New Mistakes Are Always Welcome

Too many people are afraid of making mistakes. They take the safe road and try to stay under the radar. “Good is good enough,” because if they stretch they may make mistakes.

Simply put, they play it safe.

This is a recipe for failure in any innovative, growth-oriented organization. If your employees are timid about expanding into unknown territory, they may stymie your ability to achieve your goals.

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A Laser Focus

Something that differentiates top performers is that they stay focused on the end result. They don’t just write a report or complete an assignment; they think about how their work can have the greatest impact on the end user.

The work place is filled with busy people, and some might offer the excuse that they’re just too buried to bring project x to the next level. Although this may be true, those who break through the busy-ness barrier do it regularly.

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Take Control and “De-Whelm”

The volume of “stuff” crossing our desks seems to get worse every time another time-saving device is introduced into our lives. How do you deal with the barrage of email, texts, IMs, and tweets in a given day?

(Notice I didn’t even mention phone calls or voice mails. These have become practically irrelevant as the other methods have accelerated!)

No matter what is going on in your world, you need to take control, or it will certainly control and overwhelm you before you even blink.

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Just Ask…

You know the challenge of inspiring those who work for you to competently complete their work in a timely manner at your company’s standards.

That’s the baseline. What really makes a difference is to develop people so that they willingly move beyond the baseline to achieve more, especially if you need to complete a big project in a short time frame.

Extroverted achievers possess a level of self-motivation to do this with the slightest encouragement. But what about your employees who are less outgoing, in effect, introverted achievers?

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Become a “Recovering Perfectionist”

Are there any perfectionists in your workplace? You’ve probably come across some over the years, and will agree that being around them can be tiring. They create the same level of urgency around everything that crosses their desks, and often drag their staff into the muck of whatever they’re obsessing over.

If this sounds a bit like you, I’d like you to take heed and give you and your staff a break. Perfectionists can be highly critical and excruciatingly picky. Working for a perfectionist is not only depleting, it can be demoralizing. And if you’re a perfectionist, you are continually exhausted from the never ending barrage of things that are “wrong”or don’t work correctly.

People who work for perfectionists flounder in a pool of not knowing when the next criticism is going to come and how they’re going to handle it when the assault occurs. Importantly, their productivity plummets because they spend more time scurrying to fix whatever irks the boss instead of the work they’re supposed to be doing.

Tell it Like it Is…

Some of my clients complain about how their employees don’t do what they expect them to do, and then ask for my help in how to get them to do their work.

The first question I ask is how they communicated the  assignment. Usually this is the only necessary question, because typically the dialogue between the manager and the employee was ineffective.

I’ve written about “managing by telepathy” before, and this is a great example of this problem. You assume that the person knows what’s in your head when you make a request.

Put on Your Game Face

You’re sailing along and things are going well, and out of nowhere – POW! – something happens that knocks you over. As you pick yourself up and regain composure, though, it’s important to manage your emotions. As a leader, you’re subject to scrutiny.

The courage you demonstrate at times of distress can even define you as a leader. Think about times you have observed this in others. Public figures deal with this all the time. If they rant and rave when they are under scrutiny, people tune them out and even lose respect for them.

How do you react when it’s important to be composed under pressure or cool under fire? It’s human to express disappointment, but if you pout or go into hiding or act defensive, chances are your team or co-workers will not view you the same.

“Pick a Little, Talk a Little”

Do you remember that song from The Music Man? It poked fun at a bunch of chattering women, and the song comes to mind every time I’m exposed to “chatter” in public places. This week, I was surrounded by chatter about major plane delays due to storms around the country.

My family was converging in Virginia from around the country. A flight from LAX was cancelled and six people were split into two separate flights. A flight from Portland, OR was two hours delayed.

I had boarded my flight and was ready to go when they announced a delay of an hour. The flight crew allowed people to disembark as long as they brought all of their baggage with them. Twenty or so people stumbled off, laden with suitcases, only to find out that the delay wasn’t really going to be that long, so they had to come back right away.

Do You Make Your Customers Do Your Work?

Have you noticed the degree to which you are responsible for doing the work of a customer service representative? Simple example: we sift through the endless automated menus of our vendors instead of someone answering the phone and asking how they can help. Heaven forbid if your question doesn’t fit the menu – 9 times out of 10, you will be disconnected and need to start over.

I don’t know when this microtrend began, but it’s gaining steam. Recently, I requested something from my domain registrar’s tech support department, and it was clear that we were not speaking the same language. I asked the question several different ways, and with a sigh, the rep said, “I’ll explain it to you again for the third time….”

Wow. Imagine my response to their automated email follow up survey!

Civility in the Workplace

Christine Porath contributed a great piece in last Sunday’s The New York Times, “No Time to Be Nice at Work”. Many of you know that “badly behaving bosses” is one of my soap boxes, so I was interested in her article and the underlying research.

This problem of incivility occurs all too often. I’ve had dozens of executive coaching assignments where I’ve been brought in because senior level people treat others like road kill. They possess a level of self-importance that their point of view, their time, their “privilege” is more important than anything. They boost themselves at the expense of others.

Do you know anyone like this?