Time Management or Mania Management?

One of the top challenges facing executives relates to time management. They are over-scheduled, perennially interrupted, covering for others’ mistakes, and solving dozens of challenges.

I was working with a someone in his office last week and within a brief ten-minute slice of time, four different people “dropped in” to ask something. When the fourth person walked in, he just looked at me and started to laugh. This man’s workday really begins in the evening, and obviously, this isn’t sustainable over time.

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Can You Articulate What You Stand For?

One of my clients is going through the interesting exercise of articulating “what he stands for” so that he can make more informed career management decisions. This interests me for many reasons, not the least of which is that enhanced self-awareness is a vital asset for any executive.

What’s he really doing is clarifying his values. When you understand your values, everything from making decisions to business development to managing your employees is easier.

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What Lies Beneath

Have you ever made assumptions about what someone is thinking, reacted based on those assumptions, only to find out that you were completely wrong? Of course, you have! We all do this from time to time, but frankly, it’s a bad habit.

You never know what’s going on with someone…unless you ask…and the person actually responds fully.

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Leadership Conundrum

Much of our discussion about leadership is within the context of the functional job that you do as a leader. This framework includes attributes such as sharing and acting on the company’s vision, managing a positive professional environment, and providing the support and resources that your staff needs.

There are times, though, when the organization’s vision or direction changes and you face more personal considerations. Typically, these changes occur gradually and although they may not be too noticeable, one day you wake up and realize that things are quite different.

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Averting Conflict

There comes a time when conflict inevitably percolates in the workplace. How you handle it makes a difference in whether it permeates, lingers, or fades.

Sometimes you have little control over a decision, such as deeply cutting expenses when cash flow is tight. Other times, you might take an unpopular position that upsets some of your staff.

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Breaking Up with an Employee

No one likes to fire an employee. It’s uncomfortable – even distressing – depending on the circumstances. But it’s one of the realities of managing. In fact, the rest of your staff will take note of how you handle it.

The key to dealing with a prospective termination is to be brutally honest about the situation. Objectively assess the person’s performance and determine if the situation can be salvaged. In some cases, the employee may not have been trained properly; in others she may have floundered due to bad (or no) management.

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The Dialogue of Feedback

How do you deliver feedback? Some people embrace opportunities to offer positive accolades for a job well done. Others are quick to criticize what didn’t work well and focus on what needs to be done differently the next time.

Both types of feedback are necessary. You need to acknowledge the good as well as offer suggestions for improvement.

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What Are You Really Hearing?

I have a friend who is a litigator by profession, and true to her calling, she sounds like a litigator in all aspects of her life. She is smart, interesting, and fun to be around….that is, when she’s not badgering people.

Her tone is often contentious and argumentative, even if we’re talking about something as mundane as what to order in a restaurant.

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Are You Covering Up For Weak Performance?

Some managers fall into the trap of stepping in and bailing out their lower performing employees. If certain staff members are not doing their jobs satisfactorily, a knee-jerk reaction is to jump in and do it yourself.

This isn’t a good idea. Not only do people not want to be micromanaged, snatching work from them (because you’ll meet the deadline or think you can do it better) is demoralizing. Over time, they will think, “Why bother? The work will never be good enough for my boss and she’ll just do it anyway.”

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Turning to Fall

The autumn equinox arrived yesterday evening at 9:04p EDT. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it marks shorter daylight hours and cooler weather. The current indicator of change is that it gets light later in the morning and gets dark earlier in the evening.

Different cultures commemorate the equinox with various customs. I typically notice a shift in the workplace at this time of the year. The looser environment of summer transitions into more of a settled and focused workplace.

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