Category Archives: Business and Work Related

Is Chivalry Dead?

How to Bring Chivalry Back into Your Relationships

Is chivalry dead? Some would say it went the way of the dinosaur! American men often think chivalry is a waste of time but a true woman is often impressed and pleased when a man performs an act of chivalry. Here are 7 ways to impress your favorite girlfriend, mother, grandmother and strangers with acts of chivalry. None of these steps will cost you any money; however, they can earn you some much needed relationship points.

 Step 1

Confidently and with style, allow the woman (or women) to go on and off the elevator or escalator first. Remember, women often wear high heels which can get caught in the stairs or entry ways. If you are behind her, you can be there to help her in case she trips or falls.

Step 2

At a restaurant, let a woman select what chair she wants to sit in or what side of the booth she wants to sit on. Allowing the woman to go first makes her feel more comfortable and allows you the opportunity to show her that her needs are more important than yours.

Step 3

Open the door for her and hold it open while she goes into the room or building. Don’t rush to get in before her and don’t shove her out of the way. As women are usually towing children or pets with them, by holding the door open for her, you are showing her kindness and patience.

Step 4

After an outing, walk her to her front door. Don’t just leave her at the door way to fend for herself. So many women live alone today that coming home to an empty house can be scary. Even if she just lives down the street from you, it is comforting to know someone is watching to make sure you get into the house safely. If you are bringing your date home, walk her to her door and watch while she enters. She may be so impressed that she will invite you in for coffee.

Step 5

Never let a woman walk to their car alone after dark. After taking a quick survey of the women in our office, this appears to be the scariest time for women. Do your part and escort her until she is in her car and she has the car started. Sitting in a car that won’t start in an empty parking lot is the thing horror movies are made for!

Step 6

When taking public transportation, allow the woman to board first and select a seat of her choosing. If you are taking a taxi, allow her to get in first and make sure you don’t shut the door on her dress or coat. When exiting a bus or train, let her exit first and be there to give her a hand in case she should slip or trip.

Step 7

Always walk street side. This means you are both walking together, you should walk on the side of the side walk where the cars are. This way she won’t get splashed by passing vehicles and there won’t be a chance of her getting pushed off the curb and into the street. Just as mother walk on the outside to keep their children safe, men should walk on the outside to keep the women safe.


		
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Coaching a Problem Employee

First published 02/05/2010 on Associated Content/Yahoo

Introduction:

What is the difference between coaching someone and supervising someone? Coaches motivate, teach, inspire, encourage and challenge their staff. Supervisors are often seen as someone with authority over you, interfering and often remote. “Coaching” is preferred over “Supervising”. A coach should consider the reasons behind the poor performance or behavior before approaching the employee. The recommended process for coaching included five basic steps: State, Wait, Remind, Ask and Agree.

Step 1:

State the problem to the employee.

Do not approach the employee while you are upset or unprepared for the conversation. Accusations and condemnations will not give you the results you need. If the employee was late, simply state, “I noticed you were 15 minutes late this morning.”

Step 2:

Wait for a response from the employee.

The key here is to listen to the person without interrupting them. Let them give you their explanation, reasons or excuses, regardless of how silly and off tract they appear to you. Do not speak until the person stops speaking. They may say something as easy as “I know” or their explanation may be a melodrama of about five minutes long.

Step 3:

Remind the employee of the organizational goals.

Tell the employee why it is important that everyone work within the company policies. You can say something such as, “It is important that you be here on time. You are part of an important team that needs you here on time everyday. When you are not here on time, it slows down the rest of the team and things are not accomplished in a timely manner.” Be aware of going off track and stick with the planned statement to prevent the topic from wandering.

Step 4:

Ask the employee to provide a solution specific to the problem being discussed.

This may take some patience…but stick with the topic and gently ask the worker “What can you do to solve this problem?” Give them time to think of a solution, being careful not to interrupt them or let them walk away. Once they walk away, the solution will still be missing and the behavior may very well continue.

Step 5:

Agree on a solution with the employee. Do not terminate the conversation until a solution is agreed between you and the worker. Summarize the conversation. Repeat the observed behavior, state the agreed upon solution and don’t forget to tell the person thank you for their cooperation. If the behavior continues, you may need to have the conversation again, and then include as part of your final step, any disciplinary actions the company may take against the employee.

Conclusion:

The key points to remember when coaching anyone is to stay on track, don’t discuss any other problem except the one you are prepared to talk about and listen politely while allowing the employee to think of a solution. Don’t forget to follow up with the employee in a day or two to see how they are doing.

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15 Indications You May Be a Micro Manager.

Micromanaging is a management style where the manager of a fully competent team spends time trying to control the details of the work being done by the competent staff, rather than focusing on the tactical responsibilities of the office. Though there are times all managers must dig into the details of an assignment to verify the work is being done properly, excessive detail concern may be a sign of micro managing. This type of micro management style may lead to unhappy and unfulfilled staff members and a decrease in quality work. Here is a list of things you should watch for if you have been told you are a difficult manager with micro managing tendencies.

  1. You believe that being a manager means you must have more knowledge and skills than your subordinates.
  2. You believe you can perform all the tasks assigned to your staff better than they can.
  3. You believed deadlines, quality, responsibility and performance are more important to you then they are to your staff.
  4. You believed it is more effective for you to do a task than it would be to assign the task to a staff member. Liability for an incomplete project is always a key concern.
  5. You can always find something wrong with what a staff member has completed and you tend to suffer from a “red pen” syndrome.
  6. You believe that unlike everyone you work with, you never make mistakes and your work is always better than anyone else could do.
  7. You don’t allow your staff to learn from their own mistakes as you usually take over when a project is not going well.
  8. You tend to spend too much time overseeing simple projects in fear that they will not be done “your way”.
  9. You are “overworked” while your staff is looking for projects to do.
  10. You are the first one in the office and the last one to go home – always.
  11. Even on vacation or when you are at home sick, you call the office twice a day (or more) to make sure everything is okay.
  12. Your team appears to have very little initiative and will not take on new projects without asking you first.
  13. Your staff is afraid they will fail or will do something incorrectly and therefore they take a great deal of time to complete even the simplest tasks.
  14. Your workers feel unmotivated, depressed and underappreciated.
  15. You have been called controlling, judgmental, doctorial or untrusting by family and friends (and sometimes by brave co-workers).

If you agree whole-heartedly to many of the above statements, you may be guilty of micromanaging. There are many things you can do to relinquish your unyielding hold on each project and to allow your staff to grow in confidence and abilities.

  • Ask your family and friends their opinions of your communication style.
  • Discuss your style with your manager or another supervisor and get their feed back as to how you run your office.
  • Something as simple as asking a person to do something and not telling them to do a task may break that hold you have on being in charge at all costs. Give suggestions, not just orders.
  • Leave on time at least once a week.
  • Be the first one out the door at least one a month.
  • Think less about “how” a task is done and concentrate more on the finished product instead. Do not be so quick to judge the finished project.

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Violence in American Cities

FBI List of 10 Top Violent Cities of 2016

While surfing on the web today, I came across an article showing the 10 most dangerous cities in the United States of America. I was surprised at some of the cities included on the list so I decided I will share the information with others…and see if they are surprised too. The list rated the cities as to the average number of violent crimes per 10,000 people. So if the city had less than 10,000 people, that city was not included in the list of violent crime averages. Here are the names of the top ten cities and the average number of violent crimes recorded per a population of 10,000 during 2016, as listed by the FBI.

  1. St. Louis, MO                     88.1
  2. Memphis, TN                     84.2
  3. Detroit, MI                         83.4
  4. Birmingham, AL                82.8
  5. Rockford, IL                       76.3
  6. Baltimore, MD                  67.7
  7. Stockton, CA                      67.4
  8. Milwaukee, WI                  65.3
  9. Cleveland, OH                   61.5
  10. Hartford, CT                      55.8

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Solving Sexual Harassment Problems at the Office

When is the best time to confront someone about complaints of sexual harassment? NOW!

 

When you are confronted with a situation where one employee has accused another of sexual harassment, do you know what to do? If you handle a complaint of sexual harassment incorrectly, it can cost your company a great deal of money and may cost you’re your job. Every supervisor must know what to do if an employee comes to you with any type of sexual harassment complaint.

Step 1: All complaints of sexual harassment must be taken seriously. If necessary, contact your HR representative for technical advice as to what the procedures are in your company and what actions to take next.

Step 2: Actively listen to the alleged victim/employee, take good notes and document what is said. Remember; do not make any judgments until you have spoken to both parties. You must be fully receptive to the employee and still be able to listen to the alleged harasser’s version of the events later. Discuss the event with the alleged victim in a private setting.

Step 3: Make a record of the conversation and ask the alleged victim/employee to sign the report. If the employee refuses to sign the report, make a note of that on the document and also make a note that the report was read and understood by the employee. After you get the facts from the employee, discuss the information with your supervisor so they are aware of the situation.

Step 4: Next, you must privately discuss the complaint with the alleged harasser and discuss with them your company’s policy regarding sexual harassment. Discuss the following points: the definition of sexual harassment, the nature of the complaint, state clearly and without question what behavior was unacceptable and what will happen if the behavior is repeated. Include in your discussion that acts of retaliation are not allowed and will be taken seriously.

Step 5: Document the discussion and ask the alleged harasser to sign the document. If they refuse to sign the report, note that on the report, note that the report was read and its contents were understood by the alleged harasser. Make sure they comprehend the seriousness of the complaint.

Step 6: If possible, arrange a meeting with the involved employees and discuss the situation together. You need to make sure there is an equal level of understanding between the employees and explain that the discussion must bring a close to the issue. It is your responsibility to make sure both parties feel the matter is resolved satisfactorily.

Step 7: Within a week or a couple of weeks, privately talk to the employees again and ensure that the issue is resolved and no retaliation has taken place. Share any new information with your supervisor so they are “up to speed” about the situation.

The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as, “…unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individuals work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

 

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A Book Review – “The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do”

Responsible Leadership

A Book Review of “The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do”, written by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller.

Though I have been a supervisor before, when hired for my latest assignment, I was thrust into a mix where the problems were known company wide and discord was the mood of the day. I knew I had to do something different if I wanted to get the team running smoothly in 6 months. In the management section of the local book store, I found “The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do”, written by the team of Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. This is a wonderful book, just 125 pages, full of insights and steps that helped me accomplish my goal and earn an Employee Recognition Award after 6 months in my new position.

The main point of the book is this: A responsible leader must be able to See the future, Engage and develop others, Reinvent continuously, learn to Value results and relationships and Embody values in all team members. The most important point of the book is “a good leader is one who serves”. A brief summary of the points will help you understand why this book was so helpful to me. Each point is explained in detail.

Seeing the future does not mean using a crystal ball, but to have a plan and goals as to what the future should be. Have a workable plan and develop the steps to make the plan succeed is how you see the future. The future does not just happen; it is what you do today that makes the future of tomorrow.

Engaging and developing others is a great way to make your future succeed. No man is an island and all tasks go better with assistance. Ask others their opinions and their ideas. Encourage them to get involved in the process towards the new future and help them to succeed in the process.

Reinventing continuously means you must watch for constant opportunities for change and analysis. Just because something was always done a certain way does not mean it is the best way to do it today. Time management, delegation of duties, a shifting of job responsibilities and then new training of team member may be all you need to improve your team and see results.

Value project results and building strong relationships may be a new direction for you. Investing in the relationships of those in your team will build trust and understanding between all the team members. When you like the person you are working with, you feel freer to share ideas, discuss failure and find solutions. If your relationships are growing, so will your results. Its easy to value results, we all want to succeed. The harder part of the equation is to build and develop strong, trusting relationships with all team members.

Embody values in your team members, your relationships and your results for the team. True leadership is built on trust. If you don’t trust the person leading, you will not follow them no matter how great their plan is. To build trust, you must maintain and exhibit values others can relate to and embody. Trust, values and strong relationships are traits of great leaders. Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson all had unyielding values and strong relationship with those they served.

This book is written in a conversation style that is easy to read and I found enjoyable. It was insightful and humorous while at the same time, very instructional. I enjoyed the style of this book and found it to be an easy-read. The last few pages of the book have information about the authors and other training programs offered by them. Contact information is provided as well as phone numbers and web site information.

If you are a supervisor or learning to be one, read “The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do”, written by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. I am glad I did!

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The Health Benefits of Forgiveness

Forgiveness Exercise: Throw the Orange!

When someone hurts us deeply, it can be very difficult to forgive them. Whether it is a childhood hurt or a more recent act, the pain can be unbearable, and in some cases, debilitating. However, the longer we hold on to the hurt, pain, humiliation of the injury, we are the one who suffers. To go forward in our lives and to live the life God intended for us, we must forgive those who have hurt us – regardless of the intent or purpose.

To help us in the act of forgiveness, we must remember the following principles.

  • Forgiveness does not mean acceptance of the act. It’s okay to say, “It is not okay!”
  • Forgiveness does not mean denial of the pain or the hurt.
  • Forgiveness does not mean the relationship will improve or get back on track. Some relationships are too difficult for us to mend without God’s intervention.
  • Forgiveness does not mean to “forgive and forget”.

Forgiveness is simply the willingness to “let Go and let God”.

  • Let God take control of the situation FOREVER.
  • Let God decide the proper punishment or discipline or repercussions, if there are any.
  • Let God fill you with peace and serenity.
  • Let God bless you and watch over you, especially in the most difficult of relationships.

To help you in the act of forgiveness, the act of letting go, try the following exercise:

  1. Buy a bag of oranges.
  2. Find a black permanent marker. A thick point works best.
  3. Find a basket (or bucket, box, bag) big enough for all the oranges.
  4. Take your oranges, marker and basket and go to a quite location, one where you can feel God and not be interrupted.

On each orange, in big black letters, write your feelings regarding the person who hurt you.

For example: on one orange write one word to describe how you were hurt, such as “pain”, or “humiliation” “embarrassment”, “guilt”, “anger”, “frustration”, “betrayal”. Write whatever you need to. Get the feelings out. Once you have used all your oranges or ran out of things to write on the oranges, take a deep cleansing breath and gather all the oranges together in the basket. With the basket filled with your pain, pray to God and ask Him to accept the basket and all the pain it represents. Ask him to take it all away from you and fill you with peace and tranquility.

Now the fun part…take each orange, read what it says and ask God to take the feelings away from you…now THROW THE ORANGE AS FAR AND AS HARD AS YOU CAN!

Take each orange in turn and throw each orange as far and as hard as possible. Do this until all the oranges are gone. Once your basket is empty; praise God for his love and compassion. Only through God can we forgive others. It can not be done without replacing the hurt with love, and only God can replace the hurt. Forgiveness is an act that can help us live the life God meant for us to have.

By throwing the oranges, you are throwing off the hurt. By praising God, instead of feeling a heart full of pain, you will experience the renewing emotions of love, peace and tranquility.

Don’t accept the pain caused by others – by recognizing the pain, giving it to God and casting it away – we can live happier, more fulfilling lives. So buy a bag of oranges this weekend – experience God’s love in your life!

 

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Build a Successful Multi-Generational Workplace

For the first time, the current workplace is filled with adults from every age group and generation. The oldest group is not ready to retire yet and the youngest group is anxious to make their “mark” in the business world. To work with each generation, it is important to understand that all generations, though influenced by different life events, have valuable skills that can be used to create a dynamic and interconnected team. Regardless of what generation they fall in to, the best way employees can learn to work together is for everyone to understand the influences each generation brings to the workplace.

9 Tips to build a stronger, more productive, generational team.

• Seek to understand the differences rather than judge each generation
• Recognize that no generation is better or worse. They are all just different
• Optimize uniqueness within the workforce
• Begin retention planning on day one
• Help teams create conflict resolution guidelines
• Customize everything you can – including benefits
• Offer the 3 “F”s appeal: Family , Fun, Flexible
• Redefined retirement
• Become a Gen-Mixer

4 Generations In the Workplace

There are generally four generations defined within the business world. Each generation has different values, skills and characteristic, largely influenced by the time period in which they came of age. People tend to retain the values taught during early childhood and their teen years, based on family type, current events and changes in society. By understanding these influences, we can better understand all generations.

1.Traditionalists:
a. Born between 1922 and 1943
b. Approximately 7% of the current workforce
c. Historical Influences include: the Great Depression, World War, the Industrial Age and the New Deal Program created by President Roosevelt.

2.Baby Boomers:
a. Born between 1943 and 1963
b. Approximately 42% of the current workforce
c. Historical Influences include: a more prosperous economy and expansion of good. Vietnam, assignation of President, First lunar landing, Civil Rights Movement

3.GEN Xers:
a. Born between 1964 and 1978
b. Approximately 29% of the current workforce
c. Historical Influences: 50% raise in a divorce parent family, first generation of dual career household, massive layoffs by major corporations, oil embargo, Challenger explosion, Chernobyl disaster

4.Millennials:
a. Born between 1978 and 2000
b. Approximately 22% of the current workforce
c. Historical Influences: Gulf War, Princes Diana, grew up with Nintendo entertainment, home computers and cell phones, AIDS epidemic, loss of space program

When developing a multi-generational workforce, it is important to consider the contributions of each member of the team. Different generations will bring different strengths and weakness to the team but by understanding the weakness you can turn them into strengths enabling your team to succeed. Understanding what you believe are “negative” behaviors will be the key to changing or using the behaviors to your advantage. Consider each worker as a valuable asset, there to help you succeed. Treat each worker with respect, support a free exchange of ideas and most important, allow each worker to do their best. A strong multi-generational team will become an irrepressible team, accepting changes and facing challenges with a strong can-do attitude.

References: When Generations Collide: Who They Are. Why They Clash. How To Solve The Generational Puzzle At Work. …By Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman

Managing The Generational Mix: From Urgency To Opportunity. By Carolyn Marin and Bruce Tulgan

Generations At Work: Managing The Clash Of Veterans, Boomers, Xers And Nexters In Your Workplace.
By Ron Zwemeke, Clarie Raines and Bob Filipczak

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Steps to a Powerful Presentation

Build Confidence with Great Presentations

You have been asked to create a presentation on a subject you are familiar with. You have just a few moments to convince the audience that you will not be wasting their time, show you are well organized, to convince the audience that you know your subject and to professionally express you know who you are. Panic sets in. Where do you begin? There are three basic parts of any presentation: the Opening, the Body and the Closing Summary.

Have a Strong Opening

A strong Opening to every presentation is desirable. It will draw the audience in and convince them you will not be wasting their time. In the opening, following three basic steps:

1. Introduce the problem you are addressing and the context of your presentation
2. State the purpose, scope and main message of your presentation
3. Provide an outline of your complete presentation

Prove Your Point with a Strong Body

The Body or your presentation is the “meat” of your presentation. This is the true reason why you are standing in front of the group. To create a strong “body”, follow four basic steps:

1. Break up the content with each section making one key point
2. Present he content incrementally, concisely and in a logical order
3. Illustrate your point with clear examples and visual aides
4. K.I.S.S. (Keep it Super Simple)

Remind Them with a Great Closing Summary

The Closing Summary is your last chance to drive your point home. A strong closing will illustrate the purpose of your presentation; it will prove to the audience you were knowledge about the material that you were presenting, and it will assure the audience that your information was trustworthy. For the strongest closing, follow four basic steps:

1. Give brief and simple summary of the main [points
2. Reinforce the main message
3. Put in context of the “big picture”
4. Give a clear ending

Putting it All Together

Once your presentation is developed the way you want it, you must practice your delivery. To overcome any nervousness during your presentation, think about rehearsing your presentation in front of a few friends. Or if your friends are not available, practice your presentation in front of your webcam while using your laptop. You can also practice while speaking into an audio recorder. Rehearsing will build confidence and will identify any parts of the presentation that are not working.

Once you are comfortable with your presentation, do your best to arrive early and set up your equipment before the audience arrives. Always test your equipment yourself. Memorizing your opening statements will ease the last minute panic you feel and you will appear confident and relaxed to your audience.

While giving your presentation, remember to smile and breathe deeply. Slow down your rate of speech and take a pause to emphasize your key points. This will also give the audience time to take any notes they may use later for recollection. Don’t forget to look at the audience. Find a few friendly faces in different areas of the room and let your eyes settle in that direction for at least three full seconds. This will help you appear more sincere, convincing and sure of your material. If you are using slides or some other visual aids to illustrate your presentation, do not focus on the slides or your notes. Audience eye contact shows confidence in your materials and it can give you clues as to what points are being understood and what points are not getting across.

Once your presentation is completed, don’t be in such a hurry to exit the room. If your presentation went well, audience members will want to meet you. Be prepared to answer follow-up questions from interested participants. If the presentation did not go well, you may be able to pick up some tips from any participants lagging behind. Questions and comments can help you improve your presentation for the next time and build confidence that yes, you know your stuff.

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JOB Interview Tips

Tips on what NOT to do in an interview:

  • Don’t come a half an hour early. 5 minutes early is more than enough.
  • Don’t bring your own cup of Starbucks coffee to the interview. It’s not professional.
  • Don’t touch your face or twirl your hair during the interview.
  • Write a short thank you note right away. Be short and sweet, but specific.
  • Send an e-card Thank You with your professional profile links.
  • If the interviewer asks you to take a skill test after, take it when they ask you to.
  • Talk about your success stories with other employers. Consider creating and updating a LinkedIn.com web page – post your resume there for future employers to see. Keep the LinkedIn page professional.
  • Don’t arrive with wet hair, dirty clothes or beat up shoes.
  • Don’t have disgusting breath. Brush your teeth or chew gum BEFORE the interview.
  • Don’t chew gum or eat during an interview.
  • Don’t say “I still haven’t figured out what I want to do yet.”
  • Do your homework and be prepared to anwer questions about the job and company your are applying to.
  • When asked what websites and publications you read, be creative and be HONEST.
  • Don’t ask what the hours are. Instead ask “What’s a typical day like here?”
  • Don’t send a cover letter e-mail that’s more than one paragraph long.
  • Don’t attach your old resume to an e-mail and title it “Resume 2008”.  You should be updating your resume every six months with new job skills and experience. If you have not learned any new skills in six month, take a class and learn something new about your field.
  • While at a career fair, don’t talk bad about other candidates.
  • If you’re interviewing for a specific job, talk about how your skills fit THAT job…not some other job you hope to get someday.
  • Spend at least 30 minutes looking around the company website BEFORE the interview. A common question asked by the interviewer is: “What are your impressions of the site?”
  • Plan to ask at least 3 questions after the interview such as can you describe a typical day here? How many years has your best employee worked here? or, What additional skills are you looking for in other job seekers?
  • The interviewer cares about filling their current open position.Don’t ask if moving within the company is easy or how quickly will you be promoted.

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