Why Train the Boss?

In this tight job market with low unemployment, it is more important than ever to make sure your team members are engaged and committed to your organization. 

Research shows that front line supervisors and managers are the key to employee engagement, including your ability to recruit and retain qualified people.  When team members are not engaged, they don’t perform well, and are more likely to leave the organization.  We join a company we admire, and we quit because of our immediate boss.  Some people quit and leave, while others quit and stay on the job.  Really good people have lots of opportunities, so why would they choose to stay if they are not happy and engaged?

The best way to be able to hire and retain the best people is to make sure your supervisors and managers know how to keep their team members engaged.  Becoming an employer of choice and being known for being a great place to work, helps with engagement, recruiting and retention.  Engaged team members are happier, more creative and productive, which goes right to your bottom line.

Call Skill Builders!

Skill Builders will train and coach your managers so they can keep your team engaged.

Trust is the Key to High Performance

Building and maintaining trust in an organization takes consistent behavior and setting clear expectations.  Leaders should model direct and respectful communication and behaviors including honesty, understanding and a clear focus on high performance.  Disagreements are not feared. The successful navigation of disagreements builds a stronger team, and leads to better decision-making.  Excuses are not tolerated and follow through is essential.  When the team sees their leaders as trustworthy, feedback is honest and direct, and everyone holds themselves and others accountable to excellent performance. 

A clear mission statement and code of conduct are keys to creating the expectation of respectful interaction and excellent performance.  These documents must be front and center, used and reinforced constantly, helping the whole team make decisions.

We all would prefer to work in a respectful and productive environment where we are challenged and know what to expect of our leaders and co-workers.  Whether or not you are a leader, don’t underestimate your effect on others with your positive or negative influence.

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Judy Preston can help you design your mission statement and code of conduct, and teach your whole team the practice of direct and respectful behavior and communication.

How to Be a Great Leader


We all want to be great leaders, and here are some ways to be great and support your team so they want to follow you:

  • Treat employees as partners. Instead of just issuing orders, ask your people for their opinions and rely on their expertise. Listen to their ideas and help them implement as many as possible.
  • Encourage everyone to be honest. Don’t get angry at bad news. Be patient when team members disagree with you. Remember, they know their jobs better than you do, and they may have important points to raise.
  • Create an expectation that all team members hold each other accountable to the values of the organization.  Model and teach others to be honest, open and respectful about things that are not going well.   Always say please and thank you.
  • Focus on their strengths instead of trying to fix weaknesses.  Your team will be more engaged and enthusiastic when they are able to use their strengths in their work.
  • Remember they’re human. People have feelings, desires, and personal interests. Don’t ignore them. In fact, set a goal for yourself to recognize your team members, personally and for the good work they do.  Celebrate their success and the organizations’s successes.  Ask how you can help them with their career goals, and show a genuine interest in their well-being.

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Judy Preston is a certified Gallup Strengths Coach. She uses Strengths Coaching and Training to improve engagement and productivity in your team, which will improve your organization’s bottom line.

The Secret of Higher Performance

Strengths Based Management

Strengths Coaching

By explicitly acknowledging the uniqueness of each employee, companies energize their workers’ independent thinking and creativity.

Too often, when supervisors or managers have conversations with their employees, those interactions are focused on tasks. While it is helpful for managers to understand the tasks each employee is working on, a constant focus on fixing immediate problems can sabotage long-term productivity.

A more effective way to develop an employee is to center performance conversations on the employee’s strengths, which in turn leads to improved morale and employee engagement.

People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job and three times more likely to be happier with their lives in general. Increased engagement translates to increased employee retention, and makes it easier to recruit new people.

Focusing more conversations on employees’ strengths helps them develop their natural talents and improve their work because they are able to emphasize how they naturally excel and how they’re uniquely equipped to get the job done. This also enables them to transfer how they have used their strengths from one task to another and to repeat the process.

Strengths based management highlights individual talents so each team member can understand how to use their strengths in every day situations. Giving ongoing feedback about how to use their strengths builds employee trust and enables better team performance.

Call Skill Builders!

Judy Preston is a certified Gallup Strengths Coach. She uses Strengths Coaching and Training to improve engagement and productivity in your team, which will improve your organization’s bottom line.

3 Tips to Engage Employees

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement adds real value to top-line growth and bottom-line performance. But like most good things in life, it takes time. That’s why deploying engagement initiatives is critical to preventing turnover. Consider this: a Gallup Poll found two-thirds of employees aren’t engaged at all. And an Allied Workforce Mobility Survey found that it can take more than a year for new employees to reach full productivity. What if you could fast-track improvements in engagement?

When you consider that organizations with high engagement rates are 78% more profitable than companies with average engagement rates, it makes sense to improve the engagement process. Here are three tips that you and your leadership team can use to engage employees:

  • Recognize and respond to your employees’ basic engagement needs. For example, your teams needs clear goals, opportunities to develop, recognition, and ongoing feedback.
  • Send out a pre-initiative survey to gauge the current state of employee engagement. Then after your engagement initiative is complete, send a post-initiative survey to measure before-and-after progress.
  • Offer employees well-rounded development initiatives that can help facilitate communication and engagement at work and in their personal lives. Assessments such as the StrengthsFinder and MBTI can do just that, by helping people understand what motivates them and the people around them (including your customer).

Providing opportunities for effective collaboration and communication shows your employees that you value them and that you want to invest in them as people. In fact, this kind of team building helps people feel like they belong and get the most from their career, which is key for employee engagement.

Call Skill Builders!

Judy Preston with Skill Builders, specializes in customized team building, leadership training, facilitations and coaching that help the whole organization work together in support of the overall mission. Judy is a Certified Myers-Briggs Practitioner, and a Certified Strengths Coach, and with over 20 years of management experience, she understands the challenges of developing and managing the culture of an organization.

Avoid Needless Conflict by Following These Basic Rules

Conflicts in the Workplace

Ineffective communication can cause conflicts in a workplace. Conflict Avoid needless disputes by following these basic rules:

• Set clear expectations. You’ll prevent lots of problems by letting employees know exactly what’s required of them as they do their work.

• Address problems immediately. Don’t delay when you see a problem that needs to be resolved. Discuss it openly so everyone has a chance to be heard.

• Respect differences. Don’t let every disagreement become a shouting match. Learn to respect personal differences—and encourage your employees to do the same.

— Adapted from the Business News Daily website

Skill Builders Courageous ConversationsSkill Builders can teach you and your people how to communicate expectations and hold each other accountable in a way that everyone wins. Assertiveness begins with each person suspending judgement and asking reasonable questions. Ask me about our 1-hour “Courageous Conversations” training, that will benefit your whole organization.

Are You Leading Too Much?


Think for YourselfWatch for these signs that you and your organization aren’t letting workers think for themselves …

As a leader, your job is to guide employees, not dominate them. Watch for these signs that you and your organization aren’t letting workers think for themselves:

• Decisions come only from the top. Don’t make employees wait for you or other top execs to tell them what to do. Empower them to act on their own, and trust their judgment.

• Every meeting includes a manager. You and your fellow managers don’t have to attend every single meeting. Permit employees to meet on their own to solve problems and make plans.

• Employees imitate the manager. Your own style may work for you, but employees shouldn’t automatically copy your every attitude and behavior. A team is healthier when employees feel free to express themselves honestly.

—Adapted from the Business Management Daily Website

Three Reasons to Meet Regularly With Employees

Meetings With Employees

Schedule a MeetingMeeting regularly with each employee has many benefits for you, the employee, and your organization. These three are especially valuable:

You’ll deepen trust. You’ll understand each other better through frequent conversations that address your needs. Getting to know each other on a personal and professional level helps build a trusting relationship, which makes it easier to work together productively.

You’ll raise issues. Employees will know they’ll have a chance to talk about problems and ideas without interrupting you from your work. Encourage them to talk with you.

You’ll gather—and share—feedback. A regular meeting to share thoughts about performance will help both of you improve on the job.

—Adapted from the U.S. News & World Report website

Take Positive Steps With Problem Workers

Managing Problem Employees

What to Do?

Every manager has to deal with problem workers from time to time. Firing them can lead to other problems if you’re not careful, though, so follow this advice before a problem becomes a nightmare:

Don’t turn a blind eye to poor performance. Disciplining workers may be uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore a performance problem. Hoping it will go away will probably make the issue worse, and it may lead to additional problems with other workers. Take a stand as soon as problems occur.

Don’t start with termination as a goal. Your objective should be “How can I coach this employee to do better?” not “How can I get rid of this person?” Strive to protect the investment you and your company have made in the employee.

Explain that actions have consequences. When approaching a problem worker, clearly outline both the problem and your expectations. Make sure the worker understands that failure to meet those expectations will have consequences. Leave no doubt that you take this situation seriously.

Keep personalities out of it. Discipline should be consistent if you want employees to listen to you. Don’t let problems slide with workers you favor while taking a hard line with those you don’t like. Setting double standards will hurt morale and undermine your authority—and could have legal repercussions.

Keep a record of each meeting. Even if you’re convinced that a single conversation has resolved the problem, you should still document the incident. If the employee doesn’t improve, you’ll want to be able to demonstrate all the steps you’ve taken to deal with the situation.

Follow your organization’s polices. If the problem persists, seek help from human resources or your manager. They may be able to guide you toward a better result. Either way, they should be in the loop.

—Adapted from the Laundry Today website