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Posts Tagged ‘At Work’

September 26th, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz   Posted in Career Advice

How to Help Others ImproveOne of the best ways to make yourself more valuable on your job, and in your life, is to learn some of the basic skills involved with helping others to get what they want.

You don’t have to make a career of coaching to offer other people significant help in dealing with a crisis, making tough choices, or gearing up to improve themselves.

First Steps

The start of any helpful encounter with another person is to work together to establish both the problem to be addressed, and the details of what a solution would look like.

Is the person out of shape? What would being “in shape” look like? Does the person face a difficult decision? How can he or she know they’ve made a satisfactory choice? Is the person having difficulties at work? What’s the standard for knowing those “difficulties” are over?

In setting these criteria for monitoring improvement, remember to make them as specific as possible. That way, they’re more likely to stay fixed and achievable as the situation improves.

These standards should also be measurable in some way.

You also want to make sure, as a helpful person, that these performance standards are realistic, so there’s a fair chance of achieving - and recognizing - success.

Second Steps

With the problem defined and the goals or standards for success established, it’s important to take some time and clarify the problem situation. Try to identify the important actions the person is taking, as well as the people and the forces in play. Any or all of these may be contributing to the problem or become a pathway to a solution.

The more details that are explicitly itemized about what’s going on in the person’s life and work, the more likely you’ll find the best path to an acceptable solution.
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August 20th, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz   Posted in Career Advice, In the Workplace

AccountablilityIt doesn’t take a genius to look around our world and see that it’s sorely lacking in accountability. People in both prominent and obscure situations say and do the strangest things, and rarely are they held fully accountable.

That’s a real problem, particularly in the practical worlds of jobs, business, and the professions, but also in human relations.

Whether you’re leading a team or simply managing your own life, you can kick up the levels of effectiveness, responsibility, and success by practicing (and where possible, encouraging in others) meaningful accountability.

Here are some guidelines to help you:

Stop Ducking Responsibility

We live in an intertwined world, so it’s rare that a simple, single cause (”I overslept”) can result in a problem, a missed deadline, or a lost opportunity. Sure, it can happen. But, it doesn’t have to happen to you.

Practice accountability by taking meaningful steps to honor your commitments and live up to your responsibilities. If you take these seriously enough, you can be pretty sure you’ll never have to say “it’s entirely my fault”.

Set Up Accountable Situations

Airplane maintenance is a wonderful example of how to set up an accountable situation. Every maintenance procedure is clearly spelled out, and every mechanic who performs a procedure must attest to what he or she did with a signed and dated form. Many procedures also require a supervisor to check the work and sign to affirm his or her approval.

If you’re not in a life-and-death situation, you may not need such a rigorous, formal system. But you increase accountability when you have a plan of action with clear steps to be followed, and when you are careful to follow that plan. It’s even more accountable to have multiple layers of inspection and supervision.

With such a plan in place, results can more easily be traced back to the plan, and to everyone who implemented it. Whether the results are positive or negative, there’s clear accountability.
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July 27th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in Career Advice, In the Workplace

Things That Affect Your ProductivityIn part 1 of this series, I started to discuss the different ways that your environment can affect the way that you work. I brought up the three types of environmental factors that researchers point to - psychological, territorial, and physical - and discussed how your own psychology can negatively impact your ability to get things done.

Today’s post will focus on the ways in which functionality and territoriality can help or harm your productivity levels. What do those two terms even mean? Read on.

Control Matters

When we go to work, sometimes it can seem like our employers want to control every little aspect of our time there. We have specific lunch times and break times. We only have access to certain filing cabinets and offices. We share a thermostat, with no way to change it. Websites and applications are blocked - and not always the ones that you would expect.

For employers, this allows them to better dictate what we will be doing and how we will be doing it. In their minds, they are helping productivity by dictating the things that we can do and have control over. In some ways, this probably does help, such as blocking time-wasting sites like Facebook that don’t really have any true work use. Unfortunately, taking too much control and “ownership” away from us can actually hurt our productivity.
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July 26th, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz   Posted in In the Workplace

How to Improve Workplace MoraleMaking your workforce happy probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list - but it should be! Happier workers tend to have fewer absences, less health problems overall, and higher productivity rates. In short, it just makes sense to try to keep your workers happy.

So, how can you do that? Read on for a number of tried and true methods to raise morale - while improving your company’s bottom line.

Reward, don’t punish. Motivation is a funny thing. If your employees get in trouble every time something goes wrong, their main motivation is going to be not to get yelled at. This might enable you to keep succeeding at a minimum level, but it will never go beyond this. In contrast, if you focus on rewarding good behavior and successes, employees will be more likely to try their very best.

Offer bonuses. Similar to the first suggestion, bonuses are a concrete way of showing employees that doing an exemplary job will be rewarded and encourage everyone to try harder. Not quite able to offer monetary bonuses with the economy the way it is? Try other kinds of “bonuses” like working out discounts at local businesses or allowing people to earn more time off.

Build in playtime. People burn out if they work too much, leading to apathetic workers whose only goal is to get through the day and go home. Often, these same workers will even try to escape from the drudgery of the office during work hours by surfing the net or playing games. It may seem counterintuitive, but don’t discourage this behavior - encourage it by building “playtime” into the work schedule every day for a set period of time. Some offices have even gone so far as to add foosball tables or arcade games to the office so that employees can blow off steam and clear their heads.
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June 18th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in In the Workplace

8 Rules for the Office KitchenEven if you have a private office, the workplace is a shared space. You have to be mindful that there are other people around, each trying hard - well, you hope - to do his or her job to the best of their abilities. People need to be shown respect and courtesy.

Unfortunately, rather than bringing out the best in us, shared spaces can often uncover our baser instincts of selfishness, laziness, forgetfulness, and just plain rude behavior.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the office kitchen, and if you’ve ever had food stolen or been forced to clean up someone else’s pile of dishes, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

If you want your shared office kitchen to run smooth and avoid arguments and passive aggressive notes, there are several rules you should follow.

1. Replace empties. Doesn’t matter whether it’s an empty pot of coffee - brew another one! - or an empty water cooler, if you’re the one to get the last drop, you should fix the problem.

2. Make a list. If your kitchen is restocked by someone else in the office (a person who should become your best friend, by the way), do them a favor and put up a list that people can write on when certain items are running low like milk or peanut butter. This is also useful as a request list, but don’t go crazy.
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