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Who Needs a Coach?

You? An employee? Your team? (Reprinted from Semiconductor Magazine March 2001) A manager supervised eight engineers, each from a different country. In his native country, this manager learned a top-down, authoritarian leadership style. Several of the engineers complained about his dictatorial style. His boss asked me to coach him to become a more collaborative team leader. After his initial resistance, he listened to the feedback, modified his approach, built a successful team and eventually got a promotion. To quote him: “Your feedback helped me take a hard look at myself. I’ll need a tune-up like this on a regular basis. It’s too easy to slip back into old ways.” A director at Lucent Technologies said: “Dr. Manning’s coaching has helped me in virtually every phase of my job. From more effective presentations to a better understanding of people’s working styles, I am a far more successful manager today than ever before. Coaching is also helping me and my management team achieves our goals and creates a work environment that retains and...

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How to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Building an Attractive Company Culture (Reprinted from Technology Digest, June, 1998) How do you attract, and then keep, your most talented people committed, loyal and motivated? The question has frustrated and even bewildered a growing number of companies in the past year or two. The work force and pool of resources of highly skilled, highly trained talent is shrinking. This is not a new problem, but it seems to be ever more critical. The question of attracting the brightest and best is a key issue for successful companies. Today with large signing bonuses and very attractive salaries and benefits, the more perplexing question is how to best build the loyalty of our talented people. The more talent we retain, the more talent we’ll attract. Your company may have recently been through a rash of significant changes, like the introduction of entire new product lines, mergers, or acquisitions. Your company culture may be rapidly changing which compounds the problem of building loyalty and retention. Loyalty generally builds over time. And, we...

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Retaining Talent in a Competitive Market

by Dr. Marilyn Manning How do you keep your most talented sales people and sales managers committed, loyal and motivated? The question has frustrated and even bewildered a growing number of companies and organizations in the past year or two. Our work force and pool of resources of highly skilled, highly trained talent is shrinking. This is not a new problem. How can we best build the loyalty of these people to keep them motivated and committed to our company? If your company is like many, it may have recently been through a rash of significant changes like the introduction of entire new product lines or mergers and acquisitions. The culture may be rapidly changing which compounds the problem of building loyalty and retention. Loyalty builds over time. When people feel they are contributing to an exciting product or worthwhile service, their level of commitment increases. Loyalty also increases when people feel respected and acknowledged for what they do. People want to feel valued and that they are making...

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Be a Better Meeting Manager

Learning to Deal with Difficult People Reprinted by permission from The Professional Speaker Magazine Have you ever felt the pulse pounding, face-flushing, word-sputtering frustration of having your meeting disrupted by: a hardcore bully an ego-centered princess a passive-aggressive a baby a negative Ned or Nancy a people pleaser or a non-player No matter how challenging, belligerent, or negative the difficult person’s behavior, don’t take it personally. By identifying the seven difficult personalities and responding to each with openness and sound techniques, you can improve their dynamics and therefore run better meetings. Meetings are great opportunities to share information with your team, to build skills, to motivate, and to give your team a chance to sound off. But even the best planned meetings can be a total loss if difficult people are not handled in effective ways. Try these techniques the next time you encounter one of these difficult people. Hardcore Hardcores are hostile, abusive and intimidating. They always have to be right and will charge like angry bulls if...

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Assess Your Own Strengths as a Decision Maker

  by Dr. Marilyn Manning To be an effective problem solver, you need the self-confidence to make decisions, and to feel comfortable with the risks involved in all decision-making. Doubt about your own abilities can interfere with your efforts to solve problems and to act as a leader who can guide a group of people toward sound decisions. It’s all too easy to remember the mistakes we’ve made—such as the misjudgments that seem so obvious in hindsight—and to let them overshadow our successes. Nothing boosts self-confidence like an awareness of our personal and professional strengths and abilities. Focus on a recent success to help you to accurately evaluate your problem-solving skills. Select a recent problem you have solved or a recent decision you have made on the job. Be sure your choice is one you are proud to recall! Write a brief, factual description of the event at the top of a fresh sheet of paper, i.e. I devised a new system for handling mail distribution in the office....

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How Effective is Your Leadership Style?

Motivating Employees According to Their Needs by Dr. Marilyn Manning Would your staff say that you are easy to work with? Would they call you picky, overly analytical? Do they accuse you of dropping the ball on occasion? Or, might they label you “bossy”? By the time we have been promoted several times as a manager, our leadership style has probably become rather consistent and fixed. After all, our style has worked so far and if people didn’t like it, wouldn’t they have said something? Most of us assume if we keep getting promoted, we must be doing something right. Not necessarily so. As a management consultant specializing in executive and team coaching, I am constantly amazed at how little useful feedback leaders receive about their styles. Most of us have attended workshops and communications training where we checked some little boxes to “discover” our management style. If we were candid, the information may have been accurate. But, did we really take the results to heart? Did we ask...

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Leading Questions – Know Your Personality as a Manager to Get to the Top

(Reprinted from 9-29-99 issue of Chicago Tribune) Does your leadership style wear like a bad suit? As a 19-year-old entry level cook at Chicago’s Ritz-Carlton, Sarah Stegner remembers concentrating on nothing but good, six nights a week. As she began to prove her skills, she moved from cleaning fish to being an assistant chef in charge of cold foods. Then came a promotion to sous chef, and finally to her current position as a dining room chef, a job she’s held for nine years. With each promotion, her success began to depend not only on her cooking finesse, but also on her management skills. Stegner, now 35, learned those skills on the fly. “I found it to be extremely difficult,” she said of the transition to managing people. Today Sterner manages a team of seven people reporting directly to her and has snagged some of the most coveted awards her industry hands out. She won a national title in 1994; the Rising Star Chef of the Year in America, by...

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