Take Steps, Not Leaps

Can you motivate an employee whose performance is lackluster? The answer is imbedded in the distinction between motivation and inspiration: we can inspire the people who work with us, but motivation needs to come from within.

Leaders can be especially frustrated when they haven’t been able to inspire employees to perform at a higher level. One client suggested that an employee’s work was about a B- level and he was trying to raise it to an A. This is a worthy goal, but is it attainable?

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Prepare By Documenting

No matter how prepared you think you are, it’s essential to be ready for staff changes that can disrupt your organization’s operational flow. People resign suddenly. They develop a debilitating illness. They have family emergencies that take priority.

Are you and your management team prepared for such occurrences? Do you know how to jump in and do the various functions that these people have done well and consistently until they aren’t there to do them?

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Making More Sense of the Hybrid Workforce

Despite their best efforts, many leaders still struggle to “get it right” in terms of managing a hybrid workforce. A recent Harvard Business Review article points out five key trends for leaders to consider.

Leaders are adopting different mindsets to be successful managing a hybrid environment based on these trends. Some of the key points from the article are highlighted below.

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Leading Managers

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

The leader is responsible for outlining the core elements of what is expected from managers. Here are some guidelines to consider:

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Meeting Madness

Do you have too many meetings in a typical week? It happens a lot, and you can suffer from “meeting madness” as a result. This is an affliction caused by too many meetings that aren’t focused, take too long, and accomplish a tenth of what you expect. Here are some tips to consider.

Start and end on time. The obvious breach is when people are late. That isn’t fair to those who are on time, especially if it means that you won’t complete what you expected to accomplish. As important, however, is having a firm end time. Stay true to the end time even if you haven’t completed the agenda. It will help build the discipline to end on time in the future.

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Prioritize to Organize

In many respects, leaders need to be more organized than their team members. A disorganized leader sends a message that isn’t flattering and reinforces disorganization, rather than efficiency and being on top of things.

Being able to prioritize effectively is an essential key to successful organizing. In this fast-moving environment that we work in, however, leaders need to be nimble enough to switch gears and reprioritize when things change.

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Workplace Drama

How often does your staff create distractions with an avalanche of finger-pointing and accusations? You may find yourself at a loss of words contemplating the right way to approach the situation. Or worse, you may blow up adding fuel to the fire.

It’s up to the leader to cut off this behavior as it ramps up, because frequent incidences are bad for your organization’s health. Often, the right hand doesn’t know what the left is saying or doing; and that is where the problems begin.

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Jump In or Hold Back?

When is the best time for a manager to jump in and redirect an employee’s actions? If there was an easy answer, we’d be able to magically click an app that could predict the perfect moment. Nice idea, but not happening!

Managers often struggle with this timing. If they start too soon, they become micromanagers. If they wait too long, they may be too late, and the employee may have made a big mistake. As each situation is different, you need to decide based on the actual circumstances.

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The Office Whisperer

Every organization has its gossipers. Usually, it’s an innocent part of organizational life – you see Joan in the break room and one thing leads to another, including a little buzz about what’s happening in the marketing department.

Other times, though, there are certain people who feel it’s their personal mission to find out everything that’s going on. They will do whatever they can to “dig for dirt” even where no dirt exists.

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Accountability for Others

Managers often ask how to hold their employees accountable. This is a difficult question to answer, because one of the biggest variables is your organizational culture. Some cultures support their people when it comes to accountability issues, while others cast blame.

If your culture is focused on learning and growth, you tend to tie accountability with learning and professional development. For example, if Sarah misses an important deadline, the manager will discuss what happened to create that result. Sarah may have had a good reason but didn’t communicate it ahead of time.

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