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Dealing with Workplace Politics

When we think of workplace politics we usually think of it with a negative connotation. Workplace or office politics tend to get a bit messy at times, as employees or team members clamor for attention and sometimes take credit for work they didn’t really do.

The real truth is that workplace politics isn’t actually a bad thing. The problem is that instead of simply learning to work with others, some people view it as a game and, as such, resort to manipulative tactics in order to play what they perceive is a game. Workplace politics simply is not a game. It’s life.

So what can you do as a manager to help deal with workplace politics? Start by creating the most positive work environment possible. Make sure your employees have enough work to do without overloading them. Employees with a reasonable workload are less likely to start trouble when they are bored. Make sure you are never acting in a manipulative manner – your employees will mimic whatever you do.

Another thing you can do to curb manipulative office politics is make sure your employees are interested in the work they have to do. Boring work is hard to focus on and if your employees aren’t focused they’ll start looking for other things to do with their time. Sometimes making work interesting isn’t as much in the work itself as it is in making sure your employees feel creative about how and why they need to do the work.

Finally, take a real vacation and encourage your employees to do the same. A real vacation constitutes at least a full week away from the office. Tired employees who never get away can easily become burnt out. If they burn out they’ll spend less time focused on the work itself and more time focused on socialiazing or personal work.

Workplace politics can be serious at times but for the most part it can be controlled if you keep your employees relaxed and happy. Do you have problems with workplace politics? If so, share your stories. We’d love to hear how you handled them!

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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Tips for Self Empowerment

A long time ago we talked about the concept of empowerment and how it applied in the workplace. Your employees will work more effectively if they feel empowered but what I want to know today is whether or not you feel empowered in your own life.

I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say you’ve tried but nothing has really worked. You’ve worked hard to take control of your life but things just never seem to go your way. Today I present 5 tips to help you gain a sense of self-empowerment.

Decide what YOU Want Out of Life

Do you really know what you want out of life? Most people say they do but I think in many cases we’re lying to ourselves. We’re always quantifying and justifying the things we want so that they make others happy as well. Forget the rest of the world. If you had no one else to answer to, what would you really want to do?

Put Your Goals in Writing

Get a piece of paper and make a list of your personal goals – both long and short term. It’s a proven fact that having a written plan is more effective than simply having one in your head. Put that piece of paper in your wallet or purse so that you can refer to it as often as necessary – especially on bad days when you need to remind yourself what you’re working towards.

Find a Mentor

Yup – you read that right. Go out and find yourself a mentor or life coach. The mentor you work with doesn’t necessarily need to have anything to do with your professional career. You need an impartial person to work with you as you plan your goals and move forward on your self-empowerment journey. A coach or mentor will hold you accountable for what you do or do not do during that journey.

Become Action Oriented

It’s not enough to simply write out a list of goals and carry it around with you. It’s time for you to decide what steps you will take to meet each goal. Once you know, start taking those steps. Becoming empowered means taking control of your life and doing things – not just thinking about them.

Once you feel in control of your life on a personal level your professional life will fall right into place. Your management career will blossom and you’ll have a lot more to offer your employees as they learn to become empowered as well!

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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The Main Principles of Team Building – Part 2

The other day we took a look at some of the main principles of team building and how they effect the success of a team from the inside out. Today I’d like to share a few more concepts in the hopes you’ll be able to apply them to your next team building (or team growing) experience.

Do the members of your team understand the context? In short, do they understand not only the main purpose of the team but how the work the team completes will help the organization reach its ultimate, long-term goals? In short, your team members should feel as though their team is important to the organization.

Does the team feel as though it has the tools it needs to perform competently?Most team members, when asking themselves this question, aren’t looking for materials but are looking at the other people on the team. Do they feel as though everyone in the group is capable of getting the job done. Are they kowledgeable and skilled?

Does the team have control of the project?Have you given the team the power it needs to get the job done while setting boundaries and limitations that will prevent them from going over budget or missing their deadlines? Control is good. Having to redo a project because the team members let the power associated with the work go to their heads is bad.

Is everyone communicating?Communication is key in any venture. Are all members of your team encouraged to give feedback and express their honest opinions. If not, they may be wondering why they are a part of the team at all.

Does your team understand that their work comes with consequences? Do they understand that they are accountable for what they do and do not accomplish and that if the job does not get done there will be consequences? Likewise, will they be rewarded for getting the job done on time and within budget?

Choosing a group of people to participate in a team is easy. Making sure those people are happy, can work together, and actually get the job done is another. You’ll have to work on the team from the inside out but I guarantee once you’re done you’ll have a highly functioning group you’ll be proud to have under your wings.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

Management Blog Call To Action

The Main Principles of Team Building – Part 1

We’ve spoken several times about how important it is to build a great team. As managers we spend a lot of time focused on building a team and working as a team but we sometimes forget to step back and take a look at how our team members feel about being a part of the team – as part of a team in genearal and, more important, as part of our teams specifically.

So what areas of team building should you really be looking at in order to ensure both the happiness of your team members and the group’s overall success? Here are a few concepts to get you started… Learn More

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

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

Management Blog Call To Action

Tips for Retaining Employees – Part 2

The other day we started to discuss a few of the things you can do, as a manager, to retain your good employees. Today I’d like to add 5 more tips to the list. Combine them all, using your own personal management style, and before you know it you’ll see your employee relationships improving.

  • Listen to your employees. Your team members, if you listen to them, have valuable ideas and most of them want to contribute to the process. Listen to what they have to say and make sure they know the lines of communication are always open.
  • Help them find opportunities for growth. No one wants to feel as though he or she is stuck in a dead end job for a lifetime and you, as a manager, can’t expect them to be happy in the same position forever. Help your employees identify opportunities for growth, both short-term and long. Employees working towards goals are always happier.
  • Encourage flexibility. I’m not saying you have to adjust their schedules every other day and make ridiculous concessions but you can find ways to encourage them to find balance between their work and persona lives without decreasing productivity. This means not being rude when they’re really sick or when they need to take care of their children.
  • Encourage personal wellness. Healthy employees are happy employees and stress is certainly not healthy. Surprise them with special breaks, give them gift certificates to their favorite restaurants or spas as an acknowledgment of their loyalty, or have a yoga instructor come in for a morning class. They’ll appreciate the break from the regular routine.
  • Finally, please remember to say THANK YOU to the people who work for you. Whether they’re permanent employees or independent contractors, everyone appreciates knowing you recognize, acknowledge, and appreciate the things they do. Nothing else you do will matter if you never utter those two simple words.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

Management Blog Call To Action

Tips for Retaining Employees – Part 1

As a manager you have a huge amount of repsonsibility when it comes to hiring and firing employees. You’ll do your best to hire the candidates you think are the best and you’ll have to document incidents in order to fire those who turn out to be not as great as they presented themselves. In the midst of all this, managers tend to forget one group of people – the good ones – the ones they should be working to retain.

A good employee isn’t one you can just leave alone, monitoring only when it comes time for the annual review or when you need to assign new work. Even good employees need attention and if they don’t get it, or feel appreciated, they might start to look elsewhere for work. Learn More

Are You a Leader?

I’m going to keep things short and sweet today but I’m going to ask you a hard question and I want you to think about it over the weekend.

Are you a leader?

In my experience, I’ve found that leaders do two main things – and two things only. They have the skill and determination to get things done and they have the ability to inspire and motivate those around them.

Do you get things done?

Do you motivate others?

Take some time to reflect on your performance over the past year. Did it feel like you were pulling teeth when working with your team members or were they glad to work with you? And – there’s a question right there – were they working for you or were they working with you?

So, are you really a leader? And, if not, will you become one this year?

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

Management Blog Call To Action