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Managing People - No One Shows You What To Do

Imagine the following scenario - you pay a visit to your doctor one day and in the course of the conversation he or she lets it slip that they have no formal medical qualification. However, everything's okay because they've been involved in the "doctoring" business for years, had lots of experience and have read several books on the subject; I bet you'd be out of there like a shot.

Imagine another situation where you're looking to employ an auto mechanic to look after your company vehicles. One applicant tells you how good they are at fixing cars and trucks. Been doing it for years, the only thing is that they haven't served an apprenticeship or had any other form of formal training. Would you give them the job, of course you wouldn't.

So why, why, why do so many organisations trust their most important and most expensive asset - their employees - to someone who's had no training in how to deal with people? And many Business owners and mangers experience huge difficulty in managing people because they've never been show how to do it.

People most often get promoted into a manager's job because they know the business they're in and they know the products and the industry. Sometimes they also get promoted because they get on with the team and ironically, in some cases, because they don't. (Some senior managers believe that you shouldn't promote someone who is too "close" to the team)

When appointing a manager organisations traditionally look for someone who can do all the "management" things. All the technical skills to do the job such as planning, cost control, resource allocation, interviewing, solving problems and dealing with customers.

Management training in many organisations usually addresses the activities listed above. Managers go on courses for time management, report writing and health and safety issues amongst others. However none of these activities helps the manager to motivate their team.

Before you start writing to me I'm aware that some organisations are running courses on leadership skills and management of change; more "people skills" type of programmes. I know this because I'm running some of these courses. However, I also know that the people who come on these courses are often hearing for the first time, about how to motivate their people. Some of them have been managers for over twenty years and have never had any people skills training.

It's often just taken for granted by senior managers in an organisation that managers will have the "natural" skills to motivate, coach, give feedback and get the best out of their people. Tiger Woods has the natural skill to play golf but he's been listening to trainers and coaches for years and he still does.

I didn't get any training when I started as a manager, I was left to get on with it and find out how to motivate my team. It worked out okay for the first few years but it was only until I started formal studies in motivation techniques at the Open University in the UK that my management success really took off. I've been reading books and studying successful managers for twenty-five years. If you want to make your life easier - I suggest you do the same.

Discover how you can generate more business by motivating your team! Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Sales by Motivating Your Team" This book is packed with practical things you can do to get the best out of your people. Visit

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