Learning4Managers Focus Areas

Leaders Are in Short Supply

Knowing what triggers individuals to lose trust in others and expertise on how to build trust quickly are two critical skills for today’s leaders. Do you have a trust and credibility strategy?


  1. Brandon Hall (2015) State of Leadership Development 2015. Retrieved from  http://www.ddiworld.com/DDI/media/trend-research/state-of-leadership-development_tr_brandon-hall.pdf?ext=.pdf
Link to this article in Spanish (Español)

Need help building a strategy to build trust and credibility for your business? Contact Us for a free initial consultation.

Trust, Credibility and Business

Trust and credibility are an absolute necessity to be able to conduct business with anyone. People don’t buy from companies or sales people they do not trust, employees don’t feel engaged when they can’t trust their manager, and companies don’t hire consultants or employees who lack credibility. Trust and credibility are pre-requisites to doing business.

However, in the age of “fake news” trust and credibility in the business world have being hit hard and cynicism and suspicion are at an all-time high. Edelman(1) warns that seven in ten individuals feel that false information is being weaponized.

Considering that today many businesses are rated on social media sites or on catalogs online, one must consider the possibility that these review sections could be used to hurt business. Employees with a grudge could post untrue negative reviews about management practices, competitors posing as customers could post fake negative reviews about services or products, and people like hackers who simply want to disrupt business could use review sites as a means to create havoc.

How do you maintain trust and credibility of your business? Can we assume false information will sort itself out without our intervention? Is there anything we can do to be proactive to strengthen our credibility?

Knowing what triggers individuals to lose trust in others and expertise on how to build trust quickly are two critical skills for today’s leaders. Do you have a trust and credibility strategy?


  1. Edelman (2018) 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer. Retrieved from https://www.edelman.com/trust-barometer
Link to this article in Spanish (Español)

Need help building a strategy to build trust and credibility for your business? Contact Us for a free initial consultation.

Employee Engagement

According to Gallup(1), employee engagement in the USA between 2014 and 2017 ranged mostly between 30% and 35%, reaching a highest point in 2017 slightly above 38%.

If these statistics are true at your business, three to four out of every ten employees are not producing at their highest potential, nor are they invested in growing in their career with your company. The cost of this lack of engagement varies widely across companies, but it is certainly important to consider.

How do you respond to these numbers? Do you assume it is part of the cost of doing business? Or do you take action. But, what is the correct action to take?

A natural reaction could be to want to remove the employees that are not engaged. However, what if the next round of new hires lack engagement too? A better tactical step would be to take a closer look at your hiring practices.

But what if you do hire engaged individuals who later become disengaged due to the way your company conducts business? As you can see, the solution may not simple, but it is also not impossible to find. We must take a strategic approach to engagement to ensure we keep and nurture highly productive star employees from hire to retire.


  1. Gallup (2017) Gallup Daily: U.S. Employee Engagement – All. Retrieved from https://news.gallup.com/poll/180404/gallup-daily-employee-engagement.aspx
Link to this article in Spanish (Español)

Need help building a strategy of engagement for your business? Contact Us for a free initial consultation.


Hope Vs Training


[Originally published on Linked-In by Learning4Managers] Year after year line employees are promoted to supervisory and management positions due to their exemplary work. Kudos to all of them. But what is it they get when these people are promoted?

The promotion comes with a bundle of new responsibilities, high expectations, and pressure. To meet performance expectations on these new responsibilities, newly promoted managers are expected to instantly become leaders, coaches, and performance experts.

Here is what the promotion does not always include: a plan. Don’t get us wrong. Top management has plans and expectations for newly promoted employees. What is missing is a plan for the new manager to transition into the supervisory or management position to learn and practice the new skills required.

Let’s take a look at a few basic managerial tasks: interviewing candidates for a job, managing conflict between employees, and deal with employees who are not performing up to expectations. Are newly promoted managers expected to handle these issues effectively and efficiently? Yes.

Here is the problem. Are the tasks mentioned earlier the kind of duties they were expected to handle before the promotion? In most cases, the answer is no. So how are they supposed to know how to handle these new duties and meet expectations? How did you learn to deal with these issues? Take our survey on our site and let us know.

From the responses in surveys conducted in previous years we learned that 42% of managers taught themselves how to conduct interviews, as opposed to being taught on the job or via formal training. 37% taught themselves how to manage conflict and 31% taught themselves how to manage low performing team members.

In other words, around 1/3 of new managers or more figure things out on their own hoping that what they figure out is the right thing to do. Hoping is not planning and as the old adage says, if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. These conditions ought to be simply unacceptable to us.

Training is not the answer to all problems and we know that. However, it is an important step that paves the way to better performance, innovation, and overall to better business results. We encourage you to go back to your management and supervisor teams and survey them to see what they know and how they acquired this information. Offer training on key management topics to those who need it.

Next, take a look at your promotion practices and incorporate an onboarding program for newly promoted managers and supervisors. Finally, teach them to become Viral Leaders. As such, they will begin to plant the seeds of leadership in their respective teams, which will help prepare your next generation of promotion-worthy leaders. If you need assistance with any of these steps, Contact Us Today! 

Why Your Best Employees Are NOT Your Most Important Asset


If you are trying to get maximum productivity from your employees, then it is time you rethink treating them like they are your most valuable asset. To understand why, let’s explore the “most valuable asset” concept. Companies have depended on business models that treat people as one more asset in the organization. Workers are expected to show up on time and perform their tasks within expected parameters, in the same way machines and equipment are expected to work within specified standards.

As a result of this dominant view of the workplace, a saying emerged: Employees are a company’s most important asset. While the statement was meant to show the value of reliable employees, it strips employees of their real value. In fact, the thought unintentionally dehumanizes the person and turns the employee into nothing more than one more company asset.

This model does not fit with today’s employees’ expectations of the workplace. Are employees seeking to become just one more cog in the big corporate machine? Are they perceived as replaceable parts in the system? Do they feel treated as assets instead of people?

Today’s workers have a much bigger focus on work-life balance and social needs, forcing companies to re-think how they treat what we at Learning4Managers call the old concept of the people-asset or the person-asset.

Employees can no longer be treated as an asset but rather need to be viewed again as people with complex real life issues. These issues may include disruptive and bully behaviors, but they can also be about needs like having a sick spouse at home who needs attention, having childcare problems, or having to deal with problems with the facility caring for an elderly parent. 

To think that human beings can compartmentalize and keep their personal lives completely separate from their work lives is naïve. Let’s imagine we have an employee suffering of stress at home due to a health situation in the family. Stress causes hormonal changes to occur which can have an impact on the body for days. An employee cannot control hormonal changes caused by stress any more than they can control the direction of wind currents on Jupiter. How can we ask this employee to compartmentalize and stop feeling the stress during work hours?

The point is that people are far more than just an asset. If we expect them to be engaged and give their utmost for the company, companies need to understand that they need to see people first as individual human beings. Once they address the needs of the individual. Only then will companies be able to truly engage employees and as a reward, employees will freely give their best to the company.

A Toxic Lie Being Spread At Your Company: To Be a Manager is Bad – To Be a Leader is Good

VL_Facts_mythsRecently I noticed a post saying similar to this: “Managers make themselves feel important and leaders make people feel important.” There are many messages similar to this one floating around all over social media. Do you agree? It is tempting to want to believe it at face value. However, when you give it some thought, you may realize this is not only a lie, it is toxic and dangerous thinking.

In my book Viral Leadership, I make it a point to call out and confront these misleading and toxic messages. I say these messages are misleading because they are comparing bad managerial behaviors and attitudes with the behaviors of great leaders – not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison.

The fact is that there are great managers and there are horrible managers, just as there are great leaders and bad ones too. After all, Hitler was a leader. So was Osama Bin Laden. Should we start bashing the concept of leadership based on their example? If we are going to make comparisons, let’s at least be fair about it.

But before we even start making comparisons, let’s be clear about one thing. Management and leadership are two sides of the same coin. To be a great leader, you must also be a great manager. What good is a leader that does not respect a budget or deadlines? On the other side of the coin, we observe that to be a great manager you must also show great leadership skills. Managers who can’t inspire their teams won’t get far.

So why do we feel the need to give the word “manager” a bad reputation? To make ourselves feel good when we say we rather be leaders? Imagine the damage this message causes to the image of thousands of great managers who are out there doing a fantastic job with their teams.

For this reason, I say this ridiculous comparison between the concepts of management and leadership is toxic and needs to stop. Instead, give your good managers and leaders the respect they deserve, and build up the skills of those who need improvement. And most importantly, teach them to be viral. Teach them to pass on these great skills to the rest of their teams, and build up a viral chain of performance improvement.

I also encourage you to share your stories of managers and leaders, good or bad, who may have left an impression on you and shaped you into the professional you are today. Enter your story and you’ll earn a chance to win a Free Webinar (up to 50 participants) for your team. To enter, FOLLOW THIS LINK.

Viral Leadership Book Available Now

Viral Leadership and companion resources by Learning4Managers are available now.

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Are Your Rewards Hurting Performance? Which carrot works best?

A study at the University of Alberta in 2001 by Judy Cameron, Katherine Banko, and W. David Pierce reviewed hundreds of experimental studies that identified how some rewards often decreased intrinsic motivation. The reason, they say, lies primarily on how the rewards are structured.

Destructive Rewards: When a tangible reward is announced beforehand, such as a bonus or a prize, but the reward is only loosely tied to performance, the reward may actually decrease intrinsic motivation in people who were originally highly interested in the task.

Partially useless rewards: In the study, when a reward was linked to performance, intrinsic motivation did not decrease, but it didn’t necessarily increase either.

Relatively beneficial rewards: The best results in the study were found when offering verbal rewards for activities that people are free to choose to do (not required) and which they find interesting. For example, you may offer recognition to individuals who complete a set of training courses that isn’t mandatory but that can enhance their skills or knowledge of products or services.

In our experience, performance is often a product of motivation. As we see from the research, motivation is highly dependent on soft skills and leadership. Are you using the right carrot?


Cameron J., et al. (2001). Pervasive Negative Effects of Rewards on Intrinsic Motivation: The Myth Continues. The Behavior Analyst.  Number 1 – Spring. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2731358/pdf/behavan00009-0003.pdf


ThinkBite 1

We are starting a new type of posts called ThinkBites where we will share quick nuggets of wisdom we have learned from our work with thousands of professionals and participants. We hope you find them inspirational and useful. Todays ThinkBite is:

“Success doesn’t happen to those who do nothing to achieve it.” _Jorge Acuna