Daughtry Video

The music is not my cup of tea – but the sentiment is!  Sorry I can’t embed the video here – you’ll have to pop over to you tube to see it.

Progressive Managers and the Credit Crunch

How best to respond in uncertain times?

Images in the media of managers clearing their desks and heading for home with their possessions in cardboard boxes makes us all think about our own job security.  So what should you do to maximise your chances of thriving through the credit crunch.

  1. Keep developing your staff – build their skills, knowledge and ability to add value on a weekly basis through coaching – being the leader of  a high performing team is perhaps your ultimate protection.
  2. Continue to invest in your relationships with your team members – in a tightening labour market your best staff will be looking for an employer that allows them to really create value and maximise their potential.  Poorer performers are likely to be keeping their heads down.  IF it comes to having to make redundancies you need to know who you to retain and who you can afford to let go.  Often it is the most able performers that take redundancy offers – confident in their ability to find new ways of making a living.
  3. Provide positive leadership messages.  Yes times are hard but the fundamentals of good business remain the same.  If we can increase quality and productivity and reduce costs then we will have an excellent opportunity to navigate through turbulent waters.  This could be just the right time to ask team members of that little bit more effort – however if you have left it until now to start providing positive, robust management….
  4. Manage under performers robustly.  You need to be rigorous but NEVER ruthless.  Reinforce what you expect from them in terms of quality and performance at work.  You really cannot afford to carry any passengers at this time and good people will be coming onto the labour market.  Work as diligently and as professionally as you can to get people up to the standards you demand.
  5. Delegate more – and use coaching and feedback to make sure that delegation works.  Use delegation to make sure that you have the time to focus on doing the things that matter most. Delegation enables you to create significantly more value for the business without increasing overheads.
  6. Keep your CV up to date and make sure that all of your  professional accomplishments are recorded.  Sometimes even the best managers are made redundant, so make sure to keep all of your networks well maintained.
  7. Invest more time in relationships with peers and your seniors.  Use your networks to the max to get a clear picture of what is happening.  Also use your networks to make sure that your team is getting a fair press and all of its achievements are recognised.

It is an unfortunate truth that tough times are sometimes when people are at their most responsive to the performance improvement message – and you will get recognition for making tough decisions.   Get rid of the dead wood and watch the remaining talent flourish.

Excellent Article on Giving Feedback

I am a massive fan of both giving and getting great feedback. And yet I know that many managers avoid giving feedback – or even worse give it in ways that are so subtle as to be pointless.

What Every Manager Should Know About Feedback is a superb article that reflects much of what I teach on my Giving and Getting Great Feedback workshop.

I recommend both the article and workshop highly.

Delegation and Flow – Csikszentmihalyi for Managers

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has spent much of his life researching ‘flow’ –  that state of being when you become fully immersed in a task and time flies by.  This flow state can only occur when  the level of challenge is carefully matched to your level of skills and confidence.  Flow is most likely to occur when you are faced by a demanding but achieveable task.  Flow matters for managers because it a state that is associated with optimal performance.  It is also closely associated with learning and self improvement.

It strikes me that delegation used in conjunction with feedback (another pre-requisite for the flow state) and coaching provides managers with the perfect tools to ensure that team members get a balance of skill and challenge that will enable them to enter the optimum state of flow at work.

Employees who are operating outside of the flow channel – either bored or overly anxious are likely to be performing well below their potential.

The thing about the flow channel is that you cannot remain stationery.  Unless you are confronted with new challenges it is likely that boredom will become an issue and performance will dip.

Happiness at Work

Maslow' Hierarchy



“Our traditional organizations are designed to provide for the first three levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; food, shelter and belonging.  Since these are now widely available to members of industrial society, our organizations do not provide significantly unique opportunities to command the loyalty and commitment of our people.  The ferment in management will continue until organizations begin to address the higher order needs: self-respect and self-actualization.”

Bill O’Brien – CEO Hanover Insurance

What significantly unique opportunities do you offer to your employees?


  • Interesting work?
  • Great rewards?
  • High levels of respect and autonomy?
  • Challenging, creative an dsupportive leadership?
  • A compelling vision?
  • The opportunity to do meaningful and rewarding work?
  • What can you do to make your employee offer more compelling?
  • How can you ensure that you provide an environment where they can fulfill their dreams?


Why do Managers Duck People Management?

This piece of research caught my attention recently;

“While 84 percent of organizations know that workforce effectiveness is important to achieving business results, only 42 percent of those surveyed say managers devote sufficient time to people management.”

What stops managers from spending time on developing workforce effectiveness?

Why do so many managers ‘duck’ managing people.

  1. Some managers don’t think it’s their job – ‘I am here to make sure that widgets get out the door on time and on budget.  I expect people to manage themselves.’
  2. Some managers don’t have the tools they need – Few managers are trained in the systems and processes that will help them to develop the potential and the performance of the people that they manage.
  3. Some managers believe that conflict comes with the territory – and would prefer to avoid it for as long as possible – Many managers fear that ‘managing’ people leads to conflict and conflict leads to poorer performance.  ‘People management’ is synonymous with ‘managing underperformance’.  Few managers have a positive, engaging and developmental management approach that thye know will work.

For me the managers job is not about ‘managing people’.  It is about providing them with a relationship to the organisation that allows them to develop their potential and to do great work.

In my experience managers that work systematically on building this relationship and then use:

  • feedback,
  • coaching and
  • delegation

to develop each persons contribution to performance very soon become outstanding managers recognised as leading high performing teams.

However it does take time – perhaps 60-90 minutes per week for each person managed to do the most effective job.  But the returns on that investment can be enormous – I would estimate productivity gains per person to be in the region of 25-40% within 6 months.