How Do I Become a Manager?

If you are like so many people that wake up one morning and realized that you are now a supervisor or manager and cannot remember it happening, don’t feel bad.  Many of us got the promotion at one point and had no idea what we were really signing up for when we stood there shaking our heads up and down.

A friend of mine called me the other day in a complete panic because it looked like he wasn’t going to avoid the manager job any longer.  He joked he was now the only one left and that they insisted he take on the challenge.  As he laughed/cried over the prospect of managing other people I encouraged him to sign up for his company’s management training as quickly as possible.

This is a company I would have bet blindly on had something in place for entry level supervisors and managers in their training offering and yet he said they had nothing.  Not believing him I asked for the name of the training manager, and she told me it was not part of their budget for this type of training, only leadership training.  (This is a topic for another whole blog)

So I called my friend back and after I apologized we spent some time talking about what was going to be different now that he was a manager.  I told him that his main objective was to create two-way communication between himself and his employees.  To be honest and support their needs and to remove obstacles from their paths so they could be productive.  I suggested that he seek his manager’s support for some skill training, and we now have him enrolled in webinar subscription series where he is learning a new management skill set each month.

I suggested that he ask his manager for support in a mentoring capacity and spell out exactly what he would need in the way of feedback and support.  And lastly I told my friend that these new skills he will learn are completely transferable to any manager job he ever has, so once learned, they just need to be practiced to stay in place, so a good investment in his future.

My friend is off to a good start now, and much better than I know I started some 25 years ago with my first manager job.  Talk about jumping in with both feet and not having a clue! – Anyhow, the neat thing is even if your company doesn’t support management training it doesn’t mean there are not other ways to learn the skills.  If you have accepted the job as a manager, then you have the responsibility to perform the job.  Get the training you need, and be the best manager ever!

And if you want to learn more about this monthly webinar series, email me at and I will point you in the right direction.

What Happen to Business Etiquette?

I was thumbing through some training material the other day around Business Etiquette.  I worked for a company that took business etiquette very seriously so we trained to our expectations and didn’t leave much to chance when it came to how we expected our employees to treat customers and each other.

Now this was some 12 years ago, and I have to say I cannot remember the last time I heard about a company training Business Etiquette skills.  I wonder why that is, I mean we still should be respectful of each other, and be polite to our fellow employee and all our customers, correct?  Did the school system start teaching these skills when I wasn’t looking?  Not in my home town at least.

So I have to wonder if companies are not training Business Etiquette anymore, and the skills are not being developed at school, there just must not be a need for them anymore.  That need would mean either humans are now coming by these skills naturally or companies don’t care about treatment anymore unless is crosses the harassment line.

I do not subscribe to the idea that humans come by these skills naturally, so I am left with company’s not caring.  That is evident with the majority of people’s inability to respond to an email, or a voice message anymore. I nearly fall out of my chair these days when someone returns my call or responds to my first email.  What a pleasure it is to work with people that respect me, and use proper business etiquette in dealing with outsiders.

Organizations that don’t train employees, and then establish performance guidelines in the actions they expect are just asking for the opposite to happen.  So I’m curious as to what your company does to ensure business etiquette occurs.  And if you are doing nothing, tell me why?

Managing The Recovery

I am still remaining optimistic that 2010 will be the year we start to recover from this sluggish economy and that business will be improving throughout the year.  Yet managing the recovery for most managers seems to be how to adjust to an increase in work flow and get more out of the remaining workers.  Although that is certainly a proper focus, I wonder how best that can be accomplished if your staff starts to turnover at the same time?

I’ve read too many workplace reports the past few months that talk a lot about how over 50% of our workforce has been putting up with the conditions of their employment, waiting for the economy to pickup and then they will seek a new job.  One survey was bold enough to state that 80% of workers are cocooning in their current jobs and will be open to new places to work when things pick up.  So half of the workforce is ready to jump, and over three fourths are willing to move for the right opportunity.

The normal churning that takes place with people looking for new jobs has been slowed because of fewer opportunities.  Yet, could this really be the only reason that so many workers are ready to leave their employers when things get better?

Companies that have spent the last year developing the employer-employee relationship will see less turn over.  These are the companies that have been using the “slow time” to build skills, and train their employees.  They have managers spending time coaching employees, recognizing achievements and celebrating successes.  These companies have continued to focus on their greatest assets beyond talking the talk.

The companies that have been ignoring their employees, and allowing their work environments to deteriorate, will have a much harder time managing the recovery because they will not have the experienced staff to assist them.  They will be spending countless hours interviewing and retraining new people. 

So what kind of year will it be at your company?  More of the same old same old; or will you start managing differently now to make managing the economical recovery less complicated?

Hello World!

Well after years of writing blogs on other people’s websites, I decided it was time to start putting my thoughts on Leadership Development and Workplace Performance down in my own blog.

JK Hopkins Consulting is all about “Building Leaders and Empowering People” so I am looking forward to adding my thoughts to these topics and sharing ideas with all of you.

Thank you in advance for your support!