What's Your Burning Management/Career Question?

We're compiling an FAQ for our new website. We'd love to make sure that it's answering your burning questions about management and careers. Please post them in the comments below and we'll make sure they get answered!


What's this 'trinity' that you speak of?

Alright, I know the management trinity (having heard the casts), but I'm sure it's a FAQ for newbies to the community. It isn't a widely-known term, so it'd be a good one to include in the FAQ. 

CVs

I've religiously followed your advice on resumes. I am working in Europe and the standard here is a 2-3 page curriculum vitae. Any rule of thumb for CVs vs resumes?

Professional Subordination - Big Company Culture

This was one of the first casts that I listened too, way back when.  I found it very helpful with regard to being prepared for meeting debates and then execution of the final decision.  It took much pressure off of " supporting my team" and placed emphasis on coming to the debate prepared.

Manager Tools way to Relaunch Career?

I was thinking about this question. Manager Tools has a way to do this if someone needs it?

Congratulations for the upcoming new website. 

 

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How to say 'no' and not limit your career.

As a manager, i'm constantly asked, pushed into working in several different areas (reliabilty, export control, marketing, project/program management, proposal writing etc. )outside my primary responsibility (Design Engineering Management).  When the opportunity of promotion came along, I was passed over however.  I feel, in part, is that I'm very diluted and not able to focus on the tasks that will advance my career but there is no one to do the extra work. 

 

 

"Relaunch" career

I agree, this would be an interesting topic.

I was a rather high performer throughout my 20's and early 30's, experiencing consistent promotions and respect from my peers. But something has happened over the past few years, I've lost the "mojo" that I once had and my performance isn't up to par with previous results. I can feel it personally and my performance reviews are noting it as well.

Thanks folks

 These are great, guys, many thanks.  I'm working on getting all these done, as well as our list of the core questions we get every day...

Cheers,

Mark

How To Dress For Success

One topic that's never been covered in detail is How to Dress.  I think its been done more for ladies than men.   I'm always curious about this one and whether it differs by industry or company.

untypical employees

You recommend 03s for contractors and gave recommendations for 03s with shift workers.  Could you add more on untypical employees, people who are not working  full-time at the office?  So, some untypical employees are contractors, remote workers (or teleworkers), part-timers ...

Grad School

I could use some advice on deciding when to go to Grad School.  When do you consider it worth it?   And do you get into the best school you possibly can regardless of the cost?  Or stick with a state school that allows you to work full time and pay out of pocket while attending?

Sarcasm - the root cause and is it a career killer?

I have been told that I have a sarcastic tone. I would love to hear an episode that addresses  the behavior of sarcasm, how to manage it personally, and how to manage it as a manager-tools manager. What negative effects sarcasm has when using it with my co-workers and most certainly how using it effects my career and future promotion. (This may be a better career tools podcast?) Thanks.

Self-funded development

As companies (in my industry, at least) are paying less and less for training, and as certifications and the like are more and more important, how about an entry about a sensible approach for investing in one's career by way of what to / what not to pursue by way of training?

One of my former bosses called many of these organizations "places which separate companies from their money", another commented that he "doesn't put much value in certifications".

For example, Project Managers should consider getting PMP / APM / PRINCE2 certified, but a few years after achieving that, then what?

 

 

How to change past perceptions of yourself

I know this has cost me more than one promotion opportunity within the site I work, and it may cost me a chance I have at an external site I am up for now.

How should/does one go about changing others perceptions of them, especially when issues from over a decade ago are the only issues they have?

How to Determine which Manager Tool sto Practice?

How does one determine which Manager Tools to practice implementing given all the hundreds of techniques you have? I don't know if this is an FAQ, but I wonder if you have guidance for determining which tools will have the biggest bang for the buck based on one's self-assessment.

Maybe a different way to ask this question is this: How does one honestly assess where one is behavior-wise (assuming one doesn't have an M-T manager doing this) and then determine which manager tools to employ for self-development?

For example, I think I'd get the biggest bang for the buck through focusing on the Trinity, DiSC, Ctrl+Shift+K / Ctrl+G, Priority Management, Effective Meetings, Taking Notes, Juggling Koan ... but there are seriously so many tools that I struggle trying to do even a fraction of them all!

Regards,
BJ

The role of EQ in management

 How does one grow, develop and harness EQ?

Deciding on a Career Field

What are the steps one should take to determine what field to enter?

My wife has been a stay-at-home mother (a far harder job than mine, I should say!) for four years and is looking to re-enter the workforce in a little over a year when our son starts school.

She and I were talking about what she wanted to do when she went back to work, we weren't really sure how to answer, and I thought "I'm sure there's a Career Tool for that!"

Regards,
BJ

When do you go around a

When do you go around a person in the communication chain? What is the right way to do that? (And the bonus question: is there a difference in a volunteer organization?)

The standard way is always to follow the chain of "command" when working on communication and dealing with issues. Sometimes that doesn't work. Is there a set of good guidelines for when to know if you should go around the chain and when you should just suck it up? If there is, how do you do it in the least damaging way?

For example: The Captain from "It's your Ship" had to go around the chain a few times. He seemed to do it in a way that worked and didn't get him shoved in the dog house.

 

New Manager of Managers

I would like to hear a cast on becoming a manager of managers.  It's a big scary yet exciting jump: going from managing 10 direct individual contributors to managing 4 managers each with 10 directs.

Quick tips for implementing DiSC or just noticing behaviors/comm

I think the DiSC material has been great and very different from the Trinity and other MT actionable recommendations. I think a FAQs should have some bottom line info on the importance of understanding different communication styles and then links to more in depth study.

Michael

work group vs team

A lot of organisational behaviour theory talks about there being a difference between a work group and a team -- that a team is more than a collection of great workers.  What is MT's view on that?

I ask because I'd like to see something on developing a high performing team.

I understand that we manage individuals, not groups.  I also understand that if you develop individuals into high performers through the MT trinity, then a high performing team must logically follow.   Maybe that's all she wrote.  I also know that by doing those things, you'd already be well ahead of 99% of the world.  However, is there anything a manager can do to build cohesion in a team (to ensure your directs move from a work group to a team in the true sense of the words)?

 

Rollout of tools for a new company

I started following the MT program when I was researching ways to become a better manager and am now a dedicated follower.

I am a starting a business that will open with 25 employees and quickly grow to 45 employees within the first 18 months.  I would love to hear how M&M would suggest the MT program be rolled out.  Start by slowly implementing the tools similar to rolling out the trinity?  Or launch with everything in place?  

My concern is that I do not have "field experience" using the MT's.  Slowly rolling them out could be just as beneficial to me as the staff... 

Signs of getting an offer.

I do have a burning career question: "What are the signs behaviors that hiring managers engage in when they like a candidate enough to hire them". 

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." - Theodore Roosevelt

"Public opinion is a weak tyrant to that of private thought." HD Thoreau Walden

You have been organization

You have been organization people & are good at it. Now you desire to develop your horizons and control from the day management of useful teams to the dynamic setting of delivering single projects.

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Managers are always tested

Managers are always tested to push their limits and perform something beyond their skills. Criticisms are everywhere and subordinates don't like their managers.
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Bad Bosses

 While I appreciate the podcasts tremendously, they seem to deal with rational, fair, decent hardworking people. Unfortunately, there are bad bosses out here. I'd appreciate some guidance behind how to survive them. How to survive vindictive, paranoid, psychopaths that infiltrate the corporate world. 

Re: bad bosses - here is a cast for that

I don't know if this is your situation, if it is, the following cast may help.

 http://www.manager-tools.com/2009/02/bad-boss-1-angry-and-demeaning-boss-part-1

The other thing that may help is to remember that "how you feel is yor fault".  You cannot change your boss but you can choose the way you feel about what he/she does or say.

If you are specific on the situation you are facing we may be able to help you more too. Don't put a label on your boss.  That doesn't help you.  Once you put a label, you won't be able to see good, even if he is behaving well for a change.  Focus on his behavior and not on the intentions you yourself have inferred from his behavior.  That also helps.  For example, if he yields, he has only yield,nothing else.  No further interpretation of why he is yielling.

Good luck!

Nara

Getting Into Management

Tips on how to transition into a management position if no opportunities exist in your current organization. I understand that companies aren't going to hire an untried manager, but what can you do to improve the success of such a transition? How to find the right kinds of places to be poised to enter management, what to do once you're at such a position, etc.

Assess performance of specialists + giving frequent feedback

I have listened to and appreciate all the pod casts about annual reviews, but what to do when:

  • all of your team members are doing very different and specialized jobs and tasks, so you cannot compare them directly to eachother.
  • your insight into their jobs (they are very specialized) is limited so you have no baseline for what doing a good job looks like or what top performance is.
  • you don't sit in during most of their meetings so your chances for seeing them in action is less.
  • you manage  a big team (15+ people).

I am in this situation with all of these challenges at the same time for a team of IT back-office specialists, so the performance evaluations I make are based on my gut-feeling and the input I get during O3s. What I have done is looking at areas like:

  • results
  • behaviors
  • teamwork
  • development
  • projects and special tasks

- to give examples of past behaviors in each area and a rough evaluation of each area to make the overall assessment. I also mention things I'd like them to improve or develop further (feedback from my point of view) so they can become more effective.

Also, giving feedback is hard in this situation as I'm limited to interaction and communication behavior feedback (when I see it, e.g. during team meetings, when walking by them as they interact with colleagues, or in their e-mails) as I'm not able to give them feedback on their technical skills and competences. Problem is that 75% of their time is solving technical tasks (IT incidents, IT service requests, participation in IT projects).

I'd love to hear Mike and Mark's input in this in the FAQ.

Cheers,

Lars Axelsen, Denmark

DiSC 6621

Results vs. behaviors

I've listened to various podcasts about feedback and performance reviews, and to me they seem too focused on behavior vs. results for a "knowledge-intensive" environment.

I work in one of those knowledge-intensive environments. Getting to work on time  is hardly relevant (unless you agreed to participate in an early meeting), as with other behaviors relative to "following the process". If someone is getting results (say, top quality reports, code with no defects, customers satisfied, colleagues happy with the person's work style, projects completed on time and on budget), whatever behaviors they used to get there seem to be of little importance.

Sure, certain behaviors contribute to results (if a team member never comes to meetings on time or never contributes, doesn't get along with his coworkers, etc., most likely the person will not achieve his individual and team goals). But I have colleagues (and reports) who adopt very different behaviors (say,  favoring face-to-face meetings with their peers and stakeholders vs. interacting mostly via conference calls, arriving and leaving early vs. late, etc.) and achieve the exact same results in all that areas that matter (i.e., not just projects on time and on budget, but also quality, customer satisfaction, user adoption, collaboration, relationship building, etc.).

Isn't something missing in your model, to capture advice in these types of environments in which focusing on behaviors have a low impact in the desired results?