Friday, April 26, 2013
In my book, GENerate Performance! Unleashing the Power of a Multigenerational Workforce, I discuss six simple strategies for leading a multigenerational team.
The four generations co-existing in your workplace today are a powerhouse of experience, knowledge, talent, energy, drive and innovation. These strategies are simple and straightforward to implement. With a bit of time, practice and commitment, you can have a significant impact on your team and make a difference in their lives.
Friday, March 15, 2013
In today's workplace we rely heavily on technology for communication. Technology plays an important role but it's not always the most efficient or effective way to communicate. Email correspondence is appropriate with employees for fast and easy conversation but it is not going build trust. A poorly worded or wrongly interpreted email can cause a lot of wasted time and energy. The way to build real trust is through face-to-face and verbal conversations. Let me explain a bit further.
Email gives abridged information. We simply don't write the way we speak. In emails we shorten the information and highlight the important points, often leaving out supporting data, explanations, examples and clarifications. The person receiving the information does not receive all the information he or she would have had from a phone call or in person conversation.
Additionally, verbal dialogue is stimulating because it is intense, two-sided and provides detail, feeding on the interactions between the parties involved. With email you cannot see the other person's facial expression or body language to know how they are responding to your communication. To lead effectively, you need to not only pay attention to what your employee is saying but also to what they are not saying.
Have an employee who works remotely? Try to have regular dialogue by phone and schedule time to meet face-to-face when possible. Use video conferencing or Skype as a method of communicating with remote employees. If you have important information to convey, go see the person, video conference or at the very least, pick up the phone.
The bottom line is not to use technology as an escape, but rather as a tool. Your employees will appreciate when you make the time and effort necessary for more face-to-face and live communications. It really can have a big impact.
Monday, February 04, 2013
If you are a manager, use this tips to help make this year's discussions as valuable as possible:
Be well prepared - review notes from previous performance reviews and discussions, stakeholder feedback and employee self-assessments. Be prepared to provide specific examples regarding the employee's work activities.
Keep it private and positive - host the discussion in a quiet, private and comfortable environment. Keep a positive tone throughout the conversation using good eye contact and body language.
Make it a two-way conversation - focus on making the conversation interactive and ask for the employee's thoughts and input. Manager's should not do all of the talking.
Focus on strengths - research has shown that employees are more likely to improve in their areas of strengths. Focus 80% of the discussion on strengths and 20% on growth areas. Pick one or two areas that the employee can develop. Then, seek agreement from the employee.
Offer support and encouragement - the employee needs your support and guidance. Ask how you can help them be successful. Plan a follow up meeting for 2-3 weeks later to discuss implementation and execution of the feedback in the upcoming year.
Performance reviews don’t have to be dreaded or difficult. You can make it a positive experience for both you and the employee by planning ahead and being prepared.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Here are a few suggestions on finding the strengths in others:
Observe: Take time to watch those around you. Find out which types of projects they seem to enjoy the most. Think about where they apply extra time and effort. Listen for cues such as the issues or topics they prefer to discuss.
Ask: Talk to the people working around you, with you or for you. Ask them what projects make them feel the most energized and what they want to learn more about. Find out how they think their strengths are currently being utilized.
Focus: Having discovered others' strengths, begin to focus on how to best leverage those strengths. Too often we focus on what we think others should be doing rather then what brings them passion and fulfillment. Focusing on strengths will allow you to revamp responsibilities so that people working with their power and passion.
Arrange: Identify projects, opportunities and assignments that will utilize each person's key strengths. Delegate work to your team based on the tasks which will leverage their strengths rather than those they will find draining. If you are not in a position to delegate assignments, work together with your coworkers to divide activities according to each other's strengths.
Once you really start to leverage strengths you will notice a more unified, efficient and motivated team emerging. Innovation will flourish, teamwork will improve and productivity will soar. Who wouldn't want to work in that type of environment?
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Sure, you are listening to your child, but are you really listening to their words? Are you engaged in your conversation or are you distracted by the television, your other child or the sound your phone just made signaling that you have a new text? Perhaps you are thinking about not burning dinner or your to-do list. On the other hand, as parents, we know how frustrating it is when we are speaking to our children as they are focused on a show, video game or book and are only pretending to hear the words we are saying.
The same frustrations happen every day in the workplace. Are you really listening to your employees? Are your employees really listening to you? How is anything going to effectively get accomplished if the team is not listening to one another?
Listening is an important skill that is all too often taken for granted. Here are some tips for active listening:
Listening is so much more than simply keeping your mouth closed. It is a sign of consideration and emotional intelligence. Whether you are having a conversation with your employer, employees or your family, active listening promotes mutual respect.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Generations really do not think the same way from one to the next. Each generation has a different set of expectations and preferences with regards to how they communicate, how they want to be managed, what they are looking for in their job and how they approach their work.
By now you have probably read something about the different generations. Perhaps you even attended a seminar or workshop. Fortunately, you can learn to leverage the strengths of each generation in your company to excel in business and exceed expectations.
Simply put, today's leaders will need to adapt to the multi-generational workforce. Rather than concentrating on problem areas, focusing on the unique strengths between the generations will allow you to connect with employees in an entirely new and productive way. As always, leaders need to respect all employees, providing everyone with equal opportunities and recognize both ability and accomplishment. Yet, leaders should be treating the generations differently. One of the primary tasks as a leader is to inspire and motivate the people who work for them. Their approach, communication style and personal interactions should flex depending on whom they are addressing.
Whether you are the CEO, an executive, a manager or a supervisor, you can utilize simple strategies to lead your multigenerational workforce. Here are the six strategies that I provide in my book GENerate Performance: Unleashing the Power of a Multigenerational Workforce.
Strategy #1: Celebrate Differences
Strategy #2: Invest Time
Strategy #3: Leverage Strengths
Strategy #4: Show Respect
Strategy #5: Pay Attention
Strategy #6: Embrace Change
These strategies are simple yet critical and often times overlooked. Try using them on a consistent basis and you will be amazed at the impact you can have on others.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Spend time personally observing your staff. Find out which types of projects your employees want to work. Discover where they are applying extra effort. Listen to the issues or topics they bring up. By observing them you may just discover their power and their passion.
Don’t try to guess a person’s strengths. Ask them what they perceive their own strengths to be and find out if they think those strengths are being fully utilized. In most circumstances, individuals know their own strengths better than anyone else.
Having discovered what each person’s strengths are, it is also vital to then focus on leveraging those strengths. Too often, managers focus on what they think employees should be doing better. You will never turn weaknesses into strengths so focusing on the strengths will inspire and motivate.
Find the projects, opportunities and assignments which utilize each person’s key strengths. Try to funnel work to your team based on the tasks which will leverage their passion and their power.
With these steps in mind, ask yourself if you know each of your employees’ strengths and how you can leverage the generational strengths on your team. Think about what opportunities you can create for your employees to exercise their power and their passion. If you do so, your team will be energized with excitement and engagement at every level. Innovation will flourish. Team dynamics will improve and productivity will soar.
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
1. Be passionate. Your staff will always take their cues from you. If you are excited and enthusiastic, you will inspire your team to feel the same way. Always remember that as the leader you set the standard.
2. Keep their eyes on the prize. Clearly state and then reiterate the results you anticipate from your staff to consistently keep them motivated. Leverage each person’s strengths whenever possible.
3. Encourage a proper perspective. Celebrate small victories along the way while keeping them focused on the finish line. Always assume good intent and use verbal recognition to show your respect.
4. Build momentum for change when it is necessary. It’s easy to start strong and then start to see enthusiasm wane. To counter this, put a plan in place to realize the changes you want made and keep pushing each new phase forward to build and maintain momentum.
5. Match your walk to your talk. Too many times, companies declare a need for change but then take no active role in making it happen. Provide your staff with time, resources and feedback. Be fully committed. Be willing to learn and grow through the change.
6. Demonstrate respect for your staff. At our very core, we all want respect. Show your team that they are needed and valued. Solicit their input. Express to them that their concerns are heard and their recommendations welcome.
In the business world we live in today, employees are placing high demands on companies, particularly on leaders. As you implement these tips take notice of how productivity, retention, performance, teamwork and communication all dramatically improve.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
This is also the time for us to consider what will happen as the job market returns. Here is what employers should expect from employees of each generation:
Generation Y (those age 29 and under) will show their impact, representing 30% of the entire US workforce by next year. Generation Y comes with very different communication styles then previous generations. In addition, they have strong ideas and high expectations about how they want to be managed and developed. Generation Y wants employers to: be fun and flexible, offer opportunities to continue learning, show corporate responsibility, utilize technology and be a casual culture and work environment.
Generation X (ages 29-45) will move into their respective leadership positions within organizations, thus implementing a new set of management styles into the workplace. Generation X values flexibility, quality of products and services, efficiency and working with people they respect.
Baby Boomers (ages 46-64) will begin to move forward with plans to exit the corporate workforce, meaning that years of experience will leave with them. The Baby Boomers who are continuing in the workforce will look for company ethics, customer focus, a relationship oriented culture and healthcare benefits.
Traditionalists (age 65 and above) while ready to move on, are still looking for a sense of fulfillment. They may want to contribute to the workforce in some capacity, whether part-time, consultants or non-profit work. Traditionalists respect experience, clear roles and responsibilities, reputation of the company/organization and a sense of structure.
Leaders will still need to respect each of the generations, provide everyone with equal opportunities and recognize abilities and accomplishments. Yet company cultures will be forced to change to embrace these new workplace demographics that we will see in the emerging workforce. Leadership approaches, communication styles and personal interactions need to change depending on who leaders are addressing. Prepare today by truly understanding the similarities and differences among the generations.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Here are some real life telltale signs of a horrible boss:
• The Micromanager has difficulty with delegating and is constantly double-checking employees’ work just to make sure it is being done to their satisfaction. A Micromanager pays excessive attention to minor details. These bosses are unable to develop other people because of their own need to be in control.
• The Poor Communicator offers little or no direction, forcing employees to guess what this boss wants. This lack of clear direction or expectations leads to frustration and lower productivity levels for both the employee and the supervisor.
• The Bully feels that intimidation is going to gets results. Bullies have a tendency to lose their cool with employees. They have a “their way or the highway” type of attitude and are easily dissatisfied with their employees.
• The Saboteur is one of the worst types of leader because they take credit from employees when it benefits them. On the other hand, if things go wrong, the Saboteur is quick to place blame an employee. As a result, Saboteur’s employees usually wind up feeling taken advantage of and unmotivated.
• The Emotional Wreck has a tendency to flip-flop in attitudes towards employees, whereby one moment everything seems fine and the next moment the employee can do nothing right. Employees are never sure what to expect in the workplace and ends up “walking on eggshells,” which causes employees undue stress.
In these economic times, many employees have no choice but to stick it out with a horrible boss. In fact, over half (59%) of those who said that they have a horrible boss stayed in their jobs, according to the OfficeTeam study.
Yet Leaders are the people who need to wholeheartedly embrace the changes necessary to take advantage of the strengths of employees, despite their own inherent methods of managing others. If leaders can actively partner with employees and delegate responsibilities effectively they will empower employees with the opportunities and resources necessary to utilize their strengths.
- Simple Strategies for Multigenerational Leaders
- Let's Talk, Really Talk
- Are You Ready for Performance Reviews?
- The Importance of Trust on Teams
- Reduce Back-to-School Stress: 5 Quick Tips
- Celebrate Differences in the Workplace
- Leading with Empathy
- Finding Strengths in Others
- What Every Person Wants: RESPECT
- Managing Gen Y Interns: Five Helpful Tips
- Baby Boomers (3)
- Business Issues (12)
- Communication (19)
- Employment (11)
- flexible work arrangements (2)
- Generation X (3)
- Generation Y (3)
- Generations (12)
- Job Hunting (1)
- Leadership (12)
- Manager Tips (16)
- Performance (5)
- Performance Reviews (3)
- Reduce Stress (2)
- Teamwork (3)
- Traditionalists (3)
- Women (1)
K HR Solutions President Kim Huggins helps transform individuals and corporate work groups into effective leaders and results-oriented teams. Kim’s thought-provoking services and programs are custom-designed to meet your needs. Kim is also a nationally recognized trainer and speaker on the topic of Understanding Generations.