management http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7726/all en-US 15 Rookie Mistakes New Bosses Make http://www.wisebread.com/15-rookie-mistakes-new-bosses-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-rookie-mistakes-new-bosses-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-624568564.jpg" alt="Woman making rookie mistakes after becoming the boss" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sooner or later in your career (and most likely later, for obvious reasons), you're going to become the boss. Whether it's through a promotion, or a new hire, you will suddenly be in the top spot. Now, the buck really does stop with you. And while it's fantastic to have those new powers and responsibilities, it can also be very difficult to adapt to the new role. Here are 15 rookie mistakes you should avoid when you become the big cheese.</p> <h2>1. Playing favorites with friends</h2> <p>You may be promoted into a leadership role, or hired from the outside, but one thing is certain; either you'll already have friends around you, or you'll make new friends quickly. In either case, be careful with these friendships. It's difficult, and sometimes almost impossible, to separate a great friendship from a working relationship.</p> <p>If a good friend does something at work that is bad for the company, you have to come down just as hard on that person as any other employee. If they don't deserve a promotion, don't give them one. And remember, friendships will be scrutinized. So if the colleague you play golf with every weekend genuinely deserves that raise or promotion, you better make sure you have everything documented.</p> <h2>2. Trying too hard to be liked</h2> <p>New bosses are sometimes like puppies: They run around the office, happy all the time, desperately trying to get a smile out of everyone. It's not going to work. In fact, it will most likely become annoying after a while, and if you keep going, downright disruptive.</p> <p>You do not have to be liked, or loved, by your staff. If you do the job well, and treat them as valuable employees, that will come naturally without buying breakfast every morning and telling jokes at the water cooler. Let your skills speak for themselves. You are not there to win a popularity contest.</p> <h2>3. Trying too hard to be feared or respected</h2> <p>On the other side of the coin is desperately trying to be feared or respected. Now, trying to be feared is just not a good idea. Sure, some people love the thought of being the most terrifying person at the board meeting, but does that make that person a good boss?</p> <p>Respect, on the other hand, is something every good boss should get from the staff. However, it cannot be taken. It has to be earned. Your deeds, decisions, and performance will dictate the kind of respect you get. No one is going to just give you great respect out of the gate (unless they are looking for a quick promotion).</p> <h2>4. Changing everything &mdash; even things that work</h2> <p>In sports, when a new manager joins the team, a lot of changes are made. Often, these are unnecessary changes, including axing players who are great simply because they are part of the old regime. The same can happen in a business environment.</p> <p>As a new boss, you have to look at what is working, and what isn't. There will be systems in place that have taken years to perfect. If they aren't working, fix them. If they are, concentrate on something else. The same goes for people. Know who the bad apples are &mdash; don't throw the good ones out as well.</p> <h2>5. Making impossible promises</h2> <p>Presidential candidates who get elected fall afoul of this one all the time. &quot;Elect me, and I'll do X, Y, and Z.&quot; Then they get the job and find out there's a lot more involved than they ever considered. The same goes when you become the new boss.</p> <p>Do not make promises that are impossible to keep. You may think you really can fix the unfixable, or from an outsider's perspective, the very easily fixable &mdash; but sometimes there are forces at play that you cannot beat. Get the lay of the land first. Ask around. Find out what the employees want fixed, and then dig into the systems that can make it happen. Then, and only then, can you make promises you have a good chance of keeping. Doing it blindly in your first week will not bode well. You'll be the boss who couldn't get things done.</p> <h2>6. Taking on way too much</h2> <p>Take on too much, too soon, and you could jeopardize the position you just landed. It's better to take on a few tasks and do them well than to say yes to everything and do a mediocre job. What's worse, the employees will think you don't trust them to do the jobs they have been doing for years if you start interfering in their work. So, analyze the tasks available to you, and delegate the jobs you don't need to be involved with. You'll have a lot less stress, and the staff will trust you more.</p> <h2>7. Focusing on short term benefits</h2> <p>In this case, benefits are not health, vision, and dental. Rather, these are immediate benefits to the company and staff. Perhaps you see a few easy fixes, and get them done. However, you may well be throwing duct tape on a much bigger problem. In the short term, yes, people are happy. But if you have simply kicked the can down the road, you will have to pick that up at some point. And by then, the problems will have only grown larger.</p> <p>Look at the bigger picture. Yes, it may be easy to fix the poor cafeteria choices, or unsightly wallpaper in the break room, but you may be using money that could help a bigger problem; one that will have a much greater impact when it's solved.</p> <h2>8. Refusing to ask for help</h2> <p>You are the boss. You are in charge. But you're not infallible. You don't know everything. And let's be honest, if this is your first week on the job, how could you?</p> <p>Many managers consider it a sign of weakness to ask for help, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Ask for help when you need it, providing it's something you shouldn't already know (you don't want to ask how to use a spreadsheet if you've just been taken on as head of accounting). If you don't know where a department is, ask for directions. If you don't know how a particular system or process works, call a meeting with the people who do. Then, bring your expertise to the table.</p> <h2>9. Firing and hiring the wrong people</h2> <p>It happens all too often, and it's a blight on corporate culture. A new manager is brought in, and immediately they begin firing people that rub them the wrong way, and hiring people they worked with at other firms. While it's fine to bring in people you know can do the job well, give people a chance to show you what they can do. It should take months to really figure out who is a good employee, and who is treading water. Some people may be excellent, but in the wrong department. Others may have been given inadequate training, or have been buried with enough work for three people. Scope things out before pulling out the pink slips.</p> <h2>10. Micromanaging every single operation</h2> <p>One of the biggest bottlenecks that a manager can create is to insert him or herself into every single transaction. A boss is not supposed to get into the weeds in that way. Rather, a boss sees things from a much greater height, and lets trusted employees get their hands dirty on smaller operations. If you insist on seeing every part of every process, and ask to be CC'd on every email, you will create tremendous animosity. And you'll slow everything to a crawl.</p> <h2>11. Being the center of attention</h2> <p>As far as you're concerned, you did it. You got the job. You got the big promotion. You are the star of your show, your family is proud, and your friends are buying drinks at the bar. Enjoy it, but leave that at the office door. You do not want to have meetings telling everyone all about you, your likes, dislikes, favorite TV shows, preferred color of socks, and all the industry awards you've won. Think of this as a date. You want to spend the first few weeks being insanely interested in your staff. They are your first priority. You want to be fascinated by their issues, and their hopes and dreams. This is not your show.</p> <h2>12. Fearing failure</h2> <p>Failure is essential in every business. You cannot learn how to do something right until you've done it wrong &mdash; usually, several times. But managers who are new to the company or the role fear failure. They believe that mistakes are weaknesses, and that can quickly lead to dismissal. Don't fall into that trap.</p> <p>You have to reach for the stars, and to do so, you must risk falling flat on your face in the dirt. However, you will succeed far more often than you fail, you'll gain the respect of your staff, and you will make great strides for the company.</p> <h2>13. Stalling on big decisions</h2> <p>Your staff knows the big problems that you're facing. They probably know them so well, they're just waiting for you to fix them. But don't lead them on. If you know that someone has to be fired because they are awful at their job, don't stall for months because it's hard to do. If you need to upgrade the equipment, but know it will cost a fortune, address it head on. Let people know you're working on it. By making excuses and stalling, you will lose the respect of your employees, and will become known as all talk, and no action.</p> <h2>14. Ignoring small issues that can make a big difference</h2> <p>You know what they say about a stitch in time. It is just as applicable in the workplace. When you find out about small problems or issues, deal with them. For instance, you may discover that there is animosity between two members of staff. If you ignore it, it grows into a much bigger problem. Perhaps one that can only be solved by letting one of them go. But, by addressing it early, and clearing the air, you can stop that small issue from becoming a big one. Whether it's a system or process, personnel, equipment, or anything else related to the day-to-day operations, don't ignore those small problems. Before you know it, they're enormous.</p> <h2>15. Not getting up to speed on personal issues</h2> <p>A new boss is not expected to know everything about every employee in the first week. But, a quick one-on-one with the team to find out any personal situations that are relevant to the job is essential. For instance, one employee appears to be off his game. He's not attentive in meetings. He's withdrawn from the rest of the office. It seems as if he's just not a good performer. But as it turns out, this is a great employee who just suffered a tragic loss in the family. This is an immediate paradigm shift. Now, this behavior is not only understandable, it's something you can help with. Make it a priority to know your staff, and their problems and concerns, within the first few weeks.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-rookie-mistakes-new-bosses-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-public-speaking-less-terrifying">How to Make Public Speaking Less Terrifying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-times-youre-better-off-without-a-promotion">12 Times You&#039;re Better Off Without a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-career-moves-that-prove-youre-finally-a-grown-up">8 Career Moves That Prove You&#039;re Finally a Grown-Up</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-should-you-do-when-you-are-asked-to-repay-an-overpayment-of-severance">What should you do when you are asked to repay an overpayment of severance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-vacation-shame-your-coworkers">7 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t &quot;Vacation Shame&quot; Your Coworkers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income employees hired management Mistakes new boss promotions rookies Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:30:34 +0000 Paul Michael 1911601 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things You Need to Stop Asking HR For http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-need-to-stop-asking-hr-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-need-to-stop-asking-hr-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000022497444.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When the HR department I work at got a new boss a number of years ago, one of her first official acts was to put a copy of an article entitled <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/53319/why-we-hate-hr">Why We Hate HR</a> into each of our mailboxes. Honestly, it stung, but some of the author's issues with HR were understandable.</p> <p>Human Resources can be an odd place to work, because it's sort of in the middle &mdash; between management and staff. HR doesn't plan or direct the vision of the company; it coordinates the administrative functions. Management often uses HR as a sort of an enforcer, or a gatekeeper, which can lead to negative impressions. Truth be told, though, most of us in HR are there because we do want to help support the inner workings of our organization. Here are six instances, however, when they simply cannot help you.</p> <h2>1. HR Cannot Help You Get the Job You Want</h2> <p>That's not HR's function. While Human Resources is responsible for recruiting and screening, the actual interview and hiring decisions are usually made by managers. Human Resources can, however, help you figure out which jobs you may be qualified for, accept your application, screen it, check references, and put it on a list for the hiring manager. Any additional &quot;help&quot; to you would likely interfere with a fair hiring process &mdash; and that's plain unfair to others.</p> <h2>2. HR Cannot Help You Get a Promotion</h2> <p>We don't doubt that you deserve a promotion, or that you're the best candidate, but again, that's up to a manager. If you have been an exemplary employee, though, we can help you <em>demonstrate </em>that to your hiring manager with copies of performance reviews, records of attendance, records of training, and the like.</p> <h2>3. HR Does Not Give Out Raises</h2> <p>Yes, you have been here a long time. Yes, you are terrific. Yes, you absolutely do deserve a raise. But no: we don't give them out. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, that's a management decision. HR can <em>implement</em> raises, but another level has to make that decision. We also keep an eye on the industry to make sure our company's pay is competitive, and the recruiters speak up when it's not.</p> <h2>4. HR Does Not Determine How Much Leave You Get</h2> <p>We just track those hours &mdash; we don't decide how many you receive. That's a company decision, or in some cases, decided upon through collective bargaining. When employees need to take leave, I can honestly say we do our best (above and beyond) to find whatever we can. We all have families, too, so there is a great deal of empathy. Every HR department I have worked in has been extremely creative with coming up with a patchwork of vacation, sick, comp time, flex time, family leave, temporary disability, shared leave, and leave without pay.</p> <h2>5. HR Does Not Determine Benefits</h2> <p>We understand that you want and need them, and if they are available to you, we'll help you sign up for them. A little personal responsibility comes into play here, and I wish I had a nickel for every person who missed a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-get-cheaper-health-insurance">health insurance</a> open enrollment period or never returned forms. If employees don't respond to phone calls or emails, there is only so much the benefits people can do.</p> <h2>6. HR May Not Provide the Training You Need</h2> <p>In difficult financial times, training is often on the &quot;cut&quot; list, and we may not have the funds to provide what you need. Much of the training funds available have to be used for mandatory training, and not anything above and beyond.</p> <p>That doesn't mean that HR won't help you, though. Check with your HR training person. They will likely be happy to search and find what you need, either at local colleges, universities or private training programs, or via the Internet. We will also help you put together a job shadowing experience, find you a mentor, or a preceptor.</p> <p><em>In what ways is your company's HR department a friend or a foe?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-need-to-stop-asking-hr-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-working-for-an-impossible-boss">7 Signs You&#039;re Working for an Impossible Boss</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/incentive-plans-always-go-awry">Incentive plans always go awry</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-employees">How to hire employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jumpstart-your-job-search-with-instagram">Jumpstart Your Job Search With Instagram</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-types-of-bad-bosses-and-how-to-survive-them">The 8 Types of Bad Bosses — And How to Survive Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income administration hr department human resources management Office work Wed, 02 Sep 2015 15:00:23 +0000 Marla Walters 1545000 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Principles for Better Money Management http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-principles-for-better-money-management <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-principles-for-better-money-management" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-finances-173298682-small.jpg" alt="couple finances" title="couple finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on principles for better money management, websites designed to save you money, and equipping your graduate with wings.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneywisdom.com/five-core-money-principles-better-money-management/">Five Core Money Principles for Better Money Management</a> &mdash; It is important to be mindful of your expenses and eliminate your debts ASAP. [Free Money Wisdom]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/websites-save-money/">16 Amazing Websites Designed to Save You Money</a> &mdash; Restaurants.com and Cardpool.com are designed to save you money. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2014/09/08/bird-leaves-nest-equipping-your-graduate-with-wings/">Bird Leaves Nest: Equipping Your Graduate With Wings</a> &mdash; Make sure to teach your graduate financial skills and how to cook. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://barbarafriedbergpersonalfinance.com/ways-make-extra-money/">25 Ways to Make Extra Money</a> &mdash; If you want to make extra money, consider having a garage sale or becoming a blogger. [Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.americandebtproject.com/2014/08/how-to-rent-your-house-as-a-way-to-pay-down-your-mortgage/">How to Rent Your House as a Way to Pay Down Your Mortgage</a> &mdash; When renting out your house to pay down your mortgage, run background checks on potential tenants and educate yourself on fair housing laws. [American Debt Project]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2014/09/08/should-you-spend-your-money-or-your-time/">Should You Spend Your Money or Your Time?</a> &mdash; You should spend time on learning new skills or having new experiences. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Annoying-Things-About-Air-Travel-35643339#photo-35643352">The 20 Most Annoying Things About Air Travel</a> &mdash; Have you ever been on a flight where a passenger turned it into a speed dating session? [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com/wedding-planning-101-save-cash-while-saving-the-date/">Wedding Planning 101: Save Cash While Saving the Date</a> &mdash; Save cash on wedding planning by making your budget and determining what's important based on your budget. [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <p><a href="http://www.smartasset.com/blog/insurance/top-ten-reasons-to-buy-life-insurance/">Top Ten Reasons to Buy Life Insurance</a> &mdash; Life insurance can give you peace of mind and is affordable, so consider buying it! [SmartAsset]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/the-5-best-jogging-strollers">The 5 Best Jogging Strollers</a> &mdash; If you are in the market for a jogging stroller, check out the BOB Ironman or the Jeep Overland Limited. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-principles-for-better-money-management">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-celebrities-with-shockingly-low-net-worths">6 Celebrities With Shockingly Low Net Worths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-ive-been-trying-to-say">What I&#039;ve been trying to say</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dissecting-gift-guilt-when-does-receiving-a-gift-make-you-feel-bad">Dissecting &quot;Gift Guilt&quot; - When Does Receiving a Gift Make You Feel Bad?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance best money tips management money principles Fri, 12 Sep 2014 19:00:14 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1207213 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things You Can Stop Obsessing About http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-things-you-can-stop-obsessing-about <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-things-you-can-stop-obsessing-about" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-things-you-can-stop-obsessing-about</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-things-you-can-stop-obsessing-about" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000018236562Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's plenty to worry about in small business. Here are a few items you can safely remove from your anxiety list.</p> <p><strong>1. How Clever You are on Twitter</strong></p> <p>Twitter is a format that lends itself to witty statements and clever one-liners, but you don't have to be clever to use Twitter successfully as a marketing tool. Because, while your customers may appreciate humor and snark, they appreciate other things more: discounts, coupons, helpful information, and relevant links.</p> <p>If witty isn't your strong suit, don't worry. Witty is nice, and it is also forgettable. Real help and real value can make a more lasting impression.</p> <p><strong>2. Your Business Plan</strong></p> <p>While the MBAs around the world cover their faces in horror, let's think for a moment about the function of a business plan. Oh, wait, does it actually have one? Let's poll the crowd.</p> <p>From <a href="http://www.mjdemarco.com/" target="_blank">MJ DeMarco</a>, author and self-made millionaire, in his book <i>The Millionaire Fastlane</i>: &quot;Business plans are useless. Yes, I said it. Business plans are useless because they're ideas jacked-up on steroids.&quot;</p> <p>From <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/why-you-dont-need-a-business-plan">Mike Michalowicz</a>, entrepreneur and author of <i>The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur</i>, writes &quot;If you have a good product, service or idea, don&rsquo;t worry about a business plan. You have what you need, which is the salable idea. All you need to do is put the wheels in motion to start capitalizing on that idea.&quot;</p> <p><strong>3. Your Schedule, in Fifteen-minute Increments</strong></p> <p>Yes, it's great to have a handle on your schedule, to plan things out, and to commit your time to what is most important. But flexibility is key for a small business owner, and tying yourself to a micro-managed schedule is, most likely, just going to drive you crazy.</p> <p>If micro-managing your employees doesn't work, why do you think micro-managing yourself is a good idea?</p> <p>As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes in his book <i>Finding Flow</i>, &quot;Time stress has become one of the most popular complaints of the day. But more often than not, it is an excuse for not taking control of our lives. How many of the things that we do are really necessary?&quot;</p> <p>Instead of trying to cram more into your days by dividing them into ever smaller and more disparate segments, cut out all but the most important activities of your business. There are <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/regain-control-of-your-time-today-1" target="_blank">smart ways to regain control of your time</a>, they don't involve buying a thicker planner or a more detailed calendar.</p> <p><strong>4. Your Chance of Failure</strong></p> <p>Failure is a normal part of life and business. If you have a hundred ideas, not all of them are going to be wins. Nobody has a 100 percent success rate. Think about each failure as a course in how to succeed next time.</p> <p>James Allen writes of failure as &quot;one of the pathways to attainment.&quot; MJ DeMarco calls it &quot;the sweat of success.&quot;</p> <p><strong>5. Almost Anything Below Item #3 on Your To-Do List</strong></p> <p>There's always a long list of things to do in running a small business, whether yours is an operation of one or 100 or 1000. But putting item after item on your daily to-do list isn't going to help you be more productive. In fact, it may have the opposite effect.</p> <p>Time and productivity expert Laura Vanderkam <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-47240686/is-your-to-do-list-too-long/?tag=mncol;lst;2" target="_blank">postulates that a shorter to-do list helps you focus and accomplish</a>. &quot;And when you aim to do only 3 things, you're highly likely to get them done&mdash;and then move on,&quot; says Vanderkam. &quot;That beats shuffling the same 20 things from one day's list to the next.&quot;</p> <p>Less is, in fact, more, both on your to-do list and in your mental obsession box. So let some things go, and start getting more things that matter done.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-things-you-can-stop-obsessing-about">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/join-us-at-the-new-york-times-small-business-summit">Join Us at the New York Times Small Business Summit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-instagram-account-into-a-paying-gig">How to Turn Your Instagram Account Into a Paying Gig</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business planning leadership management small business social media task management time management Fri, 02 Dec 2011 21:08:52 +0000 Annie Mueller 804600 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Be The Boss--Be The Leader http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/dont-be-the-boss-be-the-leader <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/dont-be-the-bossbe-the-leader" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/dont-be-the-bossbe-the-leader</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/dont-be-the-boss-be-the-leader" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015068914Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people seem to think that their role as head honcho requires them to be autocratic&mdash;to be, in a word, &ldquo;bossy.&rdquo; While formal authority that comes with a position or title can be useful, it&rsquo;s a limited tool. If you doubt that, recall your feelings (and subsequent behavior) during your teenage years when your dad told you to get your hair cut or wear a longer dress, &ldquo;because I&rsquo;m your father!&rdquo;</p> <p>So why are so many bosses bossy? Often it&rsquo;s because their authoritative style has failed and they feel they have to be more assertive, even aggressive, to get what they want. What they don&rsquo;t appreciate is that when people don&rsquo;t understand or disagree, they&rsquo;ll do something their own way and create their own deadlines and priorities. Of course, that makes a boss feel even more out of control, and leads to even more bossy behavior.</p> <p>Weak leadership doesn&rsquo;t usually end at bossiness. Bossy bosses are often guilty of <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/10-signs-youre-a-micromanagerand-how-to-reform">micro-managing</a>, too. Most work today requires thought and judgment, so it just isn&rsquo;t feasible to cover all possible circumstances. Worse, when circumstances change, thanks to the increasing rate of market, economic, and technology change, carefully assigned directions become useless.</p> <p>But more than anything, people just don&rsquo;t liked being bossed around. &ldquo;Do this, do that&rdquo; delivered in a tone of voice that conveys disrespect offends just about anyone, except possibly dogs.</p> <p>Why doesn&rsquo;t being bossy work?</p> <p><strong>1. Authority Doesn&rsquo;t Create Commitment</strong></p> <p>To encourage commitment, to get people to want to do their best, you have to win their hearts and minds. You can force them to spend their time on certain tasks, and you can demand that they pay attention to certain guidelines. But what you&rsquo;ll get as result is compliance, at best, and you won&rsquo;t get commitment.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re bossy, you&rsquo;re essentially trying to get people to do something because they&rsquo;re afraid of what will happen if they don&rsquo;t do it. But that eliminates any sense of understanding between you, and it&rsquo;s counter to creating the kind of relationship that inspires commitment.</p> <p><strong>2. Authority Doesn&rsquo;t Create Change</strong></p> <p>Any organization is about creating change. Steve Jobs talked about making a dent in the universe, and Apple changed the way we buy and listen to music.</p> <p>Educational institutions have been created to change students&rsquo; knowledge and understanding. Factories change raw materials into products. Accountants change disorganized receipts into coherent financial statements.</p> <p>But change often means uncertainty for those involved. Sometimes the change is delightful, but often it creates difficulties. So a leader&rsquo;s job is to encourage a change in the way people think, a change in their assumptions, a change in their values, and ultimately a change in their behavior. You can&rsquo;t do that by yelling, &ldquo;Change, dammit!&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>3. Authority Won&rsquo;t Inspire Contribution</strong></p> <p>Your people individually and collectively bring knowledge, skills, experience, and new ideas to the organization. If they don&rsquo;t, why are they there? If you tell them what to do but don&rsquo;t ask them what they think, you&rsquo;re wasting a big chunk of what you&rsquo;re paying them for.</p> <p>No one person can possibly possess the knowledge, experience, and wisdom needed to make every decision. Success today requires, more than ever, collaboration from everyone involved.</p> <p><strong>Be a Leader Instead of a Boss</strong></p> <p>To establish the <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/cultivating-teamwork-excellence-1" target="_blank">kind of relationships necessary for success</a>, you need to make sure:</p> <ul> <li>you and your team have clear goals and priorities;</li> <li>everyone has the resources they need to get the job done;</li> <li>people are recognized for their contributions; and,</li> <li>everyone feels a connection with the rest of the company.</li> </ul> <p>If you&rsquo;re a great boss, you&rsquo;ll do all that <i>and</i> give the people you work with the autonomy and authority (not just the responsibility) to excel. And you&rsquo;ll act as an advocate for their growth and advancement.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s fair to expect the people you work with to be honest, cooperative, and reliable&mdash;but you have be the same in return. This is especially true when you&rsquo;re working with a distributed group where what you do is even more important that what your say.</p> <p>Lacking the non-verbal cues in a long distance workplace we rely on to understand a message and assess the competence of the messenger, doing what you say you&rsquo;re going to do when you say you&rsquo;re going to do it is crucial. Your people will make a commitment to following your lead if they feel they can trust you, that you genuinely care about their needs, and you understand their strengths and weaknesses.</p> <p>To be a great leader you need to manage yourself, your networks, and your teams. Being a good boss is about a whole lot more than just being bossy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/dont-be-the-boss-be-the-leader">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit">How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You&#039;re Self-Employed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center authority bad bosses bossiness leadership management small business Thu, 20 Oct 2011 19:25:32 +0000 Tom Harnish 747394 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Psychological Hacks to Boost Your Bottom Line http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-psychological-hacks-to-boost-your-bottom-line <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-psychological-hacks-to-boost-your-bottom-line" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-psychological-hacks-to-boost-your-bottom-lin...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-psychological-hacks-to-boost-your-bottom-line" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004504118Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In his book, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Advantage-Principles-Psychology-Performance/dp/0307591549" target="_blank">The Happiness Advantage</a>,</i> Sean Achor outlines positive psychological principles and tactics that increase performance at work. More specifically, positive psychology can be used to improve the effectiveness and output of employees. If you're looking to boost employee productivity &ndash; and your business&rsquo; profitability, see if these five psychological hacks don&rsquo;t do the trick.</p> <p><strong>1. Discover the link between happiness and performance.</strong></p> <p>Did you know that students who were told to think about the happiest day of their lives scored higher on a standardized math test than their peers? Or that more effective business negotiators test higher for positive emotions than their peers?</p> <p>There is actually a mountain of research supporting the idea that higher performance is associated with positive emotions. What does that mean for you?</p> <p>If you want your employees to perform better, give them something to smile about. Remind them of a positive event. Pay them a compliment. Or simply do like the professor did and ask them to remember something that makes them smile.</p> <p><strong>2. Applaud early failure.</strong></p> <p>Ever notice how history repeats itself?</p> <p>It's easy to shake our heads when people repeat the mistakes others have made, or make the mistakes their managers have warned them about, but there's a simple reason for that. Of course, we often learn from mistakes others have made, but we also learn from our own past experiences. Often, failure has to be experienced rather than read about or explained. We can only learn how to deal with failure&mdash;and all of the emotions and struggles that come with it&mdash;by experiencing it.</p> <p>In fact, employees who learn to deal with failure early on are better equipped to solve problems and are more effective down the line.</p> <p>In other words, it's a good idea to let employees fail and figure out solutions on their own ... especially in the beginning. Sometimes experiencing the process is the only way we really learn the solution.</p> <p><strong>3. Revise patterns.</strong></p> <p>There is a well-known psychological principle called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expectancy_theory" target="_blank">Expectancy Theory</a> which says that our brains make choices because of the outcomes we associate with specific actions. In other words, we choose the action that we think will result in the best outcome.</p> <p>This is easy enough to understand, but what we often forget is that it has also been proven that our brains fall into patterns.</p> <p>As creatures of habit, it's easy for our minds to play tricks on us. If we think an outcome is good and we choose it over and over again, we will continue to choose it, even if it's not the best choice anymore. The business world is ever-changing. Habits that were beneficial during startup may not be right for a mature business.</p> <p>Take some time to think about the habits and processes in your business. What choices are you still making that you haven't thought about in awhile?</p> <p><strong>4. Remind employees that positive outcomes are possible.</strong></p> <p>Positive psychology research shows that job performance is improved simply by believing that <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/how-to-use-projects-to-develop-your-employees-1" target="_blank">positive change is possible</a>. In other words, if you're looking to turn your company around, then share stories of successful business turnarounds. If you're hoping to take your superstar performer to the next level, then share stories of how top athletes get even better.</p> <p>Determine the goal that you are trying to achieve in your business and then show your employees that achieving that goal is possible.</p> <p>The psychological result is that people begin to believe that they can make change. If we believe that it is possible for us to do something, then it is much more likely that we will do it.</p> <p><strong>5. Keep positive experience journals.</strong></p> <p>One positive psychology study found that people who <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-reasons-to-keep-a-work-diary">took 20 minutes to write down</a> positive experiences from that day and did this three times per week not only displayed higher levels of happiness, but also displayed fewer symptoms of illness. In other words, more thoughtful, more positive employees were also healthier employees.</p> <p>It doesn't matter the situation, the circumstance, or the timing, everyone has something to be positive or thankful about.</p> <p>Don't forget to remind your employees to focus on the positive in their lives. Your bottom line with thank you later.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/james-clear">James Clear</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-psychological-hacks-to-boost-your-bottom-line">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/create-a-reverse-bucket-list-to-improve-your-money-management">Create a Reverse Bucket List to Improve Your Money Management</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-when-were-not-logical-with-money">What Happens When We&#039;re Not Logical With Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit">How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center employee management employee motivation management positive thinking psychology small business Wed, 19 Oct 2011 19:50:18 +0000 James Clear 747396 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Take the Pulse of Your Employees http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-take-the-pulse-of-your-employees <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-take-the-pulse-of-your-employees" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-take-the-pulse-of-your-employees</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-to-take-the-pulse-of-your-employees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011860969Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want to know how your employees feel about their <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/americas-10-favorite-bosses-1">employer</a>, your company? They may have firm opinions but are hesitant to share too much information in weekly staff meetings and company get-togethers.</p> <p>Knowing what employees think and feel can be valuable in making sure that your vision is supported by their actions. This information can give you insights needed to lead people effectively.</p> <p>On a practical level, taking the pulse of your employees can help you to:</p> <ul> <li>confirm understanding of policies in order to assure proper execution of new initiatives;</li> <li>uncover and resolve conflicts between employees;</li> <li>create feasible processes and divide responsibilities equitably;</li> <li>develop opportunities for professional development in line with employees&rsquo; career goals and company needs.</li> </ul> <p>From being quietly observant to politely intrusive, here are several ways to take the pulse of your employees.</p> <p><strong>Notice Changes in Behavior</strong></p> <p>Sudden and sustained differences in an employee&rsquo;s behavior can indicate career dissatisfaction.</p> <p>Notice changes in patterns, such as earlier or later arrivals and departures as well as noticeably shorter or longer lunch breaks. Other indicators include less patience with customers and more frequent clashes with coworkers.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t assume that such changes are irrelevant to the workplace, whether they originated from personal or professional concerns. An employee may be adjusting to a lifestyle change (such as a family addition, chronic illness, or relocation) and having temporary difficulties in his personal life. However, these changes may have caused him to rethink his long-term prospects with your company; for example, he may be searching for a new job with higher pay, more opportunity for professional growth, or fewer weekend hours.</p> <p><strong>Wander, Look and Listen</strong></p> <p>As a business owner and executive leader, you may spend an inordinate amount of time in your office or on the road, hatching the latest business strategy, analyzing weekly performance numbers, and nurturing relationships with customers. But getting out and seeing day-to-day activities can give you valuable insights that are otherwise unavailable.</p> <p>Specifically, go to the sales, production, or distribution floor; sit in on meetings; observe conversations with customers. Visit unannounced at various times of the workday. Be unpredictable, gratifying those who work diligently though possibly annoying those who are less motivated.</p> <p>By wandering around (as championed by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman in their book <i>In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America&rsquo;s Best Run Companies</i>), you may see customer interactions, vendor discussions, and team collaborations that look precisely as imagined and planned. But you may discover scenarios that make no sense based on directives given to employees.</p> <p>Investigate questionable situations to get a better take on what your employees are thinking. First, make sure your perception is not flawed (that is, you may have heard just one side of a conversation so ask for clarification). If your understanding is correct and employee actions are out of sync with expectations, find out what is motivating them. For example, they may disagree with policies, believe that procedures are inefficient, feel ill-equipped to handle complexity, or have reservations about asking for guidance.</p> <p><strong>Let Employees Talk</strong></p> <p>People love to share their thoughts. Ask employees about their perspectives. Some will complain about everything while others will reveal pertinent information only when prodded repeatedly. Often less vocal employees will give insights that you would have never discerned otherwise. Over time, you will learn who offers trustworthy, useful opinions.</p> <p><strong>Survey Employees</strong></p> <p>Many people are more likely to tell you what they think if you ask specific questions and allow them to respond privately. Formal surveys, then, can be useful in understanding employees. Online tools, such as <a target="_blank" href="http://www.surveymonkey.com/">SurveyMonkey</a> or <a target="_blank" href="http://www.zoomerang.com/online-surveys/">Zoomerang</a>, make the process simple. Consider asking respondents to give ratings on key topics and elaborate through open-ended questions as well. Hire an outside firm to conduct surveys if you want greater expertise in assessing employee sentiment.</p> <p>Review results and present insights with action plans to employees. In this way, they will know that you are interested in their thoughts and dealing with problems, which further encourages ongoing dialogue.</p> <p><strong>Scrutinize Problem Solving Techniques</strong></p> <p>Listen to your employees talk about how they solve problems, independently and collaboratively. Their approaches will tell you volumes about their perspectives on company priorities, sources of any anxiety, and understanding of accountabilities and roles within the organization.</p> <p>Watch employees divvy tasks in order to deal with problems. Assess mutual trust levels and learn how effectively they work together. A red flag that should prompt inquiry is when one employee shields you from details, saying that she &ldquo;will handle this&rdquo; with no elaboration. Very often, this person does not want to risk failure by sharing accountability with a less responsible employee. Probe for details to discover how well (or poorly) your team members are cooperating with each other and determine whether certain departmental and company policies are counterproductive to teamwork.</p> <p>Understanding employees&rsquo; perceptions does not mean that you have to be a slave to their opinions. Use these insights to guide them in making your vision a reality.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-take-the-pulse-of-your-employees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit">How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-your-company-is-going-under">10 Signs Your Company Is Going Under</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You&#039;re Self-Employed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center employee management employee morale employee motivation employee survey management small business Thu, 06 Oct 2011 19:46:59 +0000 Julie Rains 717158 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Get More Value from Your Values http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-ways-to-get-more-value-from-your-values <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-ways-to-get-more-value-from-your-values" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-ways-to-get-more-value-from-your-values</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/7-ways-to-get-more-value-from-your-values" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011999211Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Can you recite your company&rsquo;s values? And, if so, can you honestly say that the way your company sets priorities, spends money, and invests in the future is consistent with those values? If they are to help you build and grow your business, your values need to be reflected in everything you do as the leader of your company.</p> <p><strong>1. Discover What Your Company really Values</strong></p> <p>Having company values is a lot more than throwing words like &ldquo;Integrity&rdquo; into a picture frame and hanging it in your conference room, never to be discussed or regarded again. If you aren&rsquo;t sure what your values are, you won&rsquo;t have to look far. What do you spend your money on? What do you train your employees to do? What kinds of employees do you hire? What is at the core of your strategic and tactical plans? What does your organization value?</p> <p><strong>2. Recruit and Hire Based on your Values</strong></p> <p>Once you know what you value, you will be well served to hire people who already share those same values. Recruit in places that attract those values, and develop behavioral questions to assess if the job candidates you interview possess the values you desire. Will the candidate fit in with the people and help carry forward the company you have been working so hard to build? This doesn&rsquo;t mean you hire a homogenous group of people who think and do everything he same.</p> <p><strong>3. Train Employees on your Values</strong></p> <p>Devote the first two to five minutes of every meeting to a brief discussion on one of your company&rsquo;s values. Let&rsquo;s assume one of your values is &ldquo;Quality in Everything You Do.&rdquo; Share an example you saw of an employee who exemplified this value. Share an example of where you saw the company fail in living up to this value. Ask for input from others. Commit everyone to carry the same message to all of their direct reports and encourage everyone to do better.</p> <p><strong>4. Build Processes and Systems around your Values</strong></p> <p>One of the main reasons company values end up adding no value is a disconnect between those values and how things get done in a company. If one of your values is &ldquo;Empower every employee to serve the customer,&rdquo; then don&rsquo;t create layers of approval to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/the-world/article/customer-service-lessons-from-nordstrom-1">solve a simple customer problem or complaint</a>. Create processes and systems consistent with what you value, or your employees and customers may become confused between what you say you will do and what you actually do.</p> <p><strong>5. Establish Strategic and Tactical Plans in Harmony with your Values</strong></p> <p>Nothing is more frustrating or confusing than when upper-management makes a decision that is inconsistent with the values of the company. If management doesn&rsquo;t respect and honor the company's values, then neither will employees.</p> <p><strong>6. Spend According to your Values</strong></p> <p>Let&rsquo;s assume again that one of your values is, &ldquo;Hire the best and train them to be even better.&rdquo;</p> <p>If your company consistently pays in the bottom quartile for similar jobs, then it is not hiring the best, who are found in the upper half of most pay scales. The company&rsquo;s failure to establish any meaningful or beneficial training, formal or informal, seems to be overshadowed by all of the billboard ads purchased along the highway. The focus of the ads&mdash;come work for the best. But those who already work there know the ads cannot be trusted, nor can adherence to any of the company values by those with spending authority in the company.</p> <p><strong>7. Celebrate Success in the Context of your Values</strong></p> <p>Your values may not include &ldquo;make lots of profit&rdquo;, so don&rsquo;t just celebrate that fact when it happens. Put the financial and other successes of the business in context of all the company&rsquo;s values and how those values helped you achieve your success.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ken-kaufman">Ken Kaufman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-ways-to-get-more-value-from-your-values">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit">How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You&#039;re Self-Employed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center company values employee management management mission statement small business values statement Fri, 30 Sep 2011 21:01:45 +0000 Ken Kaufman 705936 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Mistakes Bosses Make That Drive Employees Crazy http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-mistakes-bosses-make-that-drive-employees-crazy <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-mistakes-bosses-make-that-drive-employees-crazy" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-mistakes-bosses-make-that-drive-employees-cr...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/7-mistakes-bosses-make-that-drive-employees-crazy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000006676194Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="209" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&rsquo;re the boss, then you have to make hard decisions that your employees may not understand. Getting them to see your point of view is important but not always possible. You can&rsquo;t spend all your time coaching and nurturing your staff. If you did, you would neglect your customers and miss marketplace changes.</p> <p><span>Still, certain actions, when left unexplained, can drive employees crazy. </span></p> <p><strong>Provide conflicting direction.</strong></p> <p>You set the direction and provide guidance on its practical implications. You give additional insights that clarify the path. But some employees view any additional information as a deviation from direction, causing confusion and frustration.</p> <p><em>Solution:</em> Be clear about the company&rsquo;s direction in ways that your employees understand, embrace, and execute. Explain that there is more than one way to implement your vision. Establish decision-making frameworks that equip people to plot and follow a course that is consistent with your direction. Elaborate on how to translate strategies into plans for various work groups and individual employees. Meet with employees periodically to compare their business plans with your vision.</p> <p><strong>Shuffle priorities and expectations.</strong></p> <p>Knowing your priorities and expectations enables employees to plan their activities, control their schedules, and achieve performance goals. But evolving customer needs, new opportunities, urgent requests, and industry changes lead you to reorder priorities and revise expectations.</p> <p><em>Solution:</em> Acknowledge how difficult transitions are but reinforce how essential adjustments are to the success of the business. Reexamine, redesign, and renegotiate incentives as appropriate. Cultivate flexibility in your employees. Reward them for being able to shift gears in the middle of a project, assignment, or day&rsquo;s workload. Show that nimbleness makes the company more profitable and helps employees achieve their goals in changing environments.</p> <p><strong>Make exceptions to customer-service policies.</strong></p> <p>Customer-facing employees are charged with enforcing policies for the purpose of protecting the company&rsquo;s interests and ensuring consistent treatment of customers. Inevitably, a customer requests an exception or argues that the policy does not apply to a particular situation. You override a decision made by an employee or make a concession to the customer.</p> <p><em>Solution</em>: Explain your rationale for making a policy exception or interpreting a situation differently than your employee does. If appropriate, acknowledge that the employee made the right call based on policy guidelines but that you have chosen to make an exception based on the nuances of the situation.</p> <p><strong>Give incomplete, unclear instructions.</strong></p> <p>You give broad instructions regarding projects and assignments in order to encourage creativity among employees. Some thrive under these circumstances while others flounder.</p> <p>Meanwhile, you wonder why certain employees make no attempts to move forward, try a novel approach, or ask clarifying questions. The truth is that they perceive that ambiguity relieves them of accountability. Those who struggle believe that inaction is preferable to outright failure.</p> <p><em>Solution:</em> Communicate goals. Clarify expectations. Check in with employees during early phases of new initiatives. Give thorough, thoughtful responses to questions. Quickly address problems in a non-threatening way. Publicly commend those who show innovative thinking and bias toward action.</p> <p><strong>Forget to train employees on marketing promotions.</strong></p> <p>Employees are not given adequate information on your marketing promotions yet they are accountable for determining customer eligibility, explaining details, helping customers sort through various options, and fulfilling agreements. Customers, on the other hand, are knowledgeable of your company&rsquo;s promotional offers as well as those of your competitors.</p> <p><em>Solution:</em> Never assume that your employees think and act just like your customers . Before launching a promotion, train employees on its purpose, goals, and all details related to successful execution.</p> <p><strong>Negotiate deals with sketchy details.</strong></p> <p>You negotiate a great deal with a major customer and leave your employees to work out the details. When they decide on the specifics, you discover that your team&rsquo;s perspective on servicing the deal is much different than the customer&rsquo;s expectations.</p> <p><em>Solution:</em> Recognize that big-picture thinking needs detailed execution to generate profitable sales. Consider becoming the detail person yourself. Better yet, invite an employee who understands your vision and excels at handling details to participate in customer meetings.</p> <p><strong>Fail to understand how customers think and act.</strong></p> <p>You make decisions on marketing offers, website navigation, invoice design, et cetera that seem to ignore how customers really think and act. Your predictions and assumptions about customer behavior are much different than those of you your customer-facing employees.</p> <p><em>Solution</em>: Listen to your employees tell you about their observations of customers. Act like an <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-business-lessons-from-undercover-boss" target="_blank">undercover boss</a> for a while, working in a front-line position to interact directly with customers. Then, make informed decisions that mesh your vision for the company with real-world behaviors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-mistakes-bosses-make-that-drive-employees-crazy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee">How to Hire Your First Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-rookie-mistakes-new-bosses-make">15 Rookie Mistakes New Bosses Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center employee morale employees leadership leadership failures leadership skills management small business Thu, 08 Sep 2011 20:49:50 +0000 Julie Rains 678519 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Inspire Others http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-ways-to-inspire-others <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-ways-to-inspire-others" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-ways-to-inspire-others</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/7-ways-to-inspire-others" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016174337Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Conventional wisdom tells us that we cannot change people.</p> <p>Certainly, we cannot make someone change who is unwilling to change. The results of our attempts to direct different actions, behaviors, and thoughts will not be immediate, guaranteed, or precisely as we envisioned. But you and I really can be agents of transformation for our colleagues, employees, business partners, mentees, and customers.</p> <h3>1. Support</h3> <p>If your colleague, employee, business partner is contemplating a risky or difficult change, let her know that you will provide support to get her through it.</p> <p>Prepare her for what&rsquo;s ahead without dissuading her from starting. Understand what decisions she will face and offer insights in navigating certain issues without being controlling. Anticipate potential problems and have a game plan for dealing with crises.</p> <p>Before promising support, however, make sure that 1) she is committed to the change; and 2) you have already accomplished what she seeks to do. Sharing domain knowledge is just as crucial to her success as genuine encouragement, and she&rsquo;ll need both to succeed.</p> <h3>2. Teach</h3> <p>Giving hands-on instruction and sharing new ideas in a thoughtful, non-threatening manner are frequently overlooked, easy ways of influencing change. Lack of skills and knowledge in a certain area is often interpreted as resistance to adopting new methods or creating a different environment. But this interpretation may be wrong.</p> <p>Instead, your colleague or employee may be intimidated by implementing changes, having tried and failed in earlier attempts. Or, until now, he may have not had the time to devote to acquiring requisite skills. Help him overcome the learning curve. Start with the basics. Build on his knowledge until is able to institute changes on his own.</p> <h3>3. Confront</h3> <p>If you observe over-the-top inappropriate or destructive behaviors, say something. Clearly state what is questionable or unacceptable. Let her know that you are not judging but bringing problems to her attention, cautioning about consequences, making an effort to reverse potentially unhealthy thought patterns.</p> <p>Illustrate outcomes that are likely based on her current direction. If you have been a trusted advisor and loyal mentor, she will realize that such wrong actions will lead to the very outcomes she has been trying to avoid. Your guidance will inspire her to chart a different course to achieving her goals.</p> <h3>4. Divide and Conquer</h3> <p>Coach your colleague to dissect and deal with barriers to success, one by one.</p> <p>If problems are bundled (which they often are), extracting the most prominent obstacle seems nearly impossible. But recognizing that there are many issues wrapped in one big situation is a significant first step in instigating change.</p> <p>Probe for problems and deal with whatever surfaces first. As things unravel, offer insights to help address each topic, one issue at a time. This process can bring about a breakthrough, which smoothes the path for overcoming other issues.</p> <p>Often, what seemed to be a challenge requiring a dramatic change is a collection of problems that can be handled by applying straightforward analytical thinking.</p> <h3>5. Confess</h3> <p>Admitting your imperfections and failures creates the atmosphere for honest dialogue, which can lead to epiphanies and change. This approach may be counterintuitive but is highly effective for the confident person who operates in a safe organizational culture that values transparency and growth.</p> <p>If your colleague has routinely worked with those who tout successes while hiding mistakes and frustrations, she can easily develop the impression that an initiative either succeeds or fails. She may come to believe that a project is either randomly blessed or arbitrarily cursed by the universe.</p> <p>But if she listens to those who are candid about struggles and triumphs, she will gain a more complete understanding of how to achieve business success. Grasping the need for revisiting and adjusting business plans or professional methods inspires the desire for meaningful change.</p> <h3>6. Challenge</h3> <p>Challenge your colleague to move out of his comfort zone. Your purpose is not to push him into doing something he despises, but to prod him to be courageous enough to accomplish his goals.</p> <p>Encourage him to take the steps needed to improve his product lines, sales leadership style, professional relationships, conversion rates. Let him know that he is fully capable of transforming his business but will need to make specific changes to reach his potential.</p> <h3>7. Step Back</h3> <p>Be clear about your position on the changes you believe that your colleague needs to make. But don&rsquo;t force her to change.</p> <p>Instead, give her the freedom to stay the same. Given the time to test her choices, she can conclude independently that she needs to make changes in order to bring about desired results.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-ways-to-inspire-others">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-your-new-identity-after-retirement">How to Find Your New Identity After Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit">How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business relationships employee management employee relations employee training management self improvement small business Sat, 13 Aug 2011 18:47:58 +0000 Julie Rains 631289 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Signs You're a Micromanager (And How to Reform Yourself) http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-signs-youre-a-micromanager-and-how-to-reform-yourself <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/10-signs-youre-a-micromanagerand-how-to-reform" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/10-signs-youre-a-micromanagerand-how-to-reform</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/10-signs-youre-a-micromanager-and-how-to-reform-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009806269Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A keen attention to detail is necessary when analyzing critical reports, drafting budgets, or ensuring tasks are completed on schedule.</p> <p>But there is a big difference between being an involved manager and one who sticks his or her nose in everybody&rsquo;s business.</p> <p>Micromanaging may boost productivity in the short-term, but over the long haul it engenders employee hostility, compromises efficiency, and dries up the creativity well. Micromanagement is a leading cause of employee turnover, with nearly 80 percent of workers reporting run-ins with overbearing supervisors at some point in their work lives, according to a study by Harry E. Chambers, president of the management and leadership development firm <a target="_blank" href="http://www.harrychambers.com/">Trinity Solutions</a> in Atlanta.</p> <p>Still unconvinced? (Overzealous bosses rarely see themselves as contributing to the problem). Here are the top 10 signs you&rsquo;re a micromanager:</p> <p>1. You believe that you&rsquo;re smarter, faster, and more skilled than the people who work for you. You think you possess the highest quality standards, perform tasks seamlessly, and never miss a deadline.</p> <p>2. You&rsquo;re always swamped at work because you don&rsquo;t delegate appropriately. Delegation is a key management skill. Your version of delegating involves hoarding all the creative, &ldquo;important&rdquo; work for yourself, while doling out the easy, boring scraps to your subordinates.</p> <p>3. You&rsquo;re the textbook hoverer. You need to know where your employees are and what they are doing at each moment of the work day.</p> <p>4. You regularly call the office &ldquo;just to check in.&rdquo; You call twice a day while you&rsquo;re away, even if you&rsquo;re confined to bed with a 101-degree fever or sunning on a beach in Puerto Vallarta.</p> <p>5. When assigning tasks, you dictate the &ldquo;how.&rdquo; Instead of allowing your employees to figure out how to execute a project, you set the terms.</p> <p>6. You require a stream of needless reports. You inspect your employees&rsquo; work at multiple stages of the process, clogging the pipeline and causing project delays. You are overly critical, pointing out the smallest of mistakes as a &ldquo;learning exercise.&rdquo; At the first sign of trouble, you snatch the task away from the employee and do it yourself.</p> <p>7. You frequently assert your authority &ndash; because you can. You&rsquo;re hooked on controlling others. Deep down, you&rsquo;re afraid of failure.</p> <p>8. Your staff is waiting on pins and needles for your approval. Your workers appear timid, tentative, and paralyzed when performing even the most mundane tasks. That&rsquo;s because you get irritated when they make decisions without consulting you first.</p> <p>9. People are always making up excuses to avoid meeting with you. They&rsquo;re terrified of your red pen.</p> <p>10. Your employees tell you you&rsquo;re a micromanager.</p> <h3>Letting Go</h3> <p>Careful scrutiny isn&rsquo;t always a bad thing. Work conditions often demand it, such as when a new product launches, your customers are complaining, or projects languish on certain employees&rsquo; desks.</p> <p>In most cases, however, effective managers give employees clearly demarcated realms of autonomy and trust their abilities. They communicate clear, specific, time-sensitive expectations, allowing employees multiple paths to successfully complete a project.</p> <p>After all, employees can&rsquo;t grow into a functioning team if they can&rsquo;t make decisions and deal with the consequences.</p> <p>Looking to reform your micromanaging ways? Try these tips:</p> <ul> <li>Tune in to your own behavior. Acknowledging a tendency to strong-arm employees is a productive first step.</li> <li>Tell a mentor or a close friend that you&rsquo;re trying to change your management style and ask for ongoing feedback. This will keep you accountable.</li> <li>Start off with small tasks. Tell your employees what to do without giving them step-by-step instructions, remaining available for any questions that might pop up.</li> <li>Practice listening to pick up special challenges or insights from employees. Be mindful of company objectives; suppressing employee initiative can lead to a stagnant business environment.</li> <li>Gain more trust among employees by investing in them personally. Set them up to succeed by supporting their efforts. Remember, it&rsquo;s their job, not yours.</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/margie-fishman">Margie Fishman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-signs-youre-a-micromanager-and-how-to-reform-yourself">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit">How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You&#039;re Self-Employed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center employee productivity employee relations management micromanager overbearing boss small business Fri, 08 Jul 2011 18:54:49 +0000 Margie Fishman 600985 at http://www.wisebread.com Identifying Good Managers Through Leadership Competencies http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/identifying-good-managers-through-leadership-competencies <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/identifying-good-managers-through-leadership-competencies-patricia-lotich" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/identifying-good-manag...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/identifying-good-managers-through-leadership-competencies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004709146Small.jpg" alt="Foreman at construction site" title="Foreman at construction site" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Managers need to have certain competencies to effectively influence the behaviors of others and ultimately achieve desired results. Some competencies come naturally, while others need to be learned and practiced. Organizations should have defined knowledge and skill requirements for their leadership team so the organization is managed from a consistent proficiency platform.</p> <p>It is common for large organizations to have required competencies that are aligned with management-development training programs. These organizations often have in-house training departments that help develop employees by providing training in all required competencies. Small organizations should spend time thinking through desired competencies and identify appropriate training options, such as for these 12 common leadership competencies:</p> <p><strong>1. Interviewing and Hiring</strong></p> <p>Leaders and managers need to understand the basics of interviewing and hiring. It is important to be prepared for interviews by becoming familiar with the job requirements and candidate qualifications. Being able to identify the right fit for open positions helps ensure the organization secures the best talent.</p> <p><strong>2. Delegation</strong></p> <p>Delegation is an art that leaders need to master. This can be difficult for the new manager because it requires handing responsibilities off to others. Learning to trust others to perform tasks takes skill and practice. Once learned, delegation can be very liberating for a manager and allows the manager to perform higher-level tasks.</p> <p><strong>3. Supervising&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>This is often a challenge for someone who has not had management experience. Training on what to do and what not to do when managing others can help minimize issues related to supervising skills.</p> <p><strong>4. Conflict Resolution</strong></p> <p>Conflict in the workplace is an inevitable reality. When not managed properly, conflict can affect relationships between individual people and groups of people. Leaders should be able to manage conflict and help influence win-win situations. This can be done by negotiating and collaborating with all parties.</p> <p><strong>5. Emotional Intelligence</strong></p> <p>Emotional intelligence is a leader&rsquo;s ability to manage his or her emotional response to people and situations. Emotional intelligence is a mark of professional maturity that can be learned, but can take years to develop and a lifetime to master.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>6. Communication Skills</strong></p> <p>Managers need to have good written and verbal communication skills to effectively communicate with employees. There also needs to be structured organizational communication processes that all employees understand to ensure information is filtered throughout the organization.</p> <p><strong>7. Team Building</strong></p> <p>Leaders need to be able to build strong teams that rally around the vision of the organization. Leaders must understand how to manage team dynamics, team development, and team conflict.</p> <p><strong>8. Motivating</strong></p> <p>Leaders need to understand what inspires and motivates employees. There are many different motivation models that can be incorporated into a manager&rsquo;s strategy for employee motivation. It is important to remember that we are all motivated by different things. The trick is to identify what motivates employees and develop systems and processes that support those motivators.</p> <p><strong>9. Coaching</strong></p> <p>Being a good coach can be one of the most rewarding aspects of managing others. Helping employees build on strengths and improve weaknesses is an integral part of the professional development process.</p> <p><strong>10. Performance Management</strong></p> <p>Managing performance is critical to meeting corporate objectives. Managers need to be able to set expectations, write goals, hold employees accountable, and reward employees for good performance. This also includes coaching and disciplining employees when necessary.</p> <p><strong>11. Problem Solving</strong></p> <p>Managing people and processes requires problem-solving skills. Problems could be with employees, work processes, or product quality. Management must understand basic problem-solving techniques, be able to identify problems, and facilitate a process to resolve issues.</p> <p><strong>12. Agent for Change&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Progressive organizations understand that change is constant and that in order to move forward, organizations need to continually improve what they do and how they do it. Organizations are being forced to make dramatic improvements, not only to compete but to survive in today&rsquo;s economy. Therefore, leaders need to be able to lead the charge on change initiatives.</p> <p>Employee performance is how corporate objectives are met. Having the ability to identify specific leadership competencies can help create an environment that motivates, develops, and manages employee performance. &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/patricia-lotich">Patricia Lotich</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/identifying-good-managers-through-leadership-competencies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-tips-for-taking-time-off-without-trauma">Self-Employed? Tips for Taking Time Off Without Trauma</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-moving-scams">How to Avoid Moving Scams</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center hiring professionals leadership management small business Tue, 01 Mar 2011 19:17:49 +0000 Patricia Lotich 487889 at http://www.wisebread.com Cultivating Teamwork Excellence http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/cultivating-teamwork-excellence <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/cultivating-teamwork-excellence-julie-rains" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/cultivating-teamwork-e...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/cultivating-teamwork-excellence" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009796463Small.jpg" alt="Happy business team" title="Happy business team" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="164" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember when you built and played on a team (or guild, or clan) as a child? Your efforts then may have been better orchestrated than the typical processes now among your workplace teams. The juxtaposition of childlike effectiveness and uninspired business teamwork was manifested to me in a friendly competition last fall.</p> <p>The scenario was a team-tent decorating contest at a weekend bicycle tour (my area&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.nationalmssociety.org/chapters/NCC/fundraising-events/bike-ms/index.aspx">Bike MS event</a>, one of many nationwide benefiting clinical research and providing assistance to those with Multiple Sclerosis). Tour rides started and ended in an exposition area where sponsors, vendors, and partners supplied food, beverages, sports massages, entertainment, and more. One area was designated for teams, most of which fell under the classification of &ldquo;Friends and Family&rdquo; or &ldquo;Corporation.&rdquo; These teams installed event-style tents and decorated their respective spaces with the theme of &ldquo;superheroes.&rdquo;</p> <p>My friends-and-family team (comprised of not-so-serious but accomplished professionals in education, medicine, technology, etc.) designed and constructed its rendition of what would later be recognized as an award-winning Batman&rsquo;s Batcave, complete with &ldquo;Ka Pow&rdquo; signage and a control center with flashing lights. We were enjoying each other&rsquo;s company as our next-door neighbors, a corporate team, arrived to decorate their space. For much of the day, a pile of what seemed to be rubble laid next to the tent, awaiting its transformation.</p> <p>It was then that I noted the contrast between excellent and average teamwork, between efforts that capitalize on enthusiastic participation and playfulness versus activities driven by obligation and protocol. This experience and similar ones have helped me to articulate ways to cultivate teamwork excellence:</p> <p><strong>Create Awareness of Needs</strong></p> <p>Simply letting people know of a need isn&rsquo;t enough to actually fulfill the need, but creating awareness is the first step. Certainly, there may be times that a call for assistance (or leadership) will be answered quickly. Very often, though, communicating the need lays the foundation for subsequent discussions and team member involvement.</p> <p>A first communication can be delivered via email, Facebook update, or whatever digital or traditional form is accepted among your team members or potential teammates. Reaching everyone among your circle of friends, colleagues, or employees is a priority so that no one, even those who rarely show an interest, will feel left out. Giving all an equal opportunity to accept or reject a call for service is essential.</p> <p>Follow-up communications can best be handled through face-to-face discussions. These conversations can allow in-depth explanations regarding expectations, scope, and vision. Share past or similar experiences with teams, relate current needs to possible situations that the prospective leader or team member may have encountered, and answer questions.</p> <p><strong>Set Goals</strong></p> <p>Establishing baseline goals is useful in getting the team and its leadership to feel comfortable in taking on a project. My experiences have been that the leader either struggles in the teambuilding process as a newbie and finds comfort with relatively low expectations or has a grander vision and achieves outcomes much better than you would have ever imagined. Realize that high-performing teams tend to be those comprised of people with the desire to excel plus domain knowledge.</p> <p><strong>Embrace Those with the Desire to Contribute (and Appropriate Skill Sets)</strong></p> <p>Identify the specific skills needed to be successful and emphasize these skills when you recruit, welcome, and involve people. People are naturally attracted to opportunities that showcase their strengths, and many want the chance to hone their capabilities and earn recognition.</p> <p>Anyone with the desire to contribute should be embraced. Channeling efforts to tasks aligned with team members&rsquo; skills can be tricky and should be handled diplomatically. By engaging people in thoughtful conversations about needs, rather than aggressively (and manipulatively) recruiting those who are likely to acquiesce to pressure, you should be able to build a motivated team interested in combining individual strengths for collective success.</p> <p>Similarly, be open to those who genuinely desire to lead an effort and have the skills to plan, delegate, and oversee. If you need to serve as official team leader, then commit to making the experience unforgettably fun with an eye to developing likeminded leaders for future efforts.</p> <p><strong>Assure Support</strong></p> <p>Unless you have an unusual pool of prospective team members, no one will sign on if you don&rsquo;t offer support. Forms of support will vary depending on the project but generally will include guidance in clarifying organizational nuances and defining measures of success, assistance in performing project tasks, or demonstration of confidence and appreciation of team members throughout the project&rsquo;s execution and following its completion.</p> <p>To assess your commitment, team members and leaders will likely ask about financial support for the project. Even a modest budget indicates that you value the project and are willing to allocate resources to achieve a desirable outcome.</p> <p><strong>Deliver on Your Promises</strong></p> <p>Never use a bait-and-switch method of recruitment or support (asking someone to help and putting them in charge of a project or offering guidance and assistance but failing to have time and resources available, for example). Your credibility will be decimated if you don&rsquo;t deliver as promised <em>and reasonably expected</em>.</p> <p>Though I once joined with colleagues to create a successful team after a leader shirked responsibilities, I advise not to expect some sort of teamwork miracle. Get the right people together and make sure you do your part, whatever that role may be: show up to planning sessions, give feedback on the feasibility of ideas, accept team assignments, and follow up.</p> <p>Being clear about expectations, accountability, and support &mdash; and delivering what you promised &mdash; is essential to teamwork; in fact, those behaviors define leadership for teamwork excellence.</p> <p><strong>Celebrate Success</strong></p> <p>Great team members will celebrate along the way, reveling in exercising innate skills, engaging with interesting people, and being part of an effort that accomplishes more as a team than possible alone. Have fun as the project progresses. Celebrate successful project completion and special achievements, especially those above original expectations. Show appreciation of team members with the understanding that recognition doesn&rsquo;t have to be flashy or expensive but should be obvious and heartfelt.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/cultivating-teamwork-excellence">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-employees">How to hire employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit">How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-model-employee-with-this-10-point-work-etiquette-checklist">Become a Model Employee With This 10-Point Work Etiquette Checklist</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center leadership management small business teamwork Sun, 13 Feb 2011 13:20:51 +0000 Julie Rains 487862 at http://www.wisebread.com Incentive plans always go awry http://www.wisebread.com/incentive-plans-always-go-awry <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/incentive-plans-always-go-awry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/carrot-incentive.jpg" alt="Carrot Incentive" title="Carrot Incentive" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="344" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ever worked someplace that had an incentive plan (as in, &quot;Hit these targets and you'll get a bonus&quot;)?&nbsp; Ever been a manager whose job it was to administer an incentive plan?&nbsp; Ever tried to create an incentive plan, hoping to get people to do more of what you want them to do?&nbsp; Here's a little tidbit for you:&nbsp; Incentive plans always go awry.</p> <p>I don't mean to say that incentive plans don't work.&nbsp; They just never do what you want them to do.&nbsp; Here's why:&nbsp; They replace intrinsic motivation with extrinsic motivation.</p> <h2>Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation</h2> <p>Ever seen a kid <a href="/how-to-become-an-expert">try to learn</a> how to do something he wants to be able to do?&nbsp; (For example, learn to beat a level on a video game or learn to jump a skateboard up onto a wall?)&nbsp; If so, you've seen intrinsic motivation.&nbsp; I've seen kids spend hours, doing the same thing over and over again, until they get it right.&nbsp; People offering bonuses have seen the same thing too.&nbsp; That kind of concentrated hard work is what they're trying to get, only they want it focused on <strong>their</strong> project.</p> <p>They're never going to succeed, because only intrinsic motivation does that.</p> <p>That's not to say that extrinsic motivation doesn't have an effect.&nbsp; Offer a bonus, and people will try to get the bonus.&nbsp; But observe:&nbsp; Their motivation is not to accomplish your goal--it's to &quot;get the bonus.&quot;</p> <h2>Incentive programs and metrics</h2> <p>Any kind of incentive program has a metric--the thing that you're measuring to decide whether someone gets the bonus.&nbsp; For salesmen, it might be a target number of sales.&nbsp; For the quality-control guy, it might be keeping the number of bad units below some level.&nbsp; For a corporate executive, it might be some level of return on investment.</p> <p>Whatever metric you pick, though, it will be something that can be gamed.&nbsp; A salesman can sell more units a dozen different ways: &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>He can stop pushing a single right-sized unit and start getting customers to buy two or three smaller units.</li> <li>He can make aggressive use of financing to sell units to people who can't afford them.</li> <li>He can stop providing support for his old customers and spend all his time chasing up sales to new customers.</li> <li>He can make wink-and-nod deals to &quot;sell&quot; units with the understanding that they'll be returned next quarter.</li> <li>He can kick back a fraction of his bonus to purchasing agents who buy what he's selling.</li> </ul> <p>Now, the head office can thwart any of these moves.&nbsp; It can change the bonus metric from number of units to number of dollars in sales or number of dollars of profits.&nbsp; (Then the salesman puts all his effort into selling the most expensive or most profitable units.)&nbsp; It can delay credit for vendor-financed units until the bill gets paid.&nbsp; (Then the salesman stops using vendor financing even for customers where it makes sense.)&nbsp; It can mandate a certain amount of time spent supporting existing customers.&nbsp; (Measured how?&nbsp; Answer:&nbsp; According to some metric that the salesman can game just as easily.)&nbsp; In fact, it can spend all its time fiddling with the incentive plan, to the point where the head-office folks don't have time to do their own jobs--but nothing it can do will keep employees from gaming the metric, and nothing it can do will produce intrinsic motivation.&nbsp;</p> <p>The point is that, under an incentive plan, <strong>everything is worse</strong>.&nbsp; Everybody's focused on the metric, and nobody's focused on doing the work that needs to get done.</p> <p>Notice what the underlying assumption is:&nbsp; that the employees haven't already thought about what's best for the company and what's best for their customers.&nbsp; That their intrinsic motivation is something other than doing a good job.&nbsp; Some employers no doubt have plenty of disgruntled, unmotivated employees just there to pick up a paycheck for the least work they can get away with--but the answer to <strong>that</strong> problem is figuring out what's gone so terribly wrong with the business.</p> <h2>What to do instead</h2> <p>Whenever I point out that incentive plans make things worse, people always say, &quot;But what should we do instead?&quot;</p> <p>Of course, just asking the question shows that you haven't grasped the essential point:&nbsp; <strong>Incentive plans make things worse</strong>.&nbsp; It's like whacking yourself on the foot with a hammer.&nbsp; The first thing to do is to stop.&nbsp; Once you've done that, you can focus on aligning employee's intrinsic motivation with the firm's business needs.</p> <p>First, think for a minute about what people's intrinsic motivations are.&nbsp; My own experience is with software engineers.&nbsp; They're strongly motivated to:</p> <ul> <li>do new, cool stuff with the latest technology</li> <li>do work that's worth doing</li> <li>gain the respect of their peers</li> </ul> <p>Clever managers can use that to get employees to do what needs to get done.&nbsp; (For example, by making sure that every engineer gets to do some new, cool stuff, by not assigning pointless work and making sure that engineers understand why a task that might seem pointless is worth doing, and by making sure that everybody gets to see some of what their coworkers are doing.)</p> <p>Most managers, though, have a different focus.&nbsp; They're too busy &quot;managing&quot; to have time to explain why the pointless work is worth doing--to them, it's worth doing because senior managers assigned it--and the new, cool projects go to key employees, because they're high-visibility, must-succeed projects and putting a junior engineer on it would be too risky.</p> <p>With intrinsic motivations out of the picture, managers have to fill the gap with extrinsic motivations--praise, raises, promotions, and bonuses.</p> <p>It's important to note that there's nothing wrong with any of these things--managers should lavish their employees with all of them.&nbsp; What's wrong is <strong>using them as an incentive</strong>.&nbsp; As soon as you do that, you've got your employees trying to hit the metric, rather than doing what needs to be done.</p> <h2>Minimizing the harm</h2> <p>Even though the harmful effects of incentive plans have been known for a long time, and the harm has been throughly documented--See for example, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0618001816?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0618001816"><cite>Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes</cite></a> by Alfie Kohn--they haven't gone away.&nbsp; How then can we minimize the harm that they do?</p> <h3>For managers</h3> <p>First, remember that the harm is done by having an incentive tied to some metric.&nbsp; It does no harm to pay people for their work, nor does it do any harm to offer a bonus that isn't tied to an incentive plan.&nbsp; For example, a profit-sharing plan does no harm, and is often a good idea for everyone involved.&nbsp; (It means that the employer can lower payroll costs during bad times without having to lay people off or cut salaries.)</p> <p>Second, if you have to have a metric, make it something that employees have no control over--total profits, for example.&nbsp; This will be de-motivating, of course--employees will be frustrated at having a bonus plan that's essentially a lottery ticket--but not as bad as if all your employees are spending their time trying to hit the metric.</p> <p>Third, if you have a bonus tied to a metric, keep the bonus as small as possible.&nbsp; That way your employees can continue to follow their intrinsic motivations to do a good job without feeling like chumps for not gaming the bonus system.</p> <p>Fourth, don't set your employees up to be competing against one another.&nbsp; You want your employees to be collaborating.&nbsp; Putting them in competition for a bonus is exactly the wrong thing to do.</p> <p>Fifth, don't waste time trying to come up with a metric that your employees can't game.&nbsp; It's impossible.&nbsp; Unless their job is absolutely trivial, it will always be easier to maximize the metric than to do a good job.&nbsp; Any effort you put into creating a perfect metric is wasted effort.</p> <p>To the greatest extent possible, though, avoid incentive plans.&nbsp; If your business has any kind of reasonable structure, your employee's intrinsic incentives are already aligned with the business's interests.&nbsp; (If they aren't--if your employee's natural inclinations to do work that's worth doing and to do it well doesn't lead them to do what you need done--then <strong>that</strong> might be a good place to focus your managerial efforts.)</p> <h3>For employees</h3> <p>I don't actually have much useful advice for employees suffering under an incentive program, except to try to find employers where the incentive programs are small and the target metrics are out of employee's control.</p> <p>Really, your natural inclinations are going to be the right ones.&nbsp; If the bonus is small enough to be ignored, just ignore it and do your job.&nbsp; If the bonus is so large that you can't ignore it, put in whatever effort it takes to get the bonus, and then spend the rest of your time doing whatever you should have been doing.&nbsp; But you knew that already.</p> <p>Everybody should read Alfie Kohn's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0618001816?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0618001816"><cite>Punished By Rewards</cite></a>. It will change the way you think about incentive plans--and change it for the better.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/incentive-plans-always-go-awry">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/motivating-yourself-and-others">Motivating Yourself and Others</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-need-to-stop-asking-hr-for">6 Things You Need to Stop Asking HR For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-you-should-always-ask-in-an-exit-interview">8 Questions You Should Always Ask in an Exit Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-that-really-annoy-hiring-managers">9 Things That Really Annoy Hiring Managers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-types-of-bad-bosses-and-how-to-survive-them">The 8 Types of Bad Bosses — And How to Survive Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income bonus hr human resources incentive plan incentive plans incentive program incentive programs incentives management managers managing Thu, 27 Mar 2008 18:04:00 +0000 Philip Brewer 1952 at http://www.wisebread.com How to hire employees http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-employees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-hire-employees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/teamwork.jpg" alt="Two dogs running out of the surf carrying the same stick" title="Teamwork" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="174" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I worked one place that was much, much better than anyplace else I ever worked. The guy who ran it told me that the secret was in how to hire people. Most managers do it the wrong way: they hire people who can do the work. So, what&#39;s the right way? Hire people that you want to work with.</p> <p>With an exception here and there, &quot;people that you want to work with&quot; tends to be transitive--people that you want to work with also want to work with you and with each other. If you do it well, you produce a community of people who wake up every morning thinking, &quot;Wow! I get to go to work today! I get to go work with all my cool coworkers!&quot;</p> <p>It&#39;s possible to do this wrong. &quot;People you want to work with&quot; is not the same set as &quot;People you&#39;d like to hang out with.&quot; If you start hiring people in the latter category, you&#39;re going to end up with a bunch of people who want to hang out together, and that&#39;s not a good way to get work done.</p> <p>Much more common than that, though is the error of hiring &quot;people who can do the work.&quot; Hiring managers are prone to this, because they&#39;re worried about their projects being successful. In fact, though, that strategy just leads them astray. </p> <p>Of course you should hire someone who can do the work--who wants to work with someone who can&#39;t do their job? But if you frame the problem in those terms, you&#39;re too likely to make your decision on who you think could do the work <strong>best</strong>. But given the choice between two people who can do the work, you&#39;re way ahead of the game if you hire the one you&#39;d like to work with over the one who might be able to do the work better.</p> <p>The fact is, any bright person who has a demonstrated capability with a related skill set is likely to be able to learn to do any specific task in his or her area. And one who looks forward to coming into work every day will be highly motivated to do so.</p> <p>I think this is a general rule--I think it applies even to very highly skilled, highly specialized jobs like surgeon or baseball pitcher. The surgeons that other surgeons like to scrub up and cut with are probably the ones you want cutting you. The pitchers who gets the whole team to pull together are probably a better choice than ones that can get a few more strikeouts.</p> <p>What if you&#39;re not a hiring manager? Is there an important lesson here for you? Probably not, if you&#39;re just at the point of trying to get a job offer. Most hiring managers are looking for whoever can do the job &quot;best&quot; (whatever they think that means). Convincing them that you&#39;re the sort of person they&#39;d like to work with isn&#39;t going to hurt, but it will probably only make a difference when everything else seems pretty much equal. On the other hand, if you&#39;re trying to decide whether to take an offer, I&#39;d put a considerable amount of weight on the answer to the question, &quot;Do I want to work with these guys?&quot; That&#39;s probably even more important than whether or not you want to do the particular job you&#39;re being hired for.</p> <p>You probably can&#39;t find the person who&#39;s &quot;the best&quot; at some task anyway, and if you could, you couldn&#39;t afford them. But if you hire people you want to work with, they&#39;ll probably do a fine job--and make all your other employees more productive in the bargain.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-employees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-need-to-stop-asking-hr-for">6 Things You Need to Stop Asking HR For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jumpstart-your-job-search-with-instagram">Jumpstart Your Job Search With Instagram</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-working-for-an-impossible-boss">7 Signs You&#039;re Working for an Impossible Boss</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-passion-into-a-living">Turn Your Passion Into A Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-types-of-bad-bosses-and-how-to-survive-them">The 8 Types of Bad Bosses — And How to Survive Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income best employee hire management teamwork work Wed, 30 Jan 2008 09:11:02 +0000 Philip Brewer 1699 at http://www.wisebread.com