Stretch as a Manager

The only way to grow your self, your business, your team and your division is by being willing to take risks by being willing to be uncomfortable and to stretch. You can stretch and grow in a number of ways, right now, today.

Here are two action steps that you may not be using and that will cause you to stretch within. These techniques may not feel 'comfortable' to you. Stretch and try them anyway. To be a better manager you must be willing to go beyond your fears and break through your own barriers. If you expect your team to stretch then you must be the example.

If you have meetings set up today start the meeting by asking for accomplishments or good news that you can share. Barbara Glanz ( shared at the Society of Human Resources that she offered this tip to a manager. She told him to spend three (3) minutes at each meeting to have team member share their good news (work, family, personal accomplishments). The manager followed through and the results have been outstanding. People now show up on time to the meetings (they don't want to miss the accolades), productivity increased (because people like sharing their accomplishments), the team became more unified AND there was less in-fighting - all for one and one for all became their motto.

Here is another technique to use on a one-on-one basis.

When meeting with your individual members use a technique I created called "The Signal Light Technique". This technique is used when you need to modify behavior, during annual reviews or when a specific behavior that must be halted. People hear what they want to hear. Most people are trained to hear negativity and are prepared for that (usually preparing to block what they know (or perceive) is coming. However when they hear positive information first they understand that you appreciate their positive traits and they will become more willing to accept the constructive criticism that follows.

Here is the technique:

Start all your individual coaching sessions with your staff with a GREEN LIGHT.
- Present all of the positive actions, attitudes, connections and skills that the person brings and does for the team (Have at least five positive items)

Allow them to accept and acknowledge their positives with a nod, an agreement or a thank you.

Next present one to two items that are a YELLOW Light. These are actions, attitudes or behaviors that need some modification. For example: You love their enthusiasm and excitement and you don't want them to stifle that however they need to lower their voice. In other words you are extremely happy with their attitude however it is their vocal expression of that exuberance that needs modification. (I can be this loud, exuberant vocal person and because of someone's yellow light to me I am working on my enthusiastic, excited, exuberant mellow voice tone).

The last is the RED LIGHT. This is one behavior that must stop, no matter what. This is the one behavior that is stopping them from being the best they can be, the key to this technique is to only address ONE behavior.

Once you have reached Red go back to the Green items once more.


GREEN LIGHT is a minimum of FIVE (5) positive items
YELLOW LIGHT Is ONE (1) behavior or attitude that needs modification
RED LIGHT is ONE (1) behavior that must STOP.
Then reiterate the GREEN LIGHT.

Human Beings are willing to modify their behavior when they know you see their positive traits and are rooting for them. The Signal Light Technique that I created years ago guides managers and parents with a formula to discuss another's behavior.

Be willing to stretch,

With you in mind,
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