Jun 30

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Mediate conflicts diplomatically



As a supervisor, part of your role is to play mediator between quarreling teammates. While it’s easy to choose sides and assume one party is in the wrong, you’re supposed to be diplomatic and take both sides into account.

One thing that might help is knowing that many conflicts arise because each individual wants to come out the winner. However, this mindset won’t help solve problems, author Stewart Levine explains. He offers the following advice for resolving conflicts in a way that will satisfy both parties involved, which you can bring to your feuding employees:

  • Compromise, don’t compete. Instead of trying to impress your will upon your teammate, discuss the issue with him with an eye to finding a solution that you both will be happy with.
  • Try to understand the other person’s point of view. Ask your teammate questions to find out where he stands on the problem and why.
  • Agree to work together. After you establish common ground with your teammate, acknowledge that you both want to find a solution and that you should work together to do so. Explain to your employees that as effective members of a team, they need to be concerned more with the team’s goals than their own. Express to them that it’s okay to have an individual point of view and a different way of looking at something, as long as it doesn’t hinder performance.
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Jun 23

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: The safe way to stop an argument

Heated ArgumentArguments will inevitably occur in the workplace — but are you ready to handle them? Here are three steps you can use to defuse the situation safely:

  • “Go to the bathroom,” advises Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. in “Stop Any Argument in Three Simple Steps.” You need to give yourself some time when a heated discussion starts. Tell your coworker, “I want to talk about this, but first please excuse me; I need to use the restroom.” If your argument begins on the telephone, tell your caller that you have a call on the other line and you’ll have to call her back, suggests Weiss.
  • “Use your break time to think,” Weiss recommends. Think about what you want to get out of the conversation. Take the opportunity to calm down, and begin thinking logically about the situation, instead of letting your emotions take over.
  • “Return to the conversation, summarize the argument so far, and then ask politely what the other person wants the outcome of the conversation to be,” Weiss suggests. Remain calm and composed. Your coworker will begin to calm down as well when she sees that you’re not looking to fight. Try to work it out. If you can’t come to an understanding on your own, you may need to get a mediator.
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Jun 16

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Plan ahead to save money

save moneyIn any organization, the bottom-line numbers tell the overall success story. You’re either making money, or you’re not. And if you aren’t making money, it’s probably because you’re spending too much money — or wasting it. While there are some obvious ways to note when a company is wasting money — such as purchasing a very expensive piece of equipment they neither need nor can afford — there are some money wasters that aren’t as obvious.

Wasted time is a big corporate money waster. And nothing wastes employees’ time like re-doing a project over again — and again. And most of the time, you can avoid the need to re-do work with proper planning.

While every organization will have different planning needs based on their individual assignments, you can follow some of these tips before you get started on most any project:

  • Get all the details. You need to have all the details before you begin the job. Do your best to persuade your own supervisor or anyone who oversees this project that you can’t begin until you have the whole scope of the project. Often it’s one minor missing detail that throws a whole project off course and is the reason for much extra work.
  • Get yourself a contact. You should have one and only one person who you communicate with about the details on this project. Having too many decision makers on the job often creates chaos.
  • Create and follow a time-chart. You should try to figure out how many hours you’ll need to get the job done. This includes the total hours you will need to be on the job, as well as your employees. Then, keep track of the time everyone puts in for this job on a daily basis, and make sure you are staying on target.
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Jun 09

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Become an effective communicator

Develop sharp communication skills No matter what you’re trying to do in the office, everything revolves around communication. Leading your team, explaining company policies and running successful meetings all require sharp communication skills. Unfortunately, there’s no single definition of “sharp communication skills.”

Journalist Dr. Robert Ramsey has applied his years of supervisory and educational experience in books like Lead, Follow, Or Get Out Of The Way and How To Say the Right Thing Every Time. Here are his tips to communicate more effectively in your place of work:

Speak Straight. Don’t mix messages or try to use fancy jargon. Focus on the main idea that you need to convey and communicate as directly as possible. If you appear wishy-washy, your subordinates could second-guess your sincerity and commitment.

Anticipate. Organize your thoughts and anticipate the major objections to your proposals. Extra preparation will help you present your ideas clearly.

Consider Your Audience. You communicate up to managers and down to subordinates, so it’s easy to forget who your audience is. This is one of the biggest mistakes a supervisor can make, Ramsey says. To avoid it, always double-check your presentation slides and e-mail messages before you deliver them or hit “send.”

Tell The Truth. If you try to cover something up, you’re going to get caught. You’re better off being upfront; everyone will appreciate your honesty.

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Jun 02

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Motivate your employees creatively

motivating-team-membersSometimes the “thank yous” don’t seem to cut it when you’re trying to motivate your subordinates.

Approximately 46 percent of employees who leave a workplace do so because they don’t feel appreciated, research shows. And 88 percent of workers report that the work they do goes unacknowledged.

Don’t let this be the case at your company. As a good manager, you need to tip the scales. Show your employees you value them — and give them incentives to be more productive — by trying ideas like these:

  • Workers at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, OH were swamped one year when a nearby hospital closed and they received most of its patients. To thank employees for their hard work in coping with the change, administration gave them all free gasoline cards.
  • If workers meet their goals, consider giving them a gift certificate to a local restaurant. Going out to eat on the company’s dime is a big incentive.
  • Once a month, provide your workers with a special meal or snacks during meetings. Doing this will emphasize that the meeting is important, increase participation and make the meeting something to look forward to.
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