Dr. Audrey Tang is the founder of CLICK Consultancy and CLICK ARTS. CLICK Consultancy specializes in experiential learning. CLICK ARTS is a voluntary community theater group (supported by CLICK Consultancy), producing plays and musicals to support and raise awareness of local charities. We have conducted an interview with Dr. Tang.
Who do you recommend to read this book "Be a Great Manager Now"?
Hi, thanks for taking the time to interview me! I recommend this book to anyone who has just taken up a management position, those aspiring towards management, or to experienced managers who just want a refresher or some new tips that they can put into practice straight away.
Why do you think it is an important read for them?
In the current fast-paced world, we sadly have little time for self-development. Pearson’s “2 in 1” series structures its content for the busy manager. The grey pages are full of tips, ideas, and insights – things you can try immediately, but then when you get the time to think about why something was effective, the “big picture” section looks that the context and theory behind the ideas. This supports managers not just in knowing what to do, but in understanding why they are doing it, and as such empowers them to implement their own actions based on that understanding.
Could you name one of your favourite tips in the entire book?
One of my favourite tips is “be pro-active”. It’s probably the underpinning message of the book. If you are just reacting, you are not necessarily managing. Management is a whole new skills set. Just because you are good at your job, doesn’t mean that you are good at managing others in doing the job you loved. Skills such as delegation are important not just in developing the skills of others, but also in freeing up your time in order so that you can work on being a manager. The change of mind-set from passenger to driver is important – and this in turn, enables you to be pro-active and grow in your management role – and your team to grow alongside you.
Which are your strongest credentials that make you credible to write this book that is related to managing and business leadership skills?
I have worked under some awful managers…ha ha, no – don’t print that.
Ever since my degree organisational psychology has fascinated me, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take a PhD in the training and support of service professionals. As I am a qualified teacher and was teaching at the time, I focused on teachers – and then extended this to other “emotional labourers” (people for whom part of their job is “being nice” as well as their profession-related technical, practical and/or academic skills). What I found was that the manager is one of the most significant characters in the job satisfaction, job performance, and well-being of the employee. I achieved my PhD. in 2012 and continue to speak at conferences on the importance of the management role to the success and performance (professional and emotional) of a team.
I subsequently trained as an organisational coach and since 2014 have been teaching business skills at Brunel University, as well as coaching and training private clients.
In terms of my book, I realised that so many of the academic recommendations that I (and research colleagues) were making were highly significant, but there is still a gap between the academic community and the organisational world. I wanted to bridge this gap, and Pearson gave me the opportunity and platform to do it. Recently I spoke about the importance of taking a practical or experiential/immersive approach to training (ie. academic knowledge is not enough alone) at a conference in Singapore, and won “best paper”, so perhaps bridges are beginning to be built.
Where did you draw your inspirations from to start the escape room 'A Great Escape' in Bletchley?
My escape room came out of my love of training, and experiential learning. My fiancé and I stumbled across the activity at a conference in Oslo, and loved it, and (with my mind always focused on work), I started thinking about how great a teambuilding activity it was.
While all Escape companies do offer it as a fun experience as part of a team day (as well as for friends and family), few truly explore the organisational benefits. We offer our corporate teams an option of two development packages - team building and recruitment.
To explore team building, teams play the game, but unlike a friends and family group, they are (with permission) videoed. The facilitator then gives Video Interaction Guidance feedback using the video to ask the team to explore specific behaviours (these can be agreed with the team beforehand, or can be observed by the facilitator), following which that information is used to support the team in setting their own goals and action points for effective performance.
Recruitment is another area where Escape Rooms have an advantage. Recruitment is costly – and the price of getting it wrong even more so. “Faking it” in an interview is a commonly researched issue, and candidates can now arrive highly prepped for interviews and assessment days that employers may not see natural behaviours until much later on. The Escape room activity cannot be prepared for, further because the team does not necessarily know each other it is easy to see who is confident at communicating (and how they communicate), which person people gravitate to (and how they respond), whether people listen (or any skill that recruiter is looking for) – you get a better insight into the real person. Further, with permission, it can be recorded (and of course then destroyed by the HR company) but it means that not everyone needs to be present to make an informed decision. So we offer a package where HR departments can experience the game and work with my team to include it in their assessment day.
Both our Teambuilding (3 hours) and Recruitment (2 hours) packages are CPD accredited and are offered at “A Great Escape” and by “Mission Accepted de” – our “sister” room in Berlin. Their design company, Pfeffermind Games, designed our game and we designed their training. It’s a great relationship – in fact, I have just flown back from delivering customer service training for their gamesmasters, and in turn – wow – I can see what we want to be aspiring to with our escape room!
Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed.
Thank you so much for asking me, Zsolt. It’s been a real pleasure to talk to you. Self-improvement, in whatever way that suits you is always a good thing – whether it is reading, doing or learning with or from others, and I hope my book, my training, and my escape room open up three new options to develop.
To buy “Be a Great Manager Now” for training programmes delivered by CLICK.
Audrey’s training consultancy: http://draudreyt.wix.com/clicktraining
To book an escape game: www.agreatescaperoom.com
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