Leadership

Likable Leaders Share These Habits

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Dictators, complainers, and faultfinders with brilliant visions may command reluctant crews for a while, but their arrogance, impatience, and condemnation burn out workers before they can likableleadersthrive. Conversely, employees follow likable leaders gladly with unconditional conviction.

When staffers portray managers, they skip innate characteristics like intelligence, extraverted personalities, and charisma. Instead, they focus on qualities for humility, positivity, and approachability that emotional intelligence can control. Leaders possessing such flairs gain admiration while outperforming their lacking counterparts.

Acquired Skills

These learned behaviors can make your management style more universally appealing:

Humility: Arrogance destroys likability quickly. Humble authorities don’t believe they rate above their employees, so they don’t behave as if they’re superior. Rather than flaunting their prestigious status, they view their leadership positions as serving their followers with greater accountability.

Positivity: Respected executives’ positive outlooks are evident in their word choices. Instead of having to make board presentations, optimistic managers get to spread their visions among influencers. Factory tours aren’t obligations. They’re opportunities to connect with product producers. Even when facing truly negative situations, upbeat leaders foresee the future with enthusiastic hope. They exude confidence about helping tomorrow surpass today.

Approachability: Some people spare time for others only when such associations benefit them. But welcoming leaders trust that personnel of all ranks and abilities are worth their attention, despite their hectic schedules. They see personal merits everywhere, so the entire staff feels valuable.

Interpersonal connections: Popular executives make team players feel like they are engaging in personal discussions — even in crowds. Employees feel like the only people around them who count. And at those times, they are. Sympathetic bosses viewing staffers as significant, sensitive, fellow humans converse on very personal and responsive levels.

Composure: Even-keeled directors take their personal achievements and setbacks in stride. They’re not braggarts when succeeding, and mistakes don’t rattle them. Instead, they savor victories without being egotistical and acknowledge failures readily without allowing them to hinder recoveries. Learning from both, they move forward.

Generosity: Insecure bosses who fear full access to job fundamentals might enable employees to outshine them hold back knowledge, resources, and contacts. But confident leaders share those essentials generously so their workers can triumph. They embrace and celebrate the correlation between individual and team successes.

Perceptiveness: Discerning leaders’ refined social awareness helps them excel at reading people. Because unspoken communications can overshadow verbalized ones, they notice body language, facial expressions, and speaking tones to perceive hidden messages.

Integrity: Principled managers’ actions instill trust and respect. Instead of just mentioning integrity, their conduct demonstrates it daily. Charming administrators aren’t likable unless strong ethics back up their appealing qualities.

likableleaders1Encouragement: Inspiring authorities go beyond spotting the best assets in employees to making sure they and everyone else involved embrace their gifts. By drawing out staffers’ talents, individuals better themselves and their joint teamwork.

Substance: Deep thinkers realize that their wisdom and proficiency are crucial to their followers’ success. So instead of making shallow small talk, they share their profound expertise with crewmembers regularly. Admired leaders don’t boast about or exaggerate their strengths. That’s unnecessary. They possess true substance, which they impart willingly.

Delegation: Savvy leaders know the merits of delegating. When you partner with National PEO, we can handle numerous back-office duties from human resources and payroll services to workers’ compensation and employee benefits while you guide your firm’s success.

Effective Messages

To increase your likability and team’s achievements, address employees with these supportive phrases:

Our aim is: Emphasize bigger pictures so workers will sense greater connections and motivation to contribute to common goals.

Enlighten me: Staffers who believe you value their opinions enthusiastically will strive for professional excellence.

So you’re saying: Listening, the key to effective communication, maintains group loyalty.

Thanks for your input: Concluding conversations politely and gratefully encourages ongoing feedback.

Great job: Flattering staffers privately or publicly about specific projects is a major motivator.

How can I help?: Showing crewmembers that you care about both job-related and personal matters increases their loyalty.

What’s your opinion?: Inviting employees to express their opinions freely fosters autonomy, creativity, and teamwork.

At your convenience: Acknowledging that productive times vary among workers raises efficiency immensely.

I have faith in your judgment: Besides monetary incentives, trusting staffers’ decisions stimulates higher performance.

Next time, what would work better?: Reduce the stress of mistakes by persuading personnel to find improvement clues in any unfortunate errors.

Avoid These Workforce Management Mistakes

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workforcemanagment1
Many team leaders have not received personnel supervision training. They may lack the awareness, sensitivity, and values for effective daily interactions. Business skills and methods are easier to learn than principles and attitudes, the main underlying concerns hindering workforce management success.

Supervisors are your firm’s front-line representatives. How they oversee staffers sets your operation’s tone. Most internal communications funnel through crew chiefs. Bad situations cause fearful employees to avoid their superiors. Resigning workers give up on bosses — not employers or jobs.

Fix Problems With Corrective Measures

Review common managers’ mistakes that increase turnovers. You and others will become better leaders in a more successful company when you notice, avoid, and fix these oversights:

Neglecting to specify clear direction: Bosses who do not set standards and clear expectations see inadequate work. Prioritizing everything makes workers think nothing takes precedence, so they do not accomplish tasks and goals. Overly flexible or rigid expectations leave reports feeling rudderless. Strive for a suitable balance to lead and impart direction without dictating to avoid deterring staff engagement and empowerment.

Denying trust: Managers who do not believe workers can perform their duties create numerous problems from micromanaging to constant surveillance. Watching, tracking, and admonishing all employees for every minor flaw when just a few are truly untrustworthy can make more sink to your lowly expectations. Alternatively, setting high standards will help them strive for greatness.

Being unfamiliar with workers as people: Building relationships with personnel is a crucial management tool. Serving as a therapist is unnecessary. Just take a healthy interest in employees’ lives. Interested, involved bosses congratulate parents’ on their kids’ achievements and convey sympathy when relatives die. Knowing your crew will improve responsiveness to their needs, significant family events, and moods.

Trying to develop friendships with staffers: Supportive interactions can be warm, but separating reporting relationships between friends is difficult. Socializing co-workers gossip and gripe about their bosses and work. Their managers do not fit into such situations. Basing responsive relationships on respect and dignity makes personnel appreciate your attentiveness, caring, trust, and dependability.

Treating workers differently: Any inkling that you favor certain staffers can undermine your workforce management efforts. Those outside your clique will believe you are partial to others in it, even if you are not. That idea impairs teamwork, productivity, and business success. Handling crewmembers identically is not necessary, but they must think everyone receives equal treatment.

workforcemanagment2Failing to address issues and problems that will worsen if you ignore them: Emotional drama interrupts employee interest, motivation, and output. Some managers hope uncomfortable issues and co-worker conflicts will subside naturally with avoidance. However, tension grows unless you change how they collaborate. Leaders’ proactive interventions must ensure personnel possess the skills to resolve disputes, perhaps via mentoring and coaching.

Forgetting to remind employees that you value their opinions: Unless managers believe that listening demonstrates they value subordinates, active listening training may be essential to develop that crucial skill. When individuals can express their opinions, they feel like important, respected team members. Encouraging daily communication generates useful insights.

Making decisions before requesting disregarded feedback: That sneaky tactic may fool some staffers, but many will see through your sham. Roadblocks like complicated approval steps show workers you veto most ideas, so suggestions dwindle as job searches begin. Rather, involve employees in workplace policies to engage and empower them.

Withholding vital information and communicating poorly: The best message delivery is transparent. Aside from whatever few secrets must remain confidential between executives, share your knowledge. Most employees want the inner circle’s info to make sound decisions. Invite team players’ opinions and improvement solutions. Explain why you do not incorporate their suggestions or authorize self-implementation.

Throwing personnel under the bus: Some managers blame staffers during higher-up interrogations over departmental errors when bosses always are the accountable ones. Crew accusations provoke employee animosity, distrust, and disrespect, which spread among work friends. Faulting subordinates jeopardizes superiors’ job — not theirs. Officers will question your leadership abilities without removing blame. Avoid such consequences by responding with dignity and team support.

Select Managers to Supervise Personnel Well

When you outsource HR tasks to National PEO, our professional employer organization handles recruiting carefully. Our hiring experts can assess supervisory skills along with functions and abilities. To fit your culture, we will recommend candidates who demonstrate compatible values, beliefs, and work styles. Your new managers will value others, inspire teamwork, demonstrate leadership through clear direction, and foster two-way communication to benefit everyone.

Track Employee Productivity and Performance

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Track Employee Productivity and Performance with 14 Technological Tools

Track Employee Productivity Terminating one underachieving worker and training his replacement can deplete up to a fifth of his annual salary, so we advise managing employee performance well to correct minor issues, improve staff retention, and prevent unnecessary and costly separations and new hires. That goal can be challenging though when team players work from remote client construction sites or multiple factory locations. Young Entrepreneur Council members recommend their 14 favorite software and apps to monitor personnel productivity and performance.

1. Google Streak

Numerous apps manage big projects while ignoring side tasks. If sending and receive forgettable emails is creating missed opportunities, TalkLocal’s Manpreet Singh suggests Google Streak to track business email requests. Besides displaying all unresolved messages, you can set reminders to follow through with every concept and prospect.

2. TinyPulse

Chad Halvorson of When I Work uses TinyPulse to sense employees’ feelings quickly. In under five minutes, you get insight into your team’s concerns and needs. Then you can discuss outcomes in meetings, addressing solutions to the whole company.

3. SnapEngage

Robert De Los Santos at Sky High Party Rentals endorses SnapEngage, a live chat app. The dashboard allows managers to review customers’ typical questions and staffers suggested solutions. Supervisors can determine if company websites and employees are offering the latest information, notice workers’ downtimes, and assign other activities between calls.

4. Salesforce

Jayna Cooke runs EVENTup on Salesforce, a computer-based customer service platform. It tracks your staff’s productivity by numbers of phone calls, sent emails, created opportunities, and money made. Measuring key performance indicators is easy. Salesforce generates automatic reports summarizing each day’s work and performance.

5. WorkiQ

Jyot Singh at RTS Labs tracks employees’ computer behavior with the WorkiQ app, which reports productive and unproductive times. Dashboards display clear visuals that distinguish staffers whom work engages actively from continually distracted ones.

6. 15Five

Recruiter.com’s Miles Jennings recommends 15Five web-based software to improve manager/employee communication and performance evaluations. It’s ideal when bosses are too busy to evaluate staffers’ work and Track Employee Productivity determine which tasks require guidance. 15Five encourages cooperation to resolve problems and complete projects in a communicative workplace.

7. Asana/Harvest Integration

Start Ranking Now’s Nicole Munoz prefers the Asana communication application to standard web and smartphone email programs. Integration with Harvest enables all workers to record their hours so supervisors can oversee budgets efficiently. Bosses can assign tasks individually, audit them in real time, and handle any issues promptly.

8. iDoneThis

Brett Farmiloe at Markitors adopted iDoneThis as an easy way for staffers and executives to check performance. It gives contributors opportunities to celebrate their achievements. Employees receive evening email reminders to reply with that day’s accomplishments. The next day, team leaders get summaries of their crews’ work.

9. Trello

Matt Hunckler of Verge appreciates cloud-based Trello for helping him visualize his workflow and organize projects. Get out of your inbox and use this free robust app on numerous devices to manage processes better. Use list boards to structure tasks and synchronize growing crews easily for multiple business functions.

10. Basecamp

Brooke Bergman at Allied Business Network Inc. chose Basecamp to facilitate project management on computers and portable devices. Various employees enter their tasks by day, week, or month to check off upon completion. Superiors can view all workers’ agendas and accomplishments, noting shortfalls that need addressing to reach individual objectives.

11. Assembla

A website and app project workspace tool, Assembla enables strong, continual communication among Dalip Jaggi’s development team and defines Devise Interactive’s current workload. Git integration helps synchronize commit and ticket processes. Project managers enjoy decreased emails, upgraded quality assurance, and not having to badger their crews.

12. Todoist

According to Anthony Johnson, American Injury Attorney Group uses Todoist to inform all personnel about everything from vital daily tasks to minor details. The ultimate to-do-list features customizable projects with deadlines for individual and group assignments. Monitor timely task completion and productivity on 15 common platforms.

13. Pipedrive

Travis Holt of Brush Creek Partners recommends Pipedrive as a valuable app to monitor your sales and proposal teams’ performance. Customization is simple, and its data-reporting feature is extremely robust. This easy-to-operate customer retention system allows data importing, exporting, and management.

14. DeskTime

Cody McLain of WireFuseMedia LLC uses DeskTime as an automatic real-time tracking resource. This powerful, easy-to-use tool allows managers to gauge each staffer’s work as productive, neutral, or unproductive. They can monitor each employee’s billable hours on computers and smartphones.

How to Become a Better Leader

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How to Become a Better Leader by Increasing Your Self-Awareness

Become a Better LeaderWhat is self-awareness? It’s cultivating self-knowledge. It’s making an effort to understand both your strengths and your weaknesses. It’s admitting when you’ve made a mistake, or when you don’t know the answer. It’s remaining aware of how others might perceive your words and actions. And it’s one of the most important qualities of a successful leader.

You might think that leadership means appearing infallible, but that’s just not possible. People are going to notice your personal weaknesses, even if you do your best to hide or ignore them. Acknowledging your own failings shows character, and makes members of your organization more likely to follow your lead.

So, how can you cultivate self-awareness? You’ll need to get to know yourself as well as possible. You might want to enlist friends, loved ones, and colleagues who can gently point out your flaws and draw attention to your strengths. Others can also help you change behaviors that you find detrimental. Outsourcing administrative tasks will give you more time to focus on cultivating the self-awareness that all great leaders need.

1. Know Yourself

Getting to know yourself isn’t as easy as it might first appear. Much self-knowledge comes with age, but you don’t have to wait until you’re old in order to gain a deeper understanding of your own strengths, weaknesses, and motivations.

Meditation is one time-honored technique for getting to know yourself. There are many different meditation techniques, but they all revolve around focusing your concentration on something — your breath, a mantra, or a burning candle flame, for example. You can find ample meditation resources online, including free guided meditations.

Journaling is another great way to get to know yourself. You can use a journal in a few different ways to gain self-knowledge. Benjamin Franklin reportedly used his journal to take an inventory of his own character traits, both positive and negative. He also recorded traits he wanted to develop in himself, and used this data to determine whether his character was developing in a worthwhile manner over time.

You can also use your journal to record your thoughts and feelings about business and personal decisions. Do as Warren Buffet does — write down your reasons for making each decision you make. Then, several months to a year later, revisit your rationale. Over time, you’ll gain some idea of how often you make illogical decisions, and how often your decisions are well-thought-out. This practice can help you learn more about your weaknesses and take action to correct them.

Become a Better Leader2. Ask for Feedback

It’s difficult to truly understand how you come off to others without asking them directly for feedback. Your friends, family members, and even colleagues are good sources of information about how your words and actions feel to those on the receiving end.

Ask others for candid and objective, if tactful, evaluations of your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re asking a colleague, make sure you let the person know that you’re asking as a friend, not as a boss or coworker.

Friends can also help you improve yourself by alerting you when you’re engaging in behavior that you want to change or eliminate. Even though you may have gained enough self-knowledge to be aware of a weakness or flaw, that doesn’t mean you have enough self-awareness to instantly recognize the detrimental behavior in yourself each time it appears.

For example, if you’ve discovered that you have a bad habit of interrupting others and talking over them ask a trusted friend or colleague to let you know, discreetly, when you’re doing it again. This way, you can gradually learn to notice for yourself when you’re engaging in the detrimental behavior, and learn to stop.

3. Pay Attention to What Others Are Doing and Saying

Another great way to discover which of your character traits can be considered weaknesses and which ones can be considered strengths is to pay attention to what the people around you are saying and doing — even when it has nothing to do with you. Pay attention to which behaviors elicit a positive response from you when you encounter them. Listen when others are praising what they consider another person’s positive character traits. You can work on improving your own character by endeavoring to emulate the positive qualities of others.

Self-awareness is one of the most important qualities all great leaders possess, but it’s also one of the least talked about. By cultivating a solid understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, you can learn how to acknowledge your shortcomings. Not only will this leave you room for self-improvement, it’ll also make it much easier to surround yourself with team members whose own traits, qualities, and skills help to complement yours. Together, you’ll be able to take on more than you ever thought possible.

Gender Equality in the Workplace

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How to Foster Gender Equality in Your Workplace

Gender Equality in the WorkplaceIf you’re not sure whether your workplace has a gender equality issue, then it probably has one. Men may not intentionally behave in ways that make their female coworkers feel discriminated against, but at the same time, they may not recognize issues of sexism and gender inequality because these issues don’t affect them directly. Your female employees may not feel comfortable coming forward with their concerns about gender inequality, perhaps because they’re used to not feeling heard at work, or perhaps even because they have a hard time putting their feelings into words.

How can you promote equality between your male and female employees? You can start by making sure everyone knows that gender equality in the workplace is a priority for your company. Be proactive about hiring women and offering them opportunities for raises and promotions. Give your employees the flexibility they need to meet their family commitments. You could even encourage your employees to champion gender equality causes outside the workplace.

Make Gender Equality the Company Policy

Your employees will be more likely to keep gender equality issues in mind at work if they’re constantly reminded that it’s company policy to treat female and male employees the same. Put together a set of core values that reflect your company’s commitment to gender equality and display them in a place where everyone can see it, such as in the break room.

Encourage employees to come forward when they see or personally experience issues with sexual harassment, gender-based violence, or gender-based bullying in the workplace. Establish a reporting system that protects victims from reprisal. Let your employees know that they can come to you with less serious gender equality concerns, too.

Some of your employees may not fully understand gender equality issues, but you can help change that. Bring in guest speakers to talk about issues surrounding gender equality in the workplace and at home. Develop regular team-building exercises that help promote gender equality in your workplace by encouraging the men and women on your team to work together. You could even make it a point to hire equal numbers of men and women or to assign equal numbers of men and women to work on team projects together.

Give Female and Male Employees Equal Opportunities

You may want to be proactive about hiring more women for your team. The gender wage gap may be wide open in economies around the world, but you can close it in your company by making sure your female employees get paid just as much as the men doing their same jobs. When asked outright how much money they think they should earn, many female job applicants ask for less than their male counterparts.

When you hire a new female employee, outline a fair salary range and ask the new hire to position herself within it. This will help balance the discrepancy without making the new hire feel put on the spot.

Gender Equality in the WorkplaceOffer Flexible Working Arrangements for All Employees

Although more than 57 percent of women are now in the work force, women still bear most of the responsibility for child care, elder care, and homemaking. That means that many women struggle to uphold both their professional and their personal responsibilities. You can make it easier on them by offering flexible working arrangements to all of your employees.

Instead of forcing employees to ask for telecommuting or flex working privileges that they may not even be sure are available, make sure everyone knows what their flex working options are. Make it easy for employees to choose flex hours or telecommuting one or more days a week. Some employees may be able to work entirely from home, saving you money on office space and increasing those workers’ productivity.

Make sure the men in your office have all the same flex working options as the women. It’s only fair, and with modern families being what they are, your male employees could just as easily be single parents or have elderly relatives depending on them for care.

Encourage Gender Activism

Most of your employees will probably wholeheartedly support gender equality initiatives, especially your younger employees. Promote a deeper understanding of gender inequality issues by encouraging your staff to get involved in gender activism. Campaigns like the UN’s 16 Days of Activism focus on issues surrounding gender inequality around the world, especially gender-based violence. HeforShe is a solidarity movement that encourages men to take a stand against gender discrimination and gender-based violence. Alternatively, you could encourage your staff to raise funds to help women in developing countries access health care, finish their educations, or raise seed money for entrepreneurial endeavors.

While women have made great strides toward social, legal, and political equality with men, many women still feel discriminated against in the workplace. You can make sure your female employees don’t feel that way by making gender equality a priority in your workplace. Both your male and female employees will thank you for it.

Managing Remote Employees

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3 Ways to Manage Remote Employees — Painlessly

Working RemotelyRemote working is getting more and more popular as technology has advanced to the point where it’s easy to stay in touch and share data with staff members around the country and the world. But even though the 2010 census report indicated that 13.4 million Americans work remotely at least some of the time, many managers and small business owners are still leery of letting employees work remotely. They worry they’ll have problems communicating with remote workers, or they fear that remote workers won’t be as productive without a supervisor keeping an eye on them.

However, evidence suggests that remote workers are more productive than their office-bound counterparts, and that’s just one advantage of letting more — or even all — of your employees work remotely. You’ll save money on office space, utilities, and supplies. Remote workers are happier and stay in their jobs longer. They spend more time at work and take fewer days off than their office-bound peers, because their flexible working arrangement allows them to handle personal responsibilities, like doctor’s appointments, that on-site employees would need to take time off for.

Managing remote workers isn’t that much harder than managing on-site workers, especially since they tend to be more engaged than on-site workers. You’ll find that most remote workers repay your trust with increased commitment to getting their work done. You can use email, instant messaging, and videoconferencing technology to stay in touch with remote workers. Cloud technologies allow remote workers to access the same data and files that workers in the office use. If you can, bring the whole team together for a teambuilding event at least once a year.

1. Leverage Technology to Stay in Touch

Communication is one of the biggest concerns many managers have about handling remote workers. They imagine that it must be inherently difficult to keep a distant worker in the loop, especially when there are other workers in the office who can be communicated with the old-fashioned way. But thanks to technology, we now have more communication options than ever before, making it possible to work with people in different cities, states, or countries. A PEO can help you recruit remote workers and deal with the regulatory implications of hiring across state lines.

Email is one way to communicate with remote workers, and it’s good for assigning and checking on day-to-day tasks. If you need to coordinate communication between several people, an instant messaging service like Campfire can help. Just because some or all of your team members are working remotely doesn’t mean you can’t have meetings — you can use videoconferencing technology like Skype or Google+ to have meetings. Videoconferencing is also a solution if you worry that too much non-verbal communication could be lost to email or other text-based services.

Working Remotely2. Use the Cloud

Your remote workers will need to be able to access all the same documents and data that your on-site workers have access to. They may also need to digitally share the results of their own efforts with their office-bound colleagues. You could spend a lot of time and money setting up a network of servers to store this information and pay an IT staff to maintain it. Or, you could use the cloud to swap and store necessary files and information.

Use cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive to give your remote workers access to the files and data they need to do their jobs. When they have files to share with you, they can upload them to Dropbox or share them with the relevant colleagues using Google Docs. Just make sure you organize everything into a system that makes sense.

3. Meet Face-to-Face When You Can

On the surface, it sounds like meeting face-to-face defeats the purpose of having remote workers. While remote working is one of the best job benefits you can offer an employee, there’s really no substitute for meeting up with your co-workers face-to-face and forming relationships with them. Try to host a yearly team-building event where everyone, even your remote workers, can have a good time together.

Maybe you can’t host such a yearly physical meeting for whatever reason. Your remote workers might be too far away to feasibly bring into the office, or maybe your business is too strapped for cash to pay for everyone’s travel. You can still do your best to foster a sense of company culture using videoconferences. Suggest an informal, after-hours Google+ Hangout in lieu of the traditional Friday evening happy hour drinks among co-workers, for example.

Remote workers can bring a great deal of value to your organization. They’re often more productive and happier in their jobs than on-site workers, and since you don’t need to provide them with a work space, they come cheaper, too. If you’ve never managed workers remotely, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier than you think — so don’t be afraid to jump on board with this growing trend that will likely become even more normal in the years ahead.

Managing Creative Employees

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5 Tips for Managing Creative Employees

Managing Creative EmployeesCreative employees, and the innovation they foster, are the lifeblood of many organizations. But it’s not easy to manage creative types, especially when they happen to also be difficult types. Creative employees need the space and freedom required for experimentation and risk-taking, but at the same time, they need to be gently encouraged not to get too attached to their work or to take criticism too harshly. Creative employees need to be surrounded by the right kind of people — teammates who will support their ideas, but who can also help them pay attention to the mundane details. Make sure your creative employees feel that they’re doing interesting work, and don’t pressure them to conform.

1. Give Creative Employees Freedom

Creativity and innovation require risk-taking, experimentation, and sometimes, failure. Get the most out of your creative employees by giving them the freedom to fail once in a while. Sure, allowing your creative employees to fail sometimes will cost the company money. Don’t worry about it. You can find much better ways to cut costs. In the end, the value of your creative employees’ innovations will far outstrip the costs of their setbacks.

2. Don’t Let Them Get Too Attached to Their Work

Even though your creative employees will be creating for the sake of your business’s bottom line and not for the sake of art or their own personal fulfillment, you’re still going to find that they care about their projects and get emotionally invested in the outcomes. That’s a good thing; that passion is what makes creative employees worth their salaries. But for the sake of workplace harmony, productivity, efficiency, and the collective mental health of your creative people, it’s a good idea to gently discourage them from getting too attached to their projects or the outcome of their work.

You can encourage a culture of detachment by putting your creative employees together to work in teams, so that no one person is responsible for the outcome of the project. If you only have one or two creative employees, that’s okay; you can team them up with less creative employees who are nevertheless open to entertaining even the wackiest of the creative ideas. When an idea is rejected or needs revisions, present it as a problem that the whole team can solve together, to protect individuals from feeling criticized. Encourage creative teams to push through concepts quickly; creative employees are less likely to become deeply invested in a piece of work that they spent only a day or two working on.

Managing Creative Employees3. Surround Them with the Right People

Too many creative people working together can be a recipe for disaster, especially if one or more of them are of the “difficult” subcategory of creative types. However, you don’t want to team your creative employees with teammates who are too staid and conventional to support the more creative employees’ ideas. Research shows that teams made up of people from diverse backgrounds foster creativity, as long as the team members are open to taking one another’s perspectives. So surround your creative employees with others who may be less creative and innovative themselves, but who are willing to support the creative employees’ ideas and collaborate with them to improve upon those ideas.

These less creative team members can also help the team handle the less interesting, more mundane tasks that may bore many creative types. They can, for example, make sure that proper procedures are followed, templates and formats are respected, and details are attended to.

4. Keep Them Interested

Of course, you need to pay your creative employees a decent salary and offer them competitive benefits, just as you would any other employee. But creative types aren’t just motivated by external rewards like money; they do the work they do because they enjoy the process of creation itself. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that the work you give them is meaningful and inspiring. Don’t give your creative employees busy work. They’ll get bored and may start to think that another organization might appreciate them more.

5. Don’t Pressure Them to Conform

While a certain amount of conformity is necessary in most corporate settings, creative types need flexibility at work in order to come up with the great ideas you’re paying them for. Try to give your creative employees a little more freedom to seek the novelty they crave. Offer them flex scheduling or let them telecommute. If you can’t do that, at least make sure that you don’t micromanage their tasks; give them an idea of where you’d like them to arrive, and then let them figure out on their own how to get there.

Your creative employees may be among your most valuable, since they’re capable of fostering the innovation that could put your organization at the head of your industry. Care for your creative employees properly, and give them the environment they need to put their creative skills to good use. When you see the great ideas your creative employees come up with, you’ll be glad you did.

Bullying in the Workplace

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How to Keep Bullying Out of Your Workplace

Bullying in the WorkplaceWorkplace bullying is a serious issue in the U.S., one that 13.7 million Americans are currently dealing with. One survey, which asked 2,283 people about their experiences with workplace bullying, found that a shocking 96 percent of workers have experienced bullying at work. Eighty-nine percent of workplace bullies have been bullying for over a year, and 54 percent have been doing it for over five years. Most workplace bullies don’t just stick to hassling one person; 80 percent have bullied at least five, if not more, people.

There are several kinds of bullying that can occur in the workplace. Workplace bullying can include sabotaging a co-worker or damaging his or her reputation. It can also include threats, verbal or physical intimidation, insults, browbeating, and assault. In some cases, workplace bullies even hit or kick their targets.

Bullying in the workplace isn’t illegal – yet. But that doesn’t mean your company shouldn’t have a policy in place for dealing with workplace bullies. If you don’t yet have a company anti-bullying policy, create one and make it a part of your employee handbook — it’s the first step toward making your company culture one of courtesy, civility, and respect. Know what constitutes bullying, and don’t be afraid to address any issues right away. It may be necessary to reprimand a workplace bully in some way, especially if the behavior is repeated a second or third time. Keep potential bullies out of your workplace entirely by paying attention to the characters and personalities of job candidates as you interview them.

Implement an Anti-Bullying Policy

If you don’t already have an anti-bullying policy in your company, it’s time to create one, especially if you’ve already noticed bullying behavior or one of your employees has complained about being bullied. It’s okay to write an anti-bullying policy even if bullying appears to be a new problem in your organization. A written policy will help you be consistent in your dealings with all future instances of bullying. Make sure there’s a way for bullied employees to come forward without worrying about suffering retaliation at the hands of the bully.

Know What Bullying Is

Some behaviors that can constitute bullying in the workplace include:

  • Berating or browbeating an employee
  • Insulting or calling names
  • Using sarcasm
  • Dominating meetings
  • Screaming and temper tantrums
  • Repetitive behaviors meant to undermine another employee
  • Interrupting
  • Verbal abuse
  • Professional sabotage
  • Public humiliation

Bullying in the WorkplaceOf course, just because a person interrupts someone during a meeting or has a big mouth doesn’t mean that he or she is a bully. It’s important to remember that bullying lies in the way an employee’s behavior makes others feel. You might see behavior that looks like bullying, only to discover that the employee at whom that bullying was apparently directed saw nothing wrong with it at all. On the other side of the coin, behavior that doesn’t bother one employee might deeply disturb another.

If you’re not sure whether an employee is being bullied, don’t be afraid to ask some open-ended questions like “How are things going?” When employees know that there is an anti-bullying policy in place and that they can lodge complaints without fear of retaliation, they’ll be more likely to open up. Take all bullying complaints seriously; if an employee complains about bullying and you don’t do anything about it, he or she will probably stop complaining, even if the bullying continues or escalates. Instead of lodging fruitless complaints, the bullied employee will most likely look for another job.

Address Bullying Right Away

The sooner you address bullying, the sooner you can stop the behavior, while minimizing any harm to the bullied person. Take the bully aside and speak with him or her privately, calmly and without being confrontational. Identify specific instances of behavior that were problematic. Say things like “You rolled your eyes and interrupted someone at the meeting,” or “You called someone a fool” instead of making vague pronouncements like “You’re not acting very nice.” Remember to separate the person from the behavior; it’s the behavior you want to change, not the person. But do make it clear that the behavior must stop. If this is the second or third time the person has bullied someone, you may want to take decisive action, like issuing a written warning, sending him or her to anger management counseling, docking his or her pay, or even letting him or her go.

Avoid Hiring Bullies

When you hire new employees, it’s important to vet their characters and personalities during the hiring process to make sure you’re not hiring someone who could turn into a bully. Ask your receptionist and other low-level employees to report on how job candidates treated them during any interactions that may have occurred. Check references, and ask if the person has had a history of bullying or having a short temper. Ask the candidate how he or she handled a frustrating experience on the job, and pay attention to whether or not he or she blames others. Don’t be afraid to ask outright if the candidate has ever had problems interacting with other employees. Get written permission from candidates to check prior performance reviews.

For too many Americans, bullying doesn’t end when they grow up and leave school. Workplace bullying remains a serious issue, and it’s up to managers and corporate leaders to stop it.

 

Ways to Boost Employee Morale

by National Peo National Peo No Comments

5 (Almost) Free and Unusual Ways to Boost Employee Morale

You know when office morale is low. There’s a feeling of discontent in the air, which usually fuels poor performance, office gossip, and high turnover.Increasing Employee Morale

Some managers try to boost morale via peppy slogans or incentive programs. The problem is that posters don’t usually work, and incentives can be expensive — and aren’t always in tune with what employees want.

The good news is that there are some free (or almost free) solutions that are virtually guaranteed to boost employee morale and increase productivity.

1. Let Employees Create Their Own Titles

What is your job title? Does it really reflect what you do — or what you perceive as your role within the organization? According to new research in the American Academy of Management Journal, most people do not think that their titles are accurate reflections of their work, and in fact, employees who are allowed to create their own titles are less stressed and less likely to burn out than those who receive titles from their boss.

That conclusion is based on research from the London School of Business, which found that when employees are asked to create their own titles, they are better able to express themselves and are generally more thoughtful about their work and can articulate why it is important. The researchers also discovered that when employees create their own titles, it tends to break down the traditional hierarchies within companies, creating stronger teams and improving communication. Sure, you might wind up with some unusual and oddly specific titles, but you will also have a happier workforce.

2. Encourage “Passion Projects”

Many employees have ideas and concepts that they wish they had time to develop fully. These might be ideas for new products, ways to better complete tasks, new creative pieces — the list is endless. The problem is that many people are so caught up in their day-to-day work and in meeting deadlines that they don’t have time to pursue these “passion projects.”

This could be holding your company back — big time. Not convinced? Ask Google. The tech giant allows employees to spend up to 20 percent of their time working on personal projects that are related to the company, but that are outside the realm of their normal job responsibilities. The results of this policy include such developments as Gmail and Google News.

The idea is that if you allow employees a certain amount of creative freedom, whether it’s a percentage of their working hours or just a day or two each month, they will stay passionate, engaged, and excited about their work. And of course, there is always the possibility they could develop the next multi-million dollar idea.

Employee Naps3. Allow Employees to Take Naps

The idea of letting people sleep on the job might sound counterintuitive — after all, nodding off at your desk has traditionally been a surefire way to earn a one-way ticket to the unemployment line. However, studies show that employees who take short rest breaks during the day are more productive and happier. In fact, a NASA study found that a short nap (less than 30 minutes) increases alertness by more than half, and productivity by 34 percent. As one expert pointed out, companies are more focused than ever before on employee wellness, and offer massage, workout rooms, and nutrition counseling, but neglect to acknowledge that sleep is one of the most important factors in overall health and wellness.

Some companies have added “nap rooms” to their buildings. These rooms may offer a comfortable recliner, hammock, or cot in a cool, dark, and quiet space, where employees can take short breaks to refresh and rejuvenate. If you’re worried about abuse of the privilege, require employees to reserve the nap area in advance, and place time and frequency limits on napping.

4. Learn Together

Learning new skills helps stimulate creativity and brain function. When learning takes place at work, employees may feel more engaged and connected to their work, especially if they are learning something unrelated to their daily duties. Try organizing a series of lunch and learn meetings, where employees can learn new hobbies, stress-relief techniques, or skills that they can put to use in their daily lives.

We’re not talking about training sessions on how to use the new time clock system or how to enter reports. The type of learning that boosts morale is sessions that provide new skills for work (learning how to edit photos or conduct focus groups, for example) or a shared experience for the team.

5. Allow Volunteer Time

Giving your employees time to give back outside of the office is another proven way to boost morale — and it can improve your company’s profile within the community. For many people, long workdays combined with family responsibilities make finding time to volunteer a challenge. If they can take one afternoon a month to devote to volunteering, they usually come back to work rejuvenated. In many companies that allow employees paid time off to volunteer, departments work on projects together, which helps strengthen the team and build camaraderie.

Boosting office morale isn’t always about expensive incentive programs or cheerful slogans. Sometimes, all it takes to get your employees happy and engaged in their work is learning about what makes them tick, and allowing them the freedom to explore their interests and expand their minds.

Performance Appraisal Mistakes

by National Peo National Peo No Comments

The 7 Most Common Performance Appraisal Mistakes

Performance Appraisal MistakesFor many companies, the end of the year brings holiday hours, a break room full of treats, and the dreaded annual performance review period. Employees are generally anxious to hear whether their performance has earned them a raise (and maybe a bonus) while bosses usually dread the paperwork and awkward conversations that come with appraising employee performance.

Even though performance appraisals are an important part of effectively managing a team and keeping everyone on track toward departmental and company goals, many managers make mistakes when conducting reviews. The issues stem from a number of causes: An inexperienced or unconfident leader who is hesitant to provide constructive criticism, managers who are too far removed from their staff to have any real insight, or a lack of clarity on the evaluating criteria are just a few of the issues that make many performance appraisals either pointless or frustrating.

Because of these issues, many managers make these same mistakes over and over again, making review time a time of anxiety and fear, not reflection, planning — and yes, celebration — as it should be. Not only that, poorly conducted performance evaluations could lead to disputes and even legal problems down the road, especially if an employee is terminated.

Mistake #1: Evaluating Intent, Not Results

When an employee’s performance isn’t up to par, it’s easy to assume that he or she didn’t care or didn’t really try. Unless you have concrete proof that someone had malicious intent though (such as a salesperson regularly spending the afternoon at the salon or movie theater instead of calling on clients), attacking someone’s motivation or intentions is bound to backfire. Even if you honestly believe that someone could be a top performer if he or she simply tried harder, that’s irrelevant.

Focus on the performance itself, and engage the employee in a conversation to determine why the results were poor. It might have nothing to do with intent, but rather outside factors that were out of the employee’s control. By focusing on identifying solutions, the employee feels supported, not attacked, and is more likely to improve performance going forward.

Mistake #2: Doing All the Talking

As a manager, it’s your job to provide feedback to during performance appraisals. However, if the meeting just consists of you sharing a litany of criticisms and complaints, your employee isn’t going to leave feeling very motivated to do better. No one wants to feel as if they are being talked at, so turn employee appraisals into conversations.

While you should certainly share your assessments, ask your employee for feedback as well. Set goals together, discuss your employee’s role within the team, and ideas for the future. Having a conversation takes some of the anxiety out of the review for both sides, and makes it a more productive meeting.

Performance AppraisalsMistake #3: Not Identifying Specific Behaviors

If people don’t know exactly what they are doing wrong, how can they fix it? Telling someone that they aren’t a team player, or that their attitude could use some work, isn’t very constructive because it doesn’t explain exactly what constitutes those behaviors.

Telling your employee that their inability to meet deadlines or unwillingness to fill in for a sick coworker impacts the whole team, is more constructive feedback, and tells the employee exactly what they should or should not do going forward.

Mistake #4: Relying on Your Own Perceptions

While you might be the supervisor, are you the only person who works with an employee? Getting feedback from other employees, clients, even the employee him or herself will provide a better view of their performance.

Otherwise, you may not realize that your employee is polite to you but rude to others, or was actually the mastermind behind a brilliant marketing slogan and deserves recognition.

Mistake #5: Inadequate Documentation

In many cases, performance reviews play a role in employment decisions. If someone is fired or denied a promotion due to a performance review, without proper documentation the company could face significant legal consequences.

Documentation doesn’t only provide protection against disputes, it also helps gauge an employee’s progress toward goals and improvement (or decline) over time. Ideally, you should follow a consistent format and use a defined checklist or questionnaire for every employee to ensure fairness and accuracy across the board.

Mistake #6: Relying on Recent Events

Although best practice recommends holding performance reviews more often, most companies evaluate employees once per year. As a manager, are you able to remember everything that has occurred in the previous 12 months for all of your employees? Probably not. If you only rely on the most recent few weeks or months of performance, though, you could miss some important details that might play a role in compensation or promotion.

Again, asking others for feedback, and documenting performance throughout the year, prevents the “recency” effect and ensures that your employee gets a thorough and complete evaluation.

Mistake #7: Not Giving Positive Feedback

Some managers see performance reviews as an opportunity to express grievances and criticisms freely. However, effective reviews also include some praise. Everyone likes compliments, and wants to know what they do well, so even if the news isn’t all good, look for at least a few positive factors you can praise. It will help keep your employee happy and engaged.

Performance appraisals may be time consuming, and even tedious in some cases, but they are an important part of managing a team. Avoid these mistakes, and your reviews will be well received and keep you out of trouble down the road.