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Archive for June, 2017


Are You Recognized as a Leader?

Being recognized as a leader doesn’t just happen for most people. You must present yourself as a leader, demonstrate your leadership strengths, and be willing to take on the responsibilities of leadership. If you’re ready to step up to a leadership role, here are some tips to make the transition easier.jet medium

  • Talk to your manager about your desire to take on more leadership responsibility. Show that you have the big picture in mind and are eager to increase your contributions to organizational success.
  • Discuss your career goals and why increased responsibility supports these goals. Be assertive about asking for additional training opportunities that strengthen your leadership skills.
  • Grow your influence. When you have influence, you get people to support you without having to use force, power, or authority. Influential people change how others think and what they do by forging an emotional connection with them. (Send me an email to receive information about my newest workshop, Getting Results through Influence and Persuasion.)
  • Grow your network. The more people you know and who know you, the more opportunities you have to demonstrate your leadership ability. The relationships you develop with those inside your organization and within your field of expertise can open doors to information, lead to career advancement, and enhance your reputation. See my blog post Networking Made Easy for more information.

Taking on a greater leadership role is exciting and challenging. It may take a while for others to view you in your new role, but with patience and persistence, you will succeed and gain the recognition you have earned.



Stay Positively Productive During Vacation Season

Summer is vacation season when most of your employees have scheduled time off. While vacation season gives staff needed time away from the office to rest and recharge, it creates challenges for managers who must ensure work is done and deadlines are met. The key to success is planning.shutterstock_95647150

Review the Vacation Schedule

  • Meet with employees a week before their scheduled time off.
  • Have them provide a list of tasks that need to be done, any deadlines or deliverables due, or open issues that must be addressed during their absence.
  • Identify and train back-up staff to handle necessary job duties and activities for absent employees.

Establish Procedures

  • Require staff to set up out-of-office responders for email and create rules to forward key emails to assigned staff or to you.
  • Remind employees to change voicemail greetings and provide back-up numbers for customer assistance.
  • Make sure key customers and vendors are personally contacted about an employee’s absence and assure them of continued service quality.
  • Ask employees to provide you with contact information where they can be reached while on vacation.

Consider Your Options

  • Prioritize deliverables and deadlines to ensure you have adequate resources.
  • Consider flexible scheduling, overtime, shift changes, temporary employees, and consultants to cover absent employees. Some employees may prefer to take time off in short spurts rather than entire weeks. Make this an option if your policies allow.
  • Cross-train staff to develop a pool of knowledgeable resources that can fill in for critical activities during vacation time.

Vacation time may not be easy for you as a manager, but it is needed time off. Remember to take your own vacation and prepare for it just as you want your employees to prepare!


Help Your Team Handle Change

Change is frightening for most people who feel vulnerable and uncertain. As a manager and leader, your employees look to you for guidance and direction during times of change. They take their lead from you about how they should think, feel, and behave about the change and its impact on their jobs. Here are some tips to help you lead your team in times of change.shutterstock_98421482

  • Focus on the people issues. As part of effective change management, the “people issues” must be addressed. Acknowledge the uncertainty and anxiety that your employees are experiencing, especially if their roles are changing, or they must learn new skills. Explain the reasons for the change and encourage questions. Listen, discuss, and answer.
  • Identify cheerleaders. Early adopters are eager to embrace the change and are enthusiastic about it. These employees may be younger team members, especially Generation X and Millennials, who tend to embrace change more readily than older employees. They are champions for the change and can influence other employees who may be reluctant or resistant.
  • Handle criticism and skepticism head-on. People who are skeptical about change can be hard to convince since they view change as threatening. They can be critical of not just the change, but how it is being implemented. Don’t wave aside their feelings or criticism; be prepared to address it. Focus on the benefits of the change, keep two-way communication open, and make it safe for them to express their reservations about the change. Reinforce any signs of cooperation from them. See my blog post How to Recover from Negative Criticism for more information.

It is natural to expect a decrease in productivity until employees become familiar and comfortable with a change. Give them time to adjust, make training readily available, and reward those who take advantage of opportunities.


Don’t Let Frustration Derail Your Team

Do you ever have days when you feel like tearing your hair out in frustration—those days when nothing gets done, when it takes forever to get something up the chain of command, when your best laid plans are shot down by a change in direction? Sometimes just keeping up with everything you must accomplish seems overwhelming.

As the pace of business approaches light speed, so does frustration. Too much constant frustration can increase stress, decrease motivation and morale, and lead to illness. As a manager and leader, it’s important for you to create an environment that helps your team handle daily frustrations.Stress

  1. Be aware of what is happening. One factor that contributes to worker frustration is a manager who fails to keep their finger on the pulse of the team. Managers often are so focused on the big picture, they ignore the small, daily challenges. Regularly talk with your team members about the obstacles they face and the battles they are fighting to do their jobs. While you may not be able to effect changes to processes or policies, showing empathy and being open to hear what people say can improve morale.
  2. Challenge assumptions. Just because something always has been done a certain way or a procedure has been in place for a long time doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. Start asking yourself, “Is there a better, faster, easier way of doing this?” Encourage your employees to do the same and seriously consider their ideas. The pace of change that gives rise to frustration also opens the door to new opportunities for process improvement.
  3. Create a positive work environment. Effective managers provide the training and tools their employees need to achieve results. This demonstrates your commitment to the growth and development of your team. In turn, this enhances motivation, improves morale, and creates a positively productive workplace. Find ways to praise employees for accomplishments and encourage them to view mistakes as a means of improvement. See my blog post Does Positivity at Work Really Make a Difference? for more information.

Workplace frustration is contagious; don’t let it spread throughout your team. Instead, act and face it head-on to ensure both you and your team deliver the results you need for professional success.