Hints and tips for new and experienced managers
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eManagement Tips - October 2019

Our monthly update for Associates and Members of RiverRhee's Managers' Community
Welcome to the October 2019 issue of eManagement Tips.
This month's issue includes:
  • How to avoid the pitfalls of performance metrics
  • Why clarity of purpose is important for both leaders and managers
  • How to create an environment at work that is conducive to thinking
Our next two open courses are Conflict Management on the 29th October, and Managing Change on the 14th November.  Places are also starting to fill for our Introduction to Management on the 26th-28th November.

See our latest calendar of open courses at the foot of this newsletter.  

A particular highlight for us in September was the opportunity to deliver the Introduction to Management to a client in France, and to do so partially in French!

Do get in touch to discuss your requirements for courses, team workshops and one-to-one coaching.

How to avoid the pitfalls of performance metrics

It's that time of year: performance reviews, appraisals, setting new objectives... and the anxieties that go with this.

The latest issue of HBR carries an excellent article by Michael Harris and Bill Tayler on the concept of "surrogation": when people get so focused on a specific metric for performance, that they forget and neglect the underlying reason for why it exists.

They risk channeling all of their energy, and anxiety, into achieving, rather than applying their expertise and judgement to what's happening with the work that should be leading to it. A classic example is for a customer service related metric: is it more important that a customer scores the work as a "10", or that we understand what we did well to deliver that service, what we could have done better, and how we can continue to improve the customer experience?

See: Are your performance measures driving the right behaviours?

.. to find out more about Harris and Tayler's suggestions for avoiding "surrogation" and how we can apply their insights to make objective setting at all levels (organisational, team and individual) a focus for the positive discussion that it could be.

Why clarity of purpose is important for both leaders and managers

According to W. Bennis, “Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing.”

Clarity of purpose is one topic where these differences in remit can be vividly illustrated, as Thomas W. Malnight, Ivy Buche and Charles Dhanaraj remind us in “Put purpose at the core of your strategy” in the September-October 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review (pp. 70-79).

Clarity of purpose underpins organisational strategy and change:

  • With clarity of purpose leaders can more effectively respond to external drivers of change
  • They can take a planned approach to organisational change
  • And they are more likely to achieve a successful high growth company
Clarity of purpose also provides the 'why' for motivating people at work:
  • Managers who communicate the purpose of the organisation will be more effective at gaining buy-in for change
  • They are more likely to motivate stakeholders (including employees)
  • And they will generally help teams to identify how they can add value and have impact in the organisation and potentially beyond it to the wider society.

See: Why clarity of purpose is so important for both effective leadership and effective management

... to find out more about Malnight et al's perspective on this topic.

The manager as coach: how to create an environment at work that is conducive to thinking

(A favourite morning spot for reflection by our hotel during our recent work trip to France.)

According to Nancy Kline, author of “Time to Think”, thinking for ourselves and thinking well, is what enables us to be effective in anything that we do. And yet many things mitigate against us being able to think as frequently or as well as we could.

Barriers to thinking include:

  • The hectic pace of life and work
  • The frequent, often unspoken, expectation for people to fit in and conform
  • The belief that those more senior or more expert than us know best
Here are just a few ideas, inspired by “Time to Think” that a manager could begin to implement in a coaching capacity with their direct reports:
  1. Create an expectation that people will think for themselves - rather than expecting you to provide the solutions
  2. Make time to (really) listen to your direct reports
  3. Extend this practice of uninterrupted listening to wider team practices - for instance in meetings
  4. Make sure there are quiet or communal areas that people can go to to think, and that there are gaps in their schedules to do so
  5. Allow people to express their feelings - so that they can clear their minds for thinking
  6. Encourage a culture of mutual respect, where diversity of thinking is valued

Nancy Kline’s book has a lot more to offer for those interested in helping individuals and teams think more effectively.

You can read more about the themes of this piece here

Our schedule of open courses for 2019 
... please note that, as of January 2020, we will be focusing our efforts on in-house courses and one-to-one coaching.  If you would still prefer an open course, we will endeavour to put you in touch with other clients who might want to arrange one with us together.

Conflict Management - 29th October - How to facilitate constructive conversations for healthier and more productive working relationships
Managing Change - 14th November.  A one-day course on the behavioural and procedural concepts and techniques for effective business change.

Introduction to Management - 26th-28th November. An in-depth three-day course for those who are new to management or have been doing it for some time

Transition to Leadership - 12th December. For those moving into a leadership role

All of RiverRhee’s courses can be run in-house for your company.

We can also explore most topics in one-to-one coaching sessions.

See the RiverRhee Consulting website or contact Elisabeth at or on 07876 130 817.

Copyright © 2019 RiverRhee Consulting, All rights reserved.

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