Archive for Mgmt. Articles

Conflict Management in the Workplace-Tips for Bosses

As a manager you must have faced resistance to new ideas, initiatives and change to procedures at some point in time. Good managers learn to deal with these minor push-backs and move ahead. Better ones, however, turn that into an opportunity and gain in strength from it – they create a persona for themselves and turn it to their advantage. Some simple managerial and conversational recommendations that make managers turn into leaders, in spite of resistance from a group of people, are discussed below. They would assist a good manager turn into a better leader.

State your Aim Clearly.     For a task to be done well, it needs to be clearly stated. Be direct but be positive and use plain tones. State facts as facts and mention requirements in an unambiguous manner. Clear instructions, without an iota of threat works wonders in any situation. Above all, keep a neutral tone and add no negative emotion to the conversation. Half your job is done.

Let People Gripe – Its their Birthright.     You have to appear as a very patient listener. You need to listen to the protests people have, but limit it to a logical time span. It need not be unending and you need to make them understand that though occasional bouts of complaints might work – noncompliance does not. Limit the gripe time.

Understand the Real Concern.     Often the real cause of the resistance to a new idea is Read more

Communicating and Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude at Work

If there is one thing we should we should be communicating daily it’s gratitude. Expressing gratitude in the workplace is the key to fostering good relationships and cultivating a pleasant working environment.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a staff member or the manager in charge, you can use small tokens of appreciation to change your working atmosphere from negative or neutral to positive and expansive.

Here are a few ways to express your gratitude and make a difference.
Things to say:

  • “I’m happy you’re here.”
  • “I’m grateful you’re my coworker (or on my team.”)
  • “I appreciate your smile–it cheers up my day.”

Things to do:

  • Put a few words of gratitude on a colorful sticky note and tack it above a coworkers desk.
  • Write a few words of appreciation on small slips of paper and stuff them into fortune cookies. Keep them personalized to each recipient.
  • Create a weekly gratitude day–don’t make it a big deal–just catch a coworker in an act of kindness or generosity and let them know you appreciate their caring gesture. Listen, we all know who makes the coffee, this is a good time to acknowledge it.

Creating a culture of gratitude will yield greater profits than what’s visible on the bottom line–though it will certainly contribute to that result.

Try it. Let me know what works for you by leaving a comment below.

I’m grateful for you– my readers and clients–today and everyday. Thank you for showing up and participating.

You can find more information on this topic in my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Get it at Amazon.com today.

Communicating at Work – Managing Unmet Expectations

A common complaint from managers revolves around unmet expectations from direct reports and team leaders.  Whether we are talking about missed deadlines, missed goals or missed opportunities communication is always at the heart of the problem.

Let’s take a look at just one root cause  of unmet expectations and a solution.

Problem: Systems and  tools don’t function as needed and departments don’t work well together.

Solution:
1.  Provide the needed tools to do the job
–including software, hardware, human resources, filing and process systems, proper forms, paper, etc.  It is difficult to hammer nails without the nails.

2. Smooth the path between departments to eliminate the “I can’t start my part until I receive this information from…” syndrome. Catch issues before they start. Ensure that all departments are coordinated with the same expected outcome.

3.  Grant the authority to do the job. Often an issue between departments occurs when one department is expected to perform  but has no authority to make decisions that directly affect their ability to do so. Design is often driven by manufacturing , which is driven by operating goals. If operating goals are best met by producing out-of -date products (sounds crazy, but it happens a lot), then design can not create what the market is asking for and sales people can’t meet their goals. Don’t expect a quick fix. All departments need to understand their role in profitability and growth.

Want more information about root causes and solutions? You’ll find it on pages 113 – 115 of Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up.
Get your copy at Amazon.com and don’t forget to pick up your FREE Bonuses.

Leave me your story of unmet expectations.

People Just Want to be Acknowledged and Appreciated

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated. ~ William James

It’s true that the number one motivator for employees is appreciation.  Whether you are motivating employees, students, co-workers or your children practice giving motivation that suits his or her’s learning style–auditory, visual and kinesthetic.

Take the time to “tell” the auditory person what you appreciate about them rather than sending an email, writing a note or even giving a gift. Hearing the words live and in-person really connects with the auditory. So get up and tell them in person. Or pass out fortune cookies stuffed with words of praise and have them read their good fortunes aloud.

Visuals love notes, plaques and anything they can both see and display for others to see. Keep those cards and letters coming. I used colorful, post notes to write short boldly colored words of thanks for my visual staff. They displayed them on their cupboards like a display of “first place” blue ribbons.

A pat on the back goes a long way for the kinesthetic people. They want to feel the love. A hug, handshake or high-five tugs at the heartstrings of these feeling folks.

Coworkers and clients will shift their attitude and raise morale. Everyone benefits.

Find more tips on communicating with your team in Allie’s book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Buy it now at Amazon.

Communicating at Work – 5 Steps for Managing Resistance to Change

Resistance to change is  a common workplace challenge. Poor communication contributes to the push-back that comes with rolling out new procedures,  a change in status,  a physical move or launching a new project.

The dissension can come from a single voice or the collective whole.

Try these 5 steps for gaining cooperation:

1. Spell out and communicate both orally and in writing, exactly what the changes are and how they will affect individual positions.

2. If you choose to entertain objections set a time frame and stick to it.  A never ending gripe session serves no one.

3. Listen to the emotions and the underlying fears that are often couched in vague complaints such as “this will take too much time.”  The fear may be that the employee will have to stay later and miss picking up their child on time.

4. Check your interpretation of the complaints by reflecting back what you have heard.

5. Consider suggestions and set a follow-up date for the outcome. Not all changes have that kind of flexibility but you might be surprised at what can be adjusted for better buy-in.

Employees simply want to be a part of something bigger. Use this opportunity to communicate honestly and create a deeper  connection and the odds for cooperation will increase.

Find more tips for communicating effectively at work in my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work – What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up.  Buy it at Amazon.com


Management’s Role in Motivating Employees- How to Connect Them to Something Bigger

Motivating employees, especially during economic downturns, requires an empathic approach. Or, as I prefer to call it—the “connecting your heart-to-your-head approach.” The pressure of too-much-work-to-be-done with too few people often causes a low level response to the threat of job loss as a stimulus for more production. Simply, their emotional well is dry and any increase in productivity is short-lived. Threats don’t work.

Managers expect employees to be self-motivated and to a degree that should be the case. Self-motivation is the ability to get things done without being directed by others. But, this does not absolve a manager from providing Read more

Communication Tip – Turning Resistance into Cooperation

More Quick Tips from Misunderstood!: The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up (Volume 1)

The Only Business Shortcut that Never Comes Back to Bite You!

If you’re past the honeymoon stage in your business, you know that taking shortcuts have a nasty way of blowing up in your face.  Eventually.

BUT there are always a few people who seem to effortlessly zero in on the key points in any meeting, negotiation, management crises or opportunity.  They get more done, faster – both alone and through others.

Warren Buffett is an extreme example.  In 1991, his multi-billion dollar investment in Salomon Brothers was at the edge of disaster.  The government was *this close* to effectively shutting them down.

Buffett had to choose a new CEO, making what he considered the most important hire of his life.  And he did.   In 15 minutes.  He met the guy for 15 minutes and decided to hire him. And it was a fantastic choice.

Astounding, no?

Was it luck?  No.  Nor was it a kind of reckless shortcut in which he “hoped” it would work out.

Buffett has systematically trained his mind to see subtle things in every day situations that almost everyone else misses. Read more

5 Ways to Erase Daily Procrastination in Your Business

Guest blog post by A. Michelle Blakeley:

According to Real Simple magazine’s survey of 10,000 readers, the average daily to-do list has 5 to 9 tasks on it. Only 5% of the readers are productive for 3 hours during a 9-to-5 workday as a result of web-related distractions. According to the Procrastination Research Group, based on some figures, it is estimated that as much as 95% of the people are prone to procrastination. Amongst them, 20% of them are chronic procrastinators.


Procrastination is generally defined as avoided tasks
or activities that need to be accomplished. Poor time management and procrastination can be a direct result of having unreachable goals, having to meet others’ standards, disorganization or the inability to handle the task. Below are ways to erase daily procrastination in your business. Read more

Communication Tips from Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work