Management Psychologist & Business Consultant

(410) 913-4189


Management Psychologist & Business Consultant

(410) 913-4189

Corporate Services


As a management psychologist and consultant, James P. Atsaides, Ph.D. specializes in providing executive and managerial assessments, as well as executive development services to owners, senior managers, the executive team, and the Board of Directors.

Jim’s mission is to help strengthen client organizations and their senior management while developing and promoting an effective and productive organizational culture. His services promote the hiring of the ‘right’ individual, increase the self-awareness and capabilities of senior managers, and strengthen the senior team; all of which lead to a stronger and successful organization. The following are brief descriptions of the various evaluations, executive coaching, and consulting services that Jim provides companies and organizations.

Select the Right Executive and Senior Manager that “Fits”


Selecting a candidate for a senior level position is a stressful situation for any executive.  When it is an outside candidate, the selection process is loaded with many more issues including the concept of “fit”, making sure the person has the appropriate skill sets, the right intellectual capabilities, etc.  Recent research shows that executive selection has been found to be problematic, and that more than half of the executives hired do not succeed in their first year.  Also, of those that fail within the first year, 85% fail because they did not fit the culture of the organization. As one can appreciate, the impact of a wrong hire, especially at this level, is very significant.  It is not sufficient, therefore, to rely just on the interviews by internal senior managers or to simply accept the background report from an executive recruiter when hiring an outside candidate for an executive position.  A deeper and objective evaluation is needed. 

There can also be problems when promoting an internal candidate.  Although hiring an inside candidate may seem easier because they are of a “known entity”, sometimes being too familiar loses objectivity. Questions still exist including, “how sure are we that this person has the capabilities to take on a higher-level position?” 

Executive hiring decisions need to be objective. More has to be done to assure that the candidate selected will be a good fit, and have the skills to be successful in this position. The executive candidate assessment that I conduct provides the information needed to make a more informed, objective decision about the capabilities, fit, and future potential of an individual. 

The Executive Leadership Assessments provide an objective picture and understanding of the individual’s strengths, leadership style, developmental areas, and personality characteristics relevant for successful job performance.  This senior level assessment provides information and insights that will help senior managers make better objective and more informed decisions.  The results also provide information as to how to best manage the individual to help him/her achieve their full potential.  This process helps an organization get to know the individual before they are hired, rather than waiting up to six months or more to fully understand their work style and makeup. 

The Executive Leadership Assessment is a focused, objective compliment to the organization’s own hiring process. The results from this multi-method assessment can be merged with the organization’s own evaluation of the individual, which will improve the final decision involving executive selection.  Prior to the evaluation, I spend time with the senior leaders to get to know the organization, its culture, its performance, and the needs within the position and department.    

The detailed report that is written addresses the candidate’s present capabilities, potential, developmental recommendations, and suggestions for the supervisor as to how to best manage and coach the individual.  If this evaluation is for a hiring or promotion decision, a recommendation as to the fit and success of the person in that position is made.  This informative report provides detailed observations arranged in broad areas like social interactions and team skills, intellectual functioning, leadership skills, personal work style, self and other insights, etc.  Recommendations for the person’s future development are also provided that give management practical and useful insights.

After the evaluation process, the management psychologist meets with the senior manager(s) to discuss the findings.  This discussion is very helpful in pulling together information and insights that are crucial in making an objective decision.  The discussion brings in the findings of the assessment with the organization’s own internal interviews, and allows time to bring out key points about the individual’s capabilities, managerial and leadership style, potential, fit, and best ways to be managed. 

Individuals accept the need to participate in a management evaluation as part of a senior level hiring process. They welcome such executive evaluations conducted by an outside professional because it keeps the process objective and removes biases.  This evaluation is beneficial to both sides since both sides need to be objective in agreeing to come together.  The evaluation is conducted via computer video (e.g., ZOOM or FaceTime), which is welcomed by individuals and reduces their need to travel. 

Feedback to the individual that was evaluated is at the discretion of the organization.  It is strongly recommended, however, that the person, especially a successful candidate, be provided feedback on their assessment results.  This helps the individual understand their makeup and developmental areas, and help them to develop their own plan as part of their on-boarding process. 

2. Managerial & Associates Work Style Assessments  

Assessing managers and associates before they are hired allows senior management the opportunity to obtain an objective picture and understanding of an individual’s strengths, leadership style, and personality characteristics.  This type of information helps management to hire the most effective individuals who will fit with the organization’s culture and who have the necessary skills and competencies for the job.

The managerial evaluations that we offer organizations are custom made to meet the needs of the organization.  Senior management and the management psychologist meet to discuss the position(s) and the skills needed for success.  There are multiple assessment instruments that can be used including those that measure: personality makeup; personal work style; intellectual strength; etc. 

Some of the managerial assessments have a personal interview with the management psychologist via Zoom or FaceTime video.  Other evaluations only use assessment instruments without the personal interview.  This flexibility helps the organization set up different levels of assessments depending on the level of position within the organization, and the costs involved. 

With all evaluations, there is a custom report written to describe the make-up and unique characteristics of the individual.  This report is custom made and not simply computer generated.  It highlights various areas such as: social and interpersonal interactions; intellectual ability; leadership potential; personal work style; managing stress; best ways to manage the individual; potential for continued management and professional growth; and, developmental suggestions for their personal use. 

For outside hires, this evaluation provides an objective look at the individual’s character and competencies, which is valuable to know before making a decision to have them come on board.  For internal individuals, the information augments the understanding that the organization already has and provides important insights into the person’s further growth and development. 

The fee for these types of assessments includes the initial discussion to understand the position, the evaluation itself, the written report, and a feedback session with the organization to review the findings.  If the organization would like to provide feedback to the individual and given by the management psychologist, this is billed separately at our hourly rate. 

Improve the Effectiveness and Productivity of Executives

Executive Coaching Services   

Executive coaching develops and strengthens executives. The executive coach, Dr. Atsaides facilitates a collaborative development process with the senior manager focused on producing observable growth and change.  This change is focused on both attitudinal and behavioral matters.  Through coaching, the individual reaches a much higher-level ability to manage and lead others, and does so sooner than if they were to learn these skills and attitudes on their own. 

Jim has been working with executives since 1979.   In his years of experience, he has found that the key ingredient for executive development is self-awareness.  Executives need to know who they are, how they react to situations, how others see them, and what works and does not work with their leadership style.  To be an effective leader, the senior manager needs to keep growing and constantly enhance their repertoire of behaviors and competencies to demonstrate credibility and trustworthiness.  They need to constantly stay on top of an ever-changing world and maintain the confidence for their convictions.  They need to learn the new behaviors and attitudes that exist in the executive realm that are different from those in middle management.  This learning can only be done through a process of open and honest feedback and having the motivation to change. 

Various management development processes help executives learn.  These include attending seminars, taking classes at university business schools, reading, etc.  Of all of these developmental processes, executive coaching has been found to be the best.  Through the one-on-one process, the coach helps the individual executive leverage existing skills, develop new skills, identify areas of weakness, and point out blind spots that the person may not realize he/she has.  Much research has pointed out that coaching is money and time well spent for the growth of the executive.   

Organizations request coaching services for their senior managers for a variety of reasons. Coaching is not just for those who need to get “fixed”.  In fact, for those who are already effective leaders, coaching is a fine-tuning program that enhances their skills, which can set them apart from others.  Coaching is a valuable tool for succession planning.  In a recent study, the following were found to be the top reasons for offering executive coaching:  

  • Sharpen leadership skills of high potential individuals (86%)
  • Correct management behavior problems, such as poor communication skills, and poor interpersonal relationships (72%)
  • Ensure the success of newly promoted managers (64%)
  • Provide education and training in the required leadership and management skills to technically oriented employees (58%)

Executive coaching is effective and provides benefits to the individual, the organization, and the people associated with the individual.  It is important, however, that there is a good match between the person and the coach.  Also, the organization and the person’s supervisor must be supportive of the process.  Individuals who go through executive coaching programs state the following benefits from this experience:

  • Enhanced leadership abilities and skill sets
  • Increased self-awareness and self confidence
  • Cultivation of executive maturity and politically savvy competencies
  • Enhanced communication and influence skills
  • Greater polish of their executive presence and image
  • Improved relationships with direct reports, team members, peers and supervisor
  • Improved job satisfaction

The executive coaching program offered by Dr. Atsaides is structured with well-planned sets of activities for the purpose of helping the individual understand who they are, what they do well, how other people see them, and what they can do to improve as a leader.  The focus is on business related issues and making effective attitude and behavior change to enhance one’s capabilities.  This program begins with a senior level evaluation, ongoing targeted feedback, and measurable criteria to be sure of the individual’s progress and change.  Objective management work style assessments, and multi-rater (360 Degree) feedback exercises are used.   

At times, the executive coaching process includes the individual’s supervisor and other key stakeholders like the Human Resource professional.  Jim meets with these individuals to understand the objective issues involved, provide them with general feedback on the assessment results, and discuss the developmental recommendations being made.  Also, there is discussion as to how the person can be best managed for continued development.  Although general business information is shared, there is a confidentiality agreement between Jim and the individual who is being coached so that specific and personal matters are not shared with others. 

The specific content that is made a part of the coaching sessions are identified by the individual, the supervisor, the organization, the assessment instruments, and the coach.  The following represent examples of some content areas that are typical in these sessions:   

  • Communication style, influencing skills 
  • Effective execution, delegation, decision making
  • Creating an inclusive culture, understanding current and desired culture
  • Changing behavior to be more approachable, cooperative
  • Strategic thinking and planning, setting priorities
  • Stress management
  • One Minute Manager concepts, leadership competencies
  • Learning the difference between middle and executive management thinking
  • Conflict resolution, strategies for handling conflict matters, being self-disciplined
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Managing others with accountability
  • Interpersonal skills, developing lasting relationships
  • Relationships with supervisor and peers
  • Team performance, evaluation of direct reports
  • Differentiating family versus partner mentality
  • Personal vocational direction, long term desires

Jim has developed a list of Executive Axioms for Leaders.  These are “truths” about the skills and attitudes that a leader must have and use to be successful.  These Executive Axioms are part of the coaching program. 

Although each coaching program is unique, there are specific protocols and strategies that Dr. Atsaides has developed over the years and that have proven to be effective in promoting behavioral and attitudinal change within a senior manager.   The following represents a four-phase process in the executive coaching programs:  

Phase 1 – Understanding The Engagement & Initial Coaching

  • Meeting with the supervisor and Human Resources professional to understand the company’s needs and the reasons that prompted the desire for coaching
  • Introductory meeting with the person to be coached, assessment of compatibility with the coach, and the person’s “readiness” to be part of this program

Phase 2 – Assessment, Feedback, and Establishing Targeted Coaching Goals

  • Administration of various leadership assessments as well as participating in behavioral interviews to evaluate and understand the client  
  • Multi-rater (360 Degree) feedback program with supervisor and associates
  • Ongoing feedback on the assessment instruments results and their meaning
  • Agreeing upon and establishing the targeted coaching goals 
  • Goal confirmation meeting with supervisor if desired

Phase 3 – Targeted Coaching Sessions

  • Targeted coaching sessions using various exercises and learning modalities
  • Assisting the manager to learn new behaviors and attitudes
  • Helping the manager develop new perspectives and the reinforcement of new learning

Phase 4 – Assessment of Coaching Results, Review & Wrap Up

  • Develop a long-term action plan for the individual’s continued development
  • Set up strategies to assure that change and skill enhancements will continue 
  • Assessment of the coaching program; review past and current skill sets

The Executive Coaching Programs vary in length depending on the wishes of the organization and the needs of the individual manager involved. The manager and Dr. Atsaides meet every two to three weeks in coaching session that are 1-2 hours in length.  If desired, additional coaching sessions can be added to the coaching programs.  The Executive Coaching Programs can last for three months (a “Quick Impact Program”), or be ongoing for a longer period of time to maximize impact and executive development. 

Develop a High Performing Senior Team

1. Senior Management Team Building

When an organization builds its senior management team, the desire is to promote teamwork and develop a unified focus and direction.  When the team is working well together, greater synergy and more creativity are developed.  Organizations with an effective senior management team have open communication, mutual respect for each other, shared leadership, a willingness to encourage each other to grow and develop, healthy conflicts, etc.  Ineffective senior management teams prevent the organization from achieving its full potential and can derail the whole organization. 

Effective senior management teams do not just happen. They are built on a cornerstone of hard work, commitment, respect, encouragement, cohesiveness and collaboration.  Only with mutual trust can the team aspire to its full potential.  To nurture trust, the senior team must be able to talk openly with each other, and believe that each person is committed to the team’s success. All employees look up to the senior team, and can feel whether the team is working well or poorly together.  How the senior team works together impacts everyone. 

There are specific times in the organization’s life cycle when senior management team building is needed.  For example, when an executive team has gone through the following situations, team building is highly recommended:

  • Integrating a merged or acquired organization
  • Restructuring
  • Downsizing
  • Changing the culture or vision of the organization
  • Having a new management team
  • Starting a new strategic plan

In addition, when a senior team is not working well together, senior management team building is recommended.  Note the following circumstances:

  • A team that cannot get things accomplished
  • Conflict among the team members
  • Too much individualism and there is a desire to be more collaborative
  • A poorly communicating team
  • Dysfunctional and disruptive behavior by one or more members
  • Poor general performance and accountability of the team
  • A desire to change attitudes and behaviors in the team members to achieve the team’s full potential
  • The team members lack job satisfaction and turnover is likely

Dr. Atsaides creates a customize approach to building senior management teams to match the unique demands and goals of the team members and the organization.  The outline below provides a flavor of the methodology used. 

Jim begins by talking with the senior executive about his/her desires for the senior team and the organization.  Also, Jim meets with each team member, creating a relationship with them, assessing their perspective of the team, and understanding their own desired outcomes for the team program.  The findings are presented to the executive and the team to help them appreciate the evaluation of the current functioning of the team, and what is recommended as a plan for improving the team’s performance.  This can include group sessions, individual sessions, and even team building retreats.  An agreed upon series of sessions are then detailed and arranged.  These sessions can be on or off premise depending on the desires of the team.

As the facilitator for the team, Jim helps the team to talk openly, learn, and experience various aspects of teamwork.  Each team member is encouraged to relate back what they have learned through both individual and group sessions and incorporate new behaviors and attitudes that impact performance.  The team building sessions are practical so that the team can put their learning into immediate use. Jim regularly meets with the senior executive to keep him/her informed of the activities, findings, recommendations, and direction. 

In the team building sessions, Jim provides activities and tools for the senior management team to facilitate common goal setting, communication, as well as conflict resolution among other matters.  Some of the specific activities with the senior management team include:

  • Evaluate the current and the desired culture for the organization
  • Assess the current workings of the senior team
  • Develop a vision for what is wanted for the organization
  • Provide multi-rater feedback to each other
  • Develop a senior team code of conduct
  • Help clarify roles, responsibilities, and decision-making authorities
  • Develop trust among the team members
  • Differentiate between “family versus partner” concepts and attitudes
  • Compare personality and management styles for better mutual understanding

Jim also works with the individuals of the team in a coaching and development manner.  He provides feedback to each team members for their personal growth and development.  This process helps to focus the person on their own makeup, how they impact the team, and what they can do to be a more effective team member. 

2. Senior Team Strategic Alignment Program

Dr. Atsaides provides a custom made interactive senior team assessment and team building program.  This program helps a senior management team objectively evaluate their current functioning and help them make plans as to what they need to do to continue to move forward. This senior level program brings the senior team together to focus on areas of strength, weakness, and how to achieve what they desire.  It is a program that brings about self-awareness and personal commitment for improved team and organization performance. 

Whereas the team building programs provided by Dr. Atsaides are part of an ongoing commitment for the senior team, this Senior Team Strategic Alignment Program is developed as a retreat and can be completed in a day or two. 

This alignment program involves the following activities: 

  • Identify and clarify the current culture that has been created
  • Evaluate the current team’s communication and performance
  • Identify the desired culture for the organization and its characteristic behaviors
  • Identify the future vision of the organization
  • Understand the specific areas and strategic goals that need to be worked on
  • Begin to develop a code of conduct that will identify acceptable new team behaviors and help guide the attitudes and behaviors of the team members
  • Provide team feedback to each member

This is a very meaningful alignment program and it is a perfect team program during these tough and uncertain economic times.  The team is able to learn and talk about how they deal with matters such as communication, cooperation, commitment, conflict, and decision-making.  They reaffirm the vision that they have for the organization.  The team also sees clearly what is the current culture of the organization, as well as what they want the desired culture to be.  This interactive program provides objective data to the senior team so they can focus and align themselves around what is most important.  Because this is a custom program specific to this particular management team, all members will be able to identify with the information and issues being dealt with. 

The program is designed for immediate impact.  The desire is to help the team members identify specific action plans that they can put into use right away.  The focus is to identify three to six months goals, not ones that are years into the future.  This is a practical program that helps make the team stronger and more confident as they move forward.  If there were only one program that the senior team does together, this is it.

This is an excellent team building program for the executive management team, or the senior teams of major departments within the organization.  It allows the team members to come together in an open environment to objectively discuss and focus on the issues before them.  Strengths and weaknesses come out and are talked about.  The program can be conducted on site at the organization’s location, or at a retreat setting.

This program is usually conducted in a one full day retreat format, or it can be extended to 1 ½ days or 2 days.  In preparation for the program, Dr. Atsaides comes and meets with the team members and tells them about the program.  Each individual participant completes a package of assessment instruments prior to the session.  This information is collected, prepared for distribution, and then presented at the workshop.  During the workshop, the results are shared with the team in an objective and open manner.  Towards the end of the program, the team develops a “Senior Team Code of Conduct” that reflects an agreement upon the ways that they will work with each other into the future as they progress forward and achieve the results they want for the organization and themselves.  After this program, additional follow up team sessions can be established to assure the ongoing focus and development of the senior team. 

Other components can be added to this Senior Team Strategic Alignment Program to further strengthen and enhance the team’s experience and the people’s self-awareness.  For example, individuals can complete a work style measure that shows them how they interact with others, make decisions, handle stress, manage others, etc.  The results from each person can be combined together in a team report that is shared at the workshop.  This helps people understand each other better.  Also, the individuals can have a private one-on-one feedback session with Jim about the results of their assessments and feedback from the retreat.  This feedback and coaching session(s) help to increase the managers self-awareness, commitment to change, and their focus on the organization’s success.