff often say they find appraisals daunting, often threatening and, sometimes, even de-motivating. Done badly, the appraisal process can indeed frustrate and damage staff relations, especially if seen as a one-off ‘end of term report’ – or even worse, a ‘character assassination’!  

Done well, however, an appraisal can be genuinely productive and enjoyable, for both the appraiser and the appraised. Indeed, in many organisations, I hear complaints by staff very much more often that their appraisals have not been carried out by their busy line managers on time, rather than that they have happened at all.

How does any organisation ever achieve such a positive outlook?

Useful Reading For:

All managers and anyone wanting to improve the way the appraisal system is used in their organisation.

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How Am I Doing?

Article Overview:
This is an excellent article from Ian Clarke - the first of three on feedback - that considers the need to think about how you are going to ask for, and gain meaningful feedback.

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Article Overview:
This is an excellent article from Ian Clarke - the first of three on feedback - that considers the need to think about how you are going to ask for, and gain meaningful feedback.

Opening Words:
This is the first of three articles about working with feedback. The second article is entitled “If Feedback is so valuable why do we keep it to ourselves?”. The third article is entitled “Who do you think you are?”.

The following story illustrates that getting useful feedback needs a little more thought than just asking, “How am I doing?”

It was the first working day of the new month and Matt Turner realised it was his monthly review meeting with his boss, Jenny Machin, that afternoon. Matt prided himself on being well prepared for these meetings so he checked his figures for the previous month, his year to date achievements, his plans for the coming month, his staff issues and achievements and his forecast for the remainder of the year.

Useful Reading For:
Managers in particular, but anyone who wants to develop their ability to obtain valuable and meaningful feedback from others, or anyone wishing to develop a culture of feedback and coaching.

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How Can I Boost Initiative In My Team?

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

Opening Words:
Do you ever get asked for your advice, opinion or assistance? In fact, do you seem to spend most of your time responding to people’s queries and telling them what they should be doing? And do you feel that you are repeatedly asked the same questions by the same people?

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You have a job to do, a team to manage, results to achieve and deadlines to meet. You could do without these distractions because that’s what they feel like. Why can’t people just use their initiative and get on with the job?

Useful Reading For:
Managers and in particular first time managers.

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How to Introduce Coaching to Your Team

Article Overview:
You have attended the coaching skills workshop. You feel inspired. How do you introduce your new skills into the workplace? Jennifer Hampson discusses the way forward.

About

Article Overview:
You have attended the coaching skills workshop. You feel inspired. How do you introduce your new skills into the workplace? Jennifer Hampson discusses the way forward.

Opening Words:
You’ve attended a coaching skills workshop. You feel inspired. You’ve been coached and found it thoroughly beneficial. Now you’re wondering how you can use coaching in real life with your team. You start pondering your options:
• I could just start asking more open questions.
• I could build coaching into regular meetings.
• I could look out for ‘Coachable Moments’.
• I could find other ways just to build it in without them really noticing.
• I could tell my team I’ve been on a course and I’m going to be coaching them from now on.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and anyone else wishing to increase their use of coaching skills.

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If Feedback Is So Valuable, Why Do We Keep It To Ourselves?

Article Overview:
The second in three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback. This one looks at our willingness to give feedback when requested.

About

Article Overview:
The second in three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback. This one looks at our willingness to give feedback when requested.

Opening Words:
The last article discussed the value of asking for feedback and how we can help and encourage our colleagues to give us feedback. The other side of the coin, of course, is “How willing and how effective are we at giving feedback when asked?”.

We can often find it much more difficult to give feedback than receive it. We can even find it difficult to give praise. I’m told the three greatest causes of stress are overwork, boredom and not feeling valued. (Take a look at your last employee survey to see if you and your colleagues feel valued, recognised and well rewarded). As you read this can you think of any recent instances when you wanted to give some feedback to somebody but decided not to? Can you remember why you decided not to?

Useful Reading For:
Managers in particular, but anyone interested in developing their own ability to give and receive meaningful feedback or anyone wishing to develop a culture of feedback and coaching.

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Playing To Your Personal Strengths

Article Overview:
This interesting article from Sheila Williams, looks at personal conflict in the workplace and looks at how our preferred behaviours can bring us into conflict with others who have different preferences.

About

Article Overview:
This interesting article from Sheila Williams, looks at personal conflict in the workplace and looks at how our preferred behaviours can bring us into conflict with others who have different preferences.

Opening Words:
In a week of battling against the winter elements I have also been exploring conflict of a different nature – person to person. The type of interpersonal conflict that can for no apparent reason (at least to the warring parties), spring up in the workplace. Part of this has led to an exploration of how we deploy our personal strengths and whether over-use of these, in certain circumstances, can tip them over into becoming weaknesses.

We develop behaviours that, when used to good effect, over time, become our preferred way of doing things. We consider them as our personal strengths. However, the more we use them and the more success we have with their use then the more we can slip into auto-pilot mode, with an expectation that their use will always produce success. In this way, we sometimes overlook the fact that using a particular personal strength may be inappropriate to the context or situation in which we find ourselves.

Useful Reading For:
Line managers and trainers.

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Ready, Steady ... Coach!

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer introduces the GROW model and explains the fundamentals of coaching. It provides an outstanding introduction to coaching skills.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer introduces the GROW model and explains the fundamentals of coaching. It provides an outstanding introduction to coaching skills.

Opening Words:
Let's start with an assumption. You really do want to coach. In other words, I don't have to convince you of the benefits of coaching for yourself, your coachees, and your organisation. You're already motivated and raring to go.

So, how exactly do you get started?

1. It's OK to Start Small:

Sometimes we worry about how people might react if we suddenly do things differently. Don't let this put you off. How about starting small and building up from there? For example:
• Start asking more open questions.
• Practise listening much better to people.
• Summarise what you're hearing.
• Keep your opinions out of it.
• Keep the conversation focused and constructive.
• Base conversations on the GROW Model, i.e.:
G(oal) - What do you want or need to achieve?
R(eality) - What's the situation right now?
O(ptions) - What could you do to get there?
W(rap-up) - What have you decided to do? When exactly?

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to increase their understanding of coaching and the GROW model.

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Team Coaching

Article Overview:
In this excellent article, Sheila Williams looks at the challenges of coaching a team using her own experiences. The article includes a helpful list of questions to ask before undertaking team coaching.

About

Article Overview:
In this excellent article, Sheila Williams looks at the challenges of coaching a team using her own experiences. The article includes a helpful list of questions to ask before undertaking team coaching.

Opening Words:
How many teams do you belong to at work – three, four, five? Research from Clutterbuck Associates suggests we may be members of as many as six or more different teams at any one time. When team members have clarity about their roles and contributions, team performance in key results areas is measurably improved - creating a positive impact in the organisation as a whole, in terms of service quality, organisational performance, motivation and morale.

Team coaching can be particularly challenging, whether the coach is the team leader or an external coach. It is a complex activity involving the facilitation of 1:1 and team interactions, observing and giving feedback on team processes and behaviours, and dealing with tensions and conflict which are often hidden beneath the surface.

Useful Reading For:
Trainers and line managers.

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Who Do You Think You Are?

Article Overview:
The final of three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback, this one looks at what happens when we receive feedback from others.

About

Article Overview:
The final of three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback, this one looks at what happens when we receive feedback from others.

Opening Words:
The previous two articles discussed the value of asking for feedback and how effective we are at giving feedback to our colleagues. This article explores what can happen when we are the recipients of feedback.

How good are we at hearing what people say when they are talking about our behaviour. Are we able to accept praise? When someone says we have done a good job do we believe him or her? How do we respond? “Thank you – I appreciate your comments” or “It was nothing – just doing my job”.

Are we able to accept criticism? When someone says we could have done a better job do we believe him or her? How do we respond? “Thank you – it would help me to hear your views on how I can improve” or “Hey – give me a break – I’d like to see you do better”. Even if we don’t actually say it we may start thinking – “Who do you think you are talking to me like that?”

Useful Reading For:
Managers in particular, but anyone wishing to develop their ability to receive feedback objectively or anyone wishing to develop a culture of feedback and coaching.

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