Posts Tagged ‘Manager Training’

New Rules About the Manager-Employee Relationship

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Once upon a time, there were “rules” about a professional reporting relationship.  The manager was clearly the authority and was to be revered by the employee.  Often, the manager was older than the employee and the assumption was that he or she possessed greater wisdom.  Therefore, the employee was obliged to listen and generally heed that wisdom.  A clear delineation of power existed between the two and everyone recognized that the manager was to be held in high regard and treated with deference by the employee. Both parties understood that becoming too familiar with the other was not in his or her best interest when it came to success in the workplace.  Managers were discouraged from socializing with their charges outside of work and in all cases, the employee was expected to take a subordinate role to his or her “superior”.

Fast forward to today.  In many organizations, a far more egalitarian approach exists. Managers serve more as coaches, facilitators and partners. For one thing, they are no longer the sole guardians of information that formerly gave them so much power.  With technology changes, nearly everyone can get vital information at the touch of a keystroke.  Management is no longer reserved for those with seniority, and workers of any age may rise to positions of authority due to their technical prowess, their ability to relate to others and their leadership qualities.  So, in many environments, one person may carry the title of manager, but the employee is considered more of a colleague than a direct report.

So, what is the “etiquette” of the reporting relationship today?  The manager has many responsibilities; among them the obligation to share information, encourage and support growth, and to hold employees accountable for their work.  The employee is expected to learn as well as to teach, to take responsibility for their work and to share ideas and concerns with their manager.  Both parties are expected to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Can a manager and an employee also share a personal friendship outside of work?  The question is more “How do I differentiate between friend and boss?”  And what do I need to do to avoid the perception of favoritism?  Some guidelines include:

  • Having a conversation with employees to let them know that at work, your responsibility includes assessing their professional performance.  Providing feedback is part of your job as a manager and your intent is to support them to do their very best.
  • Having a conversation with the team to let them know your clear expectations and how they can contribute to the team’s success.
  • Holding regular one-to-one meetings with employees to discuss their progress and to find out how you as the manager can help them achieve their goals while continuing to do the work of the organization

CAI offers hundreds of training courses and programs to improve the skills and performance of managers, supervisors, professionals and HR. Classroom training is offered in Raleigh, Greensboro and Greenville. If you prefer remote access, visit e-learning. Find out more here about why you should choose CAI to optimize your employees’ potential.

Blog post by: CAI’s Linda Taylor, Learning & Development Partner

Photo credit: Office Space, Twentieth Century Fox

How HR Can Help Managers Conduct Effective Meetings

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Today’s managers and their employees are busy. There’s never enough time in the day to ‘get it all done.’ As an HR manager or someone who is acting in an HR role, you can help your managers maximize their time and accomplish their objectives. Meetings that begin without a plan go astray quickly and become big time wasters. CAI’s Tom Sheehan shares his tips below to help your managers understand the keys to successful and effective meetings.

Here’s the thing about meetings. They all start off with good intentions. Someone calls a meeting to communicate an important update or new initiative. The next thing you know, you’ve wasted an hour of your time sitting through what appears to be a ‘stream of consciousness’ discussion with no real outcomes. While the exchanges may have therapeutic value, little else is gained.

Follow these four simple rules to improve meeting effectiveness:

1. Don’t hold a meeting without a documented agenda

Without an agenda, you have laid the groundwork for a rambling ‘free for all.’  How will you know if your meeting is getting off track if you never bothered to define the track?

2. Discuss progress vs. goals

During tactical staff meetings, make certain that the start of each meeting is dedicated to a review of how the team is progressing relative to its goals. You may also want to give a quick update on how the company is performing toward its goals.

3. Tactical and strategic discussions should be addressed in separate meetings

Oftentimes, these topics have mutually exclusive participants. By mixing the two together you can ‘cloud’ the discussion. For example, do you really want administrative staff involved in discussions that relate to establishing strategy?  Conversely, does an executive leader need to be involved in lower-level procedural tactics?

4.  Meetings must end with clear-cut and specific agreements around decisions and actions to be taken

The worst thing that can happen is to walk out of a meeting without confirmation about what has been decided. The reality is that each of us will interpret what was discussed through our own lens. As a result, without confirmation, we will apply our own set of rules to the outcome. A typical response at a subsequent meeting might sound like this…”well we talked about that change, but I don’t think anything was actually finalized.”

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.


Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s 
Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

4 Ways to Build Trust with Employees

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

According to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, almost one in three people don’t trust their employer. That’s bad news for businesses, because employees who perceive their leadership as trustworthy are more engaged, more satisfied, and more productive. Employees need to know that the person in charge won’t take advantage of his or her position – that they won’t lie, steal, play favorites or betray subordinates. Once subordinates lose trust in their leaders, the relationship is not likely to be repaired.

The trust issue is made even worse by the notion that many employees dislike their jobs. Some estimates suggest that 70% of the workforce consists of passive job seekers. These are people that while they are not actively looking for jobs, are more than willing to listen and explore other opportunities. Having a trusting relationship with the boss clearly improves both engagement and retention.

Let’s look at the four basic ways a leader can improve the trust factor:

  1. Be More Predictable– while it may not be very sexy, predictability is a major ingredient of trustworthiness. In fact, people who are very creative and spontaneous may have trouble getting others to trust them simply because it is often much harder to predict what they’ll do next.
  2. Be More Empathetic – employees want a boss who takes the time to understand them a bit. Take some time to understand the interests of the people on your team. Those could include personal, as well as, professional developmental interests.
  3. Be More Resilient – the ability to remain calm and resilient under pressure depends on high emotional intelligence. It’s difficult to trust a boss that freaks out in the course of stressful situations. In doing so, they unwittingly send a signal that when the going gets tough, they can be counted on to ‘lose it.’
  4. Be More Humble – Where self-promotion is one of the keys to making it to the corner office, humility may be the key to staying there. Humble managers engender trust and help build a better sense of team.

CAI helps employers build an engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplace. Let us help you tap into your employees potential to become effective leaders. For more information on developing your leaders, take a look at one of our upcoming courses, The Five Leadership Practices Certificate Program. 

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations. 

Enhancing Employee Strengths Will Help Your Company Perform Better

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Business meetingFindings from decades of research by Gallup indicate that employees who use their strengths daily are six times more likely to be engaged at their jobs. Gallaup’s research shows a clear connection between strengths and employee engagement. This connection can increase overall business performance when organizations work on enhancing both.

According to Gallup, the best way for employees to grow and develop is to identify how they most naturally think, feel and behave, which will unveil their talents. The next step in the process is to then build on their talents to create strengths.

The extensive research shows that building employees’ strengths is a more effective approach to improving performance than trying to improve weaknesses. Benefits of focusing on strengths include employees who are more engaged, perform better and are more loyal to their organization. Yet, studies also show that the majority of US businesses don’t focus on helping employees use their strengths.

When companies put the spotlight on the strengths of their team members, they are more likely to have employees who are more committed to their business. Gallup found that the best way for employers to maximize the strengths of their workforce is through company managers. However, many managers aren’t adequately trained, choose to ignore their direct reports, or worse—highlight and focus on the weaknesses of their employees.

If your managers aren’t equipped to focus on employee strengths, read some of the blogs below to help you get them on the right track:

Ongoing Training Helps Managers Reach Success

Making sure your managers are adequately trained to handle their projects and supervise people is important no matter if your budget is large or extremely limited. Considering multiple budgets, here are a few ways to train your managers…read more: http://blog.capital.org/ongoing-training-helps-managers-reach-success/

Coaching Your Managers Will Bring Business Success

Help your managers communicate and connect with their employees better. Having strong connections between coworkers at your workplace will raise employee morale, increase productivity and affect your bottom line positively. Here are a few areas that your managers should be coached in…read more here: http://blog.capital.org/coaching-your-managers-will-bring-business-success/

How HR Can Help New Internally Promoted Managers Succeed

Supervisors and managers who are promoted from within an organization face unique challenges to their success in their new role and in their relationships with peers, supervisors and subordinates. Here are six tips for how HR can contribute to the success of an internal employee who is transitioning into a new supervisory or management role…read more here: http://blog.capital.org/how-hr-can-help-new-internally-promoted-managers-succeed/

Photo Source: Conceptkv