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Unethical Behaviour: Claiming Credit

As a manager, you’re going to find yourself in a unique position. Your superiors will assign you a task and you’re going to turn around and delegate it to members of your team. When they’re done, you’re going to turn it in to your superiors and take all the credit.

Not cool.

The problem is that the more authority we have, the more we seem to value ourselves. In reality, though, we may talk more than the contributing members of our team – delegating and organizing – but when it comes to taking actual action we’re really not doing as much as we think.

So then we develop a secondary problem.

The more we think of ourselves, the less we think of the others we are working with.

That’s not good either.

You have an unabashed view of yourself. You think you’re the big cheese. And despite the fact that your team members are doing most of the work on a given project, you feel as though you are better than them and minimize the value of their work.

And their the ones doing it all to begin with.

The next time you delegate a task to your team, take a step back and think about how involve you really are in the project. When the project is finished and goes to the next level, make sure the right people know who participated and to what extent.

It’s fair, and it doesn’t make you any less of a manager. Giving proper credit will actually make you a better, ethical example!

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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

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Unethical Behaviour: The Conflict of Interest

Yesterday we started talking a bit about bias and today I want to touch just briefly one one of the four main types of bias – the conflict of interest. You may be wondering how conflict of interest can be categorized as a bias and I’m going to explain just that.

Simply put, if you are favoring people who you believe will be able to provide you some sort of perk or benefit later on down the line you have a conflict of interest. You are biased towards those people because of what you hope to get from them and instead pass over people who may be better qualified to do the work but less able to throw a perk your way.

How unfair is that?

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re the office manager in a physician’s office. A pharmaceutical representative comes into your office to try to give you information and samples about a new cholesterol medicine. When he visits he brings you free samples, a huge tray of bagels and fruit for the entire office to share, and a really nice padfolio to thank you for your time. He also tells you that for every new rX for this medication you write your office will receive a bonus or referral fee.

A pharmaceutical representative from another company comes in with a different cholesterol medicine. She brings you some free samples but doesn’t shower you with gifts. Instead she gives you a lot of great information about the drug and the research and studies behind it. The cost for consumers is a bit less than the other drug, too. The pharmaceutical company doesn’t have a referral program so you won’t get any kickbacks for selling what looks like a decent drug.

Which will you choose?

You might, right now, say that you’d pick the second but the truth is that if you were in that situation you might unconsciously choose the first. Why pass up the opportunity for a referral fee, even if the drug isn’t as great as the second, right?

Wrong. That’s comletely unethical.

But do you even realize you’re making decisions like these?

Probably not.

I urge you to take a close look at the decisions you’re making this year. Are they best for your team or are you looking for what’s best for you personally?

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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

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Ethics at Work: Are you Biased?

As we enter the New Year I want to kick things off by taking a cold, hard look at ethics and how they apply in the workplace. Most managers believe they are ethical and, consciously, they may be. The problem is that everyone has a habit or bias that can be viewed as slightly unethical, whether they realize it or not.

Most of us have some sort of implicit bias, whether we recognize it or not. What is an implicit bias? It is one that, despite you not saying it outright, shows in the way you act. There are a few organisations that have tested managers and individuals to uncover some of their implicit biases, including Harvard and Tolerance.org. Here are a few examples of information about biases they uncovered:

  • A large percentage of participants had an implicit bias towards young people.
  • A large percentage of participants had an implicit bias towards white people.
  • A large percentage of participants had an implicit bias towards rich people.
  • Consciously desiring to not be biased will not make you an unbiased person.

What does this mean? Let’s say, for example, you claim not to be biased towards men. You have two similar resumes on your desk and you have interviewed both candidates – one male and one female. They are both highly qualified and it’s a very difficult decision to make but we’ll say for the purpose of this example that there may be one or two areas in which the female candidate might make a better fit. You claim to be reviewing their applications from an objective standpoint but your implicit bias towards men allows you to justify hiring the male candidate instead. You literally dig for a reason not to hire the female candidate and you  may not even realize why.

Being biased can be costly. You can lose great candidates or team members and possibly even be accused of bias and become the victim of a discrimination lawsuit.

I urge you to step back and think about your management ethics and hiring practices. Are you biased? Do you even realize it? Are you treating your employees fairly? Think about it and let me know.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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

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5 Ways To Reduce Stress In Your Life

As a manager you’re going to find that there are times when you feel a lot more stressed than you do at other times. You might even stop and wonder why you feel more stressed than those around you. The truth is that, as managers, we tend to believe we need to be perfect at everything we do. We need to be in control. We want to be right. We want our jobs done perfectly. In short, we put too much pressure on ourselves.

As you approach the New Year, take the following 5 points into consideration and see if you can begin to make tiny changes, one at a time. Eliminating some of the stress you’re putting on yourself might make your job just a bit easier to accomplish! Learn More

Finding New Team Members

In the past we’ve talked about team building in terms of bringing your current team members together as a whole. Today I’d like to take just a minute to talk about the ways in which you choose the members of your team. Learn More

Tips for Handling Conflict at Work

As a manager you’re bound to find out that not everyday is going to be as pleasant as others. You may have problems with clients or deadlines but in my experience the worst days are the ones during which your own team has trouble getting along. If your team members are in the midst of a conflict it’ll be up to you to sort things out. Here are a few tips to help make that job a bit easier.

Determine the Actual Problem

Sometimes people argue and then things escalate until they no longer remember what the original problem was. Ask everyone involved to sit down and talk about what they perceive the problem to be. Once you all agree on a source you can start to find a solution.

Allow Everyone to Contribute

Make sure everyone involved in the conflict has the opportunity to talk about what he or she not only thinks the problem is but what his opinions are and how the problem can be solved. Give each person a set amount of time to speak and make sure everyone sticks to the facts – no berating other team members.

Reach for a Compromise

Identify the methods each member of the group thinks need to be followed in order to reach a compromise. Not everyone will be happy with the entire outcome but there is always a way to make as many people happy as possible. Identify both long and short term goals and find ways for everyone to work toward them together.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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

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6 Time Management Mistakes to Avoid

Quite a few of you are probably relaxing with your friends and family, enjoying the holiday season. I might add that doing so is an excellent time management strategy because it is just as important to take time out for yourself as it is to attack the lingering list of chores you’ve probably made for yourself.

Sadly, not many people make time for themselves and their inability to do so is a huge time management mistake. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about tips for more effectively managing your time but we haven’t focused on some of the mistakes people make. Here are a few to consider.

  • Do you pay too much attention to the minor details instead of doing what you can to get a perfectly acceptable job out the door? While attention to detail is great it can also be distracting or detrimental when you’re facing a deadline.
  • Do you find that you often have too many projects on your plate at the same time? Doing so will stretch your resources and instead of finishing one great project you’ll turn in multiple sub-par projects.
  • Are you dead set against changing your routine? Sometimes deviating from the norm will free up your time so that you can get your most important tasks out of the way sooner.
  • Do you prefer to do mundane tasks before focusing on your major projects? Putting some time into your larger projects earlier in the day might motivate you to get them done sooner – and those mundane tasks will be a welcome break after all of your hard work.
  • Are you good at anticipating problems? If so, that’s great, but people who expect problems to occur usually waste a lot of time focusing on them even if they haven’t happened yet. And if that problem never actually comes to fruition you’ll find you wasted a ton of time.
  • Are you surrounded by unhappy and unmotivated coworkers? They’ll drag you down and waste your time whether you realize it or not.

Can you identify with any of these issues? If so, you may want to work on making some changes in the way you manage your own time in the New Year. Until then, enjoy your time away from the workdesk!

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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

Management Blog Call To Action

Time Management 101: Prioritising

When it comes down to effectively managing your time you’ll find that there are dozens of resources offering tips for how to save time. Most of these resources tell you that you should prioritise your tasks but they don’t really tell you how to prioritise. How do you choose which tasks are more important than others?

A method I’ve found to work very well is to take every task and place it in one of four categories. Each category has a level of importance and it will make it easier for you to determine which ones should take priority over the rest. Here are the four categories:

  • #1 – Important and Urgent – These are critical items that must be taken care of before anything else.
  • #2 – Important but not urgent – These are the tasks you really want to complete in a given time frame but don’t find as pressing as those you placed in the first category.
  • #3 – Urgent and not very important – You may find something to be urgent but at the same time not very important to the success of your day. Don’t let someone make you feel like you need to complete something faster than it deserves to be completed. If it’s not important, how urgent can it really be?
  • #4 – Neither urgent or very important – You’d like to complete these tasks but not doing so won’t have an impact on your day either way.

Can you look at your calendar for the day and place each of the items on your to-do list into one of these categories? If so, you’re well on your way to effectively prioritising your day. Good luck!

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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

Management Blog Call To Action