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forward. In all communication there should be a strong central vision about what the future could look like and then very clear steps that are broken down into achievable targets. Training managers as coaches

will enable them to work closely with their team to ensure that individuals are supported and encouraged to achieve success together and deliver positive and sustainable change. Sometimes however, a, more serious process needs to be put in place.

Dealing with derailers

Managers need to be adept at handling difficult people and tricky situations. Of course, there are situations which are untenable and a more rigorous organisational decision might have to be made, but this is only when the issue has escalated and other interventions have proved fruitless. Te CIPD emphasises the

importance of line managers having the knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to intervene at an early stage to nip disputes in the bud – before they escalate, yet these skills are often lacking in managers. In research that Festo conducted,9

we found that over

one third of managers suffered from stress and anxiety because of a conflict with someone they were managing. A key skill for managers, particu-

larly those in first-time positions, is to be able to dispassionately analyse each situation. Coming from an engineering background, we like formulas and this one is particularly effective. Behaviour = f (Person-

ality; Environment) Differences in personalities can

be a source of friction and tension. A useful personality assessment tool such as DiSC© helps to identify the underlying personality traits that influence behaviour. For example, a manager who exhibits strong influen- tial characteristics might find someone in the conscientious segment highly frustrating, as they require data and in- formation to analyse decisions. Simply being aware of someone’s personality characteristics can remove, or at least soften, tension and enable a manager to have a more pragmatic approach to working harmoniously together. While people’s personality is rela- tively fixed, a change in the workplace

 signs for change

Part of preparing for change means assessing where you are now and what needs to alter in the immediate, near and distant future. These are four signs that your organisation is falling into reactive change and is at an increased risk of threat and failure.

New competition in the market Innovation is crucial for any business just to keep ahead, or at least on par with, competition. Competition in the market can come from unlikely places. If an organisation is fixated on a single direction and not constantly scanning the whole horizon, you will miss new competition as it emerges and fail to identify threats until it is too late. A reduction in new business or increases in the failure rates of bids or tenders are just some of the signs that perhaps the product, offering or service isn’t quite as good as it could be and that people are going elsewhere.

Increase in complaints from customers What are your customers really saying and thinking? Companies that see ‘complaints as a gift’ will be in a stronger position. Customers can give you really valuable feedback. They can be very honest. It can be painful but it is worthwhile. However, just collecting complaints

and rapidly deleting them from the inbox, will help no one, and certainly not your business. Listen to what your customers report to you. Put plans in place to redress any signs of customer dissatisfaction.

Low employee morale / disengagement Employee engagement is a two-way street2

. It’s about increasing the discretionary effort of your employees and part of this is listening to them. They will know when things need to change. They’ll be aware of market pressures. They’re at the sharp end. If the organisation does not have a culture of listening and engaging with their people, employees will soon become demoralised and your organisation will be left behind in a highly competitive market.

Low productivity

The UK already has one of the lowest rates of productivity in the G7, with other countries on average 17 per cent more productive than the UK.3


companies in fact don’t even know if they’re productive or unproductive – they might just be measuring this on past performance. Productivity needs to be benchmarked against other competitors and other industries. Then we will gain an in-depth understanding of how we’re really performing and learn valuable lessons from other organisations in the process.

environment can be a critical factor in the change of behaviour. Understand- ing the common reactions to change helps put behaviour in context. Perhaps they don’t agree with or understand what is being asked of them. Tey could be feeling insufficient in coping with new tasks and responsibilities. What is sometimes most difficult

for managers to understand is that it is usually their behaviour and attitude that needs to adapt and change first. Te Betari Box model demonstrates

how an individual’s attitude affects their behaviour and that this is transmitted through the team. A manager needs to have a high degree of self-awareness to understand his or her own personality and reactions that might trigger behaviour in others. Understanding how personality influences attitude and behaviour, as well as a change in environment, can be enough to break this cycle and get change back on track. My

Affects attitude Your behaviour


My Affects Your attitude behaviour

Affects Tere’s an old saying, “To change

the world you have to change yourself.” Never has this been more true than when managing people and driving through organisational change.

Gary Wyles is the managing director of Festo Training and Consultancy. View more at

References 1 2 3 4 5 Ibid 6 Ibid 7 People & Productivity. 2014. Fes- to andWorks Management

8 Ibid 9 Ibid

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