JamBerry Ltd

Friday 29 February 2008

Top Tips for Middle Managers

Top Tips for Middle Managers

Based on ‘Managing in the Middle’ by Barry Oshry, which can be found at

Even in today’s world of flatter, leaner organisations, most organisations continue to have three levels of hierarchy. At the top there are the people who shape and give direction to the entire organisation. At the bottom are the workers, who manufacture the business’s products or render its services. Between them are those in the middle, often torn between meeting the demands of those at the top and responding to the needs and concerns of the workers they are expected to manage. The middle can be a confusing and ambiguous place, yet it is potentially a point of powerful influence, both upwards and downwards.

Some Top Tips for Middles

Resist the urge to make other people’s problems, issues and conflicts your own. Your job is to coach and empower them to resolve their issues, not take responsibility for them

Keep your own mind. Pay attention to your point of view, your values, your solutions. This will maximise your personal contribution to collective problem solving.

Be a Top whenever you can. If you can resolve a problem without passing it up to the Top, then do it. Tops only need to be involved with problems that are unsolvable at the Middle level.

Be a Worker when you should. If your team is short-staffed or has a sudden influx of work, then help them out with it. But remember, this should only be a short term solution. If it becomes long term then you need to re-focus on the systemic problems which are causing it.

Facilitate solutions by bringing together the people who need to be together, and helping them to have productive interactions. This is more effective than trying to act as a buffer between them.

Integrate with other Middles. Strong, interactive relationships with your peers will enable you to make a strong collective contribution and reduce your feelings of isolation.

To see the full version of this article visit

Saturday 23 February 2008

Team Building with Cooking

There is no doubt that working together to make a meal is a rewarding experience. We've just had fun working with a client on a team building exercise where they had to put together a meal of ravioli, lasagne, tagliatelle and foccacia. Making the pasta from scratch was a good way of working out any initial frustrations and the resultant meal was a feast, tasting all the better because they had cooked it themselves. The team also had the opportunity to share the experience which would stand them in good stead back in the office. All in all, a good days work!

Tuesday 12 February 2008

Value & Beliefs in Coaching

In order to build rapport with a client it is important to respect the client's values and beliefs. This does not mean that you have to agree with them, but we have to be willing to see events from their perspective.
Having taken on the client, a coach needs to work with them at the value and beliefs level, as it is at these higher levels that it is possible to fully unlock the potential for performance and behaviour change. So, as an example, even if a client has the skills and capabilities, he will not use them if his belief is such that he can't. Even if he believes he can, he won't if he is not motivated by his values to do so.
By working with beliefs and values we are working directly with the client's beliefs about themselves and with their self-esteem and motivation, both vital ingredients to success and excellence.
We need to work with the client to discard the beliefs that are holding them back, and replace them with beliefs that are conducive to success and the desired results.

Friday 1 February 2008

Manual Handling training or not?

Whilst I don't usually recommend the Daily Mail have a look at the following articler;

Then read the following comment:

It is well known in the Health & Safety industry and the HSE that the recommended techniques are 'open to question' and do not actually work in reducing the risk of back injury. With the current HSE recommended techniques as the centre of training courses workers don't change their habits sufficiently for them to make a difference as it becomes obvious that they are not possible in so many tasks.
We provide this training and use the HSE Techniques as a starting point. In reality the only way to genuinely reduce the risk is for each individual to be trained in Manual Handling Risk Assessment so that they can make informed choices rather than being taught by rote a set of techniques that are impossible to apply in far to many cases.
As for suggesting that we all try to stop Manual Handling, the reality is that many of these tasks have to happen and a lot more practical advice, financial support and encouragement should be forthcoming from governmental agencies.