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TLC at Work
by Donna Dunning
Davies-Black © 2004, 290 pages, $22.95 (ISBN 0-89106-192-4).
Training, Leading and Coaching All Types
To be an effective trainer, leader, coach or human resources professional who successfully builds performance at work, a groundwork for establishing working relationships and facilitating people development must be mastered. In TLC at Work, author and consultant Donna Dunning presents a comprehensive guide of hands-on tools, based on the Myers-Briggs personality types, to show leaders how they can help their employees become more self-directed and better communicators in the workplace. By breaking down her lessons to five core competencies for workplace success, she makes coaching easier and leading others a less painstaking task.
Dunning begins TLC at Work with some practical advice. She points out that “before you can help others improve their performance, those you wish to help must see you as a credible, interested, trustworthy and sincere professional.” Not only does she stress the importance of building relationships before meaningful coaching can take place, but she also offers the basics of five competencies that enhance everyone’s ability to be effective in the workplace: self-responsibility, communication, mindfulness, productivity and proactivity. She also provides an outline of the steps that must be taken to establish the authenticity and professionalism that can help those who help others ground their work in ethical interactions.
Extroverts and Introverts
Dunning explains that extroverts like to talk things over while introverts like to think about things first. After describing a variety of different learning styles and ways to assess yourself and others who embody those styles, she explains how each type prefers to learn and provides inroads to their characteristic behaviors and preferences.
Dunning writes that when working with individuals of each type, coaches must consider the preferences of the people they are coaching and adjust their interventions accordingly. For example, if you are an “Explorer,” she explains, you tend to focus on the future and link ideas in an open-ended way.
When working with an “Assimilator,” Dunning writes, it is important for you to focus on the present and start with what the client knows is true from personal experience. Then, she explains, you can “move step-by-step into making a practical, short-term development plan.” Although this type of intervention might not represent your natural Explorer preferences, it will be useful for the Assimilator.
Dunning then dissects and describes useful strategies for facilitating development, including: enlisting your client in the process; completing a thorough assessment of how your clients’ needs, barriers and characteristics might affect their performance; defining positive behavior; creating a development strategy; defining time lines; monitoring the effectiveness of the plan; and enforcing consequences.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Next, Dunning delves into the fine details of the five workplace competencies and describes how familiarizing yourself with them and completing the personal assessments she provides can prove useful for ensuring you and the client are seeing the client’s strengths and weaknesses in the same way.
Within the second part of TLC at Work, Dunning breaks down the ways each personality type can be helped to develop the skills she describes. When describing the special challenges of developing each competency, she relates them according to the personality preferences of responders, explorers, expeditors, contributors, assimilators, visionaries, analyzers and enhancers. Not only does she explain how each one of these personality types forms and implements long-term plans, but she also describes common variations within each of the types.
For example, when presenting the ways that enhancers exhibit self-responsibility, she explains that “practical enhancers” are likeliest to show independence when they are engaged in realistic, practical tasks. On the other hand, she writes that “insightful enhancers” are more likely to demonstrate self-responsibility when focused on long-term possibilities, but may be less positive in outlook when working on highly detailed tasks.~
Why We Like ThIs Book
TLC at Work offers valuable advice and strategies for helping employees by translating the abstract terms of workplace performance into concrete behaviors. By helping coaches, leaders and trainers define those they coach and measure specific behavioral expressions, Dunning provides them with the skills and strategies that can help them perform their jobs better and communicate with their clients more effectively. ~