Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Managing The Boss From Hell

Keep cool when he loses his temper and show that you’re working to achieve the same goals

The workplace can be a veritable minefield – with tyrants and advantage – taking bosses out to undermine your success. If you find yourself in that situation, you will need to deflect the potential damage and protect yourself behind a “ bully barrier”.

The first weapon you will need is the ability to ignore desperate behaviours. Granted, this may sound like a cop-out, but “if you ignore by choice, it’s not cowardice; it’s being assertive,” says Hilda Meltzer, a New York career coach and assertiveness training specialist.

Besides, when tyrants rant and rave and you respond by cowering or losing your cool, this plays right into their hands, assuring them that they are powerful and in control.

“When these bosses know they can get to you, they will,” says Robert Bramson, author of Coping With Difficult Bosses.

“But the flip side is also true. When they know they can’t get to you, they won’t bother,” he adds.

Calm In The Storm

Try defusing the anger by asking questions. Keep in mind that if a tyrant has lost control, it usually means he is feeling insecure.

You can help him chill, focus and get back to the business at hand by asking questions: “What’s the problem here?” "What needs to be done right now?" “How can I help?”

This subtly reassures the tyrant that he is the boss. It also reminds him that you are on his side, and that you are both working toward mutual goals.

Separate the message from the medium. Suppose the tyrant has humiliated you in front of your colleagues or said some nasty thing to you in private. His behaviour may be inexcusable, but is his message justified?

In other words, behind the tantrums or sarcasm, does he have good reason to complain about you or your work? Be honest with yourself.

Stand Up To Abuse

There will be situations where you can’t bite your tongue – and you should not have to. But how to respond to a tyrant’s vicious personal attacks?

Calmly tell your boss: “I am a professional. I will not tolerate you talking to me like this. I expect you to treat me like a professional – with courtesy and without putting me down or yelling.”

Says Jeffrey Caponigro, author of The Crisis Counselor: “When you do this, bullies often back down because they recognize that you won’t be a victim who will let them get away with their antics.”

Document everything. Save vicious memos, print nasty e-mails, and write down every insult your bully boss hurls your way – just in case you need to share all these with human resources should a tyrant try to oust you from your job.

If this strategy does not work, realize that you are probably not going to change him. You can, however, change how you react to him by simply detaching yourself – and even feeling a little sorry for him. And that can make an impossible boss more tolerable.
- Source: ST/ANN

Source: Star Metro Classifieds, Metro Central, August 27, 2009
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Power to Your People

Power to Your People
By: Alan Fairweather

If you are manager, I am sure you think you are pretty good at your job. Some managers seem to think that they should know everything about the jobs that their team members do, and be better than them at doing it.

I can remember, in the past, working for managers like that. They gave the impression that they knew everything and were far better than I would ever be at doing my job. This, of course, did not motivate me at all.

The motivational manager accepts that members of his staff may be better at doing the job than he is. His staff may be better salesmen, better at customer service, better administrators or better engineers.

I have had salesmen working for me who were better at selling than I was. However, that did not make me less of a good manager.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of probably the world's most successful football club, Manchester United, had a pretty undistinguished career as a fooballer. He did at one time play for the Glasgow Rangers but could hardly be described as a star footbaler. He is now, of couse, a star manager.

If you manage or supervise other people, have confidence in yourself. Accept your limitations and do not feel bad if you do not initially know the answer to every question.

Ironically, your staff will not be more motivated if you come up with the answers to all of their problems or queries. Encourage your staff to come to you with solutions, not problems.

If you spend your time solving their problems, you will spend all your time solving problems!

When someone in your team asks you what he should do, even if you know the answer, reflect back the question. Ask him what he would do. Ask him for his opinions. For example, what does he think is the best course of action, and why he thinks it is the best? What are the consequences of this action, for the customer, the business and the team member himself?

When he gives you his answers, empower, support and congratulate him on them. If he feels that he has made the decision, he will have more confidence in himself and be more motivated to do his job even better.

What you are essentially doing here is utilising the knowledge, skill, experience and motivational power that is already within your team members. Once you leverage on this, you will have a highly motivated team who respect and trust you as their manager.

Source: Article by Alan Fairweather, an associate consultant with d'Oz International, Star Metro Classifieds, The Star, August 22, 2009

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Managing People Needs Discipline

Managing People Needs Discipline
By: Victor S.L Tan

The test of discipline is its practice on a consistent manner. So, many people find it difficult to lose weight because while they have the discipline to avoid eating excessively, they do not practice this habit consistently. Likewise, there are many leaders who have the discipline to maintain their calm when all things are going fine, but when a crisis comes along (be it personal or organisational), the leader blows his top and starts screaming at others in an uncontrolled fashion.

Managing people professionally requires leaders to practise the discipline of control of one's temper in a consistent manner. Leaders who are calm and collected during crisis win tremendous empathy and support from their subordinates. And it is with this empathy and support that leaders need from their people to help smoothen the crisis and overcome such difficult times.

LEADERS WHO PROVIDE DIRECTION AND SUPPORT. Managing people in a haphazard manner without clear direction not only reflects the lack of professionalism, but also creates a sense of frustration in people.

Managing people professionally calls for leaders to avoid the managing-by-crisis approach. Too often, leaders are pre-occupied with 'fire fighting' every day to have time to think about how to have time to think about how to 'prevent fires'.

Just like any fire department, the efficient firemen focus on how fast they can put off fires while the effective firemen focus on understanding the root causes of how fires are started`and find the right strategies to educate people to prevent fires. The former is a short-term strategy while the latter is a long-term strategy. the short-term strategy will not work if the long-term strategy is wrong.

So, managing people professionally calls for leaders to get the long-term strategy right through proper planning with a clear direction to enable people to be effective-that is doing the right things. This should enable the success of the short-term strategy which is to provide the necessary to ensure that people are efficient-that is doing things right.

LEADERS WHO DEVELOP AND REWARD PEOPLE. Managing people professionally is more than just getting people to achieve organisational goals effectively and efficiently. It requires leaders to grow and develop people. Leaders who do not understand this role find that they face problems retaining good performers.

One of the challenges facing human resource practitioners today is retaining talent. To retain them, leaders need to institute career planning and succession planning in their organisation. Work truly is the no. 1 reward, followed by money. It is then the role of leaders to recognise people's performance through reward. having career planning and succession planning is good way to reflect an organisation's professionalism in developing and rewarding its staff.

LEADERS WHO ARE COMMITTED TO POSITIVE CHANGE. No leaders can claim to exhibit professionalism if they are not committed to positive change. People are not amused by leaders who preach about change, but embrace status quo. They do not find it logical for leaders to talk about innovation, but do not allow risk taking. They find it odd that leaders would position their organisation with positive goals, but are negative in their attitude and disposition.

Managing people professionally requires more than paying lip service to change. It requires leaders to be committed to positive change in their beliefs, through the positive actions and support they provide towards the agenda that will create the desired results.

LEADERS WHO ARE COURAGEOUS TO TAKE ACTION TO ACHIEVE DESIRED GOALS. The ultimate rule in any endeavour of achievement is action. It has been said that all the lovely sentiments in the world would weigh less than a single lovely action. To take action requires more than just knowledge and expertise; it requires courage and risk taking. Here lies the crucial test of a leader's commitment. A leader's commitment is judged by not what he believes, but by his actions.

So, if a leader believes in fairness, then he must take the bold action to defend fairness. This may require the leaders to stick his neck out, take personal risks and be unpopular. Yet these are what authentic leaders who are committed to a high degree of professionalism must do - take courageous actions on what is right rather than what is safe and convenient.

The Writer
The writer is chief executive officer of KL Strategic Change Consulting Group. He can be contacted at 603-9074-1129 or email: victorsltan@klcc.com or visit www.klcc.com.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Tough Love - Performance Review

Tough Love - Performance Review

As a manager or business owner it's awkward having to give"constructive criticism."

Here are some tips for making the process easier.

1. Take a "breather" – Think through what you’re going to say. Try not to be emotional.

2. Choose a private location – free from interruptions and curious bystanders.

3. Get to the point – quick and painless is always best.

4. Let them respond – to prevent misunderstandings and to understand the problem.

5. Listen to what they say – and make sure you’re having a two-way conversation. When you actively listen you can brainstorm a better solution.

6. Create action items – and be clear about your expectations. Outline measurable objectives and put them in writing.

7. Give them a chance – to prove themselves. Change doesn't happen overnight. Acknowledge improvements and provide coaching along the way.


Management Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

Management Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

You're climbing the corporate ladder. You've just landed your dream job or maybe you've been tagged for that management position you've been angling for. You're anxious to impress your boss with your leadership capabilities and earn your colleagues' respect. This is the opportunity that could send your career skyrocketing!

So what's the catch? Many new managers make the mistake of assuming that their previous work habits will continue to gain them success in their new position. It's a common mistake says Michael Watkins, a former Harvard Business School professor and author of The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders At All Levels. In fact, though managers come from different backgrounds and possess different characteristics, they often make the same common mistakes.

Top 10 Management Mistakes

1. Rigid policies. While policies need to be followed, some flexibility must be afforded employees and customers, particularly in small companies. Before you act, weigh the importance of the policy against the good will of a loyal customer or employee.

2. Lack of communication. Communication is the key to being a good manager. Employees need to know what is expected of them and when projects or tasks are due.

3. Failing to listen. A good manager listens to what his employees have to say and hears the needs and concerns behind the words.

4. My way or the highway. A good manager doesn't try to solve every problem or pretend he has every answer. He knows when to seek help and realizes that there's more than one way to accomplish a task.

5. The half empty glass. Don't always focus on what went wrong. Recognizing achievements and employee accomplishments builds morale and creates a positive work environment.

6. The buck stops here. As a manager, you can't delegate blame. If you're in charge, you're responsible for the actions of the employees you manage.

6. Favoritism. Showing favoritism is a fast track to poor morale. You lose credibility and the respect of your team when you play favorites.

7. Just do it. You can't expect your team to blindly plow ahead if they don't understand the project. Take time to explain the project and how it fits into the larger plan. A team that is invested in a project will work harder and produce better results.

8. Too much technology. Don't hide behind emails. You must embrace and practice your people skills too.

9. Never change. In the rapidly changing business environment, you must be open to change. There is a place for tried-and-true methods, but there must also be room for new ideas and practices. Be flexible.