http://thesupervisorscompanion.com Wed, 21 Oct 2015 16:53:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 TIPS for New Supervisors http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/tips-new-supervisors/ Mon, 26 May 2014 22:12:33 +0000 http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/?p=2488 T ⟶ train and coach employees for success I ⟶ inspire and motivate employees P ⟶ practice effective communication S ⟶ stop micromanaging

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T ⟶ train and coach employees for success
I ⟶ inspire and motivate employees
P ⟶ practice effective communication
S ⟶ stop micromanaging

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Are you a good meeting facilitator? http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/good-meeting-facilitator/ Wed, 02 Oct 2013 13:53:12 +0000 http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/?p=2465 What would your employees say about how you facilitate a meeting? I remember my first senior management meeting when I became a new employee for an international firm. This meeting was regularly set for once a month at 10:00am. I had been attending meetings at various organizations […]

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What would your employees say about how you facilitate a meeting?

facilitate a meetingI remember my first senior management meeting when I became a new employee for an international firm. This meeting was regularly set for once a month at 10:00am. I had been attending meetings at various organizations for some time and had certain expectations. As a newcomer, I wanted to be on time and get a decent seat in this large room. I arrived about five minutes early. Not a soul was there. Some employees came straggling in around 10:00, when strangely there were still lots of seats available. By 10:15 it seemed that everyone had arrived, except the president of the company, who was the facilitator. No one seemed concerned with the late start – in fact, it seemed to be the norm for this meeting.

As an adult, who likely has a mild case of undiagnosed ADHD, I am wiggling in my chair. I thought we’d be through a couple of agenda items by now. It’s 10:30, and we were finally good to go. Well, except there was no agenda. Everyone was calm, except me. I was beginning to resent the time lost when I could be ramping up my new programs. Looking back, everyone actually seemed disengaged and that was also becoming true for me. The topics shifted without direction and some participants rambled along taking the lion’s share of time. Some participants pulled out their PDAs and drifted through their emails as though they were alone in the room. The meeting droned on and on. Nothing substantial happened for two long hours. (Well, I did get a chance to practice patience.)

Sound familiar? If you’re not prepared, running a meeting can be like herding cats. By the end of the meeting the cats aren’t very happy and they probably never did get in the box as you had hoped.

When you ask the average employee if he or she thinks meetings are useful, you can be pretty sure the answer will be no. If you’re wondering whether you run an effective meeting or not, here’s a quick survey you can hand out to your meeting participants. When you get the results, you’ll know if you need to read the quick tips for effective meeting management at the end of this blog.

 

meeting survery form

Six quick tips to help those new to effective meeting management.

 

  1. Have a clearly defined purpose for each meeting.
  2. Invite only those employees who absolutely need to be at the meeting.
  3. Have an agenda for every meeting.
  4. Agree on basic rules for the meeting.
  5. Prepare action items as the meeting progresses.
  6. Follow up on the action items at the next meeting.

 

Running an effective meeting sends the message that you respect your employees and their time.

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Active Listening isn’t Easy http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/active-listening-isnt-easy/ Wed, 25 Sep 2013 14:45:27 +0000 http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/?p=2457 It’s not speaking clearer or louder that will get you heard. It’s the listening. If you practice active listening in your communications with other, you’ll learn more. When you learn more, you have will have the information you need to improve your communication with your colleagues, friends […]

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Active Listening - Jon Ryan article LinkedinIt’s not speaking clearer or louder that will get you heard. It’s the listening. If you practice active listening in your communications with other, you’ll learn more. When you learn more, you have will have the information you need to improve your communication with your colleagues, friends and family.

Jon Ryan’s article, “How to be a Chief Listening Officer” provides some practical advice on how to improve you listening skills. It’s definitely worth the read.

Active listening isn’t easy, but if you work at it, there is likely a positive pay-off at the end. Give it a whirl!

 

Read the Article

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Can you motivate a temp? http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/can-motivate-temp/ Mon, 23 Sep 2013 13:10:55 +0000 http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/?p=2446 If you are having difficulty finding work, one strategy is to join the “temp community.” Like many of you out there, I have friends who work as temps while actively seeking regular full time employment. That’s what I would do if I were in their shoes. But […]

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TempIf you are having difficulty finding work, one strategy is to join the “temp community.”

Like many of you out there, I have friends who work as temps while actively seeking regular full time employment. That’s what I would do if I were in their shoes. But what does that mean for the company who hires the temp? It probably means that the company doesn’t have a fully engaged employee. Of course, when a person is hired as a temp, mutual engagement isn’t the first message the temp receives. The situation can be likened to a sofa bed – not quite a bed and not quite a sofa. Or in the case of a temp, “You work for us, but not quite.” Is there any way to push the envelope a bit so that a temp can become more engaged, even while looking for work elsewhere? I think there is.

 

  • Spend time getting to know the temp at the beginning of the engagement.
    I have seen employers hire a temp, set them up at a desk and just start them on the task at hand. There is no sense of welcome or attempt to bring the temp into the work culture. For most of us, social interaction is an important part of our work day. If you are the contact person or supervisor for the temp employee and you essentially isolate her for most of the work day, you can bet that the connection to the work effort will be diminished. Spend a bit of time getting to know this person and I’m pretty sure that will pay off down the road.

 

  • Share information about the company and thoroughly train the temp for the assignment.
    If you are the contact person for the temp, tell her about your company and how the work she is doing fits into the team or unit she is working with. Tell her where she can eat lunch, get extra work supplies or who to see if she needs assistance outside the scope of her work. Give your temp an understanding of the bigger picture. What the company does, information about some key employees, more detail about the managers and employees she is working with will provide a sense of engagement. Give her a sense that what she is doing is important to the overall project. Provide training that will help her succeed at the assignment. Monitor her progress and provide feedback. The temp needs to get a sense that, while the company may not be able to commit to a long term position at this time, it does care about the people who help it accomplish its goals.

 

  • Become an advocate for the temp.
    If the temp is demonstrating qualities you want in a full time employee, engage in a conversation with her so you can determine if she is interested in working for your company and learn more about her career interests. You can keep your eyes open for internal opportunities, even if those opportunities are elsewhere in the company. Acknowledge to the temp that you understand she may be looking for full time employment. Tell her you would like to accommodate that goal. Once she has a sense that you understand her need for full time work and that you are advocating for her, you will more likely have a temp who will manage her need to take time off with consideration for the work she is doing at your company.

And so, the bottom line is:

When a person feels she matters, the work she’s doing for you will matter more.

 

 

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Is there a Communication Gap between Manager & Employee http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/communication-gap-manager-employee/ Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:29:59 +0000 http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/?p=2433 Here are three quick tips for you to consider.   If you want effective communication with your employees you must actively listen. Active listening requires approaching a situation with an open and curious mind. You will need to focus on someone else rather than your own thoughts […]

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Here are three quick tips for you to consider.

 

  1. If you want effective communication with your employees you must actively listen.

    Active listening requires approaching a situation with an open and curious mind. You will need to focus on someone else rather than your own thoughts during communication. This isn’t easy for most of us. But, practice, practice, practice will get you there. Active listening means that you will need to ask open-ended questions that allow the employee to elaborate or further explain his thoughts, concerns or ideas. A good open-ended question to ask after an employee has expressed his concerns can be, “How can I help?” Now that question can improve any conversation!

  2. If you want effective communication with your employees your body language and tone of voice need to match the words you use.

    Most of us know that body language can send a strong message. Your body language will be the first message the employee receives when she enters your workspace. Make it a good one. If you sit at your desk, and continue to work on your computer while your employee waits for you to break – that’s not a good one. If you look up and greet the employee with a warm smile, the message is much better – “you are welcome here. I am ready to listen.” You can still ask the employee to wait while you finish, but a nice ‘howdy-do’ is – well, nice, and it will matter.

  3. If you want effective communication with your employees you must respect their thoughts and concerns.

    How many of you have heard, “My boss asks for my opinion, but nothing ever changes” or “…he does whatever he wants anyway.” Respecting what your employees say doesn’t mean that you have to do what they say, but having interactive dialogue where issues and ideas can be worked though will let your employee know where she stands. She won’t need to wait or wonder and she will feel heard and respected.

 

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Manager Tips – 3 Things to Never Do http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/manager-tips-3-things-never/ http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/manager-tips-3-things-never/#comments Sat, 14 Sep 2013 00:35:28 +0000 http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/?p=2414 3 Things you Must Never Do if you want your employees to trust you  

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3 Things you Must Never Do if you want your employees to trust you

 

    • #1 – You must never make your employees guess what you expect from them.

Employees can’t read your mind. A job description doesn’t set standards or tell the employee how you work or what you expect or when you expect it. You need to tell them – clearly and often. Most employees want to succeed, but they won’t know what a ‘job well done’ means to you unless you give them clear guidance and feedback along the way.

 

    • #2 – You must never micromanage your employees.

When you micromanage a capable employee – watch his every move, send constant reminders, ‘help’ him with every project, and constantly check on his progress – you are telling that employee that you don’t believe he can do the job without your help. You are saying, “I don’t trust you.” Trust your ability to evaluate your employee’s strengths and challenges, so you can trust your employee to complete the jobs you know he can do.

 

    • #3 – You must never surprise your employees with bad news during their performance review.

Let’s see – you are the employee, you’re going along doing your thing and your manager never says anything about your work product until the performance review and then suddenly you learn that some areas of your work are not up to par. Great! You never had a chance to improve – only to fail. Employees deserve a chance to improve. Tell them what needs to be corrected as soon as you know and give them that chance.

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Top 6 Tips for the Micromanager [Video] http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/top-6-tips-micromanager-video/ http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/top-6-tips-micromanager-video/#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2013 15:46:41 +0000 http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/?p=2408 How to become a recovering micromanager Micromanagement creates a sense of distrust… A micromanager will   Chances are the employee will not be feeling very good about this. The short video offers recovering micromanagers 6 tips to battle these tendencies.

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How to become a recovering micromanager

Micromanagement creates a sense of distrust…

A micromanager will

  • watch everything you do
  • check on you frequently
  • send specific instructions by email
  • remind you of job priorities daily
 

Chances are the employee will not be feeling very good about this. The short video offers recovering micromanagers 6 tips to battle these tendencies.

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The Management of Moving…. http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/management-moving/ http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/management-moving/#comments Mon, 09 Sep 2013 11:37:41 +0000 http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/?p=2402 Two weeks ago my husband and I moved from Western Maryland to St. Augustine Florida. It’s a huge project unwinding sixteen years of living in one place. It wasn’t easy, but we made it! Looking back, I recall some days when I thought we had made a […]

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Two weeks ago my husband and I moved from Western Maryland to St. Augustine Florida.

It’s a huge project unwinding sixteen years of living in one place. It wasn’t easy, but we made it! Looking back, I recall some days when I thought we had made a big mistake and should just undo everything. There were other days when I wanted to throw random stuff in a suitcase and just head south that day. Along the way, and especially now that we are here, I realize that this process was a lot like managing a business. Good days, bad days, planning, re-planning, what comes first, what goes where. All those thoughts fit well into the management of any business. Getting work done requires management skills. Here are a few skills that are essential if you want to get from here to there, whether you are moving or managing a business.

  1. Set your end goal and stay focused on that goal…

    When you are planning a move, you need to agree on the end goal. If either person has reservations about this venture, it probably won’t work out too well. Moving requires a great deal of planning. You need to plan to the goals – short and long term goals. Some of the short term goals can be negotiated along the way, but everyone needs to know what the end goal looks like and how long it will take to get there.

  2. Team work is important…

    It’s important that you know your strengths. It is also important that you know the strengths of your team mates, because a successful move, like successful management, requires team work. One person can’t carry the load. This is no time for the micromanager. This is no time for one person to decide he or she knows it all. In order to successfully manage this project, there needs to be a division of labor. Every piece of the project is important – right down to the final sweep of the house. Every team member needs to understand the priorities along the way. These may shift from time to time depending on what crisis pops up. Priorities should be revisited every day and everyone needs to be on board. Make sure you know that everyone is on board – assumptions are dangerous when managing a project.

  3. Organizational skills matter…

    Some people are particularly good at organizing. In business, these people are often in operations. In a successful move, these are the team members who can help you get rid of sixteen years of stuff you don’t really need any more. These are the people who can figure out what to pack in the order that will work at the other end. Organizers remember to label boxes, too. Use these people well because you’ll be able to find stuff later.

  4. Effective communication is essential…

    Like managing a business, moving is stressful. Everyone involved will have his or her own stressors in the process. Everyone will respond differently. You need to keep that in mind as you manage your move. If you commit to maximizing your communication during the process, you can help reduce the stress, because effective communication requires active listening. If you take the time – each day – to actively listen to the concerns, suggestions and thoughts of the members of your team, the stressors can’t live long. They are reduced in the speaking and in the listening, because, then, there is the opportunity to work them out with someone who cares.

Relocating is difficult for everyone. You lose your comfort zone. You lose good friends and maybe some family. If you can make the actual move work well, you will have more time to deal with the stress of losing what had become familiar. Moving your stuff from one place to the other can be a logistical nightmare if you don’t plan right, use your resources to the max and make sure everyone is on the same page. I can’t say we were perfect along the way, but working hard to manage this so we both felt successful each day paid off. Hmmm, couldn’t the same be said about a day at work – managed well?

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Working as a team http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/working-as-a-team/ Wed, 31 Jul 2013 02:42:44 +0000 http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/?p=2383 Working as a team can be an easy and natural process, provided there is a clear vision of the goal that overrides the self-interest of each team member. Take a look at this photo and you will have no doubt about what an effective, self-directed team can […]

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Working as a team can be an easy and natural process, provided there is a clear vision of the goal that overrides the self-interest of each team member.

Take a look at this photo and you will have no doubt about what an effective, self-directed team can accomplish.

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Japanese people tilt a train to save a woman who had fallen on the tracks.

If you plan to lead a team and you want success, here are some starter tips:

Step 1: Have a clear vision of the goal.

Step 2: Clearly communicate the vision to all of the team members.

Step 3: Listen and watch the team members to determine if everyone understands the goal.

Step 4: If all the team members do not understand the goal, you will not likely succeed as a team. Spend some time determining what information has not been clearly communicated and work toward ensuring that everyone shares your vision.

If you are successful at accomplishing steps 1-4, you will likely have a self-directed, integrated team even before the work has begun. The rest of the work, while not necessarily easy, is process.

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How can I get my manager to change? http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/how-can-i-get-my-manager-to-change/ Fri, 26 Jul 2013 19:15:37 +0000 http://thesupervisorscompanion.com/?p=2347 Getting my Manager to Change…   Dear Jeanne, My manager doesn’t listen. She is stubborn and bossy. I never seem to do anything right. I don’t like working with her. How can I get her to change? Janet   …and my response:   Dear Janet, I once […]

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Getting my Manager to Change…

 

Dear Jeanne,

My manager doesn’t listen. She is stubborn and bossy. I never seem to do anything right. I don’t like working with her. How can I get her to change?

Janet

 

…and my response:

 

Dear Janet,

I once had someone say that about me. For the sake of this email exchange, let’s call her Hannah. Hannah made the mistake of sharing her thoughts with another employee, Lee, who had a very different perspective of my management style. Lee and I had developed a strong working relationship and because she was quite concerned about what Hannah was saying, she shared the information with me. Learning this information provided an opportunity for me to try and figure out what was going on. I thought I was a pretty strong manager who came across with a friendly and inclusive style. Something was amiss here and I wanted to improve it.

Obviously, there is something amiss between you and your manager. The question I will ask you is: do you want to take responsibility for improving this relationship or do you want to wait until someone tells your manager what you think so she can begin to work on improving it?

It’s easy to complain about another person. I have certainly been guilty of that behavior. Over time, however, I have come to realize that complaining never changed anything about the situation. I needed to find solutions to my complaints and work with the person I was complaining about to improve the situation.

 

So let’s come up with a few ideas as to how you can “get” your manager to change.

 

  • Move your focus from what your manager needs to do to what you need to do to improve the situation. In order to do this you will need to initiate a conversation with your manager.

 

  • Make your initial meeting with your manager meaningful. Your first meeting will set the tone. Are you looking to dump your complaints in her lap or are looking to improve the situation? Let’s assume that you really do want a better work environment, which is what you will get if you improve your relationship with your manager. If you present yourself as an angry employee, you will find a defensive manager. If you present yourself as an employee who wants to resolve an issue, you will more likely have a responsive manager.

 

  • Be prepared for your meeting. Have a short list of concerns. You don’t need to go through every little detail of what made you mad here or there. Go big – “Hey manager, I would like to take some time to discuss my performance with you.” Or, “Hey manager, when we meet, you seem angry with me and I wonder if I can speak with you about that?”

 

  • Now here is the key: Listen to her. Actively listen to your manager. Be open to her input and ask open ended follow up questions, such as “Can you be more specific?” Or “Am I understanding this right…?” If you spend your time during this part of the meeting thinking about how you will respond to her, you are not actively listening. Active listening to your manager will help you prepare your reply after she is finished speaking. Get all of the information first.

 

  • Offer solutions. Ask for her solutions or guidance. Complaining without having solutions is like trying to sail a boat without a sail. You will go nowhere.

 

  • After you both find common ground and solutions that are productive, ask for follow up. “Can we meet again in a week to make sure things are going well?”

 

  • Thank your manager for her time.

 

Now I know you are probably thinking that the manager should be taking the initiative to reach out to you. That’s true. But, she isn’t. So here is your time to lead. You can decide to take her behavior personally, lick your wounds and continue to complain. Or you can effect change. Change takes time. Many of us resist change – some more than others. There is no guarantee you will have a completely comfortable relationship with your manager, but it’s worth trying.

 

Give your manager time and an open mind. You might be pleasantly surprised.

 

 

 

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