Tuesday, August 24, 2010

15 Strategies for Personal Management

1. Always be willing to learn something that makes you more interesting or productive

2. Focus on self-empowerment as a responsible action

3. Accept responsibility only if you are willing to be held accountable

4. Don’t let stress ruin a good environment or relationship

5. Be enthusiastic and exhibit positude on a daily basis

6. Take care of your mental and physical health

7. Demonstrate a good work ethic at all times

8. Integrate your values and beliefs with your business goals

9. Use trust to build relationships and be respectful

10. Voice your opinion when needed but be a better listener

11. Focus on priorities in all areas of your lifeLink
12. Don’t confuse efficiency with effectiveness…know the difference

13. Use your emotional intelligence to exhibit self-discipline

14. Strive to improve your performance daily in all areas of your life

15. Realize that success is a journey that continues throughout life

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Women in Leadership; It's a touchy subject

Women in leadership; it’s a touchy subject, or is it? Maybe for the females it is. Women face multi-dimensional obstacles in today’s workplace. Women have been overcoming challenges since the beginning. Although there have been quite a few women in high leadership roles, it hasn’t changed the day to day for women. For them it’s a delicate balancing act.

A study called “Holding Women Back” surveyed 10,000 leaders. It states that as both men and women rose through the ranks, the gap widened between the genders in involvement in leadership development programs. At the first level of management, the study found, 19% of men and 15% of women were in high-potential programs. By the time they reached the top executive level, 39% of men compared to 26% of women were considered high-potentials. A lot of the recommendations tend to be unconscious, i.e. “Mark is like me, he’ll be a good candidate.”

Women are expected to combine leadership with compassion, rightly so. I’m sure their employee’s mothers were compassionate while growing up. Women must conform to two very conflicting sets of expectations, too pushy, too soft, too accommodating, too sexless, and too sexy. With this narrow defined set of expectations, how are women supposed to react and how are they to act while in a leadership position?

“Holding Women Back” study says “We’re recommending formal programs…Does the program have fairness and common standards? Do we have ways to evaluate who’s in the program? Once you do [this], you start to see the gender differences disappear.”

They also stated that women need to make their career aspirations known to managers and observe how others get opportunities and promotions, reaching out for similar chances rather than waiting to be approached by management.

As a woman in leadership, or a woman in her early career, she must voice her career needs and wants. Push past the obstacles holding her back and learn to soften her image while maintaining authority, determination, and competency. She must learn strategies for giving and receiving feedback and set clear goals.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Productivity Depends on Management

News Flash: The Labor Department reported that productivity declined at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2010.

It is all over the news that worker productivity dropped this spring for the first time in more than a year. Some people believe that this should be an indicator for companies to step up their hiring if they hope to grow in this economic downturn.

I do not find that many companies are taking the appropriate measures to ramp up their hiring practices. Most companies are still depending on doing more with less and the stress of that philosophy is starting to take its toll on management and other key employees. It is more important than ever that management has a complete knowledge of the work itself, exhibits strong interpersonal responsiveness, continues to be creative, and provides useful ideas to be successful.

Most people today believe that being “busy” is the answer. That the more tasks we do right will produce the desired outcome. Management needs to realize that efficiency does not necessarily bring results. It is the effectiveness of the activities that everyone performs on a daily basis that is the key to success. It's not the number of hours you work, but the results of your activities at the end of the day.

Some techniques that management can use to improve employee productivity may include the following:
• Improve the effectiveness of your supply chain
• Improve the pattern of workflow; less duplication of efforts
• Increase quality by focusing on the reduction of error rates to avoid reworks
• Setting up a schedule to reduce or eliminate down time
• Make sure everyone is performing only value-added work
• Improve morale (read article: 9 Ways to Boost Morale)
• Provide an effective development process to improve productivity
• Understand the need for everyone to reach their potential and be goal-oriented.

Most management today has not been taught how to be more effective. If you are not going to ramp up your hiring, then you better make you workers more effective first and foremost. If everyone improves their performance and productivity while lowering their stress, you will reach your company goals.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nine Tactics to Boost Employee Morale

One of a manager's most important jobs is to keep spirits up in the workplace. With stress levels at an all time high, this isn't always easy to do. However, there are some strategies you can use that will get the job done - - without hurting your budget!
  1. Sponsor a "Noon Movie". Once a week, depending on employee schedules, set up a DVD in the lunchroom and show a funny movie during lunch. If time is limited, show reruns of Seinfield, Frazier, or other situation comedies.
  2. Set up a "Humor Corner". Designate one section of the office as the place for humor and encourage employees to post cartoons, jokes, or other funny material.
  3. Get out of the Office! Whenever possible, hold meetings outside the office - at the coffee show down the street or at a local restaurant. If weather premits, don't be afraid to hold meetings outside from time to time.
  4. Liven up your memos. Buy a book of one liners, and include a joke at the bottom of your memos.
  5. Run a "Guess the Baby" contest. Ask the staff to bring in baby photos and post them on the wall. Award a free lunch to the employee who can guess who's who.
  6. Have "Late Day Mondays". If possible, once a month allow your employees to arrive an hour late on Monday morning - or leave an hour early on a Friday.
  7. Take pictures! Every office has an aspiring photographer. Ask that person to take candid shots of employees, and add them to the "Humor Corner".
  8. Play with the dress code. If your culture allows it, hold an "Ugly Sweater", "Ugly Tie", or "Ugly Pants" day. Award prizes for the winners.
  9. Bring your smile to work. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes. If the manager consistenly has an upbeat attitude, that staff will as well.
** from The Manager's Intelligence Report