Tag Archives: management

You Make Me Want to Shout! Calming Down at Work

Cooldown_feb2012_webWork can be stressful at times. Whether it’s annoying coworkers, chaos in the office, or unruly clients and customers, we all have moments when we are tempted to let go of caution and give in to our anger. Starting a new job can bring a number of situations that can make your blood boil.

But, when we make decisions or say words in the heat of the moment, it usually ends up being the wrong choice. Here are some helpful hints to aid anger relief so you can keep a clear head when making decisions and thinking through problems.

Just Breathe

Breathing is a normal function in terms of staying alive, but taking the extra time to stop and take a few extra deep breaths can help calm you down. The more oxygen in your body, the more easily you can release physical tension.

There are several different breathing exercises you can try on your own. Take five minutes to breath from the diaphragm and use some of the breathing techniques that are right for you. Taking that time to breath can help you look at your situation with a level head so you can make a better decision on what to do.

Just Stroll

If things get to the boiling point, take 10 minutes and go for a walk. Besides the health benefits of walking, it also helps blow off steam and releases endorphins in your body.

Just Separate

Sometimes the best thing to do is remove yourself from the situation. If you can escape work for a few minutes, find a peaceful place to get away from whatever is making you angry. Being physically away from the situation can help you take a mental break and fuel better visualizations and guided imagery to help restore your peace of mind.

This can also help you reframe your situation. Many times, being in the middle of the action intensifies the situation more than it really is. Secluding yourself for a few minutes can help you see your situation differently and give you a different perspective.

Just Reflect

When you’re out walking or separating yourself from the situation, it’s important to look at yourself. Go through the situations in your head and see what your initial reactions would be and picture the consequences of those actions. Reflecting on your feelings about whatever is making you angry can help you make a better decision in the long run.

Sometimes two heads are better than one. If you haven’t found any luck calming down on your own, consider talking to one of your managers or a mentor and explain the situation. There’s a good chance they have been in a number of stressful situations where they have wanted to scream. Verbalizing your feelings with trusted individuals can also help you calm down.

When you are angry, you don’t make the best decisions. The things you say can harm your career. No matter the situation, there are always things you can do to calm yourself down before anger takes over rational thought. If you follow our helpful guidelines, you’ll be better able to keep yourself cool no matter how hot your work life gets.

Foolproof Conference Calls: 3 How To Tips

Conferencecall_Jan_2012_webIf you’ve ever been asked to set up a conference call, you know first hand the anxiety that comes with meetings conducted this way. So many things can go wrong, from the phone conferencing system, or web conferencing software not working to attendees not calling in on time. Conference calls are normally necessary when a question is complex, a decision is trying to be reached, or an idea is being pitched, which can all be stressful conversations in person, without the added challenges conference calls can bring. Here are a few tips to take control of the situation, help you plan for the call, and conduct a successful meeting. 

1. Plan in Advance

When it comes to setting up a conference call, don’t leave anything to chance. Before you set up the call make sure you understand what is expected. Some technical questions to ask are:

  • Will you need to be able to share a slideshow or your computer screen?
  • How many people will be on the line and will you need to be able to mute the lines?
  • Will the audio call and/or the visual presentation need to be recorded?
  • How long will the call take?

You’ll want to schedule the call like you would schedule a meeting, using your calendar software to make sure that everyone involved will be available. Resist the urge to send an email with the details, instead send a meeting request containing the conference call logistics to ensure that it will show up on the calendars of the attendees and not be lost in their email inboxes. Prior to sending the meeting request, confirm the phone number, access codes, and online presentation link so that all of the information is included in the initial meeting invite. Don’t make it difficult to find the log-in information by sending separate emails and meeting requests – communicate clearly in one message. Also, include an agenda or list of questions that will be addressed. Giving your attendees time to gather information they need prior to the call will help you achieve your objectives and have a better discussion on the call. Conference calls can be effective ways to clear up confusion and seek direction, as opposed to several email threads or discussion threads trying to seek a resolution, if people are prepared in advance for the conversation .

2. Rehearse

If several individuals on your team will be involved in a call to make a presentation to a client, make sure everyone knows in advance who will be taking the lead. As the initiator of the call, you are expected to start the discussion and ensure all necessary items are communicated and decided upon with the meeting time. Again, if several of you will be talking during the call its best to rehearse the presentation to make sure everything flows together and the transition among speakers is a smooth transition. It’s important to keep callers engaged and a smooth presentation is a good step in doing that. When a call seems disorganized and lacks an agenda attendees can start to tune out and focus on the work at their desk instead of engaging in the conversation.

3. Set Up in Advance

About 30 minutes prior to the call, confirm the phone number and access codes of the call and make sure that was the information sent in the meeting request. Check to make sure your conference call was set up for the right date, in the right time zone, and for a.m. or p.m. With some conference bridges, an error in one of those fields will block callers from dialing in. If you’re hosting the meeting in a conference room, make sure the web conferencing and phone conferencing lines are all in working order and turned on 15 minutes before the call begins. If you have to download any software for the call, make sure you’ve done that the day before the call on the machines you’ll be using. You’ll reduce the stress of your fellow participants if everything is flowing smoothly before the call even begins. Prior to the call beginning, make sure you know how to mute/unmute callers and how to record the presentation and/or audio portion. One last trick for success is to dial-in with the call participant information from your cell phone after you’ve activated the call to make sure everything is working correctly. Also, let a teammate that is not on the call know the log-in information so they can direct anyone who has misplaced the information how to join.

All of the time you’ve invested prior to the call will pay off in a successful call, saving you time in the long-run. And your participants will appreciate your respect for their time with your attention to detail in hosting a successful conference call.

 

By Rachel Rudisill

Time Management and Your Day

How would you say you manage your time through the workday? Have you taken on a bigger workload, find yourself working longer hours, or feel like you have never-ending projects staring you in the face? Before you get overwhelmed with your to-do list and the stress sets in, here are a few tips to help you manage your day and keep your projects in check.

Keep your project list up to date. It’s never a good feeling when you have projects that seem to just sneak up out of nowhere. Try to always be aware of what is coming up that you need to do. Using a project list as a time management tool and keeping it updated will help you prioritize. For example, outline all of the projects you need to accomplish for the week and when they are due. From there, outline the daily actions you need to complete in order to finish the projects. Prioritize what needs to be done first, second, third, and so on. Breaking larger projects out into smaller steps will also help you better manage them and not get so overwhelmed.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about your projects, don’t shy away from talking to your manager about them. Having open and clear communication is important for you and your manager. Make sure you talk through the details of your projects to help you complete your tasks in a timely manner. Also, keep your manager in the loop about your progress and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.  

Learn how to prioritize. Let’s face it. There are only so many hours in a day, so there’s only so much you can get done. What projects are most important for you to complete right now and which ones can wait? Always talk to your manager first to learn how to prioritize your tasks and outline your day. If there is something that needs to be done right away and you don’t have the time to do it, find out if someone else can cover that project or if the deadline can be shifted? Don’t adopt the superman or superwoman mentality that you can do everything by yourself and in record-breaking time. When you’re already dealing with a full plate, trying to make room for one more thing isn’t always easy. Overextending yourself by agreeing to take on additional projects when don’t have the time will not leave a good impression for your employer if you under perform.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, but someone comes to you for help with another project, be honest with them about what you’re working on. Let them know you will visit with your manager regarding the project and will get back to them about when it can be completed or who can take the project on. This still shows the initiative that you want to take on new duties, but also that you’re responsible about how much and when you can do them.

Make time for you. Do you get time for lunch each day? Do you use that time to get away from the office or can you be found at your desk still doing something work related during that time? Use your free time to get up from your desk, grab something to eat, or stretch. Just getting away from your current tasks for even a little bit can give you the chance to refresh and refocus for the rest of your day. Take time to recharge yourself throughout the day with a few little breaks and you can see a big difference in the amount of energy you have to accomplish your priorities.

These are just a few ways to help you get through the work day with less stress. When you have more control of what you have to do, it won’t control you, and it will help you be a better employee and have better days at work.

Meeting Myths Revealed: Common Mistakes to Avoid

EntryLevelLifeButton_C Meetings are a common occurrence in the workplace. And, they are usually looked upon with the same excitement as a visit to the dentist. If the mention of a meeting makes you cringe or scream out of boredom, you’re not alone. Whatever your thoughts are about meetings, throughout your working career you will definitely sit in or lead your fair share of meetings. But, meetings don’t have to be boring or unproductive. When it’s your turn to lead your next department or team meeting, keep these common mistakes in mind and make sure you do the opposite to save your co-workers from another painfully bad and unproductive meeting wasting their time.  

I don’t need an agenda for every meeting. Don’t bother with an agenda if you want to have an infective meeting that doesn’t stay on track. But, if you want a good meeting, having an agenda is a must. In order to get where you want to go, you have to know where you’re going. Come to the meeting prepared with how it’s going to flow and what topics need to be discussed by the team. This will help keep the meeting focused, give it direction, and help it begin and end on time.

It’s not necessary to schedule a meeting on the calendar. Your co-workers will just remember that you want to meet with them in two weeks, won’t they? Wrong. It’s important that you use Outlook or software your company uses to book your next meeting on every attendee’s calendar. If you just send attendees an e-mail alerting them of the meeting, there’s a good chance it will get lost in their inbox and never added to a calendar. This means you might have co-workers forget to attend the meeting. Always be sure to get the meeting on their calendar so that they can be reminded of it. 

The meeting room is always available. Don’t assume there will be a space available for you and your team when it comes time to meet. When you’re creating the meeting and inviting attendees, be sure to check for conference room availability. Go ahead and reserve that room for the correct day and time. Include yourself as the contact person in case any questions or conflicts arise.

The attendees know what the meeting topic’s about. It’s important to remember that people can’t read your mind, so they don’t know what you’re thinking. No one likes to attend a meeting where they don’t know what will be discussed. When scheduling your meeting and creating the invitation for your co-workers, let them know in advance what the focus of the meeting will be. Also, let them know if they need to bring anything specific to the meeting or if they have a specific task to perform at the meeting or beforehand.

Everyone has to be in attendance. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “the more the merrier,” but in meeting situations this is not always true. When you have too many people attending a meeting it can turn into a nightmare to manage. When you schedule a meeting, keep in mind that not everyone has to or needs to attend. Only invite those individuals who absolutely need to be involved in the discussion. This will help you get the greatest outcome out of your meeting time and your co-workers will appreciate you for valuing their time.

It’s OK to start the meeting a few minutes late. What’s just a few minutes going to matter? Just know that those minutes are valuable. When you’re leading a meeting, always start on time. When someone sets a meeting, it’s important to show up and start on time – not five or 10 minutes late. When meetings don’t start when they’re supposed to, they usually don’t end when they should either. Time is a precious tool for many these days, and there is usually not a lot to spare for late meetings.

Meetings don’t have to be horrible. You can break the “awful meeting” mentality by being great at leading your meetings. Remember, you don’t have to lead a meeting because your boss has always led them a certain way. Everyone leads differently, but follow these tips along with the 5 Ws of Successful Meeting Management to showcase your great leadership abilities and be the meeting manager your workplace can’t live without.

From Good Employee to Great Boss – 9 Tips to Get You Promoted

You’ve been called a great employee. You show up to work on time every day, you complete your work by the deadline, and you never, ever complain. Shouldn’t this be enough to get you to the next level?

In the minds of some employees, the answer would be “yes!” But, in the real world, if you’re showing up to work on time, finishing projects efficiently, and you have a pleasant attitude, then you’re just doing your job!

It takes going above and beyond to get to the next level. So, check out these nine steps to get promoted.

Work where there is opportunity to grow. You can’t move up quickly if there is nowhere to go. So, before you accept a job offer, make sure you find out if there are advancement opportunities. If you already have a job, talk to your supervisor about creating a career path that will lead you in the right direction.

Be the best you can be. After you have accepted a position with an employer, don’t immediately bombard your supervisor with questions about being promoted. Serve your time, pay your dues, and be the best employee you can be. Coming in on time and staying until 5 p.m. does not make you an overachiever. So, ask your co-workers if they need help with any of their projects once yours are completed. Offer assistance when your manager’s load gets too heavy. Show that you are a team player, and be flexible with your work schedule.

Speak up. Don’t be afraid to take ownership on projects you’ve completed or to present your ideas and solutions. You don’t want to have a “look at me” attitude, but it’s OK to keep your boss informed of the projects you’re working on and the ideas you have. This shows initiative and demonstrates you have the abilities, skills, and drive you need to get ahead.

Network with co-workers. Networking doesn’t stop simply because you have a job. Make it a point to meet as many people as you can in your company. Don’t limit yourself just to the people in your department. Many companies offer career paths in multiple areas and departments. And, “who you know” can be important at work when it comes to decisions involving promotions.

Schedule meetings with your boss. Once you have put some time in at your job, consider scheduling some one-on-one times with your supervisor. Take this opportunity to proactively discuss how you are doing in your current position and possible career paths for your future. This is your chance to build a relationship with your boss, address your desire for a promotion, and find out what you need to do to make it happen.

Continue learning. Whenever there is an opportunity to learn a new skill, regardless of whether it’s included in your current tasks or assignments, sign up and attend a conference, webinar, or night class that could benefit you and your team. Continue to build to your skills repertoire. This will build your value to you as an employee and show your employer that you’re willing to put in the extra effort to be the best at your job.

Volunteer for new projects. If your boss asks for volunteers to work on a new task, raise your hand. But, make sure you have time to complete the assignment on top of your normal deadlines first. You don’t want to over promise and then under deliver. If you have time to complete the task, offer to work on as many extra projects as you can. This is a great way to broaden your skills.

Search for a mentor. It’s always a wise decision to search out people who you would like to emulate in your career and ask them to be your mentor. But, before you approach the subject of a mentorship, make sure you’ve established a relationship with your prospect. This is beneficial to you and your prospective guru. It gives you both an opportunity to find out if you’re compatible and allows you to determine whether or not you’re asking the right person to advise you.

Find other employment. If you’ve exhausted all the steps above, growing your skills, expressing interest in advancement and becoming an indispensable member of the team but still have not received a promotion, then it might be time for you to look for other employment opportunities. But, before you jump ship, make sure you’re not just being impatient. After all, timing is everything! If you still feel it’s time to move on, make sure you have another job lined up before you go.

Climbing the career ladder can be difficult at times. There are bumps and snags along the way, but if you follow these nine steps and keep a positive attitude in the process, you could just find your way into the corner office sooner than you think.

Earning a Promotion: 3 Things You Can Learn from Your Boss

Your boss was given the responsibility and the corner office for a reason, so if you’re looking for a promotion, look no further than them for guidance. Observing your boss and following their lead will give you a leg up when you’re ready to seek a promotion. Here are three things you can focus on and learn from, so start paying attention.

Management Style – Every leader has a different way of leading their team, including your boss. So, watch how your boss interacts with your co-workers, delegates projects, and recognizes accomplishments. Also, notice how your co-workers react to their behavior to learn what works and what doesn’t. You’ll realize that different personality types require different types of leadership styles. For example, your boss will most likely allow high performers to self manage more than new employees. Demonstrate this knowledge when you interview for a promotion by talking about specific management scenarios that you would use in each situation.

Professionalism – Observe your boss interacting with their peers, supervisor, and other company executives. Pay attention to how they handle situations – both good and bad. A world-class leader respects their co-workers and superiors and earns their respect in return. Also, take note of when your boss is praised for their work and what they did to earn that praise. By emulating their behaviors, treating others with respect, and acting and reacting professionally, you can build your leadership ability and presence within the company.

Wardrobe Choices – You might not consider how you dress to be important to your career, but it does matter when you want to get ahead at work. You don’t have to wear $1,000 suits to receive a promotion, but you do need to dress professionally. Observe what your boss wears to the office every day. Are you wearing something comparable? If not, you’re not helping your professional image. So, follow your boss’s lead and wear similar clothing styles. That doesn’t mean you have to copy their wardrobe shirt for shirt or shoe for shoe, but if your boss is wearing a suit every day and you’re wearing khakis and a polo shirt, it’s time to step it up a notch.

Earning a promotion takes more than just being well-versed in your subject area, industry, and company. Companies want to develop well-rounded individuals into leaders who can represent their company professionally. That’s why people who know how to manage others, act professionally, and dress the part have a great shot at moving up the career ladder. And, who better to learn from than the individuals your company already trusts and respects as leaders?

What have you learned from a manager that helped you develop your career? As a manager, what advice would you give others to help them move up the corporate ladder? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!