6 absolutes you must remember as a manager of people

I am finishing up a great read on coaching from a managers perspective.  The book is titled Coaching For Improved Work Performance; Increase productive, raise quality, reduce absenteeism, get more creativity, increase sales.  The author is Ferdinand F. Fournies.  He has written several books around the this topic.

What is a management?

1. We can all agree that management is getting things done through others.  This is the basis of all management.  Which means you must equip the people you manage so they can do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

Picture this:  It’s a Monday morning at 7:00 and you (the manager) can’t make it to work that day.  You are sick.  So you call in and don’t show up.  What happens that day at work while you are gone?  There is a high likelihood that if you manage sales people, sales will still be made that day by your team.  Outbound phone calls to potential customers will still be made.  If you manage a customer service office. Customers will still be serviced by your team.  If you are in manufacturing, whatever it is you manufacture will still be manufactured.

Now lets flip this scenario upside down.  Lets say its Monday.  You have a few people on your team that are sick. So they call in and are unable to show up.  What happens to the work that day?  Do the calls still get made to the people who want to buy?  Do the customers still get serviced at the level they expect with fewer people there?  If you are in manufacturing, do the things you manufacture still get manufactured?  The chances are, none of this happens.  Production is stalled because you are missing your team.

So lesson number #1 in management is this.  You need them more than they need you.

2.  Management is a series of interventions.  It is based on the things you do and the way you interact and behave as a manager.  Everything you do on the job is being interpreted by your team this way.  “Is this for me or against me.” So you must do things the right way every single time.

3.  Something I have been guilty of is trying to be an amateur psychologist.  We don’t have to be psychologists to be effective managers, nor should we.  There is no such thing as an amateur psychologist.  You either have your PH.d in it or you don’t, the chances are you don’t, so don’t try to be one.

4. In management, you are not buying people, or their minds, their values, you are only renting their behaviors.  Managers jobs are not to change people or their values.  Management is to change people’s behaviors and get them performing the behaviors you are renting from them.

5. Back to being an amateur psychologist which you aren’t.  If you are trying to determine why or why not people are doing the things they are doing, just stop it. Instead ask them why they chose to do this, instead of doing that.  Most of the time people don’t know what to do, because they only know what they know.  Your job as a manager is to make sure they have enough information to pursue alternatives in their decision-making process. If you want people to make better decisions on what they do, be sure they have as many choices as necessary to choose from.  Yes this requires training.  Training helps educate employees in the different choices they can choose from when making decisions and performing the behaviors you are paying them to perform.

6. In scientific management we use a term called behavior modification. Most managers are equipped to deal with behavior modification because we can look at a behavior and determine whether it was correct or incorrect. We can also measure it, and ask for them to correct it if necessary and we have the ability to see when it changes. People management is managing behaviors.

This book is a great read and these six absolutes can get you back on track as a manager if you have inadvertently gotten away from what your job is as a manager.

To your success and your future.

Did you know that is tweetable?…What is that?

At times in our lives we all have a chance to talk to and be around people who are much wiser than we are.  Sometimes acknowledging and noticing this, and then trying to use this information to your advantage, can lead to more success for you. You just have to be aware when you see this.

I recently had this opportunity. As the manager of Dale Carnegie Training for Kentucky, Southern Indiana, and Southern Ohio (Cincinnati), it is my job to insure we have a pipeline of people interested in attending our programs. Recently I sent out an email promoting our programs and I received this response back. With this response, I had to know more, so I asked the gentlemen if he would meet with me over the phone and allow me to ask him a few questions.

Here is his response to my email:

Dear Brian,

I have been most interested in the recent emails I have received from Dale Carnegie. About 45 years ago I was a graduate of your “general” course, which was 12 or 14 weekly courses in length, and was based on Dale Carnegie’s book “How To Win Friends and Influence People”. I attended these sessions at your offices on Paddock Rd. in Cincinnati, OH. I found the entire course a great eye-opener, and it influenced me so greatly that I often divide my life into Pre-Dale Carnegie and Post-Dale Carnegie eras. I gained so much, and – even to this day in my retirement years – I find myself, conscientiously or not, applying many of Dale’s principles.

I have a granddaughter, recently graduated from college, who I think would benefit greatly from such a course. and I would like to forward this email to her, but first I would like to ascertain three things:

1. Is this type of course still available from your Institute? (I can’t help but think that it must be.)
2. Does this introduction session described below cover such a course and its benefit?
3. What is the cost of this course? I would like to assist in sharing that cost, but have no idea how much this is currently.

Thank you. I look forward to your response.

Donald G. Engelhard

Come on.  After reading this email you would have to call and ask him further questions, Right?  So I did.

Here is our conversation.

Me: Mr. Engelhard tell me a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Your profession? And anything else personal.

Mr. Engelhard: I grew up in Chicago, Illinois.  I attended and graduated from the University of Illinois as an Architectural Engineer.  After I graduated, I got a job offer from a company in Cincinnati, Ohio. So my wife and I moved to Ohio.

Me: What prompted you to take the Dale Carnegie course?

Mr. Engelhard: The firm I was working for. Everyone in the company, including the partners, had to take the course and suggested that I take the course as well.  So in 1969, or 1970, I took the course.

Me:  What did you think about the course from what you can remember?

Mr. Engelhard: I found it to be very beneficial immediately.  The stuff we were learning and practicing weren’t things that were taught in college.  In college you learn technical things, but you don’t really learn how to treat people and how to talk to people.  I am sure in some college classes it may be an effect of the course, but no college course has a main objective in doing so.

Me: What specifically were you learning that made you a better communicator and a better person as a whole?

Mr. Engelhard: I learned the art of listening to people.  To keep my mouth shut and to genuinely care about others, which means allow the other person to talk about themselves and their problems. You impress people more, when you allow them to impress you. 

Me: You impress people more, when you allow them to impress you.  Mr. Engelhard, you know that is tweetable.

Mr. Engelhard:  What?

Me: Nevermind

Me:  What else did you learn in this course?

Mr. Engelhard: Get out of yourself, work around, and learn about someone else’s needs.

Me: How did this help you to be more successful in your job?

Mr. Engelhard: When I talked to our clients, and they wanted to build a new building.  I would just let them tell me exactly what they wanted, instead of me talking, I would just let them do all of the talking. This is what allowed me to build good rapport with them, and   this, in turn, allowed me to know exactly what they wanted. Then we would deliver what they wanted.

Me: You said in your email that you break your life in to two parts: Pre Dale Carnegie and Post Dale Carnegie.

Mr. Engelhard: I may be overstating a little. However, the course taught me the principles from the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.  Those Human Relation Principles helped me in the job as well as in my personal life. Re-reading the book and other books over time really ingrained the principles in my life.

Me: Could you place a value on the course?

Mr. Engelhard: That is hard to do. I do know it allowed me to be more successful in life and on the job, and whatever the course costs is well worth it. You just don’t get this information in school.

Me: Some people think this a public speaking course. What do you think?

Mr. Engelhard: I believe that is a secondary benefit in the course.  The primary objective and benefit of the course, and what I got out of it the most, was the confidence in myself to do what I know needed to be done.  I also learned to enjoy people more. And this is what makes you successful in life.

Me: Why do you want your granddaughter to take the course?

Mr. Engelhard: I just know how valuable it was to me.  She is a recent college graduate, and she doesn’t know what she really wants to do just yet.  It could provide her with some clarity on what she wants to do in her life and where she wants to go.  I am willing to pay part of it for her, but I also want her to pay for some of it herself.

Me: Well, Mr. Engelhard thank you for your time.  I really appreciate your testimonial.  Do I have permission to use your name and share this story with your name?

Mr. Engelhard: Absolutely.

Dale Carnegie and the methodology we use in our courses have been delivering these kinds of testimonials for over 100 years.  For me, they never get old.

How many people can remember a math course, english course, or any other kind of course they took over 45 years ago? The answer is probably not very many.

Contact me if you want to have results individually or in your company, just like Mr. Engelhard.  

To your success and your future.

A leadership lesson from a Gangster and a stripper

I have to admit I am still obsessed with watching the Soprano’s.  The show has technically been off for almost a decade now.  I have watched each episode I can’t tell you how many times, lets just say it is a lot and I still do watch them.

One of my favorite episodes (Lets be honest, I have several) but in episode 32 Ralphie one the members of Tony’s crew is in a relationship with Tracee, a stripper from the Bada Bing, Tony’s strip club.

You can click here to get the summary of the entire episode.  Ultimately the stripper gets pregnant and Ralphie kills the girl before the end of the episode.

What I am reminded of in this episode is this:  In a quick exchange between Tony and Tracee the stripper, she asks him for his advice.  And during the conversation Tracee tells Tony that she is pregnant and that the baby is Ralphies.  They then have the following exchange.

Tracee: “He acts like he doesn’t care about me or the child.” 

Tony Soprano: “Did you ever think that maybe he isn’t acting?”  

This exchange can pretty sum up most of life in many ways. And that is that people will tell us who they are by the way they act and their behaviors.  They are not acting like an actor does in a movie or TV show.  Nope! We are in real life here aren’t we?  And people who act a certain way, aren’t acting.  They are just being who they are.

As a leader I have to look at a person’s actions and determine if their behaviors (actions, (acting)) is congruent with what they are telling me. In some cases they are not.  Their actions will always tell me exactly where they stand and in many cases so do their words.  Sometimes people will tell you one thing in their words and another with their actions, but most of the time they are the same.

So what do we do?

As always in leadership our goal first is to set the expectations.  Secondly, we establish the measurements by which the expectations will be measured.  Lastly, we hold them accountable.

When a persons actions are not meeting our expectations of them and the job, it is up to us to hold them accountable to the actions and behaviors they are displaying for us on the job.

What are your team members telling you by their actions and behaviors?

To your success and your future.


7 must haves at work according to employees

According to Gallup, PEW, and based off our own internal research at Dale Carnegie training, the current workforce has a serious disengagement problem.  According to the research it states that only 30% or so of the workforce is fully engaged.  Which means the other 70% of the workforce is just showing up, or even worse they are sabotaging the workforce because they are actively disengaged.

So what does it all mean.

Fully engaged employees:

  • Stay with organization longer
  • Contribute to bottom line
  • Commit to productivity and quality

Partially Engaged:

  • Concentrate on tasks not outcomes
  • Want to be told what to do
  • Do it, get paid, go home


  • Sow seeds of negativity
  • Sabotage progress
  • Express mistrust and animosity

The biggest contributing factor to engagement in the workplace has to do with the relationship an employee has with their immediate supervisor.  If they have a good relationship the employee is more apt to be fully engaged at work.  The feel like they are contributing and they also feel valued as an employee to the company.  The immediate manager has the most direct influence on these feelings.

So what can the immediate manager do:

Know what is expected of them: Against some people’s beliefs, all anyone really wants to know on the job is what is expected of them.  If they know what that is, then they can do it.  Uncertainty or unclear guidelines can be frustrating. Managers must establish this.

How is it measured: After they understand what is expected of them, the second thing they want to know is how are these expectations measured.  Again, clarity is the key.  A manager can say this is what you are responsible for and this is how we will measure whether you did it or not. Pretty simple stuff, so why don’t managers do it?

Have the equipment and resources to do the job:  Now that I know what is expected of me and how it is measured.  The next question is: Will you set me up for success.  Meaning: will you provide me with the equipment, the leads (sales), the tools for me to be successful?  The manager must clearly communicate how the individual will be supported.

Be given the opportunity to do what they do best, every day: I can tell you from my own experience as I am sure you can as well. All any of us want is an opportunity to do the very best we can. Meaning we have the right resources and support in place and then we are allowed to go out and make it happen. This kind of autonomy leads to highly engaged employees.

Have a manager or supervisor who cares about them:  I know some of you read the word care and cringe.  Well, care, means exactly what it means.  However, to take it a step further, it just means the manager or supervisor values the employees contribution to the team and what they bring to the company.

Be surrounded by employees who have a similar drive for quality: Nobody wants to be on a team where one of the team members are not pulling their weight.  We all have seen this before.  In a highly competitive world we truly are only as strong as our weakest link.  The immediate manager must address performance issues head on and quickly before it becomes a major problem.

Have opportunities to learn and grow: One of the basic desires for all human beings, is the desire to continue to grow and take on new challenges.  It has always been the case.  However, it is especially important to the millennial generation. They want to be exposed to more opportunities and they want constant feedback on ways they can get better. They appreciate additional training.

As the Managing Director of Dale Carnegie Training in Kentuckiana and Cincinnati we work with companies and individuals in implementing strategies to fight and correct engagement issues.

We do this by working with Senior Leaders on development plans for front line supervisors as well as the employees to ensure the right kind of environment is created within their companies.

If you are interested in learning more about these topics.  Email me.

To your success and your future.