Posts tagged leadership
8 Tips to Handle Workplace Absenteeism

Simply put, absenteeism is a big deal for business leaders. It costs a lot in terms of lost productivity and temporary labor costs. Add in weakened morale and the price of absenteeism grows even more substantial.

So, what can leaders do to address it? Here are some strategies to consider.

  1. Be proactive – Don’t let the problem go on for so long that you eventually react in anger or, in the interim, come across to others as unresponsive.

  2. Keep records – While you don’t want to be breathing down people’s necks, it is important to have accurate attendance data at your disposal. This will give you the information that you need to have corrective conversations.

  3. Demonstrate concern – When you notice a trend, approach the employee and demonstrate concern. Ask her what’s going on and what can be done to rectify matters. Approach the conversation with the assumption that the employee wants to be on time and reliable. See what you can do to be helpful.

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Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

Corporate life has earned a well-deserved reputation as being cold, calculated and non-emotive. Bosses seem to have picked up that there is little room for emotions and connection behind their business suits and spreadsheets. This approach, an outgrowth of the “boys don’t cry” school of thought, maintains that work is work. It should be a place of logical, rational thought, where you don’t give into emotional thinking. And you certainly don’t display any emotions you do feel to those around you because it’s both not professional and leaves you too vulnerable.

A new school of thought, getting increasingly more traction, argues that emotions and vulnerability are part of who we are. If we want true authenticity and power at work, we need to be willing to feel and acknowledge our emotions in our everyday activities.

Of course, this does not mean that we can or should allow our emotions to seize control of situations and dominate our thinking. It simply offers us permission to acknowledge how we feel and use those feelings as a way of taking our emotional temperature and take proper action when we feel sad, anxious, stressed and the like.

But it would be a mistake to think of workplace emotions only from a negative standpoint, as in how to handle our emotions when we’re feeling out of whack. Positive emotions deserve more attention as drivers of workplace connection, collaboration, motivation and engagement. Leaders who learn how to channel positivity and infuse it into their teams will see significant results in such areas as creativity, productivity, and retention.

Such positive emotion often starts with gratitude.

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Learn to Tell a Great Story

In my work as a professional speaker, I seek to weave in stories whenever possible. The reason is simple. Unlike dry, technical information, stories deliver messages direct to the heart. They deliver immediate understanding and are remembered much longer than other information.

When I use words like, “Let me tell you a story,” the audience always becomes more alert and attentive. It’s like they’re thinking, “Okay, here comes the really good stuff.”

Good stories have a power all their own. They can make complex issues understandable. They can give people a sense of community. They can call people to action in ways they never imagined.

Storytelling is not just an important skill for speakers. Now more than ever, great leaders are great storytellers. Storytelling helps executives weave rich narratives that inspire their organizations, set a vision, teach important lessons, and define the culture and values. Perhaps most importantly, stories explain who you are, how you got here, and what you believe most deeply about your work and about each other.

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How to Reward Employees Without Spending Money

In a recent post we talked about gifting experiences instead of money. But sometimes, even experiences are not in the cards. Or perhaps you want to set a standard that not every good act needs a tangible What then?

Consider gifting privileges.

When I was a head of school, we introduced a behavior management program that was built around core values. Students who demonstrated behaviors and attitudes that were in line with our values (safe, friendly, respectful and responsible) would receive tickets that could be cashed in for prizes. Some of those prizes were physical rewards, such as a toy or slice of pizza. But many were privileges, like having lunch with a certain adult or becoming my personal assistant for a day. Students were able to choose what they wanted, and many chose the privileges over tangible rewards.

We all want to feel respected and important. And what better way to gift somebody that feeling than by fostering opportunities for them to be recognized and pampered?

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How to Receive Feedback Like a Boss, Part I

We all need feedback if we are to grow and perform at our very best. And if our people don’t have a way to express their fears and concerns, what will that do to their morale, engagement, and desire to remain at your company?

So, before discussing strategies for receiving feedback, we must first tackle the challenge (and it’s a big one!) of getting our people to open up to us in the first place.

Part of the challenge here could be our mindset. In her bestselling book Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success, Stanford Professor Carol Dweck talks about people’s mindsets with regards to their ability to perform new tasks.  She talks about people who stay squarely in their comfort zones and others that venture well beyond them. Dweck labeled these mindsets as “fixed” and “growth,” respectively.

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How to Find the Right Person and Train Them, Part II

Finding the right person to delegate to may not be enough. Often, that person – experienced or not – is going to need to learn new concepts and skills to do their job correctly and efficiently.

One of the first questions you want to ask is, “what do you need to learn in order to do this task properly?” Once s/he has responded, add whatever you feel may still be missing. At that point, work to determine how s/he is going to get the needed training.

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How to Find the Right People and Train Them, Part I

Part of determining who to delegate tasks to will depend on who you have available as well as your purpose and intent when delegating. For example, tasking something to a new hire that you are looking to groom may look very different from asking a seasoned member of the team to complete the same task. One may be better equipped to do it today than the other, but that may not be your primary consideration.

Here are some factors to consider when seeking to identify the right candidate for delegation.

  1. The experience, knowledge and skills of the individual. What knowledge, skills and attitude does the person already have? How do they match up to the task at hand? What will they need to learn? Do you have time and resources to provide any training needed?

  2. The person’s current schedule and workload. Does the person have time to take on more work? Will this task require reshuffling of other responsibilities and workloads?

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How to Give Feedback Like a Boss, Part II

Following are more tips to help keep feedback conversations constructive.

  1. Be growth oriented – The primary purpose of feedback should not be assessment. Rather, it should be on coaching employees to grow and set new goals. Once goals are set, use them as a baseline for future conversations with a focus on how the employee is progressing towards his/her goals. If insufficient progress is being made, use the conversation to figure out why and what can be done to help get things on track.

  2. Be reasonable – Even if there are many correctable items that you’d like to discuss, avoid overloading. Too much information will only dilute the conversation and reduce its effectiveness. Choose the 2-3 most important elements that require attention and leave all others alone. Less is more.

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