Author Archives: Angie Weinberger

So you got the job as the new manager. Congratulations! Scared? Of course, you are.

Entering a new company in a senior role is one of the most daunting experiences you can undergo during your career. You may experience feelings of intimidation and apprehension due to the heavy duties and relationship building coming your way. Knowing how to behave and getting your team on your side is one of the most crucial elements to surviving as the new manager in a new job. You also want to prove your skills in your chosen field. With our comprehensive guide – we’ll show you the skills and attributes you need to make joining as the new manager a breeze.

Common new manager mistakes

Making the leap to a managerial position (whether as a new employee at a firm or through progression) takes a whole new skill set to ensure your team and seniors trust you. Whilst most managers grasp not bragging about their skills quite easily there are still some subtle mistakes most new managers make which can lead you off to a bad start.

Here are the common mistakes a new manager needs to be aware of:

Leading from a position of power or ego

A new manager who feels the need to dominate all decision making and fellow employees is a manager who feels the need to lead by fear. This can encourage bad practice such as micromanagement – a management style that is often very autocratic and decreases morale. By constantly being the dominant character, especially in a self-promoting manner can come across arrogantly. You might be giving your team the impression you lack the ability to recognize the achievements of other people or let them make decisions of their own.

Not listening to your team and others

Listening isn’t just about hearing what others have to say, it’s being able to respond in the best way possible that takes their ideas into account. By not actively listening to your employees you encourage a lack of respect, which can come back around two-fold. By not listening to your team you decrease your approachability – which increases the likelihood of miscommunication amongst your team.

Not providing feedback

Feedback should be constant with every project you work on. Waiting for a bi-annual review can leave your team in the dark and discourage them if they’re told to improve in areas they assumed they were excelling at. It’s also worth noting that there’s a very fine line between criticism and actionable feedback. By telling your team what’s not working as opposed to how you can fix it is highly discouraging – the last thing you want your team to feel at the workplace.

Not making time for employees

You’ll be stretched thin trying to learn the ropes as the new manager, however, if one of your employees requires help then schedule a date and time you’re free to train them as opposed to refusing the offer to help. In terms of being approached for personal issues – it can be hard to relate to every single situation going on in someone’s personal life, but simply being there to listen and offering your time can help an employee feel listened to and will increase your approachability.

Skills and attributes needed to survive as a new manager

Build decent relationships with your seniors

Like any job you pursue – having a good relationship with your seniors is important for relationship building, career development, and job satisfaction. By setting a good impression earlier on you’ll be highly remembered for being a positive, hard worker and inspire trust amongst people within your workplace.

Get to know your team on a personal level

Dismantle the wall between employee and boss by asking your employees about their day, exciting things outside of work, friends, and family. When new managers take the time to do this it eliminates the strict persona that comes with being a manager and helps people feel at ease.

Clarify your expectations from your team (and your boss)

By setting expectations of your role and what you aim to achieve – you give your boss an idea of how to direct you and go about progressing in your new role. Your boss will understand how daunting managing people can be and can help diffuse your worries.

Adam Chapman

Adam Chapman is a Marketing Executive for Armstrong Appointments – a leading South African recruitment agency with over 10 years in the field. They recruit for roles ranging from Engineering to Mining and are passionate about placing the right talent with the right companies.

 

PS. Editor’s Note: If you are a new manager and struggle with your international team talk to us.

I sat on the train from Switzerland to France and my stomach gave me a signal. The four border officers who checked passports and went through passenger’s luggage seemed odd. I was on a different continent. In a different setting. I was in a novel. I wondered if I could explain myself in French. But no one wanted to know about my travel habits. I look white. I look the part even though I travel like a bag packer sometimes.

What was going on? I did not want to turn around. Probably this was an uncomfortable situation for the person who was questioned. I assumed it was a refugee or someone who looked like one.

When I go to “Europe” now, there is often a slight anxiety and feeling of worry when I am traveling on public transportation. Switzerland is not part of the European Union even though it is in the middle of Europe. Many people travel through Switzerland to get to Italy for example. In Switzerland, public transportation is clean and effective. Everyone uses it. We don’t really need cars. In other European countries, public transportation is for the underprivileged and the regular commuters.

The grass seems greener in France

Early February I thought that the grass looked greener in France than in Switzerland. In the literal sense. It was an observation. In Switzerland, I felt a few small signs that spring was approaching but in hindsight, this was an illusion created by flower shops around Valentine’s day. Spring was in the air but we were still not there yet. One reason why I could have perceived the grass greener in France was that I did not have WiFi and in Switzerland, I tend to read emails or check my social media on the train. I am usually too busy to see the grass outside. Has that occurred to you lately? And it is such a shame that we run on our robotic mode, are in our head most of our days and do not see the beauty of the nature around us anymore. This morning I sat on lake Zurich, watched the mountains and a Swan family. It was magic. And even though I could go to the lake every day I hardly take the time to actually see.

Perception versus Reality

On another trip to Munich I saw police officers circling a man. I thought that maybe he was a refugee without papers but when I observed the scene a bit longer I noticed that he got up with the help of the policemen. They held him so he could walk properly. Maybe he attempted suicide or maybe he was just dizzy and unwell. What this experience reminded me of was that we tend to make fast judgment calls. We don’t take time to observe. We prepare to run. We are on hyper-alert most of the time. Like / Don’t like / Comment / Don’t comment / Buy / Don’t buy.

This is a sign of the times. And it is a trap. Be mindful when you notice it.

Constructivism and Confirmation Bias

Our perception is influenced by our inner landscape. If you are already alerted and if you are expecting a terrorist around the corner everything your experience will be tainted by this idea. You will suffer from confirmation bias.

When I was out of Zurich I experimented with perception. In Munich, I was nice to everyone I met and people were nice to me. They were supportive and understood my requests and wishes. Or I was under pressure and apologized for being pushy explaining that I was delayed and would get nervous around presenting. I noticed first resistance and I could have been in an egotistical complaint mode but then the receptionist softened when I explained that I tend to get nervous before a talk if I don’t have enough mental space.

Training my observation skills changed my perception over the last 10 years. Being able to communicate my needs and wants (and a fair bit of self-discovery, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation) helped me to stay calm and friendly in formerly stressful situations. I learned those skills and methods during my coaching education and working with many clients over the last years.

Now, I would like to teach you those skills and methods in our RockMe! program and especially in the RockMe! Retreat.

The RockMe! Retreat 2018

The RockMe! Retreat helps to change your inner landscape. I will work with you towards broadening your perspective. I will teach you practices and methods to move out of the reactive mode. This will improve your leadership capability and also your relationships at work and at home.

Sign up here for receiving more insights about the RockMe! Retreat.

 

 

I know that this sounds so 1980 in the digital age but I rediscovered my love for real, bound books. Even pocketbooks. They have a special energy and this energy is not comparable to a document I read on a Kindle.

Once we published and printed my books, I always made an effort and treated them like little treasure of gold. Even though sometimes a book can be misplaced it actually always “works”. You don’t have to charge it and you don’t need WiFi to use it. When you see a book in another person’s hand it triggers curiosity.

As a coach and lecturer, I love it when clients and students hold my books in their hands. It’s almost as if they cherish the fruit of my labor. It strikes my ego and makes me very proud, especially since I find all of my past book projects were almost aborted in the process (for different reasons: criticism, lack of funds, change of editors, lack of professionalism on the team).

I started to autograph my own books before I give them away and my colleagues, clients, and friends seem to appreciate a few handwritten words. We think that digitalization has magically improved our lives for the better and yes, we can name the successes and we can list easily how we now have access to encyclopedias of knowledge, free online management courses that would normally be only accessible by the privileged and we see the rise of the “common man” (and woman).

But is this really what our soul cherishes? Don’t you know the feeling of emptiness when you try not to look at your phone for an hour or even a whole day?

Don’t you feel a little lost when you are in another country and you don’t have access to WiFi? And then don’t your eyes enjoy the beauty of the written word in black and white?

The energy of my printed words came with me to a conference in Germany and I noticed that participants were curious. I actually sold a few books there. It felt great, that I could show some of the highlights, explain why I wrote them and see people’s reactions right away.

It felt weird to see a lot of books at the book table that I normally would buy in English in the German translation and I felt like a global nomad on home leave. I can understand expats, who have lived abroad for a while. It’s nice to dwell in the homeland, to walk along the river Rhine, watch the remainders of the “Bundesrepublik”, the stately home of the German President and other federal buildings.

I was also so happy to see the names of all those famous, humanistic Germans who contributed to society. It was especially suitable as I have just started to read a novel (in pocketbook format) that starts after the first world war. Still, you feel like the words that you are using sound a bit different, that you don’t know all the buzzwords and that you look a bit funny and out of place.

Another reason why I really like the energy of the printed book is that as an author you worry a lot about making a living. With a .pdf or even an online magazine, your work can be easily copied. In print, it takes a bit more effort. I also believe that the topics I write about fit an online audience to a certain extent only. They grow and become clearer and bigger with the interaction between the reader and the coach or the student and the teacher, depending on how the books are used.

My final word is about how you interact with a workbook. Maybe it sounds old-fashioned but a lot of my work is about helping my readers, clients, and students to inner clarity. In my experience handwriting is helpful in psychological processes and the more regularly I write, the clearer my thoughts are. So, it might be useful to consider paper books as a strategy for focus and clarity in times of distraction, vagueness, and shallowness.

Maybe a book is the new deep relationship in our life when we notice that Siri does not understand us (“I have connectivity issues” he told me today) or when Alexa continues to order stuff we don’t need just because it is convenient. A book promises a good time for little money and an encounter with people you might not normally meet. And with that, I say goodbye for this week so a part of the train ride is left for continuing the current novel.

Angie

 

enjoys robotics

Robotics is an aspect of technology that deals with the construction, application, and operation of robots. Most people think of robots as gigantic and destructive machines which are too impossible, complicated and expensive to make. But in actuality, you can see applications of robots in everyday life – from automatic cleaners to children’s toys.

Nowadays, educators use robotics to engage students in learning important concepts like science and math. Although robots used in classrooms don’t duel with each other or shoot out laser beams, using them to explain scientific and mathematical concepts is an effective way of keeping students attentive and engaged.

A person programs a mechanical device called a “robot” to obey commands. By following precise instructions set by the programmer, the robot can speak and perform activities in response to commands and its environment.

If you’re a student planning to take on robotics courses, studying it is an excellent stepping stone to an amazing career. With technology becoming even more vital for the future, you should expand your horizon and grab the opportunity. Don’t let the myths and stereotypes hold you back.

Myths About Robotics

1. Only an expert can build a robot.

You don’t need to be a genius or have a degree to begin building a robot. With the right tools and resources, even a kid can build a basic robot.

Nobody is born knowing how to code and program a robot, but hard work, creativity, resourcefulness and perseverance are greater prerequisites for robotics than being a genius. But, of course, in order to advance or improve in the field of robotics, you need to know the basics first by enrolling in robotics classes.

2. You’re too young to learn robotics.

Even at a young age, you don’t need to be an expert so that you can program robots. The positive impact of starting early is that you learn things beyond the coding language.

There are many age-appropriate robotic tools for students which carry less risks of the learner getting overwhelmed. If you’re growing up surrounded by technology, then knowing what makes up the world can help you learn how to navigate it.

3. Robotics is only for those who want to become programmers in the future.

According to Steve Jobs, everybody should learn how to program because it teaches people how to think. While learning robotics will place you in a good career position for the future, it shouldn’t be the only reason why you should!

In today’s digital age, the demand for creative thinkers is increasing. Robotics has touched various career paths beyond simply being a programmer. So regardless of what will happen in the future, robotics is something you should consider. The empowerment and confidence you get from learning new things will surely bring you great benefits.

4. Robotics isn’t fun.

Those glimmery eyes and “aha” moments you see every time someone becomes successful with programming a robot’s are proof that robotics is fun. All it takes is one basic coding activity to spark your interest.

Robotics doesn’t only appeal to students who are interested in creative design beyond computers. In robotics, you can do anything from designing creative games to programming to sketching how your robot will look like while maintaining maximum functionality.

5. Robotics is expensive.

If you’re worried about robotics being expensive, think again. Learning how to code a robot doesn’t require expensive technology. In fact, you can start coding with simple activities which don’t involve technology.

Activities such as solving a maze puzzle, creating a name bracelet using beads, and color coding exercises all do not involve any type of electronic gadget yet effectively teach the fundamentals of coding to kids.

6. Robotics is dangerous.

It’s easy to see why others are hostile about robotics. With Hollywood movies portraying robots as antagonists, people’s minds are fed with negativity regarding machines.

Consider the aspect of robotics where they can be an instrument to save lives. Nowadays, complicated surgery and search-and-rescue missions use robotics technology. Researchers are also looking into nanorobots to possibly fight off diseases within the human body.

By knowing these myths about robotics, you can begin to erase your doubts about this amazing technology. Robotics can give you as much knowledge as possible on what career path to take in the future. It isn’t just an extra-curricular subject, it’s essential learning on where humanity is headed towards.

Truths About Robotics
1. Robotics is an effective way to introduce programming.

For someone who has no background in programming, it can be too abstract. Through robotics, you’ll learn how to control a physical robot and see firsthand what can go wrong. Eventually, you’ll learn to give more specific instructions and understand what robots can and cannot do.

Having hands-on experience in robotics also gives you the opportunity to figure out if it’s something you’ll be interested in for your future career.

2. Robotics provides skills useful for future employment.

With technology rapidly advancing, there’s no doubt that there’ll be a huge need for people who have programming skills. Through robotics, you can acquire the aptitude to land a job in the future.

Robotics is a vital part of the future.

Young children should learn about science to know how the world works. A similar argument applies to how robotics is essential to modern life. Students who have the opportunity to learn about robotics will have the knowledge to make more intelligent choices in the future.

Robotics is changing the job market.

Robots are already changing the workforce visibly. Nowadays, automation is present even in supermarkets and gasoline stations, not just in manufacturing facilities. You can expect that in the time to come, more and more jobs will involve humans working together with robots.

3. Robotics can help solve human problems.

Robotics can help solve big problems plaguing the world so people can improve their way of life. In medicine, the opportunity for robots is quite huge due to their utilization in complex surgeries. Learning about robotics and its applications allows you to make breakthroughs to benefit human society.

4. Robotics provides hands-on learning.

Robotics gives learners practical hands-on experience. You can work with a team to collaborate and use critical skills to program a robot correctly. It’s easier to gain knowledge when there’s a physical robot to manipulate and observe.

It improves your motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Robotics kits allow you to physically manipulate motors, sensor, gears and many aspects of a machines physical components.

Doing so help you practice synchronizing the use of your fingers and hands with your eyes to hold pieces, dismantle objects and manipulate the robot. When constructing a robot, you also get to master complex motor skills.

It develops computational thinking.
Computational thinking is about recognizing aspects of calculation by thinking abstractly and logically. Robotics helps develop this way of thinking by teaching you how to “think like a machine” to solve problems. This is essential for careers in engineering or anything that involves numbers.

By knowing the myths and truths about robotics, you can remove any uncertainties you have about this technology. Grab the opportunity to learn about robotics today to build a great career path in the future. After all, the sky’s the limit to your imagination, and programming in robotics!

 

Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.

Yvonne Herrmann-Teubel

Guest post by Yvonne Herrmann-Teubel, Chief German Instructor at German Language School

After having studied the German language for many years, Mark Twain stated the following:

“A dog is “der Hund”; a woman is “die Frau”; a horse is “das Pferd”; now you put that dog in the genitive case, and is he the same dog he was before? No, sir; he is “des Hundes”; put him in the dative case and what is he? Why he is “dem Hund.” Now you snatch him into the accusative case and how is it with him? Why he is “den Hunden.” But suppose he happens to be twins and you have to pluralize him- what then? Why they’ll swat that twin dog around through the 4 cases until he’ll think he’s an entire international dog-show all in his own person. I don’t like dogs, but I wouldn’t treat a dog like that- I wouldn’t even treat a borrowed dog that way. Well, it’s just the same with a cat. They start her in at the nominative singular in good health and fair to look upon, and they sweat her through all the 4 cases and the 16 the’s and when she limps out through the accusative plural you wouldn’t recognize her for the same being. Yes, sir, once the German language gets hold of a cat, it’s goodbye cat. That’s about the amount of it. “

In other words, the question „Why should I learn German? “  is quite legitimate. German is not an easy language to learn and after having opened the first page of a German grammar book your first reaction might be to close it again immediately and to hide it somewhere so you do not have to open it again.  Furthermore, German is just one of the official languages in Switzerland and if you already speak Italian or/and French you may ask yourself the same question again: „Why should I learn German? “.

Looking at the list of the most spoken languages you can see that there are 378.2 million speakers of English (as the first language) worldwide in 2017 in contrast to only 130.0 million German speakers (as mother or second language). Apart from that, Switzerland is full of people knowing and speaking English quite well or even perfectly.

1) Meeting the local authorities

However, once you have to go to the immigration office (Migrationsamt), want to sign a contract for a house or buy a car, it can become quite an obstacle of not knowing how to speak German. Although it is only one of the official languages in Switzerland, it is spoken by approx. 63% of the Swiss.

2) Improve your job chances

If you are looking for a job in Switzerland and you already know German your chances of getting a job are much higher.

3) Applying for the C-permit

The same goes for the application of permanent residency (C-permit). It helps if you can show that you are at least at A2-level, especially when you are applying as a third-country national. But not only there is it helpful to know some German. Coming from a foreign country you already experienced how useful it is to know the language of the country because it is the key to the new culture that you are going to live in for some time.

4) Helping yourself and your children adjust to the country

Language is also your entrance ticket for integration into the Swiss culture. In addition to this, it is your chance to build up your own Swiss professional and personal network, to challenge your brain, to learn something new and to broaden your horizons. And, last but not least, if your children are going to a local school all the communications with the school will mostly be in German.

5) Learning German can be fun

There are, apart from many hidden grammar books, a lot of other ways to learn German. A lot of Apps will help you learn German in a way that might be new to you on the one hand but very effective on the other hand. There are uncountable videos, podcasts and other programmes that can be used for free on the Internet. And if this is not something of your taste then there is also a wide offer of language schools willing to help you with your German.

So, the question that we should ask ourselves is not „Why should I learn German? “  but rather „Why should I not learn German? “.

 

Yvonne Herrmann-TeubelYvonne Herrmann-Teubel believes that everyone saying German is too hard to learn has just not found the right strategy yet. After having worked as a teacher of German as a foreign language in Leipzig, Lisbon, and São Paulo, she moved to Zurich where she is teaching Expats from all over the world in German and preparing students for their IB German and/or other language exams. She is also working as an author. Her business, the German Language School, is open to anyone who wants to learn more about a German dog and its four cases.