Trainer's tip: You can lead a horse to water...

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How do you tackle managers who are stuck in their bad, old habits and refuse to change? Several trainers offer their advice.

Motivating is crucial says Nick Hindley:

It seems you have a lack of motivation from the managers concerned here. I would drive the agenda in two ways.

Firstly, carry out some work with the team members on how they could improve the effectiveness of the teams they work in. Ideally it would be in a workshop but failing that a questionnaire. Included in this session/questionnaire would be the following questions:

  • What could your manager do more of that would assist the team to achieve their goals?
  • What could your manager do that they are not doing now that would assist the team to achieve its goals?
  • Is there anything your manager does that is counter productive and they should stop doing?

Typically if a workshop is feasible I would use rich pictures as a way of communicating possibilities and issues the team identify with their managers. If not, picture another form of timeline analysis – what is it like now, what is it like in the future and what has happened to enable the change.

Secondly I would present the managers with the outcomes from the staff research and use the same technique to form their plan of action. This would be combined with a behavioural 360 feedback session – each manager providing feedback on each other in a visual process.

It would be a first if the combination of these two approaches did not produce changes in the managers either through changes in their behaviour or changes in personnel!

Given the directors current predicament both these options may be needed.

No more Mr Niceguy advises Derek Leathem:

It seems to me that there is a lack of direction and discipline from the top. You've done the team motivational bit but the managers appear to have no desire to make the changes sustainable. This would involve effort on their part. There is nothing and no one driving them to do the job that is required.

In my experience, the key to your problem lies with the director. He needs to make it absolutely clear that the company needs to change, giving the reasons why and the important role of the managers in the future success of the company. Then it's time to state that these changes to working practice are not optional. No more Mr Niceguy time.

Performance management requires leadership with a clear set of standards of performance and a mandate that they must be used. Then the managers need the training and tools to review and measure performance to develop effectiveness.

I'd spend a half day with the director to help define the role required for him to lead the change.

Mission first adds Tracey Dowe:

My question is 'does the company have a mission'?
The director appears to have one - has he shared it with the managers?

Mission must come first. It's what holds it all together when things get a bit messy. The mission should be very clear to everyone and something the team, and the individuals within it, are working to achieve. Without a clear mission everyone is free to go off in their own ways... as seems to be happening here.

The team should know its role within the mission and each individual should know and be committed to the part that they need to play to achieve the mission. You can then introduce responsibilities and accountabilities which again are very clear to all. If a team member then chooses not to work within those defined responsibilities your business should support them in their decision to leave.

So - use the mission to inspire them to find a positive contribution in the work that they do as individuals in order to work together as a team.

View the original posting:

The team's working but the management's not!

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