How to be the Best Manager, Trainer and Coach to Your Employees: Tips from


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Well, maybe not directly from Whoopi Gold­berg, but from her char­ac­ter Sis­ter Mary Clarence in the film “Sis­ter Act.” I recently saw this movie on tele­vi­sion; and, hav­ing never seen it pre­vi­ously (it came out in the­aters in 1992), was delighted to find it ended up being sur­pris­ingly enter­tain­ing and inspir­ing. I was most inspired by a scene where Whoopi’s char­ac­ter, a woman sent into wit­ness pro­tec­tion and placed in a con­vent in dis­guise as a nun, ends up direct­ing the con­vent choir. Her lead­er­ship is mas­ter­ful, respect­ful, thought­ful and coura­geous. All char­ac­ter­is­tics we all hope our man­agers have; all char­ac­ter­is­tics we should want to reflect in our own man­age­ment style. Here is how Sis­ter Mary Clarence brings a dis­or­ga­nized, off-pitch choir together to become a vic­to­ri­ous, extra­or­di­nary chorale team:

She Han­dles Her New Man­ager Sta­tus with Style and Integrity

First, Sis­ter Mary Clarence walks to the podium ten­ta­tively, but sum­mons the con­fi­dence and tells her­self: “I can do this.” And instead of mak­ing excuses, or giv­ing a speech about her back­ground, she dives right in. In tak­ing over, Sis­ter Mary Clarence can sense some resent­ment from the pre­vi­ous choir direc­tor, Sis­ter Mary Lazarus. With­out push­ing her aside, Mary Clarence as the new leader incor­po­rates what Mary Lazarus already taught the group. She first pays a com­pli­ment: “You’re some­body who’s into hard work and dis­ci­pline, right?” By iden­ti­fy­ing with Mary Lazarus and talk­ing to her with respect and regard instead of putting out a neg­a­tive, ego­cen­tric vibe, the two choir lead­ers work together and agree that choir prac­tice should be daily if they were going to suc­ceed. Ask­ing oth­ers for their input is always a great way to moti­vate team members.

She Arranges the Team by Capabilities/Departments

Mary Clarence starts work­ing by get­ting the choir to group together by their voice range: basses, altos, and sopra­nos. Next, she instructed the choir, now in their new spots, to work together in their ranges and sing a note together. Instead of search­ing for the best singers, or hold­ing an audi­tion, Sis­ter Mary Clarence takes her team for what it is and assesses what she has to work with. No one is going to be sin­gled out for her excep­tional skill, and no one is going to be kicked out for not being very good. She is going to help them work together.

She Inspires Indi­vid­ual Contribution

With the newly assem­bled choir, Sis­ter Mary Clarence now has to work with a few flaws. Before doing so, she gives the choir gals kudos for their first attempt and then, with kind­ness and patience, reaches out to the singers who need a bit of assis­tance. She uses pos­i­tive rein­force­ment and pos­i­tive lan­guage to ask for adjustments.

She Reviews the Team’s Cur­rent Skill Level… as a Team

Another chal­lenge for Sis­ter Mary Clarence was the piano player, who has a lit­tle bit of a hear­ing prob­lem. Instead of tak­ing over for the piano player, or express­ing frus­tra­tion for hav­ing to ask twice to begin, Sis­ter Mary Clarence fig­ures out how to com­mu­ni­cate with the pianist and finds a way to use humor to encour­age her. She says, “You must lis­ten to each other, if you’re going to be a group.” That quote can be applied to any team in any envi­ron­ment, from a cus­tomer ser­vice call cen­ter to a C-level man­age­ment team. It doesn’t just take work­ing together; it takes lis­ten­ing, inter­act­ing, and engag­ing with fel­low employ­ees to be a suc­cess­ful team.

She Encour­ages Practice

Sis­ter Mary Clarence knew that the choir must prac­tice if they want to improve. Teams that prac­tice the work they’ve learned can only improve. And with all that prac­tice, at their first offi­cial per­for­mance dur­ing Mass the next Sun­day, Sis­ter Mary Clarence encour­ages smiles, con­fi­dence, and team­work. What comes out is an inspir­ing piece of music that brought peo­ple in the church who heard the singing from the streets. Great man­age­ment leads to great team­work. Great team­work leads to great suc­cess and a great following.

Get Inspired by the Most Sur­pris­ing Lead­er­ship Exam­ple: a Nun in Disguise

You can watch this inspir­ing scene here. While the video is a lengthy 13 ½ min­utes, if you skip to 3:33 you will see the man­age­ment lead­er­ship take action. (Stay for the entire video, though, because it is fun and full of energy!)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodi Beuder
We help organizations create a positive connection between customers and brands. We promote synergy through integration as it builds on the decades of collective history of renowned expertise. MHI Global is your comprehensive source for customer-management excellence solutions to compete in today's ever-changing, customer-centric environment.


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