The Biggest Mistake Managers Make

The biggest mistake that managers make is believing that their primary focus is on managing and “getting in line” their team members (generally called “subordinates”).

As a manager your primary focus should be on managing one’s self. If you can’t manage your behavior, biases, beliefs, and time, then how in the world do you think you can manage one, ten, twenty, fifty, or more than 100 other people?

Great managers lead by example.

A company’s culture and environment is shaped by senior management, and it funnels down and throughout the company. Toxicity (just like a healthy work environment) starts from the top.

If you’re stressed out you will most likely take it out on others, and the vast majority of the time it won’t be a leader who you report to, but rather someone who reports to you. Your behavior is your responsibility and if you can’t manage it properly then what kind of leader are you?

At the beginning and end of each day, the buck stops with you. You are the captain and if the ship goes down, you’re responsible for staying behind with the vessel. not abandoning it with your crew still aboard.

If you’re always late don’t expect your team to be on time or early.

If you’re rude to other team members or to clients, don’t be surprised to see your team behave the same way.

If you produce substandard work then don’t place higher standards on your team.

If mediocrity is acceptable to you then it will also be accepted by your team.

Managers must bear the responsibility of first and always focusing on self-management, and through your mastery you can then be the best managers for your team.

To learn how best to achieve the management results that you desire, please contact Foreman & Associates by email: or you can visit our site:

Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved. Foreman & Associates, LLC

Does Your Company Truly Value It’s Greatest Asset?

At Foreman & Associates, our team has seen some of the most bizarre as well as some pretty amazing things in our line of work. As observers looking inside of other companies, we have noticed that organizations of every size need to stay focused on taking care of their stakeholders and making sure that every team member is committed to reaching the company’s mission.

We have also come to the conclusion that there are a lot of business leaders who need to seriously consider realigning not only the management (operations, policies, and processes) of their companies but realigning their managers.

When the company itself is obsessed with profits and managers are obsessed with processes, one huge variable gets left out–which will cost the company both profits and failed processes–that huge variable is their people.

When the people get left out of the master plan, the plan ultimately falls apart and the business is either acquired whole, sold out like parcels of land, or dissolved. We’ve also seen instances where board of directors give the ole’ heave ho to senior leadership and they bring in fresh ‘meat’ to salvage and rebuild the company.

Your Largest Expense is Your Greatest Asset

In highly automated production companies, labor costs are relatively low. In labor-intensive industries like hospitality, your costs can be between 20 to 40 percent. However, in many industries, roughly 40 to 60 percent of a company’s earnings is reinvested in their people, through payroll and benefit programs. Yet, many companies fail to provide the solid infrastructure that supports their company’s largest investment.

Many of us ooh and aah over some of the Silicon Valley tech companies that splurge heavily on their employees, landing them on the “Top Companies to Work For” lists. They have flexible work hours, flexible work options like telecommuting and homeshoring, and seem to just be well…more flexible than most companies. They seemingly put their people first, or at least know that if you’re going to work them hard you might as well create an environment where they can thrive, create, and be innovative. Who cares where and when they work, as long as they get the work done, right?

Then of course there’s also a large number of people who roll their eyes at these same companies, thinking that either it’s a waste of money, or they think  that their own organization couldn’t afford to invest in their team the same way (or in a similar fashion).

This article is for the eye rollers…

Turnover and Theft is More Telling Than You Think

Be honest with yourself. Your company has high turnover doesn’t it? It may not have always been that way, but if you looked closely at the numbers, you would see a spike or two would’t you? Do you know why?

Why are employees calling out sick more often? Why do they keep clocking in late?  Why are they not returning from FMLA leaves? Why are they just jumping ship and quitting with little or no notice?

Most likely because your employees are stressed out and feel like their job is the last place they want to be.

Many may even feel devalued, disconnected and not a true member of your so-called “family”. Maybe they have grown disillusioned and care less and less about your company’s mission because they’re too focused on their own.

Why is their productivity dropping or stagnant? It could be personal matters weighing on them. It could also be the work environment they are being subjected to each day. Are they micromanaged? Is it a hostile workplace? Are they lacking the resources they need to complete their work? Has internal competition made a turn towards the ugly road?

If you look even closer you could see another category (and possibly even sub-categories) on that spreadsheet that would reflect how much money your company loses to employees who tiptoe away with office equipment, supplies, money, and even customers.

The one thing that is hard to accurately track is the theft of time.

Imagine how many of your employees are enjoying their paychecks each pay period, yet they didn’t actually work the expected or agreed upon hours during that period. They clocked in and out during their scheduled times, but how many hours were spent not working?

Imagine how many sit idly by on their smart phones, tablets, and even your company-issued computers—doing everything but the work you’re paying them to do. Imagine how many are using company time and resources to apply to other organizations. Imagine that sick time you’re paying for being used by your employees to interview with their perspective new employers.

Why do you think your employees are stealing time and other resources from your company?

Most likely for the exact same reason why your turnover is so high. There’s a disconnect. They are disengaged. They increasingly don’t seem to care much about your company or the role they play in it anymore.

Who’s to blame for this disconnect? Plain and simple… Management.

Management sets the tone and creates either a nurturing or suffocating environment.

The culture of your company starts with the CEO/President, or whatever fancy title that they possess that says clearly, “I’m the boss…I’m the head person in charge…I’m the one who signs your paycheck….” That person is your top manager. So if the culture is skittish, it’s because of the head of the company. If the culture of the company is bullish, yep, it’s because of the head. If the culture of the company is cutthroat, dog-eat-dog, every-person-for-themselves…that’s because the head of the company created and nurtured that type of environment. When the boss says, “we’re quick to hire and quick to fire” that person has created a toxic environment and the culture is embedded with backstabbing and the kind and gracious people always get trampled on (because they are seen as weak).

So when employees feel devalued, used and abused, as though they are just an employee ID number, or easily replaceable, guess what they do? They behave and act accordingly. They then start to use and abuse your company.

Structure and Communication

The employee-employer relationship is similar to a marriage. It’s based on some constructive friction. Iron sharpening iron. It takes awhile to get to know each other, and to get into the ebb and flow of the type of relationship and environment that you would like to have. You have to learn how to communicate with each other and the quirks that make you both uniquely you. If you create a dictatorship then you will most definitely have high turnover, back-stabbing, and plenty of theft on various levels. If you create too much of a democracy, you will find the boss working more than the employees because he/she has to pick up the slack…because everyone knows that he/she will.

There’s a healthy middle ground, where authority is established but not shoved down anyone’s throat (figuratively speaking) and where work and processes are divided and executed with a team focus. Your company shouldn’t feel like a sweatshop nor should it look like you’re herding sheep, or worse, cats.

In our next post we will provide some insight on how to begin the realignment process within your company.


Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. Foreman & Associates, LLC.

Good Managers Vs. The Rest

Gallup published a report “State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders“, that provides an in-depth look at what distinguishes great managers from the rest. What follows are some of the report’s key findings on talent, greatest impact on employee engagement, specific behaviors tied to engagement, female -vs- male managers, and what companies can do to hire and develop great managers. Read more here

To get assistance with finding, training, and mentoring good managers (or realigning disengaged managers), contact Foreman & Associates, LLC today.



Building a Healthy Organization

organizational problems and solutions


It does not matter if you are a startup or well-established organization, the ability to build a healthy culture and environment is possible. It does not matter if the leaders within your organization are perceived (or actual) tyrants, you can change the culture and leadership model that guides every employee, including the tyrant. Yes, the overall culture and leadership model must come from the top-down in order to gain real traction, so if you aren’t a senior leader or don’t have access to the decision-makers, then just post this where they will have access to it.

Now what?

The natural thing to do is to look at all of the things you can’t stand about your organization, its culture, and how leaders lead within. But you should actually first look at your organization’s strengths, and the things that you like most about it and its people. If you are a startup you need to sit back and consider what has brought you and your team together to start this organization? Why has each team member been selected and why did they want to join the startup? What did you see in other organizations that you wanted to replicate?

If you are an established company ask yourself the following questions: What makes your company and employees great? How has your company made it this far? What attracted employees to your organization? What makes employees stay? What makes customers keep coming back? What connects and bonds the employees?

If you could create the best organization how would it be? What would other employees say? If you don’t know what they would say, then ask them. Share these questions with them to gain their insight of the ideal organization and work environment? Now sit back and consider your ideal environment:

  • How does it feel when you enter the office?
  • What are the sights, sounds, and smells that you experience?
  • What is the color scheme?
  • What do you want from your employees and customers?
  • What is the desired energy of your work environment?
  • Is your office space light and airy or dark and closed-off?
  • How does your team interact daily in this environment?
  • How often are company-wide activities and events planned?
  • How often do employees spend time together socializing outside of the office?
  • How often are team-building activities planned?

Now let’s go deeper…

  • When conflict arises, how is it handled?
  • How do employees handle competition?
  • How does your team accept and embrace change?
  • How are employees selected for hire?
  • How are promotions executed?
  • When employees receive promotions how do others handle the news?
  • How do co-workers handle the transition when a fellow co-worker becomes their manager?
  • How does the newly promoted manager adjust to their new role?
  • How are managers viewed and treated in your organization?
  • How are senior leaders viewed and treated?
  • How are entry-level employees viewed and treated?
  • How do employees engage with customers?

Visualize the typical sticking points, but consider how things would be in your ideal setting…

  • How do you measure productivity?
  • How do employees interact with each other?
  • How do employees handle conflict?
  • How are mistakes handled/resolved?
  • How do managers interact with other employees?
  • How do senior leaders address their concerns with all employees?
  • Is it ever acceptable for any person (regardless of title or seniority) to scream and/or use profanity in your workplace?
  • Is name-calling ever acceptable within your organization?
  • How are employees ‘reprimanded’?
  • How are employees rewarded?
  • How does your company address and execute constructive criticism?

Now after visualizing your ideal organization, what is the reality of your company’s environment and culture?

Answer the same questions listed above but now seeing things as you (and other employees) experience them today. Once again, if you don’t know how other employees view your company, then you need to ask them, share these questions with them and get their honest feedback.

What did you notice that was different? In what ways can you move your company more towards the ideal? Do you know how to take the next steps? Have you considered contracting with professionals to assist you with this transition?

Among the many services that we provide, Foreman & Associates, LLC also assists organizations with transitions in culture, environment, and organizational change. We help you to take the necessary steps towards the more ideal. Moving towards ideal takes into consideration the needs of all of your stakeholders, increases productivity, encourages internal bonding, reduces turnover, lowers your overall cost, and makes your organization the place where everyone is excited to work and do business there.

Let us be of assistance to you and your organization. Contact us today.

Foreman & Associates, LLC
(770) 734-3485
(770) 744-4511