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Feedback: What Your Own Eyes Cannot See

Mastering communication is an important skill for everyone in the workplace, employees and managers alike. Failing to get your point across in a diplomatic and clear manner can have disastrous results in a myriad of situations.

One management task where communication tends to breakdown is when giving feedback.
As this video from Credit Suisse demonstrates, this is often because of a misaligned version of a person’s self-perception and their manager’s perception. The video goes on to explain roles that both the provider and recipient need to follow for successful, beneficial feedback for both parties.

If you’re a manager struggling to give feedback to your employees, or an employee who’s concerned about providing feedback to your boss, then take 3 minutes to watch this video. It may drastically improve your current work situation!

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Managing the Office Know-It-All

Managing the Office Know-It-AllOf all of the annoying people in your office, the know-it-all may be the person you’d like to yell at the most. Unfortunately, yelling at your co-workers is generally never good practice and it’s more frowned upon when you’re the boss. So how do should you respond when you find yourself managing a person who thinks they know everything about everything, and are quick to display their vast knowledge to everybody in their presence?

Take the High Road

When your employee is guilty of correcting you for every little detail (even when they’re wrong), your first instinct is to shut them down. While this is necessary at times, you also need to take the high road. Practice empathy and understand that a confidence issue is probably at the heart of their behaviour. As such, pick your battles. Decide which situations can be brushed off and which ones need to be addressed.

Be Prepared

Even if they’re annoying and sometimes wrong, nine times out of ten, the know-it-all is usually quite smart and skilled at arguing. If you want to begin to “put them in their place” then you’re going to have to be prepared yourself. Identify situations where you know they are going thrive and organize before-hand, arming yourself with facts about the subject. As they start to correct you, ask probing questions. Either they will back down or, if you’re willing to be open-minded, you will learn something from them.

Know How It’s Affecting Your Team

As a manager, your job is to lead your entire team, ensuring they’re doing the best work they can do. When you identify the know-it-all, also identify who they’re aggravating. In some cases, it may just be you, especially if they’re vying for your job and only care about undermining you. In other situations, and more commonly, this person has no limits. They correct whoever they can in hopes of feeling superior. When your entire team is being affected, and a negative atmosphere is being created, fixing the problem immediately becomes a higher priority.

Deal with the Behaviour

As alluded to earlier, know-it-alls are smart and you do need to keep an open mind to ensure you’re not turning away innovative thinking that can move your team forward. As a leader, you also need to deal with behaviour that may be bringing down the team. Schedule a time to meet with your know-it-all and provide constructive feedback. Explain that you value their input but they need to consider their delivery. As with all constructive feedback, bring up specific examples of inappropriate behaviour and explain how they affected the team’s performance.

By understanding and addressing a know-it-all’s behaviours, you can bring out much value in an employee that has potential to be a strong asset to your team. Unfortunately, some people are lost causes. They are too stuck in their ways and genuinely believe that they are smarter than everyone else, and that they are a gift of knowledge to your office. This toxic attitude will be disastrous to your team and may cause top employees to leave. As such, your only solution will be to terminate the person’s employment at your company.

How have you dealt with know-it-alls in your company? Do you have any success stories of turning them into functioning team members, or does your experience point to having to fire them each time? Share your experience and advice with our readers in the comments below!

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How to Write a Job Description (Video)

A proper job description is helpful when posting jobs during the recruiting process, but their usefulness goes beyond hiring. A perfect and detailed job description will ensure all employees are completing their tasks and allow for accountability if something falls apart.

Writing job descriptions can be daunting, especially when you’re starting from scratch or dealing with extremely outdated files. If you’re working in HR, or any sort of management, and find yourself in this position, have a look at this short video from HRCloud. Not only is it entertaining, but it gives some quick pointers on the basic elements of a job description.

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Getting to Know Your New Employees

Getting to Know Your New EmployeesAs a leader, having a good relationship with your team is a key to success. A way to start building this relationship is by getting to know and understand each individual team member — what they are like as professionals and what makes them tick as a person. This, of course, needs to be done without moving into inappropriate areas of their personal life.

Whether you’re a manager who just hired a new team member or new manager joining a team, you’re in a situation where you must get to know people. With all of the work already piling up, how can you possibly make time to get to know your employees, aside from sending them a long, intrusive survey?

First, don’t waste any time. Although it may seem awkward learning about people, imagine how awkward it is when you still have no idea about who they are after they’ve been working under you for a year. With that in mind, spread out the “getting to know you” questions to avoid bombarding a new employee.  This will also make it easier for you to remember the information. Finally, when a person tells you about themselves, always listen, show interest and understand what their saying. This will help you recall it later.

As a manager, you want to get to know your new employees on two different levels – professionally and, to a lesser degree, personally. Professionally, learn about a person’s strengths and weaknesses, their experiences, their goals and their work habits. It’s much easier to lead somebody when you know how they learn and organize themselves. Never pry into an employee’s personal information but if they offer it, understand what motivates them, as well as what they may be dealing with outside of the office.

So how do you go about gathering all of this information? Here are a few simple tips and strategies:

  • Ask other managers. Especially if you’re new or if your employee came from another department, one of your colleagues may be able to provide input. This isn’t limited internally, as you know from the hiring process, references can provide valuable insight.
  • Schedule one-on-ones. Regular meetings are an opportunity to ask what would make things more interesting for them and how things can improve around the office. Their responses will teach you some of their motivations, priorities, and values.
  • Work on a project. Rather than always being a “manager”, join a project and work with your team at the same level. They will become more comfortable with you and share more as a result.
  • Be open to conversation. An open door policy and a commitment to a few minutes of casual chit-chat each day can go a long way in getting to know somebody.
  • Some (most?) people dread them, but when time permits, the right setting with the right icebreaker can help you get to know somebody and be a phenomenal team builder.
  • Team socials. After work, get together for activities. It can be a pub night, exercise, or celebrate birthdays and achievements.
  • Bring treats. It is possible to buy love, at least when it’s with food. Bringing in baked goods or having a bowl of candy on your desk can start great conversation.
  • Work on conflicts together. Adversity and conflict resolution can strengthen a relationship. People often expose a different side of themselves when working through a tough situation.
  • Ask interesting questions. There are plenty of resources on the web with questions to ask to get to know somebody professionally, or quirky questions to see their softer side.

It would be unrealistic to expect an employee to open up right away, but with some time, effort, and a smile, it won’t be long before you know more about an employee than just what’s on their resume. What steps have you taken to get to know a new employee?

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Top 4 (slightly unethical) Tricks on How to Persuade Anyone (Video)

Every manager and recruiter tries to persuade people to do various things throughout their job. It can be while negotiating salary, convincing a top performer to leave a competitor and join your team, or just asking for a favour around the office. Regardless, knowing the best techniques to persuade somebody can have a positive impact on how well you can do your job.

There is a science behind persuasion, and it’s more than saying please and begging. As this video from Bite Sze Psych explains, understanding how the human mind works and manipulating those processes can go a long way. Just be sure not to cross any ethical lines while you’re doing it.

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5 Things Being a Managing Director Taught Me

5 Things Becoming a Managing Director Taught MeWhat’s being a managing director all about? Here Hilton Freund of payday loans provider Wizzcash reflects on his time in senior management.

  1. Think big and say yes

As I’ve got a bit older, I’ve realised that, in both my personal and professional life, there’s a phrase I hope I never have to utter to myself: ‘what if?’. As managing director of payday loans company Wizzcash, I don’t want to reflect on a career full of missed opportunities or projects I could have explored.

So I’ve made thinking big and saying yes one of the most important lessons I’ve picked up from being in a senior leadership role. Set yourself free from the safe harbour of home and don’t be afraid to be bold – in your decisions and your ideas. There is an old phrase: you can do anything if you put your mind to it. And I couldn’t agree more.

  1. Kill jargon and phraseology

I’ve come to slowly hate jargon. In business, buzzwords like ‘pain points’, ‘going forward’ and being ‘agile’ (whatever that means) are bandied around with, well, abandon. I can’t tell you the number of meetings I’ve been to where I’ve come out being more confused than when I went in.

Sorry if I go on a bit of rant here, but jargon makes me suspicious. When people use it, I find myself questioning their motives. I wonder what their true agenda is. Jargon doesn’t help. It only serves to confuse, to muddle the message. When you’re in a managing director role, you come to realise just how important communication is. For a brand, jargon is bad because it makes you look like you don’t have any ideas or don’t have an identity. When you’re in a senior role, jargon is bad because it makes you look like you can’t express yourself properly. You become a walking cliche machine. One that can’t get a message across.

As an MD, I need to speak to people every day – whether it’s to a shop floor of staff or a board or at Pret when I buy a sandwich at lunch. And I need them to understand me. So speak as you find, speak in clear, precise language and use terms everyone knows. Be real and authentic. Don’t drown your messages in a cloak of meaningless words. The secret to proper communication is, quite simply, to be real.

  1. Celebrate mistakes

Well, kind of. It’s completely normal to make mistakes. Slipping up is part of life. Sometimes, though, when businesses make mistakes, they ignore them, pretend they didn’t happen or, even worse, spin them so they’re presented not as a mistake but, somehow, a success.

I’m not sure if this glossing-over of mistakes is a good thing. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not. Turning a mistake into a success is barmy. Ignoring a mistake is nonsensical. That’s because mistakes are powerful little things. They are little nuggets that, once broken into, will help you get better at what you do.

So when I say ‘celebrate mistakes’, I mean be honest about your challenges. Talk publicly about what went wrong and how you’d do it better the next time.

  1. Don’t fall out of the loop

I don’t like being out of the loop. Whether it’s how well Pep Guardiola is doing at Manchester City, whether Jeremy Corbyn is still head of the Labour Party or who the new Top Gear host is going to be, even if I’m not that interested, I want to know. Being in the loop helps keep you sharp, on top of things.

In my working life, I notice that it’s very easy to fall out of the loop. For one thing, you’re very busy. For another, there are people who do things for you. So it’s easy to take your eye of the ball when you’ve got a hectic schedule and you have a whole team ready to help you out. So I try to stay on top of things as much as I can. My industry is financial services, so I read blogs, the FT, subscribe to Google Alerts for key terms, listen to money programmes on the radio, you name it, I’ve probably got a subscription to it. Or downloaded it to my phone.

  1. Value your people

Let’s end with an obvious one. I say obvious – sometimes this gets forgotten about. Value your people. Finding time for your team – your immediate team but also your wider workforce, external consultants, suppliers and the chap who delivers the post is crucially important. Leadership comes from dealing with people, getting to know them and being a source of valuable support.

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How to Fire a Remote Worker

How to Fire a Remote WorkerThe benefits of a work-from-home program are immense and a major draw when recruiting new employees. As with every great concept in this world, though, having a remote workforce comes with its challenges. Managing employees in a different location is hard enough, but what about if you need to fire them? How do you let somebody go when they don’t work in your office?

Generally, the rules stay the same

It’s common sense for any manager or HR representative that when you fire somebody, you must do it with dignity and respect. That means being polite and sticking to the facts. Plan out the situation properly, discuss it with HR, and follow all company processes.

The medium speaks volumes

Standard communication logic applies; tough discussions go better when you can benefit from unspoken communication such as gestures, expressions and tone of voice. Therefore, face-to-face is always the ideal way to terminate an employee. For some workplaces, it is possible to bring the person into the office; however, in others, it’s simply not feasible. If you find yourself in this predicament, your next priority should be a video conference call and, if this is not available, regular telephone, with email being a last resort.

Pay attention to the legal

Just because you’re letting go an employee who isn’t in your office doesn’t mean you can cut corners. In fact, it is more important to cover your bases. First, before terminating by phone or conference call, write out a script and some speaking points, ensuring there are no misunderstandings. Remember, the lack of face-to-face means the exact words you say will have a stronger impact. Next, ask another manager to be in the room with you and let the employee know that they are joining the call. Finally, ensure all documentation is in place, including records of the conversation, and courier/overnight any necessary documentation to the employee.

Your IT team needs to be in the loop

The extent to which you set up remote workers will affect how much you need your IT team. At the minimum, most companies give work-from-home employees access to their network and databases, while others go so far as to providing hardware and equipment. When firing a remote worker, you lose the advantage of escorting that person away from their desk. Instead, a disgruntled ex-employee could cause havoc the second they learn their fate. Your tech team will need to be available to immediately cut-off all access. In addition, be prepared with a process for returning all equipment and property back to the company (ideally, this was laid out when hiring your remote worker).

More communication

What about the rest of your company or the now ex-employee’s team? Do they need to know about the change in roster? Every unique situation will answer that question differently, but be sure to answer the question and notify people appropriately.

Firing an employee is never an easy situation for any manager. The challenge escalates when you can’t follow traditional methods that you may be used to. In summary, the first point we make above is the most important when terminating work-from-home employees: The rules stay the same.

Have you had to let a remote worker go? How did you do it? Were there any learning points you can share with our readers? If so, please leave them in the comments below.

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How to Deal with Smelly Employees (Video)

Management training covers a wide range of topics — leadership, motivation, delegation, discipline, conflict resolution, the list goes on. What isn’t always covered, though, is how to deal with Stinky Sally in sales or Smelly Stanley in accounting.

Almost every office has at least one person who makes their co-workers’ noses cringe at the thought of having to sit next to them in a meeting. As frustrating as this can be for an office, it can also be a very sensitive issue for the culprit and needs to be tackled by their manager before jokes get out of control or relationships get harmed.

If you’re a manager and find yourself in that situation, or if you’d like to prepare in case you ever do find yourself in this situation, then this video from Russell HR Consulting will help you. It provides some great tips for any leader who needs to have the discussion of scent (strong body odour or excessive perfume/cologne) with a subordinate.

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Young Steve Jobs on How to Hire, Manage, and Lead People (Video)

Even though he’s no longer with us, the late Steve Jobs may be one of the most influential, inspiring and admired people in business. Progressive business leaders aspiring to build an Apple of their own are forever studying his success and charisma to better understand how he and the rest of the Apple team built one of the world’s largest tech companies.

This video published by Evan Carmichael features a very young Steve Jobs and other original team members explaining just that. Are there any recruitment, hiring or management tips you can pick up?

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Bringing Together Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials (Infographic)

As a leader, you already know that your teams are diverse in multiple ways, one of which being age. Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials are filling the workplace (with Gen Z on the way) and office dynamics are getting harder and harder to manage.

Specifically, leaders often identify managing multi-generational teams as particularly challenging. Everybody has different values and ways of working so finding the balance to optimize performance becomes quite the task.

In this inforgraphic from MidAmerica Nazarene University, researchers gathered information about how generations see themselves to gain a better picture. They conclude that the ideal solution is to help generations blend, rather than meet in the middle. What do you think?

How to Effectively Manage a Multi-generational Workplace Infographic
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