The Management Blog

Tips & advice to help you improve your performance


Management Blog

How To Terminate Employment

We hope it will never happen, but eventually in your management life you will come to the point where you have to let someone go. It’s never a happy time, but you can make it less painful for all concerned by following a few guidelines.

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What Really Drives Motivated Employees

We’re going to take a look at the work of Lawrence and Noria in early 2000’s and adapt some of their ideas so we are all singing off the same song-sheet.

The first driver they spoke about was the need to achieve, and have the feeling that we have achieved something and gained something that makes our lives meaningful.

Maslow said we need to deal with physiological needs, but there’s more to it than just amassing material things. A universal law says we either grow or die. This need to achieve a goal, objective, target is inherent in most of us, and this desire to achieve is a key motivator for many people.

Just ask why some people want more money, for example, and many times it epitomises their need to have to achieve something in life, whether it’s security, comfort, a high standard of living, or something more altruistic. This then, is the first driver, the need to achieve.

The second need is the social need, the need to be able to bond with others, a team player. A lot of people will be driven and motivated simply to be accepted into a social setting; they’ll want close friends or teammates, and they’ll want to get on with others. Few people will be motivated to want to work on their own for long periods of time.

A third area is the need to be challenged. Why would someone be motivated to step out of their comfort zone? Well it’s again this desire to grow, to be significant, to see that what we’re doing is significant in the workplace. Without challenge, people’s skills atrophy and die away, so this desire to be challenged outside our comfort zone is a driver for many people.

Lots of motivation theorists say that it is impossible to motivate another, unless they personally want to be motivated. So part of our responsibility as managers is to help people to be self motivated or to drive themselves, and our job is to create the environment for them to do this.

Without this environment, allowing people to drive themselves forward, not matter what extrinsic motivational efforts you put in, it may well fall flat, as they will hit a plateau and not be driven higher. So we need to identify things that will open up opportunities for staff to drive themselves forward.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

Management Blog Call To Action

Making Effective Decisions For Your Team

Problem-solving and decision-making are two of the most effective skills you can develop as a manager.

When you think about it, what are you doing most of the day, other than solving problems and making decisions?

So what parameters might you be working under and how can you start making effective decisions with your team? Learn More

Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions Of A Team

One of the most interesting models of team effectiveness was developed by Patrick Lencioni (2005). According to him, all teams have the potential to be dysfunctional. To improve the functioning of a team, it is critical to understand the type and level of dysfunction. Similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory (1954), there are five levels and each must be completed to move on to the next one.

Here are five potential dysfunctions of a team in Lencioni’s model: Learn More

How To Think Outside The Box In Business

As a manager, we are often asked to think ‘outside the box’ to find answers to questions that stump us. The question I often ask is ‘how do I think outside the box?’

Well, I came across an interesting study recently by Hudson (1967), who studied thinking in schools and concluded that there were two different forms of thinking or ability at play. He called one form “convergent” thinking, in which the person is good at bringing material from a variety of areas, in such a way as to produce the “correct” answer. This is helpful if you are trying to get just one answer to a problem, and you are plainly just interested in facts.

The other he termed “divergent” thinking. Here is where the thinking out of the box idea can be loosely developed, because the person’s skill is in broadly creative expansion of ideas prompted by an outside stimulus.

In order to get at this kind of thinking, Hudson devised open-ended tests, such as the “Uses of Objects” test:

Here are five everyday objects. Think of as many different uses as you can for each:

* A barrel

* A paper clip

* A tin of shoe polish

* A brick

* A blanket

There’s no time limit to this, but allow around 15 minutes

Your list will test your divergent style of thinking, sometimes linked to brainstorming, and will allow you to generate many ideas. In business, you can highlight a particular problem and then identify many possible options (divergent thinking). You can then assess the quality of them and hone in on the best ones (convergent thinking). It will allow you to think differently, expand your options and gain answers that maybe you hadn’t thought of before.

(My thanks to JS Atherton (2010) and his article ‘Learning and Teaching; Convergent and Divergent Learning’ for further information on this topic)

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

Management Blog Call To Action

How To Generate Creative Ideas Through Brainstorming

This is a great idea if you want to generate ideas quickly. It encourages divergent thinking among your team, as they collectively address issues facing your company.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure it works effectively: Learn More

Effective Motivation Through Victor Vroom’s Expectancy Theory

Victor Vroom’s expectancy theory of motivation explains how people make decisions regarding various behavioral alternatives. Expectancy theory offers the following propositions: Learn More

Using The Tannenbaum and Schmidt Leadership Continuum

The Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum levels help us determine at what levels we should delegate authority to our team members.

It all depends on their aptitude, competency and motivation, but if we get the level of delegation right, we can achieve great results and encourage our team members to take on more responsibilities.

Here are the levels that Tannenbaum and Schmidt covered: Learn More