Episode 400: Manager Training With Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell, Authors of The Big Book of HR

Summary:Workology Podcast interview with Episode Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell, talking about managers training.

Episode 400: Manager Training With Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell, Authors of The Big Book of HR

Summary:Workology Podcast interview with Episode Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell, talking about managers training.

Table of Contents


Jessica, when you put that question out to us earlier, I didn’t have to think more than once to come up with the answer. How to give feedback. It is such a simple thing to do. It’s easy to practice. You can, you can do it in a peer relationship. But we just don’t tell managers how to do that. And as we’re seeing the shift in performance management these days where younger employees definitely they want feedback. They don’t want the scorecard annual review that we give them every year. They want feedback. They want to know right now, how am I doing? I just finished this project. How did I do? And we just don’t train managers how to have that conversation with their employees.

Episode 400: Manager Training With Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell, Authors of The Big Book of HR

Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive workplace leader. Join host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of Workology.com as she sits down and gets to the bottom of trends, tools, and case studies for the business leader, HR, and recruiting professional who is tired of the status quo. Now here’s Jessica with this episode of Workology.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:01:15.48] Welcome to the Workology Podcast sponsored by Ace The HR Exam and Upskill HR. These are two of the courses that we offer for HR Certification prep and re-certification for human resources leaders. In 2018, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that companies with fewer than 100 employees gave only 12 minutes of manager training every six months. Organizations with 100 to 500 employees provided just six minutes of new manager training. And this comes from HR Professionals magazine. Also, according to Gallup’s State of the American Manager analytics and advice for leaders, 50% of employees have left their jobs, including myself because of a manager, we had to get away, at some point in their careers. So I’m included in this list, maybe you are, too. Additionally, only 35% of US managers are engaged in their jobs, and managers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged are costing the US economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually. Billion with a B. This obviously is a costly problem that just keeps getting more complicated when you put remote work into the mix. So before I introduce today’s podcast guests, I do want to hear from you. Text the word “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. Ask questions, leave comments, and make suggestions for future guests. This is my community text number and I want to hear from you. I am pleased to have on this podcast Cornelia Gamlin and Barbara Mitchell. The duo collaborated on their first book, The Big Book of HR, one of my favorite books. It hit the market in 2012. Since that time, Barbara and Cornelia have gone on to write multiple books, including the Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, the Conflict Resolution Phrase book, and the award-winning, The Managers Answer book. And they did what? Unbelievable Tales from the Workplace. They have a new book out called The Decisive Manager. I’m going to link to this book in the show notes of today’s podcast episode. Cornelia took the HR expertise she gained from working for a Fortune 500 IT services company and founded the Gems Group, a management consulting firm offering clients solutions in the areas of employee relations, workplace diversity, and related HR business issues. Barbara is the founder and managing partner of the Mitchell Group, a management consulting practice that helps a wide variety of clients with people and talent management issues. Cornelia and Barbara, welcome to the Workology Podcast.

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:04:01.60] Well, thank you.

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Barbara Mitchell: [00:04:02.60] Thank you.

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:04:03.03] Glad to be here.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:04:04.58] I’m so excited to have you on. And I told you in the prep call, I love The Big Book of HR. It’s such a valuable resource. I didn’t realize that you had so many books published and how you collaborate together is a whole nother podcast, but I am excited to have you on the podcast to talk about manager training in how we can help support these business leaders.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:04:30.27] We’re delighted to be here. The subject that you just talked about is just so critical and we are absolutely like you. We’re horrified how little training people get.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:04:43.62] And I’m reminded every day because I feel like a lot of the questions that I get from social media and in the email and on my blog in various places are related to bad managers. So before we get into all that, let’s start with some background. And how did your past experience lead you to, to partner in your first book together and now subsequent books?

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:05:04.59] Well, you know, as you mentioned, we both had a background in HR management. Both held leadership positions and we knew each other professionally. You know, we were both very much involved with the Society for Human Resource Management, as well as other local business groups. And, you know, we live close to each other in the Washington, D.C. area. So we had gotten together professionally on a number of occasions, and then we both started our consulting practices around the same time. And, you know, that gave us more of an opportunity to get together. And that professional relationship grew into a great friendship. And some time, I guess it was in 2011, Barbara came to me. She had submitted a proposal to her publisher. She had published another book with a different colleague, and they gave her a very short time span to write The Big Book of HR. And as we joke, it’s a big book. And so she asked me to help, if I’d be interested in helping her write. And I said, Sure, I’ll give it a try. Always wanted to, to write a book. And as we say, the rest is history.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:06:16.02] Well, I love it. And I mean, I am working on now my third book, and I’m just thinking about how it would be to collaborate with someone as a co-author. And like I said, that’s a whole nother podcast interview that, that we could talk more about. I want to get back to statistics because they are scary and expensive. Big numbers, billions with a B. Especially for HR professionals who I think are interested in their own career development, maybe as becoming managers or working with different managers, I wanted to ask you, what should we be thinking about first with regards to professional development?

Barbara Mitchell: [00:06:59.55] I think the, the main thing we should be thinking about is what do people need today to change the way we are, our working world is just so different and we can’t just do things the way we’ve always done them. And so what, what does your workforce need? What do your managers need most of all? And I think there are just some very basic things that, that managers now need to be so much more empathetic. They need to be so much more in tune with listening to what their employees have to say and then working on what’s going to work for us today to make us as good as we can be and not revert back to perhaps what they did even just before the pandemic when things maybe were going okay. But in the numbers that you gave, Jessica, it doesn’t sound like people have been paying attention to their employees even before we had a worldwide pandemic. So we need to get back to that and say it is not intuitive to be a good manager. You need some help. And yes, there are some very basic things I think people need to learn, but there’s also just what is right for my, for my team right now. How can I help them be the best that they can be?

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:17.05] Cornelia, Do you have anything to add, add to the conversation?

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:08:20.29] I would say the only thing I would add for HR professionals is make sure you understand the business, understand the business that your organization is in. You know, gain some basic knowledge of other functional areas in business. And I think that’s where so many HR people fall short because they think, well, I’m great at HR, but I don’t understand what some of the managers I support, the issues that they’re dealing with from a functional basis.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:08:50.22] Yep.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:51.00] I love that you’re talking about the business of things. Barbara, anything to add here?

Barbara Mitchell: [00:08:55.80] I was just gonna, I’ve got a great story that I share all the time that very quickly happens. When I was at Marriott, there was a wonderful woman named Pam Farr, who was the highest-ranking woman at Marriott at the time, and she was the, the Senior VP of HR reporting to Bill Marriott. And she would tell a story about how she would wait 20 minutes in a staff meeting. So there would be the CFO, and the CHRO, and the Chief Marketing Officer. All the chiefs would be there. She would time herself 20 minutes before she would bring up a people issue. She would talk. She would participate in the marketing conversation. She participated in the finance because she understood the business. Now, when I share that story with a lot of HR people, they think that I mean, literally, you have to time it 20 minutes and then it’s okay to talk about HR. No, that’s not the point. The point is that you want to, you want to learn the business. You want to know the business as well as, as the other leaders in your organization. And then and only then, because we know you can’t do anything without the people in the organization. And then you can bring up whatever it is about benefits that you need to talk about. But I think Cornelia makes a really good point that that’s one of the areas that HR needs to get better at, and that is understanding the business.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:10:19.54] Well, I love that we’re starting right off on business because this is a huge gap for us as HR professionals. And I think that if well, I know if we want more credibility with our peers, members of the executive team, we have to understand their businesses to establish that trust and build that relationship. So I love that that’s what we’re starting off with when it comes to HR leaders and their professional development.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:10:46.58] Absolutely right.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:10:48.44] The past few years have put a lot of pressure on those of us in HR. Everyone, but especially HR and also new managers in particular. I wanted to ask if you could talk about how managing a remote workforce is a different skill set than managing a team in person.

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:11:05.43] You know, one of the things we keep hearing and talking to folks about is managers have a lot of anxiety because they can’t walk around and see what people are doing. And, you know, I often wonder, are they just insecure or nobody has told them that there are other ways to manage and kind of taking them by the hand and said this is how we’re going to do it from now on. Um, you, the use of technology is so important these days, but you have to be able to use it, right? Not to, to be spying on your employees or be measuring some of those productivity issues that really don’t contribute to the outcomes of the organization. Things like keystrokes per minute or the numbers of calls that, that somebody has made. Think about how you can manage workflow with the use of technology, and that’s a wonderful way to keep up with where your team is on, on different projects. And if somebody’s struggling with something, it’s easy to kind of come in. So it’s important that you kind of move away from the, the thought pattern of I’m into the busy work, I’m concerned about the tasks. Worry about whether or not people are meeting their deadlines and they’re making their goals. The other thing that’s so important, it goes hand in hand with this and feeds right into, to how we train our managers. They have to learn how to communicate the performance expectations that, that they have for their employees, for, for the project, for the team. And that has to be done constantly, you know, and use video, use video calls either for team meetings or for one on one meetings, but go into those calls with an agenda. Know what you’re going to be talking about and not just have it be this stream of consciousness, kind of the way we, we set things up today. You gave us a sense of how the conversation was going to go. So I think that that’s really important. And then finally provide opportunities for the employees to network with each other, even virtually because we learn so much from our peers.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:13:14.95] And I think one of the things that, that, this is a constant issue for, for me that I think it was always important. But one of the things that’s different now in our virtual world is managers have to learn how to listen a whole lot differently and a whole lot better to their, their people so that they really are in tune with what the what is going on in the people’s lives. And it’s not just, I need you to do this task. Here’s what I’m expecting of you. Here’s how I’m going to measure it. Here’s how you’ll be rewarded. It’s how does this all fit together? How do we work together and, and really have something that matters in our organizations. And I think that’s one of the things that is I’m going to use the word frightening to a lot of managers who, who can’t get the fact that they have to do things a little bit differently. And I think it’s going to, probably, continue to, to be an issue of people leaving managers because they just can’t get the work done that they want to get done with that manager. So listening becomes a skill that is more and more and more important. And then the other thing that I think is so critical and something that, that we talk a lot about in, in the books that we write is just how you, how you get to know your employees. The compassion, I think we use that word a moment ago. How you just get to know them and what it is happening in their lives. And I think a lot of managers are afraid of that whole thing. But I will say it quite succinctly, and that is you need to treat your employees like human beings first, then employees. And think if we do that, think we’ll have less of the people leaving because their managers are not managing appropriately.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:15:12.37] I think a lot of our employees, younger employees have seen our parents be miserable working in work environments and we have taught them as we should to not put up with those kind of things or to make a change. And I see this in my 14-year-old daughter and the way she carries herself and, and does the things that she does. And that is incredibly frustrating for managers or leaders who have always operated a certain way. But they, probably, I’m assuming that they might also have children, are raising a generation of kids to maybe do the same thing in their own life. We just don’t have that personal relationship to say, Hey, this employee is a parent, a sister, an aunt, you know, a sibling to, to see them that way.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:16:07.79] Very true. Yeah.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:16:09.53] The other thing that you mentioned, Cornelia, which I really liked, is the agenda. And it’s something that I have been incorporating into my own meetings. It helps me be organized when I’m leading my team. Here are the five things that we’re talking about today, but it also helps them stay focused and organized. And it’s a small activity. It doesn’t take me that long to do, but it will really make a difference in terms of the order of operations for the meeting and I think how my team feels.

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:16:40.88] Absolutely. And I’m sitting here chuckling to myself because I have a board meeting tonight. And while the president of the organization always sends out an agenda, she cannot help herself. She has got to weigh in on everything that is on the agenda. And you just want to scream and say, get out of people’s way. You know, you’ve put the agenda together. You’ve got competent people around you. Let them talk about what’s going on, you know, issues, problems, successes, whatever. And, and I think that that’s another real skill that we have to train our managers to do is, you know, not only have an agenda, know how to stick to it, but also to be able to elicit some responses from everybody else. So everyone’s participating.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:17:27.68] And then listen to what they say.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:17:30.20] And actually take action. Maybe a change or even a small adjustment can really go a long way.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:17:39.23] Absolutely. Yes.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:17:41.00] You know, we talked a little bit about compassion and I mentioned trust at the beginning. But I think the idea or I don’t think I know that many managers think that people who work from home or you’re managing a team remotely, that people are messing around and they’re not working when they’re supposed to be working or they’re working another job. I’m seeing that in the news a lot in terms of what you were seeing in your work and in the book, how important is trust in being an effective manager, whether it’s remote teams or in person in your experience?

Barbara Mitchell: [00:18:18.32] Can I just say it’s everything? I can’t think of much that’s more important than being able to have a trusting relationship with managers and staff. And it isn’t something that just happens when you wave your magic wand and say, Trust me. It has to be earned. And I think it’s not rocket science. It’s not difficult. It is just basically doing what you say you’re going to do, being, being responsible if you’re the manager. And if I say that we’re going to do this today, our staff meeting is going to be at this time and I’m going to hold to it that people can trust you. They know that you will do what you say that you will do. And the same thing for employees. I think that managers have to be able to trust their employees and get to know them again as the, as the human being that they are. And maybe sometimes it may take a little bit of time for that trust relationship to develop, but it can be broken so easily by just not doing what you said you were going to do or by doing something that is perhaps unethical, illegal, whatever, that, you know, we see so often now in the media. So being a trustworthy person and acting in a trustworthy way, but then also building trust with your employees, it’s just everything. And without it, I think that we’re going to have a difficult time as, ,as we try to navigate this this very different workforce workplace that we have.

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:19:56.51] I was going to say, nothing can kill an organization and crush the culture. When trust somehow goes away or somebody misuses trust. I had a situation a few, few months back. I was working with an organization and it turned out one of the senior leaders had decided that she didn’t like one of her, her colleagues. Had a letter of no confidence written up and started to get other people to sign this letter, went around the CEO and took it to the board and just all hell broke loose. Yes. I mean, it was I mean, I was sitting there with my mouth open, like really when I heard the story. But, you know, now they’re grappling. She’s been moved out into another position. And so she’s at least not dealing with people directly, but she’s still there in the organization and they’ve got a lot of work to do to, to bring that trust factor back because, you know, even some of the people that were coerced into signing this letter of no confidence later admitted what we really didn’t know what it was about. But, you know, since she asked us to sign it, we thought we had to. And it just, it’s almost destroying a lot of the working relationships in that organization.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:21:19.31] Hard to come back from, from something like that.

Break: [00:21:23.48] Let’s take a reset here. My name is Jessica Miller-Merrell and you are listening to the Workology Podcast sponsored by Ace The HR Exam and Upskill HR. Today we’re talking about new manager training and new authors of the Decisive Manager. I’m talking with Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell. They have other books, The Big Book of HR and The Manager’s Answer Book, among others. Before we get back to their interview, I would love your feedback as well. Text “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions, leave comments, make suggestions for future guests. This is my community text number and I want to hear from you.

Break: [00:22:03.47] Personal and professional development is essential for successful HR leaders. Join Upskill HR to access live training community and over 100 on-demand courses for the dynamic leader. HR recert credits available. Visit UpskillHR.com for more.

The Most Commonly Overlooked Skill That New Managers Need

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:22:19.56] I want to switch gears a little bit and go back to new managers because I feel like this is such an impressionable opportunity for somebody who’s newly either coming to the organization as a new manager or maybe somebody who is promoted internally from, into a manager position. So I wanted to ask, what is the most commonly overlooked skill that you feel like new managers need that isn’t always offered or in terms of training by companies?

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:22:48.23] Jessica, when you put that question out to us earlier, I didn’t have to think more than once to come up with the answer. How to give feedback. It is such a simple thing to do. It’s easy to practice. You can, you can do it in a peer relationship. But we just don’t tell managers how to do that. And as we’re seeing the shift in performance management these days where younger employees definitely they want feedback. They don’t want the scorecard annual review that we give them every year. They want feedback. They want to know right now, how am I doing? I just finished this project. How did I do? And we just don’t train managers how to have that conversation with their employees.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:23:37.73] And it’s, as you, as you mentioned, Cornelia, it’s not difficult to do. If you know just a simple way of if you see somebody doing something really great that you right then and there just say, Hey, I just saw today in the staff meeting when, when you added that comment about the X, Y, Z, it changed the whole dynamic. Thank you for saying what you did. And that is just going to do absolute wonders for that employee. And certainly, if someone does something that isn’t exactly right or they could do it better, that you very quickly, privately, of course, public praise is great, but private if you’re correcting someone, of course. But let them know what it is that they did that wasn’t exactly right, how they could fix it and that you’re there to support them. And I think if managers do that feedback, it will just change the whole organization and people will want to do a great job. And then I think something that, that gets overlooked over and over and over, and that is just simply being grateful to employees for doing a good job. I think what most people want more than anything else is to have their manager say thanks. Thank you. What you did today was really worthwhile. Or thank you for just, just being reliable. I really can count on you. That just means everything and probably will make that employee stay, first of all, maybe their week, maybe their year. And then another thing to do, I think is so easy to do, but it just doesn’t get done very often is an email, a thank you email, a quick something that’s appropriate. I know going back to my Marriott days, this was back in the days when you used to get a handwritten note. But if you ever got a note from Bill Marriott or some executive, I mean, people put those up on their walls and they had them there forever and ever and ever. And it just a simple thing that probably took five minutes for somebody to write it, but it was worth everything. And I think this thank you is what people are looking for.

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:25:49.52] And getting back to feedback for just a second, I often talk about this simple formula, what, as Barbara just said, pointing out what you noticed, what was great, what wasn’t so great. So what? Which is the, what was the impact of what you just noticed? So people understand not just, Oh, gee, I did a great job, but they understand why it was a great job. And then the final one is now what? What can we do to continue doing this or what corrective action needs to get taken? If you’re talking about something negative, it’s such an easy little formula and it’s easy for manager to grasp on to. And I think if we just gave them some of those kinds of tools and training, we’d see them giving a lot more feedback to their staffs.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:26:37.77] As you’re talking. I’m thinking about my daughter again, 14. She’s a competitive swimmer, and it is critical for them to get feedback in practice regularly because when they go to a meet and they haven’t received any feedback, they don’t know any different. And just like managers leaders, when we give feedback to somebody on our team, one small correction early on can change everything. And when I think about like repetitive motion, because again, my daughter is a swimmer. So we were talking about this the other week about like repetitive motion injuries. And, and she’s like, Oh, what you mean mom? Is the difference between why we switch breath on either side when we’re doing like the freestyle stroke? And I’m like, Yeah, because if you did it on just one side, it’s going to lead to not only a small a slower time for you, but physical injury and problems later on. So feedback can be the same way that it’s a muscle that and how we do our day and activities like those are things are learned. So if we don’t have feedback, we are operating only taking a breath while we’re doing our freestyle. On one side, when a simple, quick 30-second conversation could change everything for a member of your team.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:28:04.07] Very, very true. Love that, I love that. Swimming example is so relevant to, you know.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:28:12.36] I feel like that’s what they live for, Like, that’s all. And it was hard at the beginning. Like, she didn’t like the feedback because it felt like a personal attack. Like she wasn’t good enough. But once you understand that it is designed to not only help you, but also help maybe the relationship or the team, like it’s a give and take, and then you can make a modification and ask for more and you can see it change, you know, in terms of your times. Like then it’s like, okay, this was so much better. And now I understand. And I think that if we look at feedback in that way as a manager leader, you know, it might not impact your performance today. But over time, 60, 90, a year from now, you’re able to see the difference in their performance. It just, it just takes 30 seconds to, to give somebody some insights into how they could improve or what you want from them in the future.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:29:13.03] I also think that it’s good for managers to ask for feedback themselves. Ask their employees, How am I doing? What can I do to help you, help support you better? And it takes a secure manager to, to do that. But it really can pay off. Both, manager can learn a lot by having an employee say, You know, I really appreciate it when you say X to me, it really helped me do a better job, and then you can do more of that. So I think managers need to ask for feedback themselves.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:29:44.41] I love that. And I think feedback is a gift. It doesn’t always feel that way sometimes. Sometimes it stings. But I try to say that to myself when I ask to receive it. Like this is a gift and they don’t have to give it to me. Oftentimes people don’t give feedback because they’re worried it will hurt your feelings or they don’t want you to get angry or upset or have negative emotions. But really, it’s designed for you to improve performance, your swim, stroke, whatever it is.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:30:11.20] Exactly. Yep. Well said.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:30:13.90] I wanted to ask, going back to new managers. So let’s pretend that we are, have a bunch of new managers who are listening to this podcast right now. What advice can you give them to build solid relationships with their teams? What? How should they start?

Barbara Mitchell: [00:30:28.27] Well, I think you start by getting to know the people that work for you in terms of what’s important to them, what, what they what their passions are. You know, I love the idea of just spending one on one time with, with new employees and getting to know them and maybe having some fun together as a, as a team. I think teams that are strongest are the ones who enjoy spending time together and working together. And you can’t do that unless you know each other and know each other well. So I think it starts from there. But it also starts with something that Cornelia and I talk about like, like it’s, like this, we made this up. We didn’t, but we pretend like we did. And that is if a manager sets expectations, let’s say, let’s the new hire know what it is that I expect of you. What is it that you can do to really do a good job and be a superstar and get promoted and all the things that people want? What are the expectations? And then you hold them accountable for the work that they have done and not get in their way, not micromanage, but the simple formula of set expectations and hold accountable.

Barbara Mitchell: [00:31:45.04] We say sometimes that if managers would just do that, they wouldn’t have to do anything else that would. That pretty much covers the whole basis. Now, those are not simple things, I know, but I think you need to let your employees know what you expect of them, and then you have to be there for them if they need help and they know they can trust you, there’s trust again that you will be there to help them. And you, you want them to succeed, and then you hold them accountable. If they don’t live up to your expectations, there’s the constructive feedback. You share why and how they can get better. And then making sure that the, that you’ve got good people say this all the time, that good people want to work with good people. So if you don’t, if you have people that are just not pulling their weight and somebody else has to do their, their job for them, odds are you’re going to lose two employees in that in that equation and maybe more because the good employee does not want to do somebody else’s job to think.

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:32:46.37] The other piece of advice I would give a new manager is when you hire someone new. It starts with the onboarding process even before the person sets foot in the building, whether it’s physically or virtually, reach out to them. Once that job offer has been accepted, let them know how glad you are to have them be joining the team and get other people on the team involved to have them reach out, have them, email them or text people so they, they feel like they’re part of a, of something bigger. As soon as they walk into the building or as soon as they start working. I can’t think of a better way to start to build relationships, not just one on one, but with the team in general. And if you’re a new manager coming into an organization, you can, you can be doing the same thing. Start reaching out to folks as soon as you have their contact information and let them know how glad you are and how excited you are to be working with them. It’ll go so far to say, Hey, I’m that individual, I’m that human being. Don’t just think of me as the authority figure here. I’m not just the boss. I want to be part of the team as well. And yes, I’ve got some responsibilities to lead. Lead everybody. But I really want to be part of the team as well.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:34:16.20] I love that. So I want to, a last question for you all. How can HR leaders get their organizations involved in a formal new manager training program? It sounds, things are changing so quickly. I do think that all managers should go through training. So how, how can HR get that started at their organization or expand?

Barbara Mitchell: [00:34:40.14] Well, I think you’ve, you’ve given some real good statistics here that I hope everybody is either writing down or getting from, from your, your blog, Uh, because we know that that’s how leaders learn. They love when you, when you give them numbers and say, okay, you know, we’re losing a lot of our managers, we’ve got a problem. So you get their attention. And then once you get their attention, you better have a plan in mind as to how they can get what they need. Have some, have some classes or having some, some coaching or whatever it is that you think will work with your employees. There’s so many ways for people to learn these days with microlearning and gamification and all the fun ways that people can learn, YouTube, and I mean, everything that’s available. We’d like to hope that people can look at our books if as ways for people to learn. But there are so many ways for people to learn and learn. Learn the way that they can learn themselves. So I think you have to get, get the leader’s attention and then be prepared to step up with some solutions if you’re the HR person.

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:35:49.77] You. And I think another way that you can get the leader’s attention is give them examples of things that have gone wrong. You know, if this manager had understood how to give better feedback, for example, maybe the whole project wouldn’t have been blown. But, you know, it came in late, it came in over budget. Think of what we could have done if we had just invested a little bit of money or, or even time. As Barbara said, we don’t have to send people off to conferences and, and big, expensive, expensive learning events these days. So give them some, some, some other credible examples along with the numbers. And I think together it starts to paint a really good story for why do we need something like this? You know, I almost hate that we’re still having this conversation, that we all know how it goes. And I remember having a discussion, semi-argument with somebody once at a social event talking about, you know, the industry he was in and he’s telling me no, no, no. The, the, this is just particular to our industry. And I looked at him and I said, I’ve worked with a lot of different companies across a lot of industries. The biggest mistake they make is they find the best person who’s good at whatever it is they’re doing, the best engineer, the best widget maker, and say, We’re going to make them a manager. And they may have no people skills and may not want to have any people skills, but they get thrown into these positions. So we have to, we have I think, first of all, let people know what’s involved if you’re tapping them on the shoulder and saying, we want you to apply for this, this internal management position and, you know, focus on what’s really going to, what their day to day life is going to be like. Not just you get to keep on being, you know, the best of what you were doing because now you’re in a whole new job.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:37:40.86] Well, I have a copy of their new book, The Decisive Manager, and I would suggest that you add it to your reading library, maybe slide it into every one of your managers desks or send it on over to the mail to make it part of their reading, regular reading. I’d love to do those kinds of things for my team. I believe that there’s always opportunities to learn and grow, and sometimes the best way to introduce something new is through the genius or ideas of others like Barbara and Cornelia. So I know how hard it is to write a book. I know how much time it is, and I thank you guys for tackling this topic because it is one that seems to be sticking around. And so the more resources we have to share with our managers, hopefully, we can make a dent in this productivity that is stemming from bad managers and leadership. So thank you so much for your time here on the podcast.

Cornelia Gamlem: [00:38:41.91] Thank you. Thank you.

Closing: [00:38:44.16] It is really important for HR leaders to create resources and support for new managers, especially around leadership, empathy, people, management, communication, productivity, and more. I am so excited about Cornelia and Barbara’s new book, The Decisive Manager, and their willingness to share with us their expertise today. I’m including their new book in the show notes, as well as links to all their other books in the resources section of this podcast episode. Text the word “PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. You can give me feedback, ask questions, and make suggestions for future guests. This is my community number and I want to hear from you. Thank you also for joining the Workology Podcast, which is sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace The HR Exam. This podcast is for the disruptive workplace leader who’s tired of the status quo. My name is Jessica Miller-Merrell. Until next time, visit Workology.com to listen to all our previous podcast episodes.

Connect with Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell.


– Cornelia Gamlem on LinkedIn

– Barbara Mitchell on LinkedIn

– New book: The Decisive Manager 

– The Big Book of HR

– The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook

– The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book

– The Manager’s Answer Book

– They Did What? Unbelievable Tales from the Workplace

– Workology New Manager Training

– Episode 289: New Manager Training with Ramona Shaw

– Episode 379: How to Create a Sense of Belonging With Jackye Clayton From Textio

– Episode 383: Finding the Hidden Gems Within the Organization With Dr. Edie Goldberg, Founder of E. L. Goldberg & Associates

– Episode 399: AI and the Future of HR With Kara Kelley, CEO Founder and CEO of Clinical HR

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