How to Make People Management Work

Nov 19, 2014
7 Min Read

I spoke to Mark Walsh, who writes the number two ranked management training blog, hosts the number one training YouTube Channel and is one of the most “followed” trainers on Twitter worldwide (35,000+ followers). Walsh has done coach training with several organizations and most recently graduated from Newfield Network’s “Theory and Practice of Ontological Coaching.” He is also a long-term meditator with experience running numerous retreats and training courses on meditation and mindfulness. His business training experience includes working with Unilever, The UK House of Lords, Virgin Atlantic, and The NHS.

Dan Schawbel: How do you manage your stress, while ensuring all of your work gets done on time?

Mark Walsh: I commit to what I can handle -matching promises with personal capacity is key. I also have a program of stress management as I teach this and try to embody what I teach - involving many embodied practices from weights, to Aikido to dance - each fulfills different functions and I mix and match like a DJ to lead my state and long-term, my disposition. Meditation is a big help - I practice various kinds form Buddhist traditions, again which can be matched to circumstances - e.g. more metta meditation when angry, more sympathetic joy when jealous, etc; supported by ethics which are the basis of peace of mind, not tricks. Having a sacred morning routine with some ritual - even if in a hotel room, no matter what, is a support I recommend, whatever your faith or lack of. Routine and habit can be friends or foes. The basics such as diet and sleep matter a lot and you can't "cheat your system" - it's bad bodily economics to not invest in these.

My diet is basically healthy vegetarian with low sugar and carbs but with some pure pleasure food for joy. It's about balance, not getting too uptight. Lots of water to keep the brain working and ensuring regular breaks from sitting! Good quality and quantity sleep and naps when that's not possible. It's really about prioritizing these as everyone knows this. Social support is the other big one - we're inter-resilient and making time for friendships is a foundation. I also like some stress so I make sure things don't get too easy either - challenge is another fuel.

Schawbel: What are some of your tips for building a high performing team and for ensuring that everyone meets their objectives?

Walsh: Centre yourself - state management counts - there are many methods for this and we have some free ones on YouTube. Listen - this is the basis of good communication and teams. Objective setting is just basic management - having clear role allocation and giving doable SMART requests is the key and checking-in regularly. Understand a basic typology such as MBTI and recruit and communicate with this in mind - the same thing does not work for all people and teams need a balance of types not just photocopies of the leader! Use clear linguistics such as requests - who, what when. We use a system called the "action cycle" that comes from Chilean linguists and creates accountability - this is the key thing. On a deeper level - know that you are going to die. Really know this, and connect to what matters for you and let this motivate and kill you. Also - thank people sincerely.  And tea, tea helps.

Schawbel: How do you balance helping your direct reports with their careers, while achieving important business goals?

Walsh: There is no contradiction here. If I'm not also serving the people I work with a) what's the point? b) I won't meet the long term goals as they won't be bought-in. I "unask" your question as the Zen master said to the squirrel.

Schawbel: Are all managers leaders and are all leaders managers? Why or why not?

Walsh: Language wars aren't for me. We are all leaders and make choices if we have awareness - this is the basic "equation" of personal growth, business success and leadership. Others have covered the leader-manager distinction better than I can, I think.

Schawbel: How do you ensure that you're always communicating properly with your team?

Walsh: The job gets done? There is some harmony and personal growth not burn-out? I guess these are "I, we and it" measures but nobody "always" communicates as they would like - it's a hit and miss thing but we can learn to have more hits by getting feedback and learning awareness range and choice in how we communicate. Sometimes something as simple as asking, "What did I just ask you guys to do?" helps, or getting feedback on my style either directly, by asking or though videotaping myself for example - that can be an educational shock! In the embodied method I teach, we work with exercises which reveal unconscious patterns of universal communication which are very helpful. Once you learn range in this regard things get smoother and human beings are human so things will happen.

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