I am curious, how do you practice manager tools techniques? It might be kind of intimidating to some to try and apply these techniques at the office if we are trying them for the first time and are unsure of what we are doing and don't know if they will work.

What I have found to be a good way is to volunteer to lead a committee at church or at a local non-profit. That is a GREAT way to learn in a safe environment and try some of these techniques out. Or help out on a special committee or project at work, something over and above your day to day job.

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Yes, that's a good way to practice. I've used almost all these skills in my work as a non-profit volunteer (my daughter is a cancer survivor), and they all work there as well as at "work".

That said, I've always had the thought that a manager ought not to have to practice somewhere else. For some it might be intimidating, yes.

And yet, think about all the change that is happening at work all the time. Graphic designers have had to move to cad/cam and computers in the last few years. Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing and Internet Advertising and ERP and Virtual Closings and CRM software and videoconferences...

ALL of our professional lives are changing. And when a new system comes in, a new way of doing things, the predominant way of learning - and of course for adults this is the primary way of learning - is to actually DO the thing. There is surprisingly little practice - away from work, or in a training mode - that most employees are given time for. The work is the practice.

Just try it. If you're going to ask your team to get comfortable with change, so should you be able to adapt to a changing world with your management techniques.

Be open with them - I'm still learning this, but I believe it's a better way - and I've found that the learning is a lot less difficult than most managers think.

(Of course, there is training on these techniques, which we provide, but I didn't get the sense that that was what you were asking about)