5 Communication Mistakes New Managers Make

Frustrated in New Job? Part 3 – Communication

Communication skills are not usually  taught, much less monitored for impact on employees. Most new leaders are a little insecure within their new leadership position and this can lead to behaviors that are perceived as either over-assertive or under-assertive. Both impact employees negatively. Lack of experience in certain areas such as engaging in  “difficult conversations” leads to poor execution of standardized procedures such as employee reviews etc.  In our previous posts in the series “Growth Opportunities for New Leaders”,   we discussed  Self-Management and Time Management as two of the  key growth opportunities for new managers.  In this post we’ll discuss communication skills.  Here are 5 communication mistakes that new supervisors make.

  1. Lack of focus on the team.  New managers often have not yet found their comfort level and they tend to revert back to their default communication style. They might retreat to an introverted position, not showing up enough on the floor, or they might micro manage to the point of annoying experienced staff.  Distancing themselves from those they supervise leads to misunderstandings at best,  increased uncertainty and poor leadership in the worst case. Siding with team members and an “us against them” attitude also proves divisive and leads to conflict.  Antidote:  frequent team meetings where the manager invites discussion, invites questions and comments develops open lines of communication.
  2. Failing to offer and solicit feedback.  Employees need to know where they stand with their manager. Hidden agendas and unclear expectations have never motivated anyone to work harder or smarter. As uncomfortable as it is to hear about one’s shortcomings, better to be clear about where individual improvement is expected and will be rewarded. This is true for both manager and employee.
  3. Delegating without authorizing.  Since time management is always an issue, delegation is important and often appreciated by employees. Problems occur when the delegated task does not come with sufficient authority to follow through to successful completion. Empowering the employee appropriately, combined with follow-up and feedback assures that the employee is set up for success and the task gets done.
  4. Reprimanding employees in the presence of others.  Most of us have early childhood memories of humiliation when teachers or parents failed to honor the old rule “Praise in public, criticize in private”. Everyone wants to keep face and feel respected. Honoring the old rule will keep relationships smooth, while still communicating any important information effectively.
  5. Supervising everyone the same way.  Most teams are a mix of experienced, inexperienced, motivated and less motivated employees. Different management styles are available for these different groups. Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership model differentiates 4 different leadership styles: Telling, Selling, Participating and Delegating. Being intentional about which leader should use what style with which employee is an art and a science. Experimenting with these skills is what makes the life of a supervisor interesting and in the end, the proof is always in the pudding: how well your team interacts, performs and stays with you is feedback any manager can learn from.

Certain industries such as fast-food franchises expect employee turnover to be as high as 50 to 145 percent – much higher than in the manufacturing sector for example. While in a low paying entry level job, turnover is always expected to be higher.  Most contributors to turnover can be directly related back to management practices. Turnover tends to be higher in environments where employees feel undervalued or ignored or where they feel helpless or unimportant. Clearly, if managers come across as  impersonal, arbitrary, or demanding, there is greater turnover risk. Fortunately, management behavior and communication skills can be trained and improved so that turnover can be kept to a minimum.

How is communication with your employees going for you?  What are some of the barriers? We are looking forward to hearing from you – comments or questions are always welcome.  Here on this blog, you will get commentluv. This is a plugin that allows you to leave a link back to your own site when you leave a comment.

Until next time,











Read More

Frustrated in New Job? 4 Growth Opportunities for New Managers

Especially in fast paced and high turn-over businesses, such as fast food restaurants, new managers are expected to hit the ground running. The industry does well in the area of systems and processes training, but often falls short in training for leadership development skills. Experience in the industry is seen as the most important prerequisite to advancement. The truth is that understanding and stepping into new role competencies is a challenge for most leaders, and smart franchise owners support their new leaders early in the game.

Did you know that the most common reason food franchises fail is poor management? Bad management is like a virus – it spreads…quickly. Disgruntled employees can affect customer satisfaction, employee turn-over, staff morale and reduce productivity.

Thankfully it is not all that difficult to identify patterns in the leadership development needs of leaders in new positions. I have dealt with numerous leaders at different levels, and I see similar issues emerge as recurring challenges for these managers. Here are four of the most common ones:

1.       Self-management – Young managers in particular need to learn to demonstrate appropriate professional behavior. This could include gossip,  keeping boundaries, and managing moods and tempers, amongst others.

2.       Time-management – A new position usually comes with new duties and new time parameters. The new learning curve demands an additional time investment. Effective delegation also often does not come easily, at least until the individual is secure in their role execution.

3.       Communication – These skills are usually not taught, much less monitored for impact on employees. Insecurities within the new leadership position can lead to behavior that is either over assertive or under-assertive – both impact employees negatively. Procrastination of “difficult conversations” leads to poor execution of standardized procedures such as employee reviews etc.

4.       Team development – It’s tough to show up strongly as a new team leader when you are still insecure in the new role, yet strong team-ability skills will increase productivity levels quickly. Thankfully these skills are teachable and results can be achieved fairly fast.

There is so much more to say on each of those four subjects, so watch for my next blogs – I will get into more detail on each of them.

It is easy to promote someone who does their job well  - but how often do we monitor how well they do with all their new responsibilities, and more importantly, how effective are we at supporting them? What happens in your organization? How do you support your new leaders in their transition? I’d love to hear back – please leave a comment here on the blog or drop us a note at Integra Leadership and tell us what works for you! On this blog, you’ll get commentluv. This is a plug in that allows you to leave a link back to your own site when you leave a comment!


Read More

What to Look for When Hiring a Coach

There are many reasons why people hire a coach, and we covered several in our blog post titled Why work with a coach?.

If you have never worked with a coach before, it’s worthwhile to give some thought as to what you want your selection criteria to be. The quality of the relationship between coach and client is a key success component – the level of trust between both, and how “safe” the conversation feels to both is crucial in

Here are a few questions you should ask when searching for a coach:

1.      How much experience does your coach have in their work? What relevant or interesting pre-coaching career experience that the coach have that may interest you?

2.      What training have they taken? Are they certified and/or credentialed by a reputable training organization?

3.      Are they a member or the International Coach Federation (ICF)? The ICF is the governing body of professional coaches, so members of the ICF are governed by professional practice and ethics guidelines. This is an important point.

4.      Are they a full time coach? These day many people “borrow” the name coach, but they might actually work in other areas, or are trainers or facilitators.

5.      Do they meet with you in person or by telephone/email? Find out the price difference in case they offer both options.

6.      If your prospective coach offers a free practise session, take them up on it. Look for level of ease in the conversation flow, professionalism, rapport between you, and listening skills (who talks more, the coach or you? It should be you!|). Also: A real professional does not need to do a hard sell!

7.      What is your budget? More experienced coaches typically charge more than junior coaches – but there are a number of trade-off’s to offset the price differential that come with more experience and training.

Finally, you need to know that working with a coach is most often an enjoyable, rewarding, enriching and often life changing growth experience. Who else focuses entirely on you in any of your conversations, with no other agenda other than to have YOU be successful – however YOU define success for yourself? Listen to your gut when you are ready to make the final decision – it is almost never wrong. Integra Leadership keeps in touch with numerous coaches with various skill sets and background experience, so there is always a choice for you. You will know when you have found the right person.

For those of you who have searched a coach before, what did you find?

Do you have additional selection criteria to add? Let us know – let’s add to the list!

Read More

Why Work with a Coach?

The coaching profession has grown tremendously in the last few years – worldwide revenue produced by coaching was $1.5 billion (USD) per year in 2009.  According to a 2009 ICF research study, the top areas where clients felt the “overall positive impacts of coaching” were:

  • Self-esteem/self-confidence
  • Relationships
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Work performance
  • Work/life balance

So when does it make sense to hire a coach?

Here are the top 10 reasons we see people retaining coaching services:

1.      You feel stuck and want help finding direction to move forward purposefully. A coach will help you get clear on your goals, identify your obstacles and help you overcome them.

2.      You have leveled out in your career, or you are put into a new position demanding different competencies from you, and you want to prepare yourself for the next level of success. Retaining coaching services, sometimes with involvement of your supervisor, is an effective way to advance professionally.

3.      You have learned something new and want help implementing it effectively. A coach will support you by designing strategies for application to deepen the learning.

4.      You are unhappy with certain interactions with people at work or at home, and you are stressed by the conflict you need to manage. A coach helps you identify underlying issues, develop helpful perspectives, and helps you find and execute options to deal with the issues at hand.

5.      You are so busy and stressed that you cannot see the forest for the trees. A coach helps you identify priorities, and supports you in planning for more effective time management.

6.      You are bored and uninspired, maybe even resentful of certain areas in your life. A coach can help you find your areas of passion so you can return to living with positivity and purpose.

7.      Your family or relationship is in a state of change or crisis, causing stress and anxiety. Hiring a coach for you, the family or a couple, will alleviate the stress by involving a neutral third person to take the heat out of the discussions. Your coach helps to identify the key issues as well as core goals for everyone, and then helps everyone reach their goals.

8.      You have a goal but want help getting there. A coach focuses you, acts as a cheerleader and a sounding board and reality check, holds you accountable and celebrates interim results with you until you reach your destination.

9.      You are successful in your career but your personal style often leads to negative interactions or results. You feel you have blind spots you want to explore and manage. Your coach will act as a confidential critic, helping you understand what behaviors, conscious or unconscious, are preventing you from reaching your objectives. You will practice new more effective behaviors and approaches.

10.  You are new in your position, and you feel lack of confidence, confusion and overwhelm. Your coach helps you transition into the new role by identifying patterns to adopt and those to leave behind. You will also work on designing effective new relationships to support your new role.

If you find yourself anywhere in those 10 scenarios, get in touch with us and we will discuss how we can help. Or forward this blog to someone who might be looking for some support.

So – have you worked with a coach before? What was it like? What worked for you, and what didn’t?

If you are thinking of retaining a coach,and you want tips on how to look for a coach that suits your style and needs, read our blog post on What to look for when you hire a Coach.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” Albert Einstein

Read More

Revisiting the New Years Resolution – 3 Steps to make it happen

Here we are almost at the end of January. What’s happening to your New Years’ Resolution? If you are like me, you have started it with some success, but the resolve is waning. Things come up … old habits creep in … I am definitely not defending my new routine with enough fervor. Yikes! The “old” reality is taking over, before the “new” one has had a chance to get established. Why do we permit for this to happen time and again? No matter. Enough of the pity party. Let’s get back on the proverbial horse and focus on the resolution we made for this year.

I believe the secret lies in the concept of “preparation”. (Right now I am clearly suffering from lack thereof.) Preparation means staking out the terrain that leads to our goal. What and who is involved in the successful achievement of my goal? Today, let’s focus on the “who”.

Most parts of our lives are connected to other people. Ergo, other people are also interconnected with our goals. It is a matter of involving these key people, and identifying what may keep us from involving them. We need to have conversations. Are we afraid of embarrassment? Shy? Or maybe there are unresolved issues that keep us from talking to someone? Even fairly simple changes in routine can lead to conflict and frustration when we don’t have clear buy-in from those who are intertwined with our routines.
So, here are 3 steps towards a successful New Year’s Resolution.

Step 1: Identify the parties on your path.

  • What are the main causes of your procrastination?
  • Who is the person/people involved with that cause?
  • Who is presently an obstacle in the achievement of your goal?
  • Who are the key people that can support you in reaching your goal?

Step 2: Assess Roles and Level of Involvement.

  • What do you need from the person to support you?
  • How might enrolling them affect your relationship?
  • Who might you enrol instead of the ones who refuse or don’t participate?

Step 3: Preparing for the Conversation

  • Check for any assumptions you are making about the person, and consider assumptions they may have about you.
  • What might they need from you in order to support you? What are you willing to offer?
  • What happens when they do/don’t support you? What is your best alternative?
  • Be clear on the ideal outcome of the conversation. How do you effectively communicate your message with this person? Be clear on what the 2nd best outcome is.

Success may hit us as a surprise some of the time – but it’s rare. Mostly it takes many little steps – many little conversations – strategic involvement of various people and stakeholders, to reach a goal.

So, now that I’ve convinced myself of all this I need to clear my calendar to have some very important conversations! Let me know how your journey towards your New Years Resolutions is coming!

Integral Insight…

“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” (Harvey Mackay)

Read More