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Archive for August, 2018

25
Aug

Change and Your Career

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”H.P. Lovecraft

Lovecraft should know something about fear; he wrote some scary stories! While these words were penned in the 1920s, they say something about today’s workplace. Change is scary, and the workplace is constantly changing. The key to coping with change is embracing it and using it to further your career. Here are some tips to help you.

  • Stop viewing change as “bad.”Change can be good or bad, depending on your outlook and attitude toward it. You can view a reorganization of your company or department as dangerous and fear what might happen to your job, which makes it “bad.” On the flip side, you can view it as an opportunity to take on new responsibilities, either with your existing company or somewhere else. The key is to stay flexible, be open to new things, and focus on what’s best for your career!
  • Become a champion of the change.Develop enthusiasm for the change and communicate this to others. Offer to be involved on committees and teams that are implementing the change. Learn all you can about it. This proactive behavior will give you a sense of power while showcasing your leadership ability, initiative, and commitment to the organization. Attributes usually valued by management!
  • Stay positively productive.This can be hard in times of change but focusing on what’s in front of you rather than imagining bleak, future scenarios helps keep your stress level low and your productivity high.

Change can be frightening and stressful; however, having the right attitude, keeping a positive outlook, and taking actions that showcase your value can help you ride out the change and come out on top. See my blog posts Flexibility at Work and Does Positivity at Work Really Make a Difference?

 

19
Aug

Build Unstoppable Teams

With five generations in the workplace, it’s more important than at any previous time to build strong, cohesive teams. While teambuilding requires many skills—communications, collaboration, coaching, mentoring, goal setting, motivation—its main requirement is leadership! Your team looks to you for guidance, and one of your roles is to build the confidence and capabilities of your team. Here are some tools to help you.

  • Leverage strengths. Every team member brings a different set of strengths, skills, and expertise to the job. As their leader, you must understand the contributions each person is capable of and use that knowledge to the advantage of the entire team. Let employees mentor each other and transfer their skills to other team members. This alone will build a stronger team. See my blog post The Value of Cross-training.
  • Strengthen areas that need improvement. Identify areas where your team needs improvement. For example, are communication or time management skills excellent or are some team members falling short of your expectations.? Act to plug this productivity drain; your team is only as strong as its weakest member!
  • Handle conflicts and behaviors that disrupt the team. Good leaders know when to let a conflict resolve itself and when they need to step in. Using your authority to resolve conflict is not a good, long-term solution. Ideally, you want to have a conversation with everyone involved to discover the underlying cause and determine the best way to handle it. Require people to be objective and refrain from making personal or derogatory comments. Focus them on behaviors, explain how the conflict is harming the team’s ability to be positively productive, and state the need to resolve the situation. See my blog post Where Does Conflict Come From?

A strong leader helps their team focus on raising the bar and grooms them to achieve more than they think is possible. See my workshop Leading Multi-generation Teams for more information

 

12
Aug

Innovation Matters

People often use “creativity” and “innovation” interchangeably, but they mean two different things.

“Creativity is thinking up new things; innovation is doing new things.” Theodore Levitt

Productivity depends on both. You need creative team members who can envision new products, services, and solutions, but visioning without the ability to adapt and implement is counterproductive. That’s where innovation comes in.

Innovators find new ways of doing things that result in greater productivity, efficiency, and profitability. For example, someone can create a new software product, but it takes innovation to adapt the solution so that it works for the business and the environment.

  • Create a workplace where innovation is valued. Give employees time and opportunities to develop new ways of working that increase efficiency and productivity. In 1948, 3M launched its 15-percent program; 15 percent of employees’ time was dedicated to innovation. The Post-It® note was invented during 15-percent time.
  • Encourage out-of-the-box thinking, form work groups to leverage collaborative thinking, and seriously consider the ideas and suggestions they present.
  • Implement ideas that will produce positive results, but always explain why a suggestion cannot be implemented; otherwise, employees feel that their efforts were wasted.

The personal computer was a new creation, but it took the innovation of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to turn it into a household item and Apple® into an international success. Your business needs both creators and innovators for long-term growth and profitability.

 

 

2
Aug

Boost Employee Engagement for Greater Productivity

How’s the morale in your office?

Morale refers to the mood of your workplace. Is it upbeat and enthusiastic or glum and dreary? One contributes to positive productivity; one doesn’t.

The key to high morale is high employee engagement. Employees who feel engaged in their work know that their work is important, and that fosters engagement.

  • Create a sense of ownership by encouraging employees to find better ways of doing their jobs. Make it safe for them to suggest improvements or present their ideas without fear of criticism or rebuke.
  • Evaluate each employee’s strengths and focus on assigning worthwhile tasks that let them showcase their abilities.
  • Recognize and reward individual accomplishments and contributions to the overall success of the team.
  • Offer employee development opportunities. One of the top reasons employees give when they leave a company is lack of development opportunities.
  • Reward key employees by sending them to conferences or conventions where they are exposed to new people and ideas. This is a powerful tool for boosting engagement, morale, and retention.
  • Consider bringing in a professional trainer for onsite workshops that improve soft skills, such as communication, leadership, influence, productivity, and so on.

When morale and engagement are high, productivity improves. Statistics from the Hay Group show that employees who are engaged are 43% more productive than those who aren’t engaged. But there’s more! Teamwork is stronger, overall performance is enhanced, and employee retention improves.

As a manager, you must stay aware of the mood in the office and jump into action if you notice morale slipping. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to turn things around. See my blog post Three Keys to Employee Retention.