Where is Your Management Career Going?

Too often I see people earn the title of manager and then lose themselves in their new identity. Some will thrive and grow in their new positions while others will become stagnant after a period of time.

Most, when asked, will say they are “a manager” and my next question is always this:

What type of manager are you?

Truth be told, there are plenty of differences. We have general managers, senior managers, managers, supervisors, and – well – you get it… you could place a wide variety of different terms on the different levels or types of management. I know of one company that assigned the title of “Assistant Vice President” to every mid-level manager in the organization. Sounds nice, right? The problem is that many people don’t understand exactly what their titles mean.

Let’s take a look at a couple of those titles and their definitions:

  • General managers have a very broad responsibility, in most cases. General managers aren’t responsible for one specific part of an organisation. Instead they are responsible for the function of all areas – with each individual manger of those areas to get the jobd one.
  • Senior managers usually work in organisations with a lot of employees – those who feel as those there are so many levels they need to add additional people to the hierarchy to help keep control. Senior level managers generally fall somewhere below the general manager, but above a regular department manager.
  • Managers, in general, are individuals in charge of directing the work of a specific group of people. Managers may be in charge of an entire department, or they may be in charge of a team within a department. They’ll either report directly to the general manager, or to a “senior manager” above them.
  • A supervisor, in some cases, is considered a manager. In other places, a supervisor is someone who is in a junior management position. Supervisors may be in charge of a small portion of a team, reporting back to the manager at the end of the day as to the status of a project. Supervisors generally have very little authority, and in some cases can’t even hire or fire employees.

Where do you fall on the management mall map? Are you where you want to be, or are you aching to move up the corporate ladder?

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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You Survived a Layoff. Now What?

The state of the economy, worldwide, has left hundreds upon thousands seeking employment. Those who have not lost their jobs often find themselves wondering whether they would be better off if they had been let go instead of taking the brunt of the aggravation and, now, short-staffing in their current offices.

The truth? Managers don’t only look at salaries when they determine who they’re doing to layoff when times are tough. They look at the big picture and try to determine how they can save money without losing quality workers. If it comes to choosing between a higher paid employee with a great attitude versus a lower paid employee with a terrible attitude, the lower paid employee may just find himself on the chopping block.

So what can you do now that you’ve found yourself in the position of survival? Here are a few things you can do, both as an employee and from a managerial standpoint, to make your life a bit easier.

  • Acknowledge the fact that you can’t do everything and do your best to prioritize. Do the most important work first and let the rest wait.
  • Remain as positive and realistic as possible at all times. Do what you can and don’t fight the natural flow. You have no control over your organisation’s overall progress and, if things end badly, it won’t be due to your lack of performance.
  • Make sure you act like a leader. Your remaining team members will be looking to you for guidance and reassurance.
  • Use your managerial and communication skills to keep in touch with other departments. Make sure you have systems in place to ensure you’re still helping each other effectively despite changes in staff.
  • Let your employees know that you still expect high quality work but that you do not expect them to turn into super-people overnight. Acknowledge that they are human and may not be able to simply absorb the work left behind by past employees.
  • Offer support to your team members, especially those who aren’t coping with the new changes and stresses as well. Do what you can to let them vent without losing track of their goals.

Layoffs are sad but not abnormal. Do your best to regroup and move on. You still have a job, and you’ll want to keep it as long as possible.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Honesty and Success Go Hand in Hand – Or Do They?

There’s a rumor circulating about the world of business – it states that honesty pays. Every once in a while, though, I have to wonder if honesty is really the foundation upon which successful businesses are based on.

About 20 years ago there was an article in the Harvard Business Review. The article questioned whether or not honesty and integrity were prominent factors when determining if a business will become successful or not. Realistically speaking, building a business upon a dishonest foundation is completely possible. It can be profitable. And the odds of getting caught are – well – slim to none, in most cases.

To start the week off I’d like you to think about your position within your business. Have you, as a manager, ever made an unethical decision? Have you ever told a little white lie just to convince an employee to meet a goal or to make a sale? Do you think that you, as a manager are the only person bending the truth to get things done? How deep into your organisation would you have to dig to uncover something bitter – and perhaps a lot more questionable in terms of ethics?

Over the next couple of days we’ll take a look at a few situations that push the line when it comes to ethics. I hope we’ll prove that you can build a business with 100% honesty and integrity – even if it does take a little more work upfront!

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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5 Tips To Ensure That Your Employees Are Safe In The Workplace

In the past we’ve talked about workplace safety but from the standpoint of employee burnout and, more recently, the importance of having a plan if your organisation is affected by a pandemic like the H1N1 virus. Today, though, I’d like to take a step back and look at workplace safety from a more general viewpoint.

You may think that the fact you work in an office exempts you from workplace safety. You are, after all, simply sitting at a desk all day, right? Wrong. Employees trip and fall, burn themselves in the kitchen, and even suffer from health issues while at work. So what can you do to ensure you workplace is safe for everyone all of the time?

5. Keep Your Work Areas Clean

Whether you work in an office or in a warehouse it’s important to always keep your work area clean. Strewn garbage, unattended wires, and boxes piled floor to ceiling can create dangerous hazards for those who need to move around them.

4. Give Clear Instructions

Workplace safety is, as a manager, partly your responsibility. If you don’t give your employees clear instructions about what they need to do they may do the wrong thing, or put together an incorrect set of pieces of information – causing danger to themselves and others.

3. Show You Care

So you’re running on a deadline but the printer is smoking or an important machine is making a terrible grinding noise. Do you push through and hope the machines last or do you shut them down to avoid a potential safety hazard? Hopefully you show your employees that you care about them more than deadlines by shutting the machines down.

2. Ensure Everyone is Properly Trained

One of the best ways to avoid an accident is to ensure everyone on your team is properly trained. A new or inexperienced employee can easily make a mistake that a seasoned veteran might take for granted. Offer the right amount of training and then make sure new employees are supervised properly until they gain enough experience to ensure total safety.

1. Ditch Workplace Safety Incentives

Workplace safety incentives are some of the silliest things I’ve ever seen. Offering employees incentives to be safe is like saying you expect them to do stupid things and need to bribe them not to. I’m not saying you should punish them for being unsafe but I don’t think they should behonored for doing what they should be doing naturally to begin with.

Are you ready to start the week on a safe note? Good luck!

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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The Truth about Time Management

Every morning I get up and take a look at my to-do list for the day. At the end of the day I look at my list again and I’m either pleased with what I’ve accomplished or disgusted by how much there is left on the list.

Then I realized there was a problem.

You see, the reality of the situation is that I can put as much on my to-do list as I want each day. The problem is that most of us make to-do lists without regard to the amount of time each task might take. In the end, there will always be only 24 hours in a given day – no more, no less.

So, yes – you can set goals. And yes, you can identify your personal “time wasters.” You can even sit down and write out a “time management plan” to help you get your work done at a realistic pace. You might even waste your money on a software program that helps you manage your tasks.

In the end, though, the reality is this – you need to put on your management pants and learn to do two things – prioritise and delegate.

Because, truthfully, those two areas are the real issue. It’s not time management. It’s the thought process that makes us believe we can (or even should) do all of these tasks on our own. You have a team for a reason. Prioritize your tasks, delegate them to the appropriate people, and cross them off of your to-do list.

You’ll suddenly find yourself less stressed and, eventually, you’ll be managing an incredibly effective and productive team.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Exploring Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry is a newer term not many of you may be familiar with. It is, in short, the act of learning about and appreciating the values that those around us have to offer.

You’ve heard the phrase “find the best in others.” That’s exactly what appreciateive inquiry is about. In business, and as a manager, it’s your responsibility to work with people until you uncover their positive traits – the traits you and your team can use and appreciate.

According to Carol Wilson, there are four main stages when it comes to appreciative inquiry. They are:

  1. Discovery
  2. Dream
  3. Design
  4. Destiny

You start by discovering what you have – learning about what is working for your team right now and what could potentially change based on the traits and skills you have uncovered. You then take the time to think about (or dream up) the best possible outcome possible. After you have an idea, you have to design a plan that will bring those dreams to fruition. You then determine the destiny by figuring out exactly how your design can most naturally exist, combining both new and existing resources without upsetting the old systems.

You must evolve and emerge.

Appreciative inquiry isn’t about forcing change. It’s about learning about the traits, skills, and characteristics of your team members you didn’t realize existed and allowing them to evolve naturally into your processes – with a little encouragement, of course!

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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4 Key Factors in Knowledge Management

The fact that you and your organisation have knowledge to share or use in your day to day operations is one thing. Having a firm grasp on when and how to store that knowledge is another concept altogether. As a manager, it will be your responsibility to determine what knowledge is stored, what is destroyed, and how best to keep it safe.

There are four main factors to consider when it comes to managing knowledge. They include:

  • Culture
  • Old Pros
  • Archives
  • Processes

By culture we mean the culture of your organisation. Are the people who currently work for you willing to make use of the new knowledge you are sharing with them? Will it be incorporated into your day to day operations or are you trying to incorporate the information too early or too late?

The concept of the old pro refers to your organisation’s seasoned veterans. The people who have worked for you the longest may not be the most up to date when it comes to technology but they are an invaluable source of knowledge and usually know their business better than anyone else. As a manager you must know when and how to take advantage of the knowledge these people have to share.

You should be storing explicit pieces of information, things that you will need in the future, in some sort of archive. The archive can be paper or scanned into some sort of database system. You’ll be glad you have an archive the next time your team is completing a project and needs to rehash some old information.

Finally, you will be responsible for setting up a process by which knowlege is captured and stored in that archive system. The nature of your organisation and its people will have a strong influence on the method you choose to use but no matter what you do it is important to ensure that the information is properly categorized so that it can be easily accessed later on.

Consider these four factors as you prepare the knowledge management plan for your team or organisation. The better organised your efforts the more valuable your collection of information will be as you work towards progressing your business goals.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Using the Holidays to Your Advantage

The holidays are a great time of year, especially if you are in sales.

Yes, you heard me correctly. I refuse to believe that the holiday season is an acceptable excuse for anyone – whether in customer service, management, or sales – to slack off. You should be just as productive as ever, even if that means changing your angle of attack. What do I mean? Learn More

Here’s A Short Conflict Management Exercise To Use With Your Team

As a manager you should certainly be able to deal with conflict, even if it means negotiating.

The truth, however, is that every member of your team should be able to do the same thing because doing so will mean they’re better able to work together as a team. Learn More

Age Diversity vs. Age Discrimination

More often than not, corporations are looking to “diversify” their work groups. While some are diversifying with gender or ethnicity in mind, others are taking a closer look at age diversity – hiring younger and older employees to create a delicate balance of seasoned and experienced workers with those who might not be as experienced but will bring fresh ideas to the table.

So here’s the problem. You have a position available and two candidates have make it through the interview process. One is a young college graduate with plenty of references, great internship experience, and fresh ideas. The other is a middle-aged individual with plenty of working experiernce in the field. When it comes down to it, both are great candidates but you have to wonder which would fit the dynamic of the team better and suddenly you’re weighing your options in terms of age.

Have you just crossed the line into the realm of age discrimination?

We’ll talk more later about the actual rules regarding age discrimination in the UK. Until then, think about how you would make your decision. Would you focus on age or would you try to go back to their resumes and interviews and find more concrete information with which to make your decision?

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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