Wednesday, August 29, 2018

How to Keep Your Best Employees

How to Keep Your Best Employees

During a recent executive coaching session the topic of employee turnover came up. My client shared what has been an ongoing problem in his company: losing star performers. Recognizing the tremendous expense associated with recruiting, hiring and training as well as losses in production and efficiency, he wanted to know what his company could do keep their best employees.

In addition to the obvious factors of competitive benefits and salaries, here are some of the key strategies to help you keep your best employees:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Get It Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination – Part 3

procrastinationThis is the third installment of a 3-part series on overcoming procrastination.  I admit to feeling the pressure of finishing on time, considering the topic!  So, here are the final three Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination.

Get it done early 

You’ve probably heard, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.”  We see this played out every April 15th as cars line up at the post office so taxpayers can get their returns posted by midnight and in jam-packed retailers on December 24th. If you put things off to the last minute, you not only increase the stress associated with the looming deadline, but you add the stress of knowing that there is no margin for error.  Think of how much more calmly you would be able to approach a project if you gave yourself an earlier “soft” deadline, worked consistently to meet it, and had confidence in one of two likely outcomes – either the satisfaction of being finished early or the comfort of knowing you have more time to work the bugs out. In Part 1 of this series we talked about training your brain, and reinforcing an earlier deadline for yourself can help you stay focused and on task, which prevents procrastination. 

Get others onboard 

One factor in breaking down your project into bite-sized pieces is to determine if any of those pieces should be done by someone else.  Consider who has the information or resources you need and ask for their help as soon as possible. Remember, other people struggle with the tendency to procrastinate, too, and they’ll need adequate time to provide you what you need.  Another factor in gaining cooperation from others involves those outside the sphere of your project. The real world includes people who need or

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Get It Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination – Part 2

procrastinationIn my previous blog I shared some of the reasons we procrastinate and the first three strategies for overcoming it. Today we’ll work on the next four strategies for Overcoming Procrastination.

Procrastination – You Snooze, You Lose

Get realistic 

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time, of course!  When you have a big project, be realistic about how much you can accomplish each day or you risk becoming overwhelmed and discouraged.  Identify different elements of the project and list them separately.  For example, if your project is to arrange a meeting of your company’s national sales team, your break-out list might include elements such as Facility, Transportation, Agenda, Food, etc. and each of these can be broken into even smaller bites including tasks, calls, reservations, etc.  As you check these manageable chunks off your list, you’ll gain momentum and enthusiasm.  In order to avoid boredom, fatigue and disinterest, it is also important to schedule in breaks every 45 minutes or so.  Breaks are a great time to positively reinforce your effort by using that time to take a brisk walk, eat a snack, call a friend or catch up on your favorite sports team.

Get free from distractions 

Life is full of “shiny objects” that grab our attention. When your goal is to make significant progress on a task you must remove the things that can easily tempt your five senses.  Turn off your telephone ringtone and other notifications; close your door and even your blinds, if necessary.  Only open computer programs directly related to your project and leave the television off.  Since your brain can only process one language-based function at a time, even music with words or a radio station with an announcer talking will short-circuit your concentration.  This may sound extreme, but when

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Leadership vs. Management

LeadershipIf an organization of any kind is going to function successfully, it needs both leadership and management. While some people use those terms interchangeably, they are, in fact, distinctly different and valuable functions in order to create an environment of productivity and performance.

Leaders, in the simplest terms, are people that other people follow. Think about someone who inspires you to want to participate in a cause, goal or vision. Who do you know that makes you say, “I want to be part of what he or she is doing?” Leaders cast the vision and move things and people forward.

While great leaders may motivate you to be part of something by stirring your desire to participate, they don’t always possess the organizational skills or attention to detail required to make the vision happen. A successful organization needs someone who can provide structure and efficient processes in order to accomplish the goal. Even lofty ideals need to be upheld by someone supervising workers who operate equipment, pay bills, coordinate supplies, help clients or customers and generally make sure the work is accomplished. Managers build teams and processes to ensure things are done right.

Occasionally you may encounter someone with both leadership and management skills, but it is uncommon to excel at both. In my role as a coach I have worked with people in executive positions who were frustrated and uncomfortable with their jobs and some had received negative feedback from their staff and/or superiors. In time, it can become apparent that the talented manager has been placed in a leader role, or vice versa.

One of your strongest allies in helping you make critical career decisions is being aware of your own personality, interests, skills and natural abilities. Are you a “big picture” person with a desire to share

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sincere Encouragement Breeds Success

If you have the responsibility of managing employees, you are well aware that their performance has a huge impact on your job satisfaction and on the success of your business or department. Good leadership and management requires a number of significant skills, but today I want to review one in particular: encouragement.

You may have completed years of college and training, and you may have learned many impressive skills in order to rise to the position you are in today, but sincere encouragement is one of the most powerful tools you can use to motivate people to work hard and develop loyalty.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How NOT to Manage an Employee

manageAs a psychologist and executive coach, I am always interested to observe the way people demonstrate either good or bad habits in the way they conduct business. I remember well a time I was shopping at a well known chain store when I witnessed first-hand how those in leadership should NOT manage their employees.

The customer service specialist who was assisting me ran into a snag while trying to complete my transaction. After having pushed almost every button, she exhausted her personal knowledge base of solutions and had to request assistance from her store manager. By this time, it was obvious that she was feeling embarrassed and moderately anxious.

When the manager arrived he had a scowl on his face and looked put out by the request for help.  Without acknowledging his employee, or me (the customer spending money in his store), he abruptly punched some numbers into the computer, made a poorly veiled critical comment to his employee and stomped away. It was quite evident that the employee was even more embarrassed by the poor performance displayed by her “superior”.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ask the Right Questions, Receive Better Answers – Part II

Men Asking Questions

Last week we started talking about how asking good questions in the right way could improve communication and cooperation with your staff and coworkers.  The first three recommendations were to listen carefully, control your emotions, and start with something positive.  Today we will discuss a few more strategies.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ask the Right Questions, Receive Better Answers – Part I

Here’s the scenario: It has just come to your attention that a customer filed a complaint about Mr. Smith, one of your employees. While your gut tells you that the customer may have overreacted a bit, there’s enough information to warrant a meeting with Mr. Smith. You know from past experience that he’s somewhat sensitive to criticism, but you have several legitimate concerns. How can you get the information you need without triggering a negative response from Mr. Smith?

Ask the Right Questions

Here’s another common office dilemma: You are meeting with a vendor who’s behind schedule and over budget on a project. You don’t want to jeopardize the job and you don’t want to burn a bridge with this company. However, you’re not at all satisfied with the way things are going and you need to take some answers back to your VP of Operations. What is your best approach?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

How Managers Can Improve Staff Morale – Part 2

If you’re a manager, you know the challenge of keeping your best employees and trying to bring the others to a higher level of performance.  While an employee may simply not have the skills to do their job well, in many cases an underperforming team member may have more of an attitude problem than an ability problem.  Fortunately, there are some practical things you, as a manager, can do about it.

Staff MoraleIn my last blog I shared the first five of ten strategies for improving staff morale within your team.  Here are the remaining five strategies.  Feel free to pass them on.

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Managers Can Improve Staff Morale – Part I

Most employees who quit their jobs are leaving because of their managers and low staff morale, not necessarily their companies.  Sure, we can think of exceptions, like an employee who moves away, or someone who works at a burger joint who decides to follow a vegan diet, or someone who feels a company product, practice or philosophy violates their own values.  But in cases where the employee just can’t stand to go in to work anymore, most of the time it’s personal – often directly related to the interaction they have, or don’t have, with their manager.  If the manager/employee interactions are negative or inadequate, low staff morale will often ensue.

Staff Morale

Many studies have revealed that there is a direct relationship between employee morale and productivity and performance, so making a conscious effort to improve morale is simply good business.  The Gallup Organization has estimated that there are 22 million actively disengaged employees costing the American economy up to $350 billion annually in lost productivity including absence, illness, and other problems that occur as a result of employee dissatisfaction.  Executives and managers who are able to keep employee morale high will undoubtedly improve productivity and performance for their company.

If you want to improve staff morale among your employees adopt the five strategies outlined below as part of your regular management practice.