Make Effective Hiring Decisions

By Susan Cullen on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 @ 03:35 PM

Behavioral Interviewing will help you make the best decisions when it comes to hiring and selection.   A key principle is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. So you want to identify the key behaviors needed in the job and then ask interviewing questions designed to find out how well the candidate was able to demonstrate that behavior in the past.

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Leadership Training: Best Practices to Build Employee Engagement

By Susan Cullen on Wed, Mar 05, 2014 @ 08:30 AM

Every year, which expense costs U.S. businesses more than employee travel, television advertising, and occupational injuries…combined

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Five Levels of Delegation

By Susan Cullen on Tue, Nov 26, 2013 @ 08:48 AM

When you are in a leadership position it is very important to learn how to delegate to others. It isn't always easy or you may not be willing to give up some of your responsibilities.  However, it is mandatory in order to achieve your own goals while also developing your staff.   Below please find 5 levels of delegation.  The level you choose will depend on the willingness and ability of the employee:

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Five Skills Every Manager Needs to Survive In Today's Economy

By Susan Cullen on Thu, Nov 12, 2009 @ 10:28 AM

Let’s face it:  Our current economy has put more pressure than ever on our managers.  Not only do they need to do more with less, they have to keep everyone motivated and engaged at the same time.  Managers can feel caught in the middle between what the organization needs, and what their employees need.  If you are a manager, struggling with these challenges, your role is critical now.  The following 5 key skills, when mastered effectively, can help you succeed even in today’s tough economy.

  1. Identify and Align with Key Organizational Priorities.   It’s important to understand how the current economy has impacted your organization.  What’s most important for your company to succeed right now?   Make sure you know.  Then identify how this should impact your priorities as a manager.  Communicate these priorities to your staff, and communicate them consistently.  Make sure everyone is aligned and understands how their role helps the organization navigate through today’s choppy waters.

  2. Manage Your Time to Focus on These Priorities.   It’s hard to disconnect from all our communication devices:  text messages, voice mail, constant emails, interruptions, and all sorts of staff crises.  However, the challenge every manager faces is the need to prioritize what is REALLY important from what is just urgent.  When the going gets tough, it is more important than ever to make sure you are accomplishing your most important priorities.  So remind yourself often what your critical objectives are.   Don’t let all the pressing demands of the day keep you busy, instead of effective.

  3. Coach Your Staff to Succeed.   Your key role as a manager is helping your staff to succeed.  That means that you have got to help them stay focused on accomplishing their key priorities as well.  You need to be so clearly tuned in to them that you know when they are slipping.  Then you will need to coach them in the most effective way possible when they get off track.  Help them to take ownership when they need to improve, and find the best strategies for success.

  4. Create a Motivational Environment.  Your staff can also be facing additional pressure and work demands right now.  You need to do everything in your power to keep them engaged.  Don’t ever underestimate the power of gratitude and appreciation.  Let your staff know what you value about each individual.  Be sincere and communicate it often.  You’ll be amazed at how powerful the strategy of expressed praise can be.

  5. Become an Effective Change Agent.  The only constant we have is change.  To survive in today’s economy you need to embrace change and help your staff do the same.  Communicate openly when a change is about to occur and explain the benefits to the organization and/or your employees.  Help everyone understand how their actions can benefit the company by implementing the change. Although difficult at first, they’ll follow your lead and the new change will be accepted.
You can lead your staff through today’s economic challenges to be even stronger when the economy finally improves.  You, too, will become stronger in the process as a result.   Remember that your staff will watch how YOU step up to the challenge.  They will model your attitudes, actions and beliefs.  So use any challenge you experience as an opportunity to model what you want to see in others.  When you do, you will have mastered key elements of effective leadership, even in a tough economy.

To learn how you can gain these critical skills for yourself and/or your organization, check out our free recorded webinar entitled “ How Live Virtual Management Training Can Meet the Needs of Today’s Managers”.   This one hour recorded webinar will expand on this article further, and show you how you can gain these skills, even on a minimized budget.

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3 Elements of Effective Performance Discussions

By Susan Cullen on Mon, Nov 09, 2009 @ 12:58 PM

One of the most difficult conversations most managers ever have is when they need to meet with an employee to discuss a performance problem.  Most managers either put this discussion off altogether (just hoping against hope it will go away), or so clearly mismanage the discussion that the employee leaves feeling demoralized and unmotivated.  However, the following three strategies can help you the next time you find yourself needing to coach an employee to improve.

  1. Focus on specific performance issues, not personality.  You may just know that the performance issue is obvious to the employee, but that is frequently not the case.  It can be very tempting to use general language like “not a team player”, or “attitude problem”, but the other party won’t understand what you mean.  They will probably get defensive and then you’ve immediately lost any hope of having a positive outcome.  So make sure you are clear and specific when describing the problem.  Instead of complaining that they weren’t a team player, say instead “When you missed the deadline by 2 days, it caused the whole team to be behind on this project”.  As a result, you will be focusing on the performance issue in a clear way and not making what can be perceived as a personality attack.


  2. Encourage the employee to take ownership for solving the problem.  One of the best ways to do this is to ask him or her what suggestions they have for improving.  This puts the responsibility on their back, and not on yours.  By engaging them in the solution, you are encouraging ownership of not just the problem but also the solution.  This gives them the opportunity to feel more empowered and willing to make a change.  Your goal is not to assign blame or make someone feel guilty; your goal is to improve the problem in the future.


  3. Set a follow-up date.  It can be tempting a heave a sigh of relief when you get to the end of the performance discussion and pat yourself on the back for accomplishing the first 2 strategies.  But if you end the conversation there, even though it went well, it won’t be successful.  There’s a strong likelihood that the employee may leave with all the best intentions, but can loose focus when meeting the rest of their daily demands.  To keep them on track, you will want to make sure you set a specific follow-up date and time to measure improvement.  Don’t say “Let’s review this sometime next month” or you can both get distracted.  Instead schedule a specific date and time to monitor progress.  This will ensure the employee understands how important this issue is to you, and the results achieved will be significantly higher.
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