The Management Blog

Tips & advice to help you improve your performance


The 3 Main Warning Signs That Your Employee May Quit

One of the worst situations an employer may face is when a valued staff member suddenly quits.

Even if a standard two-week notice is provided, it may not nearly be enough time to find a suitable replacement, train that person, and resume work flow without interruptions. Learn More

Be Assertive Without Being A Dic…Tator

It is a commonly held thought that only strong assertive people get on in the workplace and that you won’t be successful if you are shy. This is not necessarily true and the good news is that assertiveness can be learned. Learn More

Managing Your Mood As A Manager

How much does change of mood affect your team? Extremely positive and upbeat one moment as things seem to be going well and then something goes wrong which brings you down again. Learn More

Tips For Managers Who Can’t Say No

As a manager, you always want to do your best for yourself and others. Seldom do you want to reject your team members’ requests for assistance, as you feel you are there to help and if you don’t, you aren’t being the helpful or doing your job. Learn More

Increasing and Improving Your Emotional Intelligence


In order for you to get on in management, improving your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) should be in your top five of things to accomplish. Some people would say it should be at Number One. Learn More

How To See From A Different Perspective

I was reading about a case where the arbitration organisation, ACAS, were brought in to a dispute between two parties in an organisation, to help sort it out.

One statement in the article intrigued me. Learn More

How to Give Feedback that Really Works

Giving feedback is one of the most under-rated forms of communication in management. If you don’t give quality feedback, or do it too seldom, you are, in effect, instituitionising mediocrity within your workplace. Learn More

Do You See Yourself As Others See You?

Have you ever done something that you know didn’t live up to your personal values or standards? Duh, well yeah, of course!

If you have, how have you explained away the reasons?

What’s really interesting about humans is when we try to explain something unusual or negative about our behaviour. At that time, our default reasoning comes in, and we attribute our own behaviour to external factors or causes. We make excuses for ourselves. We identify what we did and come up with (to us) perfectly understandable reasons why we did it. For example, we say “The reason why I didn’t complete that project was because my boss is always putting pressure on me to get other things done”.

Interestingly, when we observe someone else’s actions, generally we attribute their behaviour to internal factors. For example, you say back, “But you had more than enough time to complete it…you just hadn’t planned it out effectively, did you?”

This is known as the actor-observer effect, first noticed by Asch in 1946. It reiterates why we apply double standards when we judge ourselves relative to others. When we rate our abilities to do something, we tend to rate our own ability to carry it out as ‘above-average’, whereas we may rate others’ ability at the same task as not as high as ours. Our brains are looking out for our psychological well-being, and gives us an ego-boost.

So when we actually don’t live up to that standard, or are unable to achieve the task, we come up with the external reasons and rationale that will mean we don’t have to accept so much personal responsibility, and we are able to justify what happened without downgrading our opinion of our own self-worth.

This proves why we most often see ourselves differently to how others see us. Hence our need to give and receive feedback on a regular basis. Feedback helps us to see ourselves differently and means we have a clearer picture of what others think. You’ll no doubt be able to explain away and ‘rational-lies’ what the other person’s real intent or purpose was in their feedback to you; resist the temptation to support your own feelings and excuses, seen from an external perspective, e.g “Well, I did that because…” and then highlighting the blame somewhere else, outside of your control.

Instead, recognise that the other’s feedback was from their own perspective, apportioning causation to what they see as your own shortcomings or attributes.

By doing it that way, you show how any feedback is gratefully received and has the impact that the other person desired. You can then approach it from the angle of them providing assistance rather than blame. And that’s when the learning point really hits home.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

(Image by Stuart Miles)

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