Leaders who think they have to do it all themselves are not leading their teams forward. They are stuck in a rut and keeping staffers in that rut with them. Use these tips to break free:
- Clarify the task in your own mind. You may be disappointed in staffers’ results if you don’t clearly convey your expectations.
- Abandon perfectionism. If an employee’s work is poor, don’t write that person off. Discuss your disappointment to help the person improve. If the results can stand, say “Your work is OK this time; next time I want you to …”
- Don’t lose track. Don’t abandon responsibility, but do give employees control over tasks. Tell them the date and time the work is due, and log delegated tasks onto a job-tracking sheet, listing assignments as well as their due dates and the assigned staffers.
— From the editors.
If you’re struggling to meet the requirements of your job, join an adult sports league or hobby group.
While it might sound counterintuitive, on the nights when you have a game or hobby meeting, you are more likely to work quickly and efficiently so that you can leave work on time. Plus, having hobbies makes you happier—which leads to less stress and high productivity.
Make this year be the year that you hit all of your business goals. Do this:
- Gain feedback from frontline employees. Service professionals and other employees who have regular face time with customers know better than the guys and gals sitting in the C-suite about what the organization needs to do to succeed. Have every department provide feedback about the goals you should set for next year.
- Hire “goal-getters.” During recruiting and interviewing, search for candidates with a proven track record of meeting short- and long-term goals. Ask them to bring to interviews evidence of when they met goals. Examples: website analytics, sales reports or product redesigns.
- Revise goals regularly. You should go into January with a comprehensive list of the goals you want to meet next year. However, you need to revise those goals as you progress through the year. Review them monthly and make changes based on market conditions, your organization’s priorities and any new information that you learn.
- Prevent overpromising. Most people reward employees and managers when they meet goals, and that is a good practice. However, you also need to have in place consequences for overpromising and failing to meet unrealistic goals. Setting unattainable goals is a drain on everyone’s time; prevent people—specifically managers—from asking too much of their staffs and themselves by imposing penalties when they overshoot and fail. That could be withholding a bonus or cutting a budget.
— Adapted from “How to Reach Every Business Goal—Even If the Economy Is in the Gutter,” Les McKeown, http://www.inc.com.
In a recent LinkedIn article, J.T. O’Donnell, Founder & CEO of CAREEREALISM.com shared the top 10 things she does—or aims to do—every day to ensure her success. Here is what she recommends:
- Read something related to your industry.
- Read something related to business development.
- Send two emails to touch base with old colleagues.
- Empty your inbox, responding to all questions.
- Check in with each employee.
- Have a short non-work-related conversation with every employee.
- Review your top three goals that are focused on the company’s growth.
- Identify and execute one task to support each of your top three goals.
- Post valuable content on all your social media accounts.
- Take a full minute to appreciate what you have accomplished.
— Adapted from “10 Things to Do Every Workday,” J.T. O’Donnell, http://www.linkedin.com/in/jtodonnell.
Purge document clutter with three simple practices. Clear the workplace of excess files when you:
- Set policies for document retention. Much information clutter comes from “just in case” hoarding. Rules such as “The person who creates a document is responsible for maintaining it” eliminate every recipient’s urge to keep a copy. Check any legal requirements for how long you must retain records. Set procedures for archiving and then destroying old files.
- Train new staff. In onboarding sessions, include instructions on where new hires can find information, how they should file documents and what they may discard.
- Review departing employees’ files. Develop a process for reviewing the paper and electronic files of people who leave your organization. Determine what the next employee will need and what you can eliminate. That prevents new hires from adding files on top of existing files, creating a mountain of clutter.
To eliminate existing document clutter, set aside one day for all staff members to focus on reviewing and clearing files.
—Adapted from “Downsize Your Information: How to Do It and Why,” Barbara Hemphill, http://www.barbara hemphill.com.
Guarantee that team members arrive at meetings ready to participate. Test them on the background materials you distribute in advance.
Include a note with the materials explaining that you will begin the meeting with a quiz. Anyone who doesn’t pass may not speak at the meeting. They will have no voice in the decisions the group makes. One manager who implemented that strategy cut a major project’s time line in half—saving more than two years.
— Adapted from Workarounds That Work, Russell Bishop, McGraw-Hill, http://www.mhprofessional.com.
Managers have all kinds of excuses for not delegating—including not knowing what kinds of jobs to delegate. Get your feet wet by delegating tasks such as:
- Fact-finding assignments.
- Preparation of rough drafts of reports.
- Problem analysis and suggested actions.
- Collection of data for reports.
- Photocopying, printing, collating.
- Data entry.
What not to delegate: any task you could eliminate. Also, don’t delegate inherently managerial functions such as performance reviews, discipline, firing and so on.
— Adapted from “How to Delegate,” http://www.getmoredone.com.