Delegating is Hard Newsletter

It always seems easier to do it yourself than to delegate to someone else, but a growing business depends on delegation. Learn more in our latest Law Matters Newsletter, as well as details of a VIP Day offer, and a free lawyer joke. Download NewsletterVol8No1

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Perils of Accidental Managers

I was at the MacLaren Memorial Lecture at Aston University this week. Tristram Hunt gave an interesting speech on the history and future of Birmingham, and the part of business in this.

Before his talk, there was a brief presentation from the CMI (co-organisers of the event) which raised once again the issue of the “accidental manager”. This is the manager who starts by doing something else, but becomes a manager without any training, and without being selected for management ability (but often for seniority). This is a particular problem for the legal and other professions, but far from confined to them. According to the CMI, 71% of businesses give little or no training to new managers.

The knock on effect is that 43% of line managers rate their own line managers as ineffective, and low levels of employee engagement lead to low productivity. If that applies to industry as a whole, it can be even more of a problem in people-centric professions such as the Law. Add a recession together with all the changes in the profession and this makes the situation worse.

The solution? Develop leadership and management skills at all levels. Even baby steps can help, provided that they are consistent, as these should lead to the ability to run. Do it now!

 

 

You Can Have Too Much Talent in Your Team

A report on the effect of talent in sport, from Scientific American here. Any sports fan disappointed by a team of galacticos will not be surprised to learn that a sprinkling of top talent improves results, but a team of top talent does worse.

The word “team” is an important one here – the effect was found in soccer and basketball, but not in baseball. So if what you do requires teamwork, you need some non-stars to help your stars shine.

8 Ways to Stop Inflicting Stress on Your Team

Many people cite their boss as a significant cause of stress. Avoid some common traps by reading Law Matters here.

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Pay Day Loans and Your Staff

An interesting article in People Management about helping staff to avoid pay day loans and manage debt problems. Some big employers have come up with effective means of doing so, but there is no reason why smaller employers cannot do the same.

There is a fine line to tread, since staff may not be prepared to admit to a problem, particularly in a firm without a separate HR department. It is, however, possible to make generally available details af debt advice services, resources on budgeting and so on. For the firm itself to provide a loan can lead to all kinds of problems.

Financial worry can reduce the standard of work. One factor that the article does not mention is the danger that anyone with pressing financial problems may be more tempted by dishonesty (obviously most will not be). Particularly with a firm that holds client money (such as solicitors) it makes sense for the firm to minimise that risk.

Too Many People of Color Feel Uncomfortable at Work

“The corporation for me is a theater, and I try to remember to stay in character.”
That’s the blunt response from one African-American executive to a dilemma that dogs many people of color in American workplaces: Even as multicultural fluency is increasingly prized in today’s global business environment, the very people who represent that diversity feel shut out.

Read more here.

Obviously, this is an area where US and UK experiences could be very different, or quite similar. What is immensely difficult is having the conversation, from either side of the fence. This HBR blog post is therefore valuable in raising the issues, and giving managers possible avenues to explore with suitable sensitivity.

Bear in mind as well that African-Americans are the third oldest ethnic group in the USA, so this issue may be relevant for some time.