Bruce Tulgan is a force of nature!
Doug Bonestroo, VP of Business Development, Agile Frameworks
Nov 3, 2014

Management Challenge #6: When an Employee Needs Help With Interpersonal Communication
Excerpted from The 27 Challenges Managers Face


It has been a whirlwind autumn already for RainmakerThinking and our clients! With my brand new book The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems now out and flying off the shelves (thanks to all of you!!), the phone has been ringing off the hook. We are focused like a laser beam on helping our clients move their management cultures one step at a time toward strong highly-engaged management. We’ve been bringing our research capabilities to more and more clients through our organizational assessments and individual manager assessments — measuring measuring measuring. And of course training training training. By the way if you haven’t checked it out yet, check out our web based training platform — it is a simple but powerful training tool to deliver the message and regular reminders about the fundamentals of highly-engaged management. Check it out!

Stay strong!


P.S. I was so pleased to pass 10,000 twitter followers this month!! I am finding Twitter to be another great way to share information and answer questions. If you’re not already, I hope you’ll follow along and join the conversation!



The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems

“All Management Problems Solved in One Book???!!”

Managing people is harder now than ever before. What can a real manager in the real world actually do in the face of today’s daunting challenges? Here’s your chance to find out! Bruce’s newest book, The 27 Challenges Managers Face, has hit the shelves!

Order Now!


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The Challenges of Management

October 16, 2014

L.A. Times

Generation Z (or is that Edge?) shows a fluid sense of style

November 2, 2014

Huffington Post

What Employees Want and How to Give It to Them

October 31, 2014


How to Manage a Superstar Without Losing Your Mind

October 30, 2014

Bitrix24 Blogs

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October 29, 2014

Fox Business Channel

How to avoid Ebola

October 23, 2014

When home issues come to work: Managers should know how to act when employees have problems outside work

October 17, 2014

Huffington Post

Do Bosses Need Their Own Day?

October 16, 2014


Wall Street’s Older Workers Worry Over Job Security: Aging workers perceive employers want youth, hunger, dynamism

October 9, 2014

How to be the strongest link: Being a new manager of an existing team doesn’t mean you have to be the outsider

October 3, 2014

Accounting Fly Blog

27 Management Challenges

October 1, 2014


When an Employee Needs Help With Interpersonal Communication


he bad news is that more and more managers tell us that employees are becoming so accustomed to communicating with people electronically, some are losing the ability to communicate well in-person. Despite their extensive practice in communicating electronically, a lot of employees are just as bad at e-communication as they are at in-person. The good news, so often simply the structure and substance of your regular ongoing dialogue with an employee will do much of the work of improving the situation.

What if that doesn’t do the trick? If you’ve been doing regular one-on-ones for several weeks and the structured communication is not teaching the individual better communication habits, then start focusing in your regular one-on-ones on improving the individual’s communication habits. Explain: “How you interact with others in the workplace has an important impact. You have room to improve your communication practices. I need you to start working on that and I am going to help you. Let’s start including that in our regular one-on-ones for the foreseeable future.”

Over the years we’ve helped many organizations develop clear standards for interpersonal communication – what I call a “code of conduct”—- based on this list of best practices:

  • Listen twice as much as you talk.
  • Never interrupt or let your mind wander when others are speaking. When it’s your turn, ask open-ended questions first and then increasingly focused questions to show you understand what the other person has said.
  • Empathize. Always try to imagine yourself in the other person’s position.
  • Exhibit respect, kindness, courtesy, and good manners.
  • Always prepare in advance so you are brief, direct, and clear.
  • Think of at least one potential solution , before trumpeting a problem.
  • Take personal responsibility for everything you say and do.
  • Don’t make excuses when you make a mistake, When you make mistakes, just apologize and make every effort to fix it.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously, but always take your commitments and responsibilities seriously.
  • Always give people credit for their achievements, no matter how small.

I realize that this “code” is a set of very broad performance standards. But you should never underestimate the value of trumpeting them broadly and teaching them acutely.


Where Do You Fit in This Situation?

It’s Okay to Manage Yourself: Lesson 2

From RainmakerThinking.Training


e’ve identified the four most common interpersonal communication problems managers identify in their employees:

  • 1. Employees who talk too much at the wrong times
  • 2. Employees who regularly interrupt their colleagues (and you)
  • 3. Employees with bad electronic communication practices
  • 4. Employees who don’t know how to conduct themselves in meetings

Perhaps the most pernicious time-wasting occurs in team-meetings because when time is wasted in a team meeting the waste is multiplied by the number of people in the meeting. If an employee wastes ten minutes in a meeting of ten people, that is 100 minutes of productive capacity wasted! Out the window!! Youch!!! Teach all of your direct reports:

  • Before attending any meeting or presentation, make sure you know what the meeting is about and whether your attendance is required or requested.
  • Identify what your role in the meeting is: What information are you responsible for communicating or gathering? Prepare in advance: Is there any material you should review or read before the meeting? Are there any conversations you need to have before the meeting?
  • If you are making a presentation, prepare even more. Ask yourself exactly what value you have to offer the group.
  • If you are not a primary actor in the meeting, often the best thing you can do is say as little as possible and practice good meeting manners: Do not ‘multi-task,’ make unnecessary noise or activity, and stay focused on the business at hand.
  • If you are tempted to speak up, ask yourself: is this a point that everyone needs to hear, right here and now? If you have a question, could it be asked at a later time, off-line?
  • If you don’t have a clear role in the meeting and yet find yourself there anyway, try not to say a single word that will unnecessarily lengthen it.