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Archive for May, 2019


Be Accountable Even if You Aren’t Responsible

As a manager or leader, your staff or coworkers may make promises, take actions, or make mistakes that cause problems—problems that youneed to handle. While you are not responsible for the action that caused the problem, you are accountable as the manager to resolve it and make the customer happy.

30365778 – hello i am accountable words on a name tag sticker showing you accept responsibility or blame for a problem

  1. Start by assessing the situation.
    • What is causing the problem?
    • Was a mistake made?
    • What promise was made?
  2. Let the customer know that you will respond to the problem within a reasonable period of time.
  3. Identify what you reasonably can do to resolve the problem for the customer.
  4. Whom do you need to speak with in order to handle the issue?
  5. Do you need to involve your manager? If so, be prepared to propose a solution. Never go to your manager with a problem; go with a solution to a problem!
  6. Evaluate your options and decide the best course of action to take.
  7. Let the customer know your decision and explain how it was arrived at. Offer some kind of compensation to the customer, if appropriate.

After the issue is resolved, meet with the employee to determine how the problem occurred and coach the employee to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Establish clear goals, expectations, and ownership for every staff member and make sure employees know what they are accountable for achieving.  Determine if your team members have enough autonomy to make decisions without your intervention and give them the tools they need to do so.

See my blog post How Accountable Is Your Team?


Get into the NOW Habit

“Wouldn’t it be nice if life took a cue from horse racing and a gun went off when it was time for us to get moving? Life rarely sends us a signal as clear as a starter’s pistol. It’s up to us to recognize when it’s time to just start.”

Stuart Levine, Cut to the Chase

Time management starts with managing yourself. The more work and projects you put off, the less time you will have to do each. This often results in decreased quality of work and increased stress.

Chunk it down. Do not put it off just because you will not have enough time to finish the entire thing in one sitting. You can eat an elephant one bite at a time.Break up large tasks into small tasks and work on the small tasks consistently.

Gain momentum. Do some work on assignments as soon as you get them, so you get your mind focused on the project right away. This can provide momentum and help you keep going.

Use bribery! Give yourself a reward for accomplishing part of a task you have been avoiding.

Set appointments on your calendar. Set aside specific time slots on your calendar to work on tasks you are procrastinating about and honor those commitments.

See my blog post Procrastination for more tips and start now to do what you have been putting off. Discover how positively productive you can become by just taking one small step forward!


How Each Generation Views Leadership

Preference for management styles is a major source of conflict and misunderstanding, especially among team members from different generations. Younger employees feel that their ideas and contributions are ignored, and they are not given the same respect as older workers. On the other hand, older managers believe that younger employees do not respect authority, seniority or rank. Here are some tips to help you understand what style of leadership each generation prefers.

  • Traditionals appreciate strong, “control-and-command” leadership. They respect rank unquestioningly and see no value in consensus or collaborative styles of leadership.
  • Baby Boomers are the opposite of Traditionals and prefer collaborative leaders who give power to the people. For Boomers, it’s democracy first and then authority. Expect them to question everything and want to “make it better.”
  • Gen X is unimpressed with authority—position does not automatically lead to respect; leaders must earn it. They have no respect for leaders who rely on authority or rules to lead and distrust the consensus style of leadership favored by Boomers.
  • Gen Y looks up to leaders and expects guidance and some protection from them. They see a leader as their mentor and coach. They treat everyone as peers.
  • Gen Z want managers and leaders who are willing to relate to them as persons and work with them to develop clearly defined career paths. Managers who invest in their success will be rewarded with hard-working, loyal employees.

Understanding each generation’s preference for management styles is a key element of effective leadership. Knowing what each generation responds to and rejects can help you lead better, more positively productive teams.


Talking About Tough Stuff at Work

Difficult conversations are hard any time, but when you need to have a tough talk with someone at work, it pays to be prepared!

  • Decide on your purpose and what you hope to accomplish with the conversation. Your objectives should be mutually beneficial and should demonstrate empathy for the other person.
  • Be objective and evaluate how you might have contributed to the situation. Have you done or said something that could have been misinterpreted?
  • Set an intention that the interaction will go well. Keep this in mind to help you stay on track and not let your emotions take charge.
  • Examine your assumptions about the other person’s intentions and avoid ascribing negative motivations to him or her. Keep in mind that if your buttons are being pushed, you may be experiencing feelings held over from something totally unrelated to the current situation.
  • Practice the conversation to yourself, using a variety of possible responses and situations. Imagine handling things with calmness and grace.

A little preparation can make the difference between a successful exchange that results in a positive outcome and one that creates hurt feelings and resentment. Your ability to have difficult conversations and talk about the tough stuff at work is a skill that will serve you both on and off the job. See my blog post Don’t Run Away from Conflict for more information.


Tips for Cleaning the Desk Before Vacation

Vacation time is just around the corner and now is the time to start getting ready to take off. Here are a few tips for clearing your desk and preparing for time off, so you can enjoy your vacation and relax without any stress or worries about the job.

  • Consider the Length of Your Absence. Before you plan to leave, consider how long you will be gone and what deliverables are due right before you leave, while you are gone, and right after you return. This is the key to successful delegation and for keeping your work in order while you are away.
  • Delegate Tasks. Delegating tasks is necessary any time you plan to go on vacation. This ensures that you take care of any work generally done by you. Delegation helps you put your mind at ease, knowing critical activities will be accomplished in your absence. Decide which tasks should be delegated and to whom, and prepare them for the task well before you leave. See my blog post Delegate for Results for more information.
  • Clear the Clutter. Clear any clutter and documents from your desk to ensure paperwork is not mishandled or lost while you are on vacation. Cleaning your desk thoroughly will also help you get a handle on tasks that need to be completed before you leave. Remember to turn on out-of-office notifications and let people know whom to go to in your absence! You can find more tips in my blog A Simple Approach to Eliminating Clutter.

A little preparation means a carefree vacation!