A newsletter providing tips & strategies for busy executives, managers and supervisors.
Wisdom of the Ages
MANAGERS LIGHT A FIRE UNDER PEOPLE; LEADERS LIGHT A FIRE IN PEOPLE
What’s Inside: COMMUNICATING BETTER AT WORK
If you gathered 100 experienced managers together and asked for their advice, they probably wouldn’t say much about “competing values models” or “temporal rhythms.” Instead, this is a good idea of what you’d hear: “Don’t be afraid of the phrase, ‘I don’t know.’” If you’re at fault, take the blames. If you’re wrong apologize. A wise person once said, “If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember anything.”
INVEST WELL IN EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIPS
“Never gossip.” And if someone wants to gossip with you, politely say you’re not interested. This organization adage rings true: When someone gossips, two careers are hurt—the person being talked about, and the person doing the talking.
PROPERLY CONDUCTED PERFORMANCE REVIEWS PAY HUGE DIVIDENDS PAGE 3
COMMON TEAM PROBLEMS PAGE 3
“No task is beneath you.” Don’t think you are above anything. Be the good example and pitch in—especially if the job is one that nobody wants to do. “Share the credit whenever possible.” Managers who spread the credit around look much stronger than those who take all the credit themselves. “Ask for help.” If you think you’re in over your head, you are. Before it gets out of hand, ask someone for help—most people enjoy giving a hand. Besides saving yourself from embarrassment, you’ll make a friend and an ally. “Keep your salary to yourself.” Discussing salary is a no-win proposition. Either you’ll be upset because someone is making more than you, or someone will be upset with you. When you don’t like someone, don’t let it show.” Especially if you outrank them. Never burn your bridges or offend other as you move ahead. “Let it go.” What shouldn’t happen often does: You weren’t given the project you wanted, you were passed over for the promotion you deserved. Be gracious and diplomatic...and move on. Reprinted with person from: The Manager’s Intelligence Report, www.managementresources.com
Communicating better at work COMMUNICATION ISN’T OVER WHEN YOU FINISH DELIVERING YOUR MESSAGE
Employees often show concern about the quality and quantity of communication at work. Some claim that management gives only lip service to open communication but does little to really communicate with them. Others contend their organizations believe that posting notices on bulletin boards and sending out memos provide adequate communication. Still others say they receive vague instructions that are difficult to follow. Ineffective communication often results in poor cooperation and coordination, lower productivity, undercurrents of tension, gossip and rumors, and increased turnover and absenteeism. Experience shows there are many ways managers can improve internal communication. Here are some things you should do: Understand that communication is a two-way street. It involves giving information and getting feedback from employees. It isn’t finished when information is given. Put more emphasis on face-to-face communication with employees. Don’t rely mainly on bulletin boards, memos and other written communication. Ask yourself, each time you give an instruction, if the message is clear. Most vagueness is caused by failing to be specific.
Reprinted with permission Communication Briefings www.briefings.com
View information as “service to” employees and not “power over” them. Listen to employees; show respect for them when they speak.
MANAGER’S EDGE: INVEST WELL IN YOUR EMPLOYEE RELATIONS We’re careful about how we handle our money because we know our present and future security depend on sound investments. As a manager, you need to be just as mindful of the investments you make in workplace relationships.
This is no “soft” issue. Manager– employee relationships can a team, a division, even an entire organization. So it’s your responsibility to keep accurate accounts of what you do—or can do to build those relationships. VALUE YOUR WORKPLCE RELATIONSHIPS Building interpersonal “accounts” requires frequent deposits of managerial goodwill. Those deposits begin the day a new hire walks in the door. Because once in the workplace, new employees quickly start to form opinions about the choice to join your
organization. This is your opportunity to invest time, communication, patience and knowledge to keep that relationship solvent and productive. But, as with all successful relationships, these “deposits” must continue or the value drops. Clear and timely communications will keep you from shortchanging workplace “accounts.” If you’re too busy to listen once in a while, or must put off raises or promotions, you can still maintain a comfortable balance by communicating the reasons. Caution: Make sure employees understand the reasons. Don’t leave them wondering, brooding or thinking about leaving when it’s possible to
offer a clear explanation for the “overdraft.” You’ll find that, when a workplace relationship is healthy, you can make periodic “withdrawals” without lasting damage. But don’t make it a habit. MAKE REGULAR DEPOSITS
healing. Employees who’ve had enough will foreclose without warning. Those who feel you appreciate, listen, respect or value their input will leave. They’ll head for the first competitor who says “ You’re the kind of person we’re looking for.”
To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well—John Marshall
When manager-employee relationships fail, there’s seldom a way to wipe the slate clean. Filing for bankruptcy might work for a business , but it won’t fix a relationship that’s past
So hold on to your personnel assets by remembering to make regular relationship deposits.
Say “What you just did is what make or organization great.” And say so in front of others. That’s a deposit you and they can take to the bank. -Fred Pryor, business consultant
LEADERSHIP IS COMMUNICATING T O PEOPLE T HEIR WORT H & POTENTIAL SO CLEARLY THAT T HEY COME TO SEE IT IN THEMSELVES—DR ST EPHEN M. COVEY
Properly conducted performance reviews pay huge dividends Employee reviews can be one of the most powerful management tools in your arsenal – or morale -sucking waste of everybody’s time. It all depends on how the manager conducts the process . Remember these crucial points
Take financials out of the equation. Too often, performance reviews turn into salary negotiations. Hold two separate meetings—one to review performance and set goals; and on to discuss raises and bonuses. Don’t run an assembly line. A lot of managers hate the review process, so they schedule them all in the same week or even on the same day in order
EXPERT ADVICE You are in charge of your own attitude—whatever others do or circumstances you face. The only person you can control is yourself....Worry more about your attitude than your aptitude or lineage. —Marian Edelman
to get them over with. Schedule no Don’t compare employees to your more than one review per day, so “star” workers in order to motivate you have time to cover all the bases, them. Employees don’t like being answer, preview compared unfavorably to their peers. the future, set goals, and so on. Trust your instincts. Your mistakes might as
well be your own instead of some-one else’s Preview, rather than Review. Don’t get caught up thinking that reviews have to focus entirely on the past— rephrasing every right and wrong move the employee made over the last year. Spend the majority of the review time on the future; What do you expect in the coming year? How can we take what happened in the past and apply it to the future? What are your goals, and what are the employee’s?
BILLY WILDER, PRODUCER
Keep personality out of it unless it relates to work performance. It’s unreasonable to expect people to change their personalities. This would indicate that the employee and the organization are not a good match. However, if a shift in behavior would positively affect a person’s performance, the change should be suggested.
Don’t use yourself as an example, either. As soon as you say, “When I was in your position...” you lose the employee. Instead focus on the individual strengths and weaknesses.
Common team problems LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT SETTING DIRECTION. BUT IT’S ALSO ABOUT SOLVING PROBLEMS, AND TEACHING OTHER HOW TO SOLVE THEM.
Building a team can be a struggle. While you can’t eliminate every obstacle, you can anticipate some of the common barriers to a team’s effectiveness. Here’s what to watch out for: Goal fixation. Clear goals are vital, but obsessing over the end results can blind team members to the importance of process. If they adopt an “ends justify the means” mindset, members may start to undercut each other, or form cliques, without considering the impact on the team as a whole. Goals are good of course, but concentrate on developing guidelines and work processes that will support the whole teams efforts. Power struggles. Teams need firm direction. When one member becomes too dominant, however, turbulent issues can erupt. Leaders may expect to make all the decisions; other team members may resent the leader’s attempts to tell them what to do. Successful team sometimes rotate
the leadership role so no one feels left out. Lack of involvement. Any number of factors can cause team members to withdraw and stop contributing as much as they could, or simply leave the team. Pay attention to team members who seem to avoid speaking up, don’t listen to others, or fail to take their tasks seriously. Remind the team everyone’s efforts are required. Stereotyping. We often make unconscious judgments about the people we work with, based on gender, race, appearance, or some other trait. Don’t jump to conclusions: The guy from IT may want to get more involved in people issues, and assuming that he’s happy just playing with technology could alienate him. The team won’t get the benefit of everything the person has to offer. Reprinted with permission Adapted from “Team building seminars: Why new teams struggle,” by the Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness Leading for Results www.management resources.com
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ON CHANGE: IF WE DON’T CHANGE THE DIRECTION WE’RE GOING, WE’RE LIKELY TO END UP WHERE WE ARE HEADED -CHINESE PROVERB DO YOU KNOW YOUR JOB? 80% OF AMERICAN MANAGERS CANNOT ANSWER WITH ANY MEASURE OF CONFIDENCE THESE SEEMINGLY SIMPLE QUESTIONS: WHAT IS MY JOB? WHAT IN IT REALLY COUNTS? HOW
WELL AM I DOING? -W. EDWARDS