Emotional Intelligence For Managers (And You)

Are you a manager who enjoys being around people, thrives on developing positive relationships with your peers, your boss, stakeholders and your team members?  Or are you the kind of manager who would prefer to avoid the ‘touchy feely‘ aspects of management, preferring to focus on analysing data, designing processes, reviewing systems and auditing quality?

Relax.  Whichever is your preference, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. With many managers being promoted largely, or purely, on their technical expertise in a non people management role, to ensure a healthy and meaningful management career, it is worth exploring and investing in, the softer, deeply human aspects of people management, motivation, engagement and coaching.  Why?  Because if you want to enjoy what is commonly deemed ‘discretionary effort’ from your team members, you need to possess at least a reasonable level of Emotional Intelligence.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

In a nutshell, Emotional Intelligence explores how we manage our own emotions, and how we help other people to manage theirs.’

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How To Develop Emotionally Intelligent Managers

Emotional Intelligence training for managers can be well intentioned, but fall flat on its face when the ‘learning’ focuses mainly on the theory rather than practical application of emotional intelligence skills in the real-world of organisations.

As an aspiring or existing manager, the importance of developing Emotional Intelligence skills and competencies cannot be overstated.  In this 4 minute video clip, Emotional Intelligence expert and presenter Scott Watson shares a few thoughts on how traditional management styles and practises deserve to be complemented with a set of unique and deeply human skills.

Management Training – How To Develop Emotional Intelligence in Managers

How To Use A Heckler To Your Advantage When Presenting

You’re going to encounter it at some point in your career as a Manager…

You’ve been invited (or instructed) to present at a meeting or company event.  You understand your subject matter inside-out, back-to-front, and upside down too.  Your initial nerves and apprehension are under control, and you’re ready, focused and eager to begin your presentation.  Some of your audience members are known to you, some are not.  Either way, you’re ready.

You inhale deeply before uttering your first words, and five minutes in you’re really flying high without a care in the world.  You spot that some of the audience members are nodding their heads, possibly in agreement with the case and recommendations you present, some are making notes, hopefully not doodling, but eagerly noting down your key points.  All is well with the world…until….

From the back of the room, a voice cries out ‘But what about the other side of the coin and the implications for our organisation..Have you considered that?’

Stumped, your brain, which was doing so wonderfully well just a few seconds before the unexpected, and unwelcome interruption, is now on fight, flight or freeze alert!  But what are you to do?  Do you ask the audience member to save his questions or points until you have concluded your presentation?  Ouch! Telling an audience member to ‘SHUT UP’, even by using more polite vocabulary is a no-no.  Alienate one audience member, and you alienate them all!

But responding to the audience members point takes you off-track, loses your focus, and you may even run over your allocated time slot, which won’t be looked upon favourably.  So what can you do?


Obama to Heckler “I’m on your side, man!”

Use The Heckle or Interruption To YOUR Advantage

Steering clear of any response which could be (in)accurately deemed ‘adversarial’ is the first point to consider.  By maintaining an empathic and collaborative approach to your presentation can unwittingly endeer you to your audience.  They too may not be overly-happy with the interruption, but this is your floor not theirs, so it’s your responsibility for managing it.

Here’s a simple, easy and polite way to manage a heckler or interruptor during your presentation.

  1. Acknowledge their presence and their intention.
  2. Make a genuine commitment to respond to their point AFTER your slot has concluded.
  3. Keep your commitment to give them time.

1. Their intention may be to put you off stride, to doubt your credibility, your recommendation, your point.  Often though, in the organisational setting anyway, it is because the audience member is mis-matching your thinking, or, they want you to hurry up and agree with their point of view or position on the subject, even though you don’t yet know what it is!

2. Politely engaging and gently rebuffing their heckle or interruption maintains a level of rapport which, because it avoids an adversarial tone, keeps you in control and enables you to remain focused and on point.  Offering a genuine invitation to speak following your presentation also keeps other audience members engaged with you too.  Even if some of them too hold an alternative point of view or position on the subject you are presenting.

3.  Giving your time to listen to the heckler’s point can be really beneficial.  As well as being polite, you never know but you might just learn some new information, data or case study which offers an alternative approach to the one you just presented.  Also, you may notice that the heckler just finds the best way for him or her to feel significant in such a setting is to use their mouth – even if what is dispensed is just inane drivel!

Watch how President Barack Obama handles this hecker during one of his presentations.  Notice how he acknowledges, offers time following his presentation, and even instructs security personnel not to eject them from the arena.  How can you effectively use this or a similarly effective approach during your business presentations?

How To Ask For A Pay Rise

Have you considered just what you are really worth as a Manager?  If not, now could be a good time to think about it.

Does your salary and benefits package accurately reflect what you are worth to your current organisation or a new organisation?   Unwittingly, you may have fallen in to the same trap as 95% of the managers we collaborate with.  That trap is…getting paid what you get paid because your employer believes it is fair and reasonable.

The Trap

Organisations, usually with more than 100 employees tend to have ‘salary bands‘ and ‘grade levels‘ which they base salaries for new employees, and salary increases for existing employees on.  But, quite understandably, employees don’t dare to question or challenge the organisation’s justification for allocating their salary.  The employee simply accepts what is on offer, and however disappointed, justifies their acceptance as ‘Something is better than nothing‘!

Consider This

Let’s say for example, you currently earn a salary of £25,000.  You are happy with the salary and count yourself lucky that you actually have a job.  But, having recorded your achievements in the last quarter, you have identified that following the implementation of several of your recommendations, you have added more than £92,000 worth of value to your organisation.  How ‘fair’ does your salary sound to you now?

If you are aiming towards boosting your effectiveness as a Manager by 5%, 10% or even moving towards entry in to the top 1% of Managers in your organisation, it is vital that you begin to record not just the tasks you undertake, but more importantly, the value that you add to your organisation.  Undertaking a quick review on a weekly basis can deliver significant value, and negotiating power for you when your next salary review or performance appraisal comes around.

 A Practical Solution

Without appearing to be a boaster who is completely caught up in your own self importance, when you have delivered some form of worthwhile benefit for your boss and for your organisation, try this.  Tell your boss!

If team productivity has improved by 10% and quality maintained for ten days, tell your boss.  But don’t just tell your boss the above information, impress upon him or her that the 10% productivity boost and quality performance equates to a XX% cost saving, or profit boost of £XX,XXX.

Notice the very different impact of ending the good news with a financial benefit.  Bosses tend to understand data, but when you begin to educate them on financial benefits – which can be independently verified and confirmed, you can make a BIG impact which gets you noticed for all the right reasons.

 Your Performance Review

It’s time for your quarterly performance review with your boss. S/he mentions that you have been allocated an ‘Effective‘ grade.  Rather than automatically accepting the grade, you politely and confidently mention the financial benefits you have been responsible for delivering during that quarter.  What do you think your boss might be thinking?

In most cases, the boss will become open to exploring the assessment and potentially moving the appraisee up a salary band.  After all, if you are positioning yourself on value added rather than the number of hours you work, might you just be too valuable an asset to lose?

 Attracting Recruiters

One of the most effective ways to attract positive attention from external recruiters is to include your achievements – and the value your achievements delivered for your current/previous employer/s.

Positioning yourself positively and differentiating yourself from the mass of other applicants isn’t too difficult to achieve when you position yourself on value.  We’ll explore this in more detail soon.

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How To Stand Out – Part 2

In one of my first jobs, we had a organizational culture that pushed the importance of meetings. One meeting after the other and all the paperwork to go with it (e.g. agendas, notes, minutes, etc).

Of course, nobody wanted to do the paperwork. Since I was a very junior staff member, I was told to do all the boring stuff. And since I wanted to get rid of the boring stuff as soon as I could, I made sure that it got done immediately, so I could focus on the interesting jobs that I hoped would come my way. They didn’t. And the paperwork was mindnumbingly boring.

But after a few weeks, the director announced that he would be attending a conference in Paris and that he would take me along with him. There was quite an outcry in the meeting, because I was the most junior staff member, but the boss stated “I don’t actually know what Dirk’s job is, but whenever her does one of those jobs that nobody else wants to do, he does them really well and that’s what I need.” On that trip we talked about many things, among them my job. He always supported my career progression afterwards.

Do the small things well and notice what isn’t done well at the moment and take responsibility for doing that well.

Some other tips:

  • Speak up. People who offer well-thought-out advice and opinions are very rare in today’s workplace, because so many people are scared of being criticized, being shot down or having their ideas stolen. So, people who speak up, stand out and earn the respect and attention of their coworkers and their superiors.
  • Don’t make your boss wait. If you are late for a meeting – doesn’t that just mean that you think your schedule is more important than your his or hers? If you can’t get to a meeting on time, how likely is it that your boss will trust you to succeed in delivering an important project on time?
  • Also, treat boring tasks the same way you treat the choice assignments. Treat the small tasks as if they are as important as the big ones.
  • Always be prepared. Whenever you meet your boss, make sure that you have a pen and paper (or iPad or voice recorder) with you. Don’t ever go to a meeting empty handed. Make yourself useful and volunteer for the tasks that nobody wants to do.

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How To Stand Out – Part 1

If you want to get to the top, you need to stand out. This does not just mean doing a good job, because if you are not visible and seen as someone who is worthy of attention, your good work will only be taken for granted and you might actually ensure that you will never get ahead.

Part of standing out depends on the industry and department. In my experience, marketing driven organisations follow distinctly different rules than finance driven companies.

During my studies I did an internship in the marketing department of a consumer goods company, along with several other students. Putting modesty to one side, I was the hardest worker, had the most creative ideas and was obviously highly qualified to work in marketing.

When, at the end of our internship, there was a chance of receiving a scholarship from the marketing department, I didn’t receive it.  The scholarship went to a guy most of us thought of as an arrogant airhead, who really wasn’t all that good at anything.

A few days later I had the opportunity to overhear a conversation between him and the HR director (I probably don’t have to point out that eavesdropping is an important tool if you want to get ahead) and here is the sentence that blew my mind: “Congratulations on the scholarship, you stood out from the start because we noticed that you are always wearing monogrammed shoes!

As silly as this may sound, you need to dress for the part. Not for the part you want, but a level or two above it.

According to a survey by CareerBuilder.com, 41% of employers say that workers who dress better tend to get promoted more often.

Depending on the company, the top people might have certain interests that they bond over. I once worked at one of the largest car manufacturers in the world and if you were not a member of the riding club, you were not part of the management fast track. So you don’t like horses?

At least research them, get yourself up to speed on what is important about them, so you can at least hold an interesting (for them) conversation with the people who are horse fanatics. And stop eating horse meat when they are around.

This is more important than you might think, because there will be many occasions to stand out and some of the most useful ones are business lunches, road trips, flights, etc, all opportunities to show that you have potential outside of your current position.

So here are a few rules:

– check out the top people in your industry and analyse their dress sense, their body language and the way they speak and replicate it

– groom well, more conservatively than you might like (obviously exceptions are the rule in some software companies and start-ups)

– if you are below average height, think about wearing lifts in your shoes. US studies have shown that for every inch above 6 feet, people earn about a 1.5% higher salary

– find out about what the top people bond over and ensure that you can intelligently converse about those subjects.

Stay tuned for part 2 on how to stand out.

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How To Get Promoted – Lucy’s Case Study

From ‘OK’ to ‘Outstanding’ Results…With A Promotion, Pay Rise And Company Car

Meet Lucy…

Lucy is 31 years of age and a Customer Service and Sales Manager in the call centre division of a major UK Bank.

Eight managers hold the same title, status, salary band and benefits as Lucy. Promotions within the division are rare. When they do arise, despite a ‘fair’ interview process taking place, senior bosses have already earmarked the successful applicant; and it never seems to be Lucy.

With 8 years of service at the bank, 4 within her current management role, Lucy is itching for a promotion, new challenges, a new salary and a company BMW 320D!

Lucy’s Challenge…Is Also Your Challenge

Lucy’s challenge may be the same as you have already experienced; or will do in the future when applying for a promotion.  Her biggest challenge isn’t getting promoted, its…

‘How do I differentiate myself from my peers and get a head start on my peers for the next promotion?’

Stuck…With Nowhere To Go

Managing 6 Team Leaders and 90 front-line customer service and sales agents, Lucy’s team was considered ‘reliable and conscientious‘ by her Director and line manager, and she was.  Absenteeism was low, productivity was always slightly ahead of average, and quality was high.  Still, she wasn’t getting the nod where promotions were involved.  She was stuck on small annual salary increases, just like everybody else.  Due to the financial meltdown in the UK, bonuses had become a distant memory!

The Rut And Fear of Change

Lucy felt stuck in a rut.  She daren’t leave her employer in the middle of the biggest economic downturn in living history, couldn’t pluck up courage to ask her boss for a pay rise, and she definitely wouldn’t think of using command and control management to get her team performing better to boost the numbers her boss was so interested in.

What Changed?

Lucy chose to participate in our immersive 2 day Management Masterclass. Her current ways of thinking, communicating, collaborating and managing were questioned, her motivation and purpose explored in detail, and what she found out about herself wasn’t just eye-opening – it was liberating.

She didn’t actually WANT the promotionshe wanted what the promotion would give her.  More money in her pocket, a healthier bank balance, a bigger pension pot, and… more personal freedom.  More freedom to buy that new BMW if she wanted, more freedom to invest in a new home, more freedom to enjoy more holidays, and much more! Do you want more freedom?

Renewed Focus, Clarity And Motivation

With renewed focus, clarity, and a healthy dose of self motivation, Lucy set off in a new direction in her career.  Within just 4 weeks of participating in the Masterclass, Lucy’s team had boosted customer satisfaction ratings, sold more products and services, and become even more productive, motivated and committed.  And, she had heard on the grapevine that a new senior management role may be announced in just a few months time.

Lucy’s Result?

Lucy won the promotion she wanted, she secured a pay rise which was above the salary band on offer, she didn’t have to buy a car as her employer now provided her with a car (and free fuel).

She bought a new home having saved her deposit more quickly than she had planned.  Oh, and 9 months in to her new role, her Director approved her taking a 3 month ‘career break’ so that she could travel to and explore her dream holiday destination, India.

How About You?

You may not want to travel to India, and you may not even want a new car or home. But, just as Lucy found, becoming an even more effective, results focused and emotionally intelligent manager, significantly increased her opportunities. Similar opportunities will become available to you if you commit to learning how to become a top performing manager with a great reputation, personal credibility and an ability to exceed expectations.  All of this… allows you more freedom.

Lucy’s Testimonial from her Masterclass

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Become A Power Influencer

Ten Top Tips To Become A Power Influencer

When I ask groups, ‘How often do you negotiate?’, they generally respond with answers like ‘occasionally‘ or ‘not very often‘. But the accurate answer is we are always negotiating. We can’t not negotiate. Whether it is asking for additional resources, revised deadlines or even whose turn it is to make the team coffees – life is one big negotiation.

I expect you know of someone who is a ‘good’ influencer but leaves a trail of destruction and broken relationships in their wake. That isn’t what this article or our approach is about. Our approach is strictly honest and absolutely win-win or no deal.  It’s also one which can, when used consistently, put your management career on fast-forward.

So, here are some tips for you to consider and apply in your workplace. Remember, high trust relationships have a massive influence on whether another human being is both open and willing to be influenced by you.

1. If/Then can be effectively used to agree a reciprocal trade-off.

In plain English this means that when someone is seeking to impose an instruction or deadline on you, your immediate attention should be to obtain something back in return, and quickly.

For example ‘I understand that you want this report completing by Monday 12pm and you realise how packed my schedule is with other high priority commitments. So, IF I were to agree to complete the report and achieve this very challenging deadline THEN would you be prepared to (x,y or z) for me in return?

In a salary and benefits negotiation, how could you use the IF/Then technique to maximise your result?

2. Help your boss realise the implications of their/your action or inaction.

For example, your boss demands that yet another report or project needs to be got underway, and it’s you who will be doing it.  It is dangerous and perhaps a little foolish for someone to take on yet another commitment they really deep down know just can’t be hit without sacrificing quality or other project outputs.

For example, you confidently say to your manager, ‘I am committed to doing my best to achieve all of the outputs you have set me and require of me. As you are aware, there are three other tight timescales on many projects to achieve. Just so I can understand which takes top priority, please will you share with me which of the other projects you wish to set aside until this new project is completed?’

Bear in mind that bosses are perhaps not open to ‘setting something aside’ – they just want it doing! This is rarely because they are not nice people, they just have pressures at a higher level to deal with, so this is where your integrity and assertiveness need to shine through. ‘If I do spend the time required on completing this new project, THE IMPLICATIONS for (a) project is….THE KNOCK ON EFFECT for (b) project will be ……and THE IMPLICATIONS FOR (c) project will likely be……  I just want to ensure you understand the consequences and implications.’

3. Help them understand what it means

All too often the willingness to comply with a request or demand kicks in. In some situations it is a very good thing to comply, while in others, all it does is cause stress, anxiety and frustration.  You can’t perform anywhere near your best when you are experiencing these kinds of emotions.

Help the other party/parties truly understand the impact and potential consequences of their decision/s, actions/inactions so that the dialogue can progress positively. When people genuinely understand, they are far more likely to be open to your honest and professional dialogue.

Think of the medical doctor example to his heavy smoking patient. ‘You need to stop smoking‘ versus ‘You need to stop smoking because if you choose to continue this means you will not be around to walk your beautiful daughter down the aisle when she marries.’ Notice the very different understanding?

4. Use softeners to help higher value dialogue

In a spirited discussion, or even a stand-off, the question ‘AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?’ has a very different impact to ‘Please will you help me understand exactly what is meant by that?’ The very tone associated with the first question can put your colleague/client on the back foot in a heartbeat. It can also make influencing and negotiating so much harder as they can feel bullied or stone-walled.

Good softeners include ‘Just so I can be clear….May I just ask you a question about…If you could help me understand (a,b or c) in more detail, I would be grateful/I’d really appreciate it…Bearing in mind/remembering our agreement about (a), what are your thoughts on how it can be achieved?…Do we all agree that…..? Softeners are like a medical doctor having a wonderful bedside manner. Consider your bedside manner carefully – or there could be severe implications!

5. Keep your commitments

If you say you will do something, ensure that you do it. If you say you won’t do something, don’t do it. Simple as a standard and it has the added benefit of building trust. People trust people who make good things happen. And as well as keeping commitments to other people, remember that self-trust is where it all starts from. Trust your self to speak up when you need to. Trust your self to allow other people the space to think and the right to have their own ideas and opinions.

How powerful a differentiator do you think it might be in a job interview when your interviewer knows that you consistently deliver on your commitments?  It’s powerful!

6. The power of WE

Often, but not always, two or more heads are better than one.

If you have a colleague who is refusing to change their idea, first of all work on understanding how and why they have reached their decision. Then you can smoothly move on to understanding why they are not open to changing their decision. Often it is either because they don’t particularly care for the person/people inviting them to change their mind (as it can be perceived as one-upmanship), they have a very personal, personal value on a subject that has driven their decision, they may not have access to the data that you have access to – and that’s why sharing is a good thing. It may also be that they have advised their boss of their decision, and the boss agreed with them, or their boss has indeed instructed them on what decision to make.

Remember that people generally comply with an authority figure, whether or not they agree with them. If you have a colleague or two who have challenged your thinking and they genuinely agree with your research and facts, you can return to your manager and state something like ‘Name, name and name have reviewed my data independently and they all believe that the decision/recommendation is the most appropriate for this matter.’

Remember to stay away from ‘They all agreed with me so I’m right and you’re clearly wrong‘. This isn’t helpful to anyone, and it could land you in your boss’s bad books. Honestly applying the power of WE may help your colleague to be a little more open to a different way of thinking.  At the very least, positioned with integrity, your polite persistence may reflect that you are a committed and helpful worker.

7. Separate Facts from Opinions

Dialogue can become fraught with anger, frustration and disappointment when we have what seems to be a great idea or recommendation, only for it to be rejected by a boss or a peer group.

Be aware that opinions are just that. They are simply beliefs that an individual or a group believe about something. A fact though has indisputable evidence to support it. Always, always, always ask a question to clarify whether a statement is a fact or opinion.  This will then enable you to explore which avenue to take your discussion and/or decision.  It could also save you embarrassment if you base your decision on an opinion which later is proved to be wrong or inappropriate.

When a recruiter is offering you a job and says “We can only offer you £35,000, that’s our limit.”  Take a moment and respond politely with “May I just ask you to clarify, is the point you mentioned an opinion, or a fact?’  If they state it is a fact, ask for written evidence that this is indeed the case. As it may not be!  Remember, the recruiter is acting in the company’s interest…not yours!

8. Use effective tag questions

A tag question is a bundle of words at the end of a sentence that is leading the other party to respond.

Tag questions can be highly effective when used sparingly in a negotiation or meeting. Examples of tag questions are…

*Do we both agree?

*I have understood correctly, haven’t I?

*If I can add £10,000 worth of additional value in the first three months of my employment, this is worth an additional £3,000 on my salary, is it not?

*We agree, do we not?

*I’m correct in remember we did agree the deadline, aren’t I?

*That is your understanding too, is it not?

*This is my understanding of the problem, is this correct?

Don’t use too many in quick succession as the other party may feel like they are being interrogated. Remember that tag questions along with every other technique we share with you must be applied with a genuine win-win outcome in mind.

9. Say NO and stick to it

This may at first sound like a tough position to stick with, especially when you are negotiating or having a dialogue with your boss or a high income value client. But, my position here is to stick to your NO position UNTIL both parties agree to collaborate openly and honestly to explore and hopefully reach an agreement that works for both parties, plus, as a bonus, for any third party too.

Saying NO is not digging your heels in, being obstructive or childish. It is a starting point from which to commence negotiating. After all, would you like me to make a commitment to you and then not keep my commitment? What about if I knew all along I either couldn’t or wouldn’t keep it, and I never told you?

With this approach you can move forward to ‘Because of the negative implications (for both you and I) we spoke about earlier, I do need to say NO to your request as a whole. BUT, perhaps what we can agree to work on is a,b and c as they are most important to you and your stakeholder. Perhaps we can get these pieces completed fully and to the required standard before starting on d,e,f,….z. Do we agree this is a good step forward?

10. Clarify, Clarify, Clarify

When your schedule is packed full with meetings and telephone calls it is easy to forget some things. Your brain is the most powerful on-board computer known to humankind – but sometimes the programming gets a little messed up.

Your memory is not the most reliable tool to depend upon to remember important facts, figures and commitments…(especially the boring ones).  Always clarify your understanding, always clarify your perceived agreements on the spot when any misunderstandings can be resolved, not later when your head is elsewhere. When you have clarified all that is required, only then should you move forward. Only when you have complete agreement on understanding should you then move on to the next steps.

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5 Ways To Boost Your Performance As A Manager

Would you like to learn 5 quick and easy tips that can boost your effectiveness as a Manager?

Here are 5 top tips on how you can boost your personal effectiveness as a manager without attending a management training course.  When you consistently apply these tips for ten consecutive days, you’ll soon begin to notice very positive changes and improvements.


Too many managers are so focused on the process of getting the job done that they often overlook, or completely forget, about the need to support their people in delivering the outputs required in a structured, (and hopefully) stress free manner. I do hope that this isn’t you?

Finding and taking time to effectively brief your team members on what you expect from them, why you expect it, how you will support them to achieve their targets and goals, and being genuinely supportive, will boost clarity, develop shared responsibility for the delivery of outputs and achievement of goals, and, develop high trust collaborative relationships along the way too.

If you’re thinking that doing this is a little ‘touchy feely’ and not worth investing a little time and focus in, put yourself in your team members shoes.  Would you prefer a Manager who tells you what to do, and then doesn’t offer support, or would you prefer a Manager who is more like the example above?

How you support your team (or not) will define whether your team members work with you or against you.  It’s quite an easy choice when you think about it, isn’t it?


Many managers wrongly believe that if they haven’t got multiple projects, with conflicting deadlines and a hundred or more emails to deal with, something is wrong. Thinking time, reflection time, planning time, can be viewed as a little strange, even uncomfortable.

In reality, there are just a few things that you need to do that really matter and add value to your organisation.  They are preparing, planning, delegating, collaborating and focusing on achieving specific, value adding outputs. I recommend Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people programme to you for more on this subject.

Consider this.  How many meetings do you attend through habit or duty, rather than because you add value? Too many I expect. How many times each day is your attention diverted from what you are doing, because your email ‘pings‘ or you simply check it anyway because you’re either bored, or not wanting to feel vulnerable by potentially missing out on something ‘important‘ landing in your inbox?

Switch your email alert to silent and remove any on screen notification too. They are worthless, wasteful distractions that top performing managers learn to ignore and place little value on. Politely decline to attend those meetings where you don’t need to be, but to which you currently go anyway.

Invest a little more in quiet time at, or away from your desk so that you can develop real clarity on what is really important (and why), and what activities are deserving and in positive need of your attention each and every day.

Top performing managers proactively manage their emotional and mental focus  and time rather than having time manage them.  Will you do it too and begin moving towards the top 1% of managers in your organisation?


Being technically competent is a very positive start in your management career. At the very least, if you’re not yet technically competent as a manager, you should consider having a structured personal development plan in place to become competent and confident in your role.  This includes the people aspects of management as well as processes and systems.

In the rush to deliver tough targets, many managers unwittingly stop asking their team members how they can support them. The top 1% of managers do exactly the opposite.  They continually ask team members ‘What are two things I can do to help you do an even better job?’ and ‘If there were two ways I could support you more effectively, what would they be?’

Simple questions right?  But very powerful questions which boost communication, collaboration and trust between you the Manager, and your team members.

If you want to develop and maintain an emotionally engaged, committed and highly motivated team, you need to go first. You need to consistently demonstrate the behaviours, attitudes and standards you want your team members to demonstrate, collectively and individually. It’s not as hard a task as it might sound.  In fact, with a little practice, it becomes less awkward and uncomfortable, and develops in to a low maintenance habit with a very positive up-side.  Try it for ten days and notice the difference.


You don’t have to do everything and you don’t have to know everything either. Did you know this?

Some managers refuse to delegate tasks to team members because they believe that sharing of information is a loss of power and status. Some managers delegate, but without structure, clarity or agreed support for their colleague, and it can feel more like ‘abdication‘ rather than delegation. Either of these two positions is potentially damaging to your organisation. And they are most definitely potentially damaging to you, your reputation and your personal credibility.

Highly effective managers delegate effectively, viewing the allocation of tasks and projects to colleagues as a value-adding activity. Indeed, when done correctly, delegation can serve to be a powerful trust and team building activity. It develops and spreads skills within and across your team and, allows you, the manager, to focus on doing those few things that really matter while your colleagues feel genuinely supported in developing their skills, expertise and knowledge in specific areas.

Yes, you will be a supportive coach during the delegation process, and you will also share responsibility for the successful delivery of the required output, but you won’t be doing tasks and projects that, properly planned, others can undertake.


It’s all too easy to catch people doing things wrong and then reprimand them for their errors. After all, the human brain doesn’t enjoy having to deal with people and situations that cause it a headache!

Highly effective managers, as well as addressing inferior, poor or unacceptable performance and/or behaviour, are also adept at catching team members doing things right.  They are constantly on the lookout for exemplary performance, that little extra effort, and that fantastically positive attitude that continues to shine through even when potential solutions to a seemingly insurmountable problem are being explored.

Such managers express genuine gratitude to team members who do that little extra, stay late to complete a task or resolve an issue, even though they didn’t have to and weren’t expected to. Do you? If you do, do you do it enough?  Do you do it at the right time, for the right reasons, and do you do it authentically?

I am not suggesting you scour your office to provide shallow praise to your colleagues. I am though inviting you to notice the good things that your people do, and this way not only will they appreciate your attention and thanks, you’ll also develop a more loyal team who go the extra mile through personal choice, rather than obligation.

Our extensive research has identified that the top 1% of managers continuously practice the activities you have just read, and their practice pays significant dividends in terms of improved motivation, performance, quality and productivity.  Why not give them a go for just ten consecutive days and see how things improve?

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