Four Excellent Articles on Managing Others

I frequently get leaders, managers (new and experienced) and other employees asking me about articles, books and podcasts they should check out on leadership, managing others, giving feedback, building great teams and developing their employees. So here you go 🙂

Here are four excellent articles on managing others and building great teams:

1. Here is a good article on 10 things managers should do (Julie Zhou, Facebook Executive)

2. Why you should write a “how to work with me” user manual (COO of Stripe, Claire Johnson)

3. How great managers give and receive feedback (how to exchange feedback with your direct reports.)

4. Three great principles leaders should keep in mind (Brene Brown)

12 Major Issues HR Needs to Tackle Head on in 2019 released a report that breaks down their research into the twelve critical traits that make up the DNA of human capital. This covers many areas that I’m seeing challenges as well with the organizations I work with and research I’ve been doing. Debbie McGrath, Chief Instigator and CEO of, and her team did an excellent job.

Five Major Issues I’d add to it:

  1. Teamwork is the most important soft skill, period. It’s the least understood and significantly impacts the bottom line. Poor teamwork is the norm. Most people haven’t really ever been on a really high functioning team with every member having superior teamwork skills. Teamwork needs to be prioritized in the on-boarding process and company-wide.
    • Communication is a critical issue that’s getting much worse. Poor communication costs between $420,000 and $800,000 per year in a company of a 100 people. You can use those ratios to check on how much money it’s costing your organization. Finally, large organizations don’t leverage expertise across groups and geographies very well. Poor teamwork in this area costs hundreds of millions of dollars for a multinational organization.
  2. Lack of trust is a huge problem and tends to be the root cause of almost every problem. Organizations need to tackle issues starting with trust versus skipping over it. For example, in conflict resolution issues the average team of five people wastes 200 to 275 in emotional turmoil, misunderstandings, and miscommunications. The root cause in trust. If you don’t start there, you’ll have a very challenging time resolving the conflict.
  3. Lack of self-awareness is a leadership nightmare. Research shows senior leaders significantly overestimate their abilities compared to what other people rate them in the organization. Their inability to calibrate their skills with how others view them is a huge issue. It causes them to make mistakes, micromanage, misread situations, manage their emotions poorly, miscommunicate and much more.
  4. Employee engagement is dismissal. You can read below. The data is really poor. Sure it’s getting slightly better, but 70% of workers are still disengaged. According to research, only 28% of managers are skilled at. That number seems REALLY high to me. I’d put it as below 10%. The costs are staggering.
  5. Managers are extremely poor in managing their employees. Every client I have mentions that they don’t get enough feedback on their current work and career path from their manager. There is a reason is 100% of people who say that. Managers also have real challenges giving tough feedback in a way that motivates employees and creates behavioral change. These comments are the tip of the iceberg. There is much more on this topic. The twelve DNA traits are below. I’ve revised the titles of each trait (my take):

  1. Master and Improve Analytical Abilities – Smart technologies and analytics are quickly becoming essential. Over three-quarters of HR professionals (78%) indicate that analytical thinking will be the most vital worker capability by 2020.  And alarmingly, only 11% of organizations report they are making good progress building a capable workforce to meet 2020 goals.
  2. Leadership Skills are REALLY Lacking – A well-designed leadership strategy combining diversity, good coaching, and data-driven decisions is imperative for effective future leadership. Only 20% of HR professionals give a high rating (at least 8 out of 10) to their organizations’ leadership skills, and only 17% of HR professionals agree (high/very high extent) that their leaders are effective coaches.
  3. Learning & Development Needs to be Prioritized – Employee development programs are viewed as one of the most crucial HR issues for the coming year, yet only a third of HR professionals feel that learning is embedded in their culture. Moreover, organizations are making slow progress in key areas such as personalization, mobile learning and micro-learning.
  4. Managers Must Improve Their Ability to Develop Employees – Performance management is in need of serious reform.  Management training is inadequate in this area. Just 21% of HR professionals believe (agree/strongly agree) that managers are skilled at performance management. Technologies are also being reformed. In 2019, performance management systems will be among the HR systems most likely to be added, replaced, or modified.
  5. Talent Analytics Provide a Competitive Advantage – Leveraging talent analytics requires new skills, solid technology and, more than anything else, a new mindset. Currently, a majority (59%) of HR professionals do not make use of talent analytics, even though organizations that excel at it report support from management and a noticeable competitive advantage.
  6. Become Much More Skilled in Talent Acquisition – “Recruit talent to support growth” is the most important area of focus for HR departments in 2019, tied with “employee learning and development.” Yet, many companies are failing in this crucial area. In fact, HR professionals regret an average of 31% of new hires. Emerging technologies in the areas of artificial intelligence and recruitment marketing are expected to help.
  7. Must Figure out Diversity and Inclusion – Most organizations have not yet reached a higher maturity level when it comes to diversity and inclusion (D&I) practices. Companies with successful D&I initiatives are more likely to have support from senior leaders, to track metrics in this area, and to require D&I training for their workforce.
  8. Employee Engagement Extremely Poor and Crippling the Bottom Line – Engagement deficits are costing employers a fortune. Continuously measuring and tracking engagement is key, but success requires action based on those metrics.  More than anything else, leadership (77%) and culture (74%) are essential for supporting initiatives and driving employee engagement.
  9. HR and Workforce Technologies is in the Very Early Stages – How companies leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and smart technology will be integral to their performance. Only 10% of companies report making high or very high use of AI for HR, so there’s a long way to go to leverage the benefits of the AI technology.
  10. The HR Skills Gap Increases – HR must prepare for the future by adopting more strategic responsibilities and by acquiring greater knowledge of technologies and analytics. It must, in short, close the skills gaps in its own profession.  
  11. Workforce Planning: Talent Development is Even More Critical – Turning mounds of data into real insights and recommended courses of action will be a challenge but also a necessity.  Companies must devote more resources to career planning and succession planning to ensure workforces have the up-to-date skill sets needed to keep their business moving forward.
  12. The Human Experience is Essential to Success and a Highly Effective People Strategy – Human experience (HX) goes beyond the employee experience when a company can create meaning for their employees at work.  Employees want to reach their full potential, and HR can take the lead on helping employees set and attain goals to maximize employee engagement levels.  

Human resources professionals have an opportunity to transform the workforce over the next five more than ever before. If they focus on the above areas over the next 12 months, they can make significant progress and take their company to the next level of success!

Tell Your Own Story and Own It (Guest Podcast & Video Interview)

RTG Podcast Discussion

Salespeople Are The Unsung Heroes of the Economy. They are the grease that keeps the wheels spinning. Human resources professionals are the heart and soul of an organization (i.e. the people!!).

(podcast is here, youtube here)

I mean, who else could sell ice to the Eskimos? Get a bunch of people from different backgrounds and worlds to effectively come together and work as a team?

But with the pressures they face and the breakneck schedules they work with day-in-day-out, how do they take the time to slow down and find meaning in their endeavors?

Jason Treu tells his own story in this video.

Jason Treu’s biography:

Jason Treu (Troy) is a coach who works with executives, entrepreneurs and rising stars to maximize their leadership potential and performance. He also helps them build and execute their career blueprint. He’s the best-selling author of Social Wealth, a how-to-guide on building extraordinary business relationships, which has sold more than 60,000 copies. He hosts the podcast show, Executive Breakthroughs, bringing game-changing CEOs, entrepreneurs, and experts that share their breakthroughs and breakdowns. Jason talks about being self-aware and how important this is to be successful. He talks and provides examples of people who ruined it for themselves by not being able to adjust and work on themselves. Jason gives advice on how to overcome your flaws and be better at life. This is a great Podcast to get some life coaching in and get an insight into Jason and Stefan’s look on life.

Podcast Summary:

0:00 – Ex: “A really good quote” or A very interesting topic

1:25 – “how did you get started in what you do?”

2:25 – Jason created a company to help people socialize

4:00 – “how does a guy have a good social life these days?”

6:45 – self-awareness is the most underrated quality

9:00 – no one is being accountable these days for personal actions

10:00 – as a kid you learn to deal with things a certain way which become worse as you get older but subconsciously you do it

17:50 – Stefan talks about his date where she accused him of not being from the high school he said

19:45 – “imposter syndrome” Jason explains what this is

22:15 – Stefan talks about how people, as you get more successful cant, relate to each other

23:40 – “when do you think a person goes from illegitimate to legitimate

26:05 – people don’t like to sell cause they have to face rejection

27:30 – Stefan asks Jason about his book

Get Connected with Jason:

Facebook –

Twitter –

Website –

Instagram  –

Youtube –

LinkedIn –

6 Quick Team Building Activities That SkyRocket Teamwork and Performance

6 Quick Team Building Activities That SkyRocket Teamwork and Performance

Teamwork is the most important and least developed soft skill. Arguably everything we do is dependent on other people. Performance and outcomes are dependent on how well the team works together.

Just like a flower, unless we give it constant attention and care, it will wither and die. The same goes for teamwork and relationships with teammates.

Too many talk about how important culture and teamwork are without prioritizing it and taking action. Here is a “training-wheels” edition of super simple, quick actions any size team or organization can take.

These team building activities can be done once a month or twice a month. Typically, they will take 10 minutes or less on an average size team. Human resources professionals can work with managers to execute these team building activities with their teams.

There are many more team building activities, but these are the least time consuming with the most impact.

Activities 1-4, you can go through these multiple times. In a team meeting, go around the group and have everyone do one of these in a meeting. It should take 10 minutes or less.

With 5-6, there are specific instructions below.

These four team building activities are quick-hitting (30 seconds to one minute per person) and will make an immediate impact. Research studies show being grateful and thanking others can increase team performance by 30%+.

There are TONS of research studies on this. Here is one. “The HAAS School of Business at UC Berkeley found that people who feel recognized are 23% more effective and productive, but those who feel like the people around them genuinely care are a whopping 43% more effective. Not only that, 66% of employees (76% for millennials) say they would “likely leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated.”

1) What are three things you are grateful for? (Take 30 seconds to one minute for each person. The group leader and/or most senior person goes first).

2) Who on the team do you want to thank for helping you in the recent past? What did they do and how did it help you? (Take one minute for each person. The group leader and/or most senior person goes first).

3) Text or email someone in the organization (but not on the team) to thank them for helping you. Be specific on what they did and how it helped you. You have five minutes to email/text the person.

4) Choose one question from Cards Against Mundanity. Go around the team and have everyone answer it.

Two Additional team building activities:

5) Have everyone give each team member a Thanksgiving Day a week before Thanksgiving. Write out a personal message to thank them for something or to express your gratitude towards them. Keep it to one to two paragraphs maximum.   

6) Hidden Strengths Exercise

We all have great strengths, but we may not recognize or realize them. The easiest way to calibrate how we see ourselves versus how others see us is to explicitly ask them. This exercise does that. It helps you uncover what people see as your greatest strengths.

Step 1: Have everyone write down three positive qualities they see in their team members. For each person, write it down on a sheet and give it to the person. You don’t need to write your name on it. 

Step 2: Have each person read through the words.

Step 3: Pick out three words that stand out to you. Perhaps they are words that have been repeated the most.

Step 4: Each person shares their three words and answers the following questions. Other team members should provide their thoughts and feelings during the discussion.

A) Why did you choose them? 

B) How surprised are you about the words that were chosen by the team? Share why you were surprised or not surprised.

C) How can you put them into action more with your teammates? What specific actions can you take?

Step 5: Write down the words and put them in a picture frame on your desk to remind you to put these words into actions every single day. You can also just tape the piece of paper to your monitor.

If You Want to Escape From Prison, What’s the First Thing You Need to Know?

“If you want to escape from prison, what is the first thing you need to know?”

One student said you need to find the key. One said to get a great attorney (like OJ). One said to convince someone to let them out.

The teacher rolled their eyes, smiled and said no each time. Then the teacher responded after everyone said something. 

“The first you need to know if you want to escape from prison is that you are in prison.”

Self-awareness, understanding and acceptance are on where you are at and why is essential BEFORE you can take highly effective massive action. 

Otherwise you solve for the leaf on the tree and not the root cause. It’s one of the biggest mistakes leaders and managers make.

It’s the first step I share with human resource professionals and other managers on how to build great teams and teamwork.

Understanding your team can be doing better, why that is and what role you have played in it…is step one.

It’s not problem solving because it will happen again otherwise.

History repeats itself until you learn the entire lesson.


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