Published by lynda.com | Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
The way you manage your projects and employees affects the productivity of your department—and company. Get ahead in 2014 with these tips to help you manage, motivate and resolve issues with employees and be a better manager.
1. Pick the right management style.
There’s no single perfect way to manage, but there IS a management style that works best for your situation and team. Do you know how to choose the right one?
Published by Todd Dewett | Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Civility and politeness are great traits to have in an office environment—but when it comes to brainstorming, they also undermine creativity in a group setting.
This week’s first tip turns brainstorming on its head. It’s often said that harnessing the power of combined ideas and conversation yields more creative results than the same number of people working alone, but it isn’t necessarily true. In fact, when groups fall victim to common brainstorming pitfalls, they aren’t any more creative than individuals. My first tip this week can help you and your team brainstorm successfully.
Published by Todd Dewett | Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
The business world has a long-standing love/hate relationship with the creative process. Managers regularly profess to embrace creativity, but they’ve usually been trained to avoid failure—and accepting and learning from failure is key to a successful creative process.
The good news is that a small but growing number of adventurous business professionals do recognize that failure must be embraced. They still value the need to work faster, smarter, and cheaper, but don’t run from failure or the lessons that can be learned from it. They accept that no great invention ever materialized out of thin air, but required attempts, trials, and experiments. Each failure provides valuable opportunities to teach us what we need to know in order to succeed. My first tip this week will help you understand how failure can become your best friend.
Published by Todd Dewett | Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
Let’s be clear. First impressions are unfair representations of people. When you see someone and make a snap judgment—which we all do—your judgment is based on worthless data. Likewise, when someone does that to you, they’re not getting to know the real you.
But first impressions matter. Important decisions—such as whether to hire you, promote you, or introduce you to potential clients—will be made based on the first impression you make.
The good news is that we can help! You can learn how to nail your first impressions by watching the first Management Tips video this week.
Keeping a team at peak performance is tough. You can staff correctly, provide your team with crystal clear directions, and give everyone the resources they need to succeed—but sometimes they’ll still get stuck! When your team’s performance reaches a plateau, you’ve got to refocus on motivating them.
You’ll know a team is stuck when you see no significant progress for weeks on its key goals, principled debate edging toward unproductive arguments, or one or two team members constantly dominating the group’s conversations. If left unaddressed, morale and trust can quickly erode and the overall productivity of your team will flatline.
Don’t worry; you can get your team moving again. That’s the focus of the first tip this week: How to get your team unstuck.
There are two types of overachievers. The first are those immensely talented people whose skills blow you away, but also tend to behave like divas. They can be demanding, condescending, and often rub people the wrong way. My advice? Get rid of them as quickly as possible! The chemistry of your team is far more important than a single member’s talent.
The second type of overachiever has out-of-this-world skills and is also a good teammate. These are the real superstars: They appreciate others, enjoy building the team dynamic, and can communicate effectively. These overachievers can be as rare as unicorns, and when you find one, you have to give them proper attention. You don’t want to focus so much on your “A+” players that you offend the other players on your team, but keep this in mind: The team members most able to leave and find better opportunities, even in a tough market, are your top performers. This week’s first tip covers what you can do to keep those top players on your team.
Whether you’re in the accounting business, the packaged-food business, or the design business—the truth is you’re in the people business. Business is all about people and relationships. Networking has been a well-known business practice for decades, but the term has become so clichéd that many underestimate its value. That’s a shame, as networking can make or break your professional success.
If you haven’t yet set up a LinkedIn profile for online networking, make that your first priority. You should also join several relevant professional associations, attend their monthly meetings to make new contacts, and volunteer to be on their boards. Don’t have time for all that? Then prepare to be passed over for people with better networking skills. Like it or not, success often depends on who you know.
I hate to break it to you, but leadership is quite often about dealing with the poor performers on your team. When taking on your management role, it’s easy to think you’ll simply get promoted, staff your team correctly, give them good resources and instructions, and—like magic—exceptional performance will result. Well, not really. A surprising amount of your time will be spent dealing with underperformers on your team, as the quality performers usually require very little attention.