Article by Pierre du Plessis
Leading without 'authority'. The days of hierarchies and traditional leverage like salaries and vacation time are dead or dying.
The world of work has phenomenally shifted in the past decade. Today we have to deal with work swarms, solopreneurs, freelancers, remote workers, and millenials that quit to take a year sabbatical to find themselves in the outer reaches of Mongolia.
'Authority' as we remember it, or at least some of us, is a thing of the past. Today's workers want more than money, they need meaning, and crave community in place of colleagues.
How to lead in such a world is the question. Leadership is necessary if you want to go somewhere and even with the rise of the robots you still need people to help you get there. The unfortunate truth is the usual levers just don't work anymore, and to be frank, they sucked to begin with. So what to do?
Nearly every manager I’ve ever consulted to or coached has told me about having at least one employee who’s not so great. I’ve come to think of it as an almost inevitable part of the manager’s professional landscape: there's generally that one (or more) employee who doesn’t perform well, or is difficult to deal with, or has a hard time getting along with others, or means well but just doesn’t ever quite do what’s expected, or….
And the unfortunate thing is, most managers get held hostage to these folks, spending a disproportionate amount of time, thought and emotional energy on them. Often hovering on the verge of letting them go for years, but never quite being able (for a variety of reasons) to pull the trigger.
Here, then, are nine things that excellent managers do when confronted with a difficult employee – things that keep them from getting sucked into an endless vortex of ineffectiveness and frustration:
Often, when an employee is difficult we stop paying attention to what’s going on. We're irritated, it seems hopeless, and we’ve already decided what we think about the employee - so we just turn our attention to other things, out of a combination of avoidance and self-protection. But the best managers get very attentive when someone’s not doing well. They know their best shot at improving the situation lies in having the clearest possible understanding of the situation – including knowing the tough employee’s point of view.
A bonus: in some cases, simply listening can save the day. You may hear about a real problem that’s not the employee’s fault that you can solve; the tough employee may start acting very differently once he or she feels heard; you may discover legitimate issues he or she has that need to be addressed.
2. Give clear, behavioural feedback.
Most managers will spend months, even years, complaining about poor employees... and not ever giving them actual feedback about what they need to be doing differently. Yes, giving tough feedback is one of the most uncomfortable things a manager must do. But great managers learn to do to it reasonably well, and then they do it.
Whenever you’re having significant problems with an employee, WRITE DOWN THE KEY POINTS. I can’t stress this strongly enough. Dozens of times I’ve had managers tell me that they couldn’t let a difficult employee go because they had no record of his or her bad behaviour. And all too often this lack of documentation arises out of misplaced hopefulness; that they didn’t want to be ‘too negative' about the employee (As if it would all magically go away if they didn't write it down). Good managers know that documentation isn’t negative – it’s prudent. Remember, if you're able to solve the problem, you can just breathe a sigh of relief and put your documentation in the back of the drawer.
4. Be consistent.
If you say you’re not OK with a behaviour, don’t sometimes be OK with it. Employees look to see what you do more than what you say. If, for instance, you tell employees that it’s critical they submit a certain report by a certain time, and then you’re sometimes upset and sometimes not upset when they don't do it…the less-good employees generally won’t do it. Pick your shots - only set standards you’re willing to hold to – and then hold to them.
5. Set consequences if things don’t change.
If things still aren’t improving at this point, good managers get specific. They say some version of, “I still believe you can turn this around. Here’s what turning it around would look like. If I don’t see that behaviour by x date, here’s what will happen” (e.g. “you’ll be put on warning,” or “you won’t be eligible for a promotion” – some substantive negative consequence.) If problem employees don’t believe their behaviour will have any real negative impact on them – why would they change?
6. Work through the company’s processes.
Good managers hold out hope for improvement until the point when they decide to let the person go. AND they make sure they’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s that will allow them to fire the person if it comes to that. If you’re at this point in your efforts to address the situation, you ought to be having very clear conversations with HR so that you know (and are doing) exactly what you need to do to clear the path to termination, if that turns out to be necessary.
7. Don’t poison the well.
All too often, poor managers substitute bad-mouthing the problem employee to all and sundry rather than taking the steps I’ve outlined above. No matter how difficult an employee may be, good managers don’t trash- talk to other employees. It creates an environment of distrust and back-stabbing, it pollutes others’ perception of the person, and it makes you look weak and unprofessional. Just don’t do it.
8. Manage your self-talk.
Throughout this process, make sure your self-talk is neither unhelpfully positive nor unhelpfully negative. Thinking to yourself, “This guy’s an idiot and will never change,” isn’t useful, nor is thinking, “Everything will turn out fine, he’s great, there’s no problem.” Good managers take a fair witness stance, making sure that what they say to themselves about the situation is as accurate as possible. For example, “His behaviour is creating real problems for the team. I’m doing what I can to support him to change. If he does, great, and if he doesn’t, I’ll do what I’ve said I’ll do.”
9. Be courageous.
Firing someone is the hardest thing a manager must do. If it gets to that point, do it right. Don’t make excuses, don’t put it off, don’t make someone else do it. The best managers do the tough things impeccably. And if – hallelujah - things turn around, be courageous enough to accept that; sometimes being proved wrong when we think someone’s not salvageable is almost as hard as being proved right.
If you learn to use these ‘good manager’ approaches when you have a difficult employee, then no matter how things turn out, you’ll end up knowing that you’ve done your best in a tough situation. And that may be the best stress reducer of all.
Original Article by Erika Andersen ,on Forbes
Many moons ago my Tuesdays were packed with meetings, it started at 8:30 and my last one ended up at 16:00. At the end of the day, I felt extremely overwhelmed.
Each meeting meant more admin, so I ended up on Wednesday’s trying to complete all my Tuesday’s meeting To Do lists. Two days lost, only 3 left.
I even sat in a meeting, trying to figure out how much each meeting cost the company. You know, 6 people in the meeting times the amount they get paid per hour. Yes, it was a guess, but still it ended up in a massive amount.
Time is valuable! As all ACHIEVERS (StrengthsFinder) will understand
There are no wins in an unproductive company.
So here are 10 quick tips on how to ensure your meeting are productive
1.What’s your goal?
The most effective meeting has a goal, you can save 15 min per meeting if each one receives an agenda. It keeps everyone on track. You can even share any documentation beforehand.
Very politely ask if you really need to be in the meeting.
Only invite essential personnel, and you’ll find things will stay on track
3.Time – 22 min
I loved this idea from Brain Scudamore (Forbes)
If you have a 30-min meeting, we attend to fill it up even if we are finished.
Next time, request a 22-min meeting, you’ll be able to get all done in 22 min as in the standard 30 min meeting.
Back-to-back meetings seems like a good idea. Just make sure you leave a 5-min break in-between if you need to use the restroom, coffee refill or walking to the next boardroom.
If you’re going to be late, let people know before hand, suggest a new time 11:10.
No one wants to wait for you, you are spending their time.
Jeff Bezos from Amazon, banned PowerPoint outright.
Visuals is a great tool! We remember in pictures. Keep your slides simple, they moment you start reading from a slide, you are losing your audience.
6.Change of Scenery
A boardroom is more sensible for a group meeting, but why don’t you change your boardroom for a change. New environment leads to creativity.
If you have a one-on-one meeting, try a walk-and-talk, it stimulates the mind and gives you more privacy if you work in an open office. Even Steve Jobs’ preferred this method of conversation.
Yes, I said it. “Icebreaker”
A 5-min team-building activity can break up a dull topic, or give a fun and relaxing start for a meeting. Even a small surprise during the meeting. Two weeks ago I visited a team, who had Magnum Ice Creams for our break. We were all stoked for our next session.
Even if you are extremely professional, remember we are all still human.
8.Unplug your Laptops
If you’ve got half an eye on your email, you can’t be fully present. Studies have found that students who use laptops have a harder time remembering what they learn or are less to understand complex ideas.
Unless you are taking minutes or absolutely need your computer, turn it off.
A study revealed that 65% of employees regularly do other work while a conference call is happening. A good meeting is about connecting minds an idea. Face-to-face is not always possible, but there’s really no substitute for face time.
10.Lead with Purpose
Great meetings happen with great leaders. This might be daunting, but definitely possible. Start one tip at a time.
Run an efficient, effective and entertaining meeting, your team will follow. Your meetings may start to be the best part of your workday.
Source: Article originally published on Forbes
Paula is a new manager. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that she was handed a leaky bag. The branch she will now manage has some long-standing norms she sees as unproductive and possibly unethical. Staff members routinely spend working hours on personal projects. Employees neglect customers to take extended lunch breaks. In addition, Paula’s predecessor routinely rated everyone a “5” on a five-point scale, but she was struggling to find a single “5” in the entire group.
As the individual and group performance picture became clear to Paula, she began to pine for the simplicity of her life as an individual contributor.
Most new managers quickly see things they’d like to change. New leaders are advised to take some time to listen and appreciate what is, rather than make their own mark at the risk of appearing self-centered or authoritarian. But what should you do when the need for change is profound and urgent? How can you minimize resistance while honoring your fundamental duty?
There’s a difference between addressing bad behavior and changing bad norms. The first requires confronting the inappropriate meanderings of one or two individuals. The second is about resetting the norms of an entire group. Here are some suggestions for new managers who see the need for quick and fundamental change.
Is it me or is it them? First, get feedback from trusted sources to ensure your concerns are a matter of principle not of taste. For example, Paula should consult HR to ensure her new standards don’t conflict with company policy. She might also tap into colleagues who fit three criteria: (1) having a view of her work group; (2) having a sense of broader company norms; and (3) telling her the truth — even if she doesn’t like it. If the problems are open-and-shut violations of policy, notify HR or other appropriate channels. But if the issues are more in the gray zone, move to the next step.
Establish air cover. The big problem with bad norms is you don’t know how high and wide the acceptance runs. If, for example, your peer managers in this new location give tacit approval to personal indulgences during work hours, it’s much harder to establish new norms. It’ll be even harder if those above you have enabled the behavior. If that is the case, then you’ll need to have a conversation with peer managers and your boss before addressing your work group.
One of the primary talents leaders need today is the ability to manage and leverage cultural differences. Today’s manager has to work in both international and cross-cultural environments.
Consequently, managers are required to deal with challenges, friction, and misunderstandings stemming from intercultural communication differences. Therefore, successful management in a modern environment demands cross-cultural competency. In order to get the best out of any multicultural team, leading such a team necessitates a very distinct skill set. Being mindful and modifying your leadership style accordingly is the key to success. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Try and communicate with your team face-to-face as much as you can. Nothing replaces face-to-face communication, as it allows you to read body language, assess levels of understanding, and build relationships.
Be clear about your own cultural profile. Only when you are clear about your cultural profile and how it influences your work, your communication style, feelings and actions, can you direct your team. This authentic approach to your own cultural identity can help improve performance for you and your team.
Resolutions? I might take up smoking. So many people quit, at least someone should take it up?
Just kidding of course, I never really liked smoking, just the odd cigar every now and again.
Ria, my wife, and I were joking around at the end of last year, listing all the new year’s ‘resolutions’ we will take up, smoking being top of the list:
What do you want?
Isn’t that the question that start new year’s resolutions? What do you want? Now quickly, before you think too much and your moral goody self pops out, what is it that you want? What was that first thing that popped into your mind?
Tony Robbins, actually also tackles this question in one of his books: “what do you want?” The true answer, he says, and I agree, is to be happy. That is what we all want, we want a happy life, free from worry, stress, anxiety. Right? The real reason we want these things, or people, or adventures, is that we think that when we get them, or have them or do them, we will be
Happiness is your problem.
The catch, as always, is that all these things won’t make you happy.Wishing for that thing, that moment, that person, that job, will never make you happy, not for very long anyway. Happiness is something that only you can create.
Self help really is the only help. If I don’t choose to be happy, to be content, to engage and to live life. If I don’t choose to let go of the past and quit worrying about the future then it is not going to happen.
Therefore, I resolve to be just one thing, not get one thing, and not be it by July, but now, today, as you read this. I resolve to be happy.
Happiness is not only your own responsibility, it is also your duty to be happy.
Happiness is our moral obligation, choosing to live in joy, in happiness is deeply embedded in our journey to freedom, as Simone De Beauvoir the philosopher and feminist states;
“It must not be forgotten that there is a concrete bond between freedom and existence; to will man free is … to will the disclosure of being in the joy of existence”
Another way to think about it, the relation between freedom and happiness, is to ask the question a different way, what do you need when you are truly content, happy?
So what does one do with this happy, content, smiling like an idiot life?
You could, but no, when one is truly happy, content, satisfied, you cannot help but to become generous, to give, to create. And that is what the world needs, more than ever is truly generous creators.
Of course, this, for many, including me, is easier said than done.
The trick is to not choose goals that will make you ‘happy’, but chose practices that will make you happy. Gumnasia (goom-na-see-ah), is the greek term for gymnasium, where men trained physically and mentally (in the nude, but that is another story). And this is fundamentally what this blog is about, training, training to be happy, training to be human.
Resolutions, Your Turn:
Relook your new year’s list and write at the top:
Then write down at least two or three practices that will amplify this choice:
or whatever you need.
Post by Pierre du Plessis, originally appeared on Gumnasia, Happiness is a skill.
One of the most powerful ways to get to know yourself is through journaling. Journaling helps you connect to your inner wisdom, which is especially important in our noisy world, according to Sandy Grason, author of the book Journalution: Journaling to Awaken Your Inner Voice, Heal Your Life and Manifest Your Dreams.
“There are so many voices out there telling you who to be, how to act, what to do.”
It also comes in handy when those loud voices are coming from inside. “I have found that your Inner Wisdom whispers and your Inner Critic yells, so you have to get quiet in order to hear your inner wisdom. Journaling is one way to get quiet,” she said.
The Disengagement Economy
“The costs of a “lost generation”... disconnected from both school and work... tops $4.7 trillion.“
Disengagement is a defining mega-trend in today’s world. With all the talk about “disengaged” leaders and followers not to mention the unemployed who are disengaged from work altogether, maybe we just go ahead and name our new normal the Disengagement Economy. Mostly we have given disengagement a pass because after all it is so soft and so hard to get a handle on. Yet, as it piles up across the domains of our lives — home, work, politics and faith — our growing disconnect carries major social, emotional and economic costs. Please indulge my relationship math as I quantify what you already know qualitatively: the magnitude and cumulative cost of our relational disengagement is not sustainable.
It is that time of year, we are all feeling it to one extent or the other.
Exhaustion is beyond being tired, and can be super bad for your health.
Here are some tips, check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Have a great week!
If you stifle yawns in 2 p.m. meetings and find yourself passed out cold during the previews on movie nights, you probably already know you’re run down. But there’s a big difference between being pooped out and being exhausted — and the signs aren’t as obvious as just feeling tired. It’s important to know the difference, because exhaustion can be downright dangerous.
“Sleep is one of the most underappreciated facets of health,” says Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, MD, medical director of Take Shape for Life. “The consequences of sacrificing it can ripple throughout various areas of your life. Exhaustion has been linked to issues with appetite regulation, heart disease, increased inflammation, and a 50 percent increase in your risk of viral infection.” So if you’re tired and you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below, it might mean you’re exhausted — and it’s time to devote some serious time to sleep, ASAP
1. Your Lips Are Dry
Water affects so many systems within your body that it’s impossible to maintain your energy levels if you’re not drinking sufficient amounts of H20, he explains. “People often forget to hydrate because it just isn’t on their minds. Everyone’s different, but I always tell people you should drink water to the point where your urine is clear,” says Breus.
2. Your Mind Is All Fuzzy
Don’t let a team building go to waste
“Team building.” Just the mention of it is enough to make even the most stalwart employer (or employee) shudder.
Having said that, there are some fantastic, inspiring team building exercises that have truly done wonders for team morale, productivity, and cohesiveness. But, how do you ensure that time, effort, and cost put into team building activities doesn’t go to waste?
If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, or you know your team needs help but you’re not sure where to start, keep reading. I’ll guide you through how to get the most out of your next team building endeavour.
What team building is
Team building—often referred to as team development—is an organisational development strategy. The broad aim is to enhance organisational effectiveness by first tackling issues within a team. These issues may be either task-related or people-related.
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