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The Five Components of Hands-On Management

There are volumes of research that have attempted to distinguish between leaders, managers, and supervisors: Leaders focus on the big picture, managers focus on details, and supervisors focus on carrying out the details. Leaders inspire, managers do the paperwork, and supervisors assign, monitor, and measure the tasks of individual contributors.   But the truth of…

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Is Your Workplace Feedback Thoughtful, Balanced, and True?

Every time a manager provides feedback, their credibility is on the line. Giving feedback that is generally inaccurate—off-base, unfair, unbalanced, or factually wrong—is a surefire way to undermine that credibility. On the other hand, employees come to trust and value managers who regularly provide feedback that is thoughtful, balanced, and true.   The accuracy of…

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Performance Improves When Managers Focus on Short-Term Results

The most powerful approach to coaching is one that focuses urgently on day-to-day, high-quality results. As basketball great Michael Jordan said, “I approach everything step by step using short-term goals. When I meet one goal, I set another reasonable goal I can achieve if I work hard. Each success leads to the next one.”  …

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Seven Feedback Mistakes Managers Make

Most managers today would agree that feedback is key to employee success. But unless that feedback is high quality, performance will never improve, no matter how frequent your one-on-ones with direct reports.   The results of our interviews point to seven major complaints about typical manager feedback: There is not enough feedback (no guidance). There…

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Your Team Can’t Manage Itself

One of the most insidious pieces of advice in modern management is to “stay out of your employees’ way” and “let them do their best work”. The intention is to display trust in the people working for you and, perhaps more importantly, avoid the dreaded label of micromanager.   Here’s the problem with that.  …

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The Seven Types of Management Challenges and How to Solve Them

Despite how unique your management challenges may seem, the common denominator is likely unstructured, low-substance, hit-or-miss communication. When things are going wrong in a management relationship, that is usually at least part of the cause. What do the best managers do differently? They build and maintain an ongoing schedule of high-quality one-on-one dialogues with every…

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Four ways even good managers waste time

If you’re a manager who feels you are spending so much of your time managing, yet inevitably end up firefighting, something like this may sound familiar: Listen, I spend tons of time communicating with my direct reports. Not to mention my boss, their boss, and counterparts in other workgroups and other departments. Look at Project…

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Stop Recruiting Gen Z Like Millennials

Employers eager to attract the best young employees are too often delivering the wrong messages to the wrong people at the wrong times. Because young talent is perpetually in greater demand than supply, employers desperate to fill open positions make the mistake of turning recruiting into an elaborate sales pitch. The problem is that prospective…

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Shifting rock layers

Post-pandemic work: What each generation needs for success

If ever there was a generation-defining ‘accident of history’, the Covid-19 pandemic is it. Compared to other recent accidents of history—the 2008 recession, 9/11, ongoing war—Covid-19 has directly impacted far more people, of all ages, on a global scale. Quite literally, everyone is going through this together. We are currently experiencing a classic example of…

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The Top Causes of Employee Turnover

After huge recent fluctuations in the job market—and despite ongoing downsizing, restructuring, and reengineering—unemployment is at record lows and employers are facing more severe talent shortages than any time since we at RainmakerThinking began our workplace research in 1993. Not only must organizations fill the gaps with new hires, they must also ensure their best…

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