Management Success Tip #179: Let the Three Good Things Game Lift Your Work-Mood

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When things are going well, and your employees are all exceeding your expectations (except for Sam, but then, hey, “into every life” and all that), you’re in a great mood, flying high, life is good.

When things aren’t, you grind your teeth, your stomach is a mess, you can’t sleep the night through if you can even get to sleep in the first place, and you wonder why oh why did you ever accept that promotion to the supposedly magical land of manager-hood?

Time to play the “Three Good Things” game!

Research by Joyce E. Bono and Theresa M. Glomb shows that when people at work were asked to find three good things from their day and then write about them for about ten minutes that night, their stress was reduced, they had fewer mental and physical complaints, and they felt more positive about their work.

I don’t care how crappy a day it was, you can always find three things to be grateful for. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re still breathing. Hey, that’s a plus! Maybe it’s that most of your employees were where they were supposed to be, and on time, even if what they were doing wasn’t up to par. They showed up! That’s step one. Maybe it’s that you figured out what the problem was that was slowing up production. That’s going to be even more important in the weeks to come.

Not bad, altogether. And with the simple expedience of finding three positive things in your day, no matter how seemingly small, and why they mattered, your stress level diminished. Which means more room was freed up in your brain for creative thinking. Which means tomorrow is likely to be a more productive day.

Three things! When you’ve mastered three, go for four or five or ten. Your stress level will diminish accordingly, and your happiness factor most definitely increase.

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Management Success Tip #171: Fix Your Attitude Towards Your Employees Before You Try to Fix Poor Performance

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Pop quiz: what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your employees?

Pain-in-the-neck? Burdensome? Constant source of aggravation? Bunch of whiners? Lazy? Unmotivated?

Or: Pleasure to work with. Eager beavers. Full of good ideas. Helpful, cooperative.

Probably a mix of both. Hopefully with more of the “pleasure to work with” thoughts than the “pain-in-the-neck” variety.

But here’s the thing: people can sense what your attitude is towards them. And when you look at an employee and think “pain-in-the-neck,” that employee may not know precisely what you’re thinking, but he or she can indeed feel that they are somehow disapproved of. Which in turn greatly diminishes their desire to do a good job, or improve present performance.

Does this mean you have to like all your employees? Heavens, no! But it does mean that your focus on whatever you can appreciate, what you can value, about each and every one of your employees, will have significant impact on how they respond to you.

Make the effort to find one thing you can value about every single one of your employees. Then focus your attention more on that attribute, skill or quality, than on whatever it is you don’t appreciate.

You’ll find that even your “pain-in-the-neck” employees will begin to show improvement, and your “pleasure to work with” ones will positively shine.

Management Success Tip #166: Want Engaged Employees? Listen and Learn!

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If you really want to insult someone, simply turn your back to them as they are talking to you. Be aware though, you may end up getting pulled rudely back around and even hit for such an act of disrespect.

What you may not realize, is that when you’re texting or answering your phone when an employee is talking to you, you’re engaging in the same disrespectful behavior. You are psychologically turning your back on them. More subtly, if you’re not giving your employee your full attention with your eyes as well as your ears, you are also “turning your back.”

Nothing is more important than not only listening to your employees, but also making it clear to them, by your attention and body language, that you are hearing them. “Employees are almost always telling their bosses how they feel, what they want or what they are doing, but sometimes this falls on deaf ears,” says Piera Palazzolo. “Make sure you listen and hear what your employees are saying to you. This will make you more attentive and caring as a manager, and will also help you know what your team is doing and how you can help them accomplish their goals.”

Isn’t that what you want? To know how your team is doing, and how you can best assist them in accomplishing their goals? When you do that, you end up with engaged, motivated employees who truly care about the company and strive for work-excellence.

Be a better-than-good manager. Join the ranks of the best. Listen and learn!

Management Success Tip #158: What Matters to Your Employee? Engage Workers by Engaging the Personal

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You work hard to recruit the right people for your department, for your business, and you work equally hard to train them, so that your department is staffed with enthusiastic, engaged, productive employees.

There comes a time, though, when despite your best efforts, some of those employees – often the best ones – become restless, their engagement falls off a bit, and you worry that some of them may feel the grass is greener elsewhere.

Promotions and raises are good, however, as Michael E Kibler, founder and CEO of Corporate Balance Concepts, Inc., states: “More money won’t cut it. . . Companies must instead provide a new kind of currency to engage their professionals – one we call ‘active partnering.’ The first step is to create a system that allows executives to talk candidly with their managers about what is most important to them professionally and personally and how their organizations might support these goals…”

Although Kibler is referencing executives, the same thinking applies to any of your employees. When you demonstrate real interest, followed by practical assistance, steps or resources, in what matters personally as well as professionally to your employees, you engage them on a whole new level.

It doesn’t matter, as Kibler states, whether those interests are “… writing a book, reconnecting with a disenfranchised family member, starting a non-profit” or the more “prosaic – running a 10K, coaching a child’s soccer team, volunteering as a mentor,” the genuine interest you show, along with discussing possible ways to assist your employee in achieving his or her dream (and following through!), develop a mutual respect and loyalty which dollars alone can never do.

Management Success Tip #129: Be a Great Manager: Listen So Your Employees Feel Heard.

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The best managers are terrific listeners. You may think you’re a good listener – after all you do attend to whatever your employees are saying, and you hear every word. But that may not be enough to convince whoever you’re listening to believe they are really being heard.

What research calls “empathic listening” involves more than just your ears. Really listening to someone requires attention to nonverbal cues as well: such things as tone, facial expressions and other body language. Not just the other person’s tone, facial expressions and body language, but your own!

Few things are more insulting than to be talking to someone and have them turn away from you. Well, if you drop your eye contact when you’re talking to or listening to someone, that’s experienced very much as if you’d just walked away mid-sentence.

Similarly, if you sit there like a stone when an employee talks to you, without allowing your face and/or body language to reflect your attentiveness, they will not feel heard. One of the easiest ways to express attentiveness, is to nod every so often as in “I hear you, I’m following along, please go on.”

And of course, responding with phrases such as “Thank you for letting me know how you feel about this situation, your input is valuable,” or “Please, tell me more” or “I’d like to hear more about your thoughts on the situation” and the like will go a long way towards letting your employee know that he or she truly is heard.

Management Success Tip #128: Answer the Millennial Challenge: Allow Innovation and Give Feedback!

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Millennials are a challenge for many managers – even if you’re just one generation ahead of them. Much more so, often, if you’re a Boomer. Then we’re talking employees who seem to have come from different planets, not just different cohorts.

Which means you’re often hesitant to allow your Millennials much leeway. You’re more comfortable keeping them on a relatively short leash, doing just what you’ve asked them too, hopefully without too much complaining.

Ryan Currie, guest-posting at ThinDifference.com suggests your reluctance  may prevent you from benefiting from this generation as much as you could: “You’ll be shocked just how innovative and outside the box they can get if you give them room to take risks – reward your millennials for being outlandish, for having ‘big’ ideas, and for taking chances and they’ll impress you.”

Currie follows this up by stressing how very important feedback is to Millennials: “They don’t want you to micromanage and they don’t want to speak to you only at their biannual evaluation. They want you to take them to lunch and openly and honestly talk to them about their mistakes, their upcoming challenges, and what they’re doing right. They’re difficult to insult, those millennials, and that’s a good thing.”

There’s the answer: give your Millennials leeway to be innovative, and then talk to them, openly and honestly, about how that leeway is panning out. Your Millennial employees will feel empowered, and you won’t feel like you’re risking your company.

Management Success Tip #82: Halt the Invisible Money Drain of Meetings: Get Efficient!

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Let’s see, for an average meeting: twelve participants, one hour each, comes to whatever their salary breaks down to for an hour, times twelve. Oh, and then there’s the hour each participant is not doing their usual job. So multiply that total by two.

And it’s not like you only hold one meeting a week.

Yikes! You’d better be getting a lot of great results out of those meetings!

Cause it’s not like you don’t need the creativity that is proven to come out of people thinking together, brainstorming, and collaborating. You most definitely do. But what you need in addition to that creativity, is an effective way to generate it, without unnecessarily draining your business of dollars or manpower.

How? Easy:

1. Whatever information will be the topic of discussion should be sent out to everyone in advance.

2. Whatever questions are to be discussed should be sent out as well.

3. Assume that everyone has digested the information, is ready to discuss the questions, and start the meeting with the discussion.

4. Keep everyone on topic, and don’t allow rambling or discussion outside of the topic.

Those workers who don’t read the information, etc., ahead of the meeting, will quickly realize they’re out of the loop, because you don’t coddle them by reiterating the information previously sent out.

If you hold true to these guidelines,  your meetings will be shorter and more efficient, which is better for all concerned – and your business pocketbook.