Skip to content

Archive for April, 2018


When a Key Employee Leaves

As you know, an important part of leadership is developing employees, so they can advance in their careers. The downside, they are promoted into a new position, and you lose them.

When an employee begins to grow and take on more responsibility, start planning for a time when they will be promoted into a new job or even leave the company. If you want to keep the employee on your team, look at your own department and decide if the existing structure provides opportunities for this employee to advance. If not, can you make changes that will allow for promotion or higher compensation? If this isn’t possible, the day may come when the employee will leave.

Succession planning is a key responsibility for all managers. You don’t want a key employee walking out the door without having a replacement in the wings. To be effective, you must constantly develop employees, so they can fill different roles in your department. This means implementing a robust cross-training initiative. Don’t limit yourself to your department. Network with other managers to see where you can cross-train across units to develop more well-rounded employees and give them opportunities to grow their skills and learn new ones. See my blog post The Value of Cross-Trainingfor more information


Stop Procrastinating and Be More Positively Productive

You know what you must do, deadlines are looming, but you can’t get started. Instead, you work on less important tasks. We all suffer from procrastination sometimes, but if you are a chronic procrastinator, you’re ruining your productivity, and your professionalism will suffer. Here are five quick tips to get going when you just want to sit back and do nothing!

  1. Start anywhere. No rule says that you must start at the beginning, and unless it’s a matter of safety, you don’t have to do the task in any special order! The key is to just start.
  2. Take one small step.Identify the smallest step you are willing to take and take it. Then do it again and again, focusing just on the next smallest step. Large tasks are easier to get into when you break them down to just one step.
  3. Make an appointment with yourself. Go to your calendar and set a specific time to work on the task. Put it down just as if it was an appointment or important meeting. Set an alarm for fifteen minutes before the appointed time to gather any materials you need, and when the time arrives, get to work.
  4. Play to your peak hours.If you are a morning person, schedule critical tasks in the morning; if you are a night person, schedule then for the afternoon. These times are your most productive.
  5. Don’t stop.Just starting can produce momentum, so keep going. Even if the time you have allotted to the task arrives, keep going and take just one more step, and then one more until you reach the end.

Don’t let procrastination drain your productivity! When you find yourself dragging your heels, take one small step and see where it takes you. For more information see my blog post Get Into the Now Habit.


Flexibility at Work

Most people associate flexibility at work with work hours; however, flexibility also applies to your attitude about what happens and the choices you have about responding.

The opposite of flexibility is rigidity. Rigid people are said to have a fixed mindset. They see few options, are reluctant to make changes, and find most effort futile. As you can imagine, this rigid mindset closes them off to many opportunities. On the other hand, when you are flexible, you have a growth mindset, which helps you adapt to change and more easily meet challenges. This is the path to success at work and in life.

In today’s workplace, change is the norm. Everyone is working faster, and most people have more responsibility now than ever before. Your ability to adapt is one of the most important managerial and leadership skills you can develop in both yourself and your employees. Here are some tips:

  • When faced with a challenge, find a way to turn it into an opportunity to gain experience. Instead of groaning and fretting about whether you can meet it or not, set an intention to find a way! Ask an expert for advice, do online research, reach out to your network, find a mentor.
  • Take more calculated risks to help you stretch and grow. Consider the downside of not acting versus what you gain by acting. Trust your expertise and instincts and reach for greater achievements.
  • Form win-win relationships with others for mutual help and support. Accept that everyone has a unique style for working, learning, and communicating. Become comfortable with a variety of personalities and learn how to listen and communicate with attention and respect.

Notice areas where you are rigid and discover what is holding you back. Cultivate a habit of flexibility to enhance your professionalism and demonstrate your leadership skills. See my blog post Build Your Mental Musclefor more information.


Three Work Habits to Avoid

Habits can serve our productivity or harm it. For example, the habit of spending the last 15 minutes of the day planning for the next day improves productivity. Another good habit is taking regular breaks throughout the day to re-charge. Even if many of our habits support us, we sometimes fall prey to bad habits that negatively affect our productivity. Here are three work habits to avoid.

Habit 1: Checking email throughout the day. As I teach in my Writing and Managing Email workshop, checking email throughout the day is OK if you do something with the email when you check it – just don’t leave it in your in-box.

Habit 2: Letting yourself be interrupted. You may not believe this, but you allow yourself to be interrupted. Whenever someone comes into your office or cubicle, you have a choice to stop what you are doing and take care of their needs or ask them to wait until later when it’s a better time for you. Be more assertive about your time and how you let others use it.

Habit 3; Multitasking. Many people think they are being more efficient when they do several things simultaneously. This is a myth. What you think is multitasking is serial tasking. Your focus is moving from one activity to another so fast, it seems as if you are multitasking, but you’re not. You are turning your attention on and off, which means you will spend more time than if you completed the tasks sequentially.

Take some time each day to notice your habits and work to change those that are draining your productivity. See my blog post Your Habits Can Make or Break Productivity for more information.