Attention Managers! Are You on Offense or Defense?

by Tim Hagen on Tue,Dec 20,2011 @ 10:42 AM

Attention Managers! Are You on Offense or Defense?

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First of all, what does it mean to be on offense or defense in regard to being a good manager? Often, managers face summary tasks and responsibilities their dedication to their people often gets lost in the grand scheme of things. It is essential in today's world managers drive your employees performance and attitude to produce I high-performing workplace.


A manager that is on defense typically waits for problems to arise. This type of manager will engage consistently only when there are challenges or problems presented by the employee. This reactive style creates a defensive approach by the manager. This type of manager rarely engages with employees arbitrarily to reinforce positive attributes.

In manager that is on offense will engage in reinforce positive attributes proactively. This type of manager will seek their employees out to build trust and goodwill so when employees have problems there is an established engagement and relationship level to work cooperatively together.


Here are seven creative ways to go on the offense as a manager coach:

  1. Casually engage with employees and non- work discussions.
  2. Celebrate employee successes in staff meetings as a first line item to be covered.
  3. Walk-through your work area once a day to specifically look for good things that people are doing; therefore, gaining perspective to employees positive attributes as well as creating an opportunity for yourself to recognize them.
  4. Ask for challenges or problems before employees feel the need to bring them up. This breeds greater comfort to discuss challenging issues; whereas, employees will often wait till the last minute to bring up top issues.
  5. Recognize employee’s effort levels as they seek to improve their performance. Performance can only improve if there is an initial as well as sustained effort over time.
  6. Ask questions so employees cultivate critical thinking and problem solving skills. If the manager always gives the answer the employee can never own the solution.
  7. Schedule weekly or biweekly coaching sessions with your employees to ensure engagement with staff occurs on a consistent basis.

Managers that proactively seek engagement and interaction with employees will produce higher performing employees due to trust, cooperative work interaction, and better visibility to employee challenges.


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This post was written by Tim Hagen

Tim Hagen founded Sales Progress, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.