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,











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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

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