Spring Cleaning

Once upon a time, this was the time of the year when spring cleaning was the center of household activity. Some researchers attribute its origins to the Iranian Norouz, the Persian new year which marks the first day of spring. Tradition was that Iranians would “shake the house” prior to and in anticipation of the new year.

Don’t worry – this column isn’t going to be about household cleaning tips, something that is definitely not in my wheelhouse! Rather, I’d like to apply the metaphor to getting your work-related house in order.

I’m sure many of you have ancient piles of paper or woefully accumulated emails in your inbox or have something that isn’t organized as well as you’d like. What can you do now to make some improvements and reboot your productivity?

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Do You Self-Regulate?

Do you know leaders who feel entitled to express their negative emotions, regardless of the situation? They bark, complain, whine, and spew over things that other people have done, ostensibly resulting in their workday being “ruined”.

Many problems arise from this, but one of the biggest ones is the unseen impact on an employee. The recipient can feel humiliated or shamed and is likely to privately absorb the impact of the harsh words.

The ripple effect for the employee can range from passive aggressive behavior to shutting down altogether to passing along the leader’s anger to co-workers.

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Snow Days

Many people took a snow day earlier this week in the northeastern U.S. Of course, like thousands of others, I worked from home. And I enjoyed flowing with rhythm of the day.

I noticed that I got more done in less time. This was hard to believe, but it certainly got my attention. Work-related calls were shorter and had a slower pace. The amount of email exchanged was easily cut in half. A less urgent edge replaced the hurried pace of the typical business day.

Why did this happen? Maybe it was the weariness people feel as winter ends and spring begins. Maybe it was the surprise of so much snow and ice in the middle of March. Maybe people just needed to take a breather.

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Leading Managers

Many leaders become frustrated with mid-level managers because they perceive that the managers are not doing their jobs adequately. When you really dig into why this happens, it’s often because the managers don’t fully understand what is expected of them.

Leaders are responsible for outlining what is expected from their managers and for providing the resources for their success. Here are some guidelines to consider:

Clarify roles and responsibilities. This can be more important than a traditional job description. What is the position expected to achieve and what are the key responsibilities for which the position is accountable?

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Look Beyond the Money

Have you ever had a situation where you fell in love with a prospective employee who asked for more salary than you were willing to offer? Or a valued employee who tendered her resignation and you attempted a counteroffer?

Every leader has experienced this at some time. On the surface, you’re faced with offering more money than you were originally willing to pay. Both situations, though, merit more consideration than just the checkbook.

The prospective employee
If you pay more than you want to, you will tend to expect miracles from the new employee (“after all, I paid her thousands more than the position is worth…”). Consider other ways to compensate, such as bonuses or other incentives.

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