Management Success Tip #183: Wanna Be a Truly Awesome, Stellar, Super-Star of a Manager? Loooove Your Work!

#183 Sira Anamwong

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You know what makes a great manager? A truly awesome, stellar, super-star of a manager? One who looooves his/her work. A manager who is eager to get to work, dives into projects with gusto, and who is inspired by deadlines and quotas rather than defeated or demoralized by them. One who looooves his/her employees, clients, customers. Who knows them inside and out, knows what resonates with them and does his/her very best for and by them, every day.

I fly a lot for work, and thus have been subjected to umpteen routine flight attendant announcements before takeoff: you know, all the safety instructions about seat belts and oxygen masks and the rest. Sometimes a flight attendant will smile during the announcement, and that certainly helps, but most of the time you can tell the attendant is bored, just dishing out a script, with little if any interest in how it is being received, other than clarity of information.

But sometimes, you get a flight attendant, who really knows his/her “clients,” who understands the inconveniences of economy travel, and who must have a supervisor who supports and motivates his/her employees to loooove their job. This is a quick youtube example of just such a flight attendant.

The more you loooove your work, the more you make it easy for your employees to loooove their jobs, the more successful you—and your company—will be.

Look how it’s worked for Southwest airlines! They have been the most successful domestic airline for years, turning a profit when other airlines were going down the tubes. They really are all about the “LUV.”

Not a bad example to follow!

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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.

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 #154: Indulge In A Powerful Motivator: Thank Your Employees

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You’d think that saying “thank you” or “I appreciate what you did here” would be normal, business-as-usual, in the workplace. You certainly think that you do your fair share of appreciating your employees. You may very well, however, here’s a wake-up call from UK’s performance improvement consultants Maritz (as discussed by business consultant Steve Roesler): their “research has found that almost one in five of us (19 per cent) have never been thanked for our efforts at work while more than a third only hear those two little words once or twice a year.”

More importantly, approximately one third of workers “receive regular recognition and are thanked several times a week, something that (as more than eight out of 10 of those surveyed acknowledged) has a positive impact on their desire to remain with their employer.”

Even if you think you already recognize, appreciate, and actually speak words of thanks and appreciation to your employees, think again. Are there workers you regularly thank, but some you take for granted? Are there workers you overlook in your thanks? Do you only think “Gee, good work, I appreciate that” in your mind, or do you actually speak the words?

When you next do a walk-through, or as a team meeting concludes, make the effort to catch an employee – or several – in the act of doing something right, and thank them, right there on the spot, in specifics, for what they’ve done right.

Thanks matter.

Management Success Tip #111: Turn Personal Dislike of an Employee into Professional Appreciation

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You can’t like all your employees–heck, most of us don’t like everyone in our extended families–and yet, you still need to manage those you’re not particularly fond of.

More importantly, you need to manage the “unliked” in a way that facilitates their happiness at work, because as has been well established by now, unhappy employees have a way of disengaging, which in turn, negatively impacts your success.

According to Amy Gallo: “Itʼs neither possible — nor even ideal — to build a team comprised entirely of people youʼd invite to a backyard barbecue. But there are real pitfalls to disliking an employee. Consciously or unconsciously, you might mismanage him or treat him unfairly and fail to see the real benefit he can deliver to your team.”

The most effective antidote to personal dislike of someone? See the best in them! Focus on what the employee brings to your team that is of most benefit to its overall success. Pay attention to the ways in which the employee contributes, and emphasize those.

It doesn’t have to be something big: perhaps an employee you’re not particularly fond of is always on time, or shows enthusiasm for projects, or has good cost-cutting ideas.

What matters is that you switch your focus from your personal dislike of the employee to your professional appreciation for your employee’s value.

Management Success Tip #96: Pick a Good Team Leader: Look For Listening Skills and a Positive Attitude

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A team leader must of course, be competent and confident. You can’t give the position of leader to one who is hesitant, full of doubt and insecure.

Here are some ways Anthony K. Tjan, CEO of the venture capital firm Cue Ball, has found to help him improve his people judgment:

“What is the talk-to-listen ratio? You want people who are self-confident and not afraid to express their views, but if the talk-to-listen ratio is anything north of 60%, you want to ask why. Is it because this person is self-important and not interested in learning from others — or just because he is nervous and rambling?

“Is this an energy-giver or -taker? There is a certain breed of people who just carry with them and unfortunately spread a negative energy. You know who they are. Alternatively, there are those who consistently carry and share a positivity and optimism towards life. There is a Chinese proverb that says that the best way to get energy is to give it. Energy-givers are compassionate, generous and the type of people with whom you immediately want to spend time.”

People who listen, and who are consistently positive and optimistic make good team leaders. People who are full of their own opinion, negative and critical, don’t.

Management Success Tip #84: Motivate Your Employees Into Taking Responsibility: Be The Example!

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One of the most important ways in which you exemplify the excellence you expect from others, is by taking responsibility.

You are human. Yup, you are. Neither more nor less than, which means that, like all humans, you make mistakes. Sometimes little ones, sometimes big ones, but being human guarantees that you will make mistakes.

The smartest, best thing you can do for your business is to let your employees know that you are taking responsibility for your errors in judgment, your faulty communications, your slip-ups, whatever they may be.

Think of the very public messes highly placed individuals have created for themselves and their companies over the past few years by refusing to take responsibility. By looking to blame someone else, something else, anything but stand up and say “I was responsible for that.”

Taking responsibility doesn’t mean wearing a hair shirt and flailing yourself.  It means being accountable. It’s having enough self-confidence to say “Yes, I made a mistake and here’s how I intend to rectify the situation.”

People respect that! People will not forgive a cover-up, people resent those who finger-point and attach blame to others. But people will forgive and do their best to move forward with those who show themselves to be accountable and do their best to make the situation better.

You want your employees to take responsibility? Great. Show them how it’s done by your example, and they will follow your lead.