Saturday, August 13, 2016

Work Problems: Rumors

Every workplace will have a rumor mill. I don't care what you think, it's human nature to share experiences and to try to seem "in the know". Some people are more aware and skilled about how rumors start. They can help or they can hurt, but the fact is they carry a lot of weight with all employees. Now lets break this down a bit more for you.

Positive rumors bring change you want or needs where negative impacts productivity and brings down your workers. Both are stresses on your employees, but for different reasons.  Lets say the latest rumor is so and so was given a bonus. For what now comes the positive or negative weight. If the rumor is because they were friends with someone the worry is "well who am I friends with? I'm not friends with the right people." You can see the dive. If it was oh they exceeded their goal. It's a positive. The worry is "Can I do that? If I do I will get that bonus"

No we come to the corporate need to control and stop rumors. You can't you want to, but you can't. Yes you can stop trade secrets and the release of privileged information, but you will never stop people from sharing their thoughts.  Counseling and Firing an employee for their opinion of what an inept manager you are can and does lead to far more criticism publicly.

The best way I've seen this handled was talking to the employee.. The manger was very direct and asked what the problem was. The person voiced their opinion and off they went back to work. (more happened but that's the short story) I've seen it handled in the most drawn out painful way Employee is called in to confront the accusation of rumors spread about the employee's  and told not to have rumors again. Yes that is what they were told "you there stop giving people reason to talk behind your back or else we will believe them over you"

The second one, educed to the statement should indicate the problem. As a manager your employees need to trust you. Telling them others have more weight then them is not a good productivity tool. If you already know there is a problem blaming them isn't going to work anyway. What is more is the person who makes it a point to "nicely" inform you. Don't trust that person, ever. It's that simple. Like it or a not a team doesn't like to tattle tale on one another. The only reasons, short of a crime, is because they are hoping to get something or they need reassurance you trust them. It's an information peace offering. Don't fall for it.

Rumors are a good chance to show you are an effective manager. You are listening, you care and you are active. Never approach the subject of the rumor with "well I hear you are..." it's a quick way to look like a kid saying I know the truth and no one wants that. Better to just ask, not draw it out, not make a big deal. You my find it was just a bad day and they said something, you employee humans and that's what happens.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Rewarding Your Team

Assuming you didn't fall for the carrot trap, your team tried their best to meet or beat the monthly goal. So what do we do now? Is it as easy as an "attaboy" and pat on the back? How much praise do you give without going overboard?

Well, depends on your team. I've known people to take their team out to bar to celebrate. Longer potluck style lunch with everyone bringing something simple. Individual "awards" for the work. Something that shows you are there and you too feel pride in their work.

See the goal is a group effort. You never get the best results when one person is supporting the weight of the entire department. While you will have over and underachievers, most will fall in the middle. Never forget you are leading by example and setting one starts with stepping in and participating.

Friday, June 3, 2016

This Carrot is yours if you don't bother me...

You can't make people like you. You can be someone they like but too often I see employers on to strict or too nice. This brings me to bribing. Those carrots you throw out to "motivate" are bribes and in very bad taste. You aren't managing anything you are actually undermining your authority.

There is nothing wrong with team goals and rewards. In management, the goal is to have people trust you. When you remove yourself to: "who can sell the most" or "least injuries this month" you are saying you are pretty useless. You can't say who can sell the most I'll help you that would be cheating in the game you set up.

Aside from the fact some will naturally dig in their heels and not play you are not building a team. If you have a naturally competitive group then this type of motivtion may work for a bit. Most people are not so driven as to want to bragging rights.

The better way to handle this is a group goal for all to reach within a department. Attainable and encouraging people to come together and come to you with issues. This will go further in building a team and giving you chances to show you are a leader.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Learn your Job and Your People

Part two:

Lets assume you were just hired into a company. It's your first day you are not a manager you are just a regular worker. What do you look for? You learn your job, where things are, and you try to gauge the people around you  so you know who to ask for help.

You are looking for leaders. You may not realize it, you are not saying "let me see who is in charge" but you are trying to see who looks approachable and knowledgeable. Who are other people asking and about what. You are probably making mental notes of who to outright minimize contact with because they look scary, seem aggressive, ect. 

Know what you are looking for helps you figure how to change yourself. You want answers and a leader has them. When you find yourself with a group to lead you need to show you know what you are doing. It doesn't require saying "Me! I know how to do it all look" That's actually detrimental to a leading goal. You want to know who is capable of what. Not knowing everything is acceptable, but not admitting it is shooting yourself in your foot. 

Lets take a simple task of a computer glitch. You know how to call IT, that's about it. Do any of your people know about computers before you call? Have you tried asking before the dreaded, well it's not working we'll have to call IT pronouncement. Someone may have already had and solved the problem without mentioning it. Even if they haven't the fact you were willing to seek theree input means you thought they knew something. Some eye rolling, but it does help.

Pay attention to your workers is the advise I always give. Making jokes helps a lot with this. Not about them, but about the work load. Humor is a great way to help people let off their frustration with out blowing up. Years ago I worked in a call center with a manager/leader. He would walk the floor and make faces to cheer up people on long calls. Often he would sit next to them and draw a picture, a very badly drawn picture to cheer them up. He was beloved and respected by his crew, they knew he understood what they were doing.

It may seem small but simply being around and experiencing things with people will help you to lead effectively. Even if you think you know what your workers are doing, take some time to do it with them. Also take the time to ask for help from them. Both will improve communication and help build your confidence as a manager. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Leader is not a Title

I'm thinking of starting a small series on "management" I've trained many people and helped others but i keep seeing the same issues again and again so maybe I can help someone before them make a mess of things (or if they already have)  Let me know your thoughts and experiences.

I start with : Manager is a title, leader is not.
Today I had the pleasure (?) of seeing someone "in charge" trying to lead. Needless to say it didn't work. No matter how much they tried to exert their "power" over the others it was clear those on the receiving end were not responsive to their instructions. This was almost comical to see as the people clearly wanted a person in charge, just not her.

This really brings to light a fact most people ignore or use as an excuse.  Being in charge is not what makes a leader.  I do a lot of runway shows and I can tell you many times the "organizer" is not organized, but their assistant is. Among a group of models a few may stand off and others may naturally follow their example without a second thought. Many people will unconsciously copy those they feel know more then they do, same body language and such.

People put in charge often complain "I just can't get them to listen", I've heard "Well it's not like I can force them." Even better the, "This is too stressful I just don't know what to do." Now as a person in charge you know you can let people go, but you also know that still doesn't fix the problem of people following your lead. 

So what is going to make a leader?

Presence, some people are natural leaders. You can feel it. It's not a tense feeling, you are not worried or scared, it's a subconscious sigh of ok.

Respect, you understand this person is capable and knowledgeable. They know what they are talking about.

Trust, you know this person isn't out just for themselves. They are offering advise to get back the best they can from those around them.

Praise, a leader is quick to notice and praise those doing well. They know to encourage and it helps foster the trust needed for them to lead and it is rewarded with respect.

If you find yourself pulling rather then leading you are doing it wrong. Are you being to forceful? Do you not give people time to think and react? Do people tell you calm down or speak up? Are you helping or just ordering? Do the people you are "in charge" of know that you are there to help? Do they recognize your time as important or they could care less?

In today's digital age people are more receptive then ever to leaders. You need to do your part to become a person that can lead to stand out. Anyone can give lip service and get a position in a managerial role. Doing a good job in that role takes effort, which is why good leaders are hard to find.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

New work

Amazingly productive weekend so far. All this week I was busy with with the bridal show. I broke my heel at the end of an event so a few pictures show me leaning. Today though, I just don't want to see white. So I've rebelled into bold colors and high contrast. With any luck I will actually get them up for purchase soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

I love hats!

Strange thing to brag about but I really do love them. Just recently it rained (very rare in Florida) and I was lucky enough to have 3 hats on hand all stylish and able to work. So I kept the rain off my face (and makeup) and got a ton of compliments. There is just something fun about adding a hat to your look. It's largely unexpected in today's society to see a hat which saddens me.

I have quite a collection at home, enough to cover a wall, which is where I keep them.Some are story tellers: the rice paper hat form Japan, the fishing hat bought on a whim while at the beach and more. Others are chic choices for certain looks, and others are from my love of vintage items like my tweed cloche from the 1930's. The great thing about any one of them is they have numerous looks.

From attaching brooches or tying scarves you can dress up a hat. They are like fashion displays.  I remember one that I hung single earrings off of to form a crystal bead fringe around the brim for a fashion event. Not only was it a good use for them, it was so popular people were tracking me down at the event to find out who designed it!  I even created some on commission for a dozen events after that.

Fact is hats add some mystery to you. So the next time it's raining, grab a hat. Bad hair day, cover it up. Want to be noticed, dress that hat up and put it on. If we all work together we can put hats back on top of the fashion world.