Sunday, 29 September 2013

10 Things Extraordinary Bosses Give Employees

Good bosses care about getting important things done. Exceptional bosses care about their people.

Good bosses have strong organizational skills. Good bosses have solid decision-making skills. Good bosses get important things done. Exceptional bosses do all of the above--and more. Sure, they care about their company and customers, their vendors and suppliers. But most importantly, they care to an exceptional degree about the people who work for them.

That's why extraordinary bosses give every employee:

1. Autonomy and independence.
Great organizations are built on optimizing processes and procedures. Still, every task doesn't deserve a best practice or a micro-managed approach. Engagement and satisfaction are largely based on autonomy and independence. I care when it's "mine." I care when I'm in charge and feel empowered to do what's right. Plus, freedom breeds innovation: Even heavily process-oriented positions have room for different approaches. Whenever possible, give your employees the autonomy and independence to work the way they work best. When you do, they almost always find ways to do their jobs better than you imagined possible.

2. Clear expectations.
While every job should include some degree of independence, every job does also need basic expectations for how specific situations should be handled. Criticize an employee for offering a discount to an irate customer today even though yesterday that was standard practice and you make that employee's job impossible.  Few things are more stressful than not knowing what is expected from one day to the next. When an exceptional boss changes a standard or guideline, she communicates those changes first--and when that is not possible, she takes the time to explain why she made the decision she made, and what she expects in the future.

3. Meaningful objectives.
Meaningful targets can create a sense of purpose and add a little meaning to even the most repetitive tasks. Plus, goals are fun. Without a meaningful goal to shoot for, work is just work & No one likes it.

4. A true sense of purpose.
Everyone likes to feel a part of something bigger. Everyone loves to feel that sense of teamwork and esprit de corps that turns a group of individuals into a real team. The best missions involve making a real impact on the lives of the customers you serve. Let employees know what you want to achieve for your business, for your customers, and even your community. And if you can, let them create a few missions of their own.

5. Opportunities to provide significant input.
Engaged employees have ideas; take away opportunities for them to make suggestions, or instantly disregard their ideas without consideration, and they immediately disengage. That's why exceptional bosses make it incredibly easy for employees to offer suggestions. They ask leading questions. They probe gently. They help employees feel comfortable proposing new ways to get things done.

6. A real sense of connection.
Every employee works for a paycheck (otherwise they would do volunteer work), but every employee wants to work for more than a paycheck: They want to work with and for people they respect and admire--and with and for people who respect and admire them. That's why a kind word, a quick discussion about family, an informal conversation to ask if an employee needs any help--those moments are much more important than group meetings or formal evaluations. A true sense of connection is personal. That's why exceptional bosses show they see and appreciate the person, not just the worker.

7. Reliable consistency.
Most people don't mind a boss who is strict, demanding, and quick to offer (not always positive) feedback, as long as he or she treats every employee fairly. (Great bosses treat each employee differently but they also treat every employee fairly. There's a big difference) Exceptional bosses know the key to showing employees they are consistent and fair is communication: The more employees understand why a decision was made, the less likely they are to assume unfair treatment or favoritism.

8. Private criticism.
No employee is perfect. Every employee needs constructive feedback. Every employee deserves constructive feedback. Good bosses give that feedback.
Great bosses always do it in private.

9. Public praise.
Every employee--even a relatively poor performer--does something well. Every employee deserves praise and appreciation. It's easy to recognize some of your best employees because they're consistently doing awesome things. Maybe consistent recognition is a reason they're your best employees? Something worth thinking of! You might have to work hard to find reasons to recognize an employee who simply meets standards, but that's okay: A few words of recognition--especially public recognition--may be the nudge an average performer needs to start becoming a great performer.

10. A chance for a meaningful future.
Every job should have the potential to lead to greater things. Exceptional bosses take the time to develop employees for the job they someday hope to land, even if that job is with another company. (How can you know what an employee hopes to do someday? Ask!) Employees will only care about your business after you first show you care about them. One of the best ways is to show that while you certainly have hopes for your company's future, you also have hopes for your employees' futures.

Courtesy: “JEFF HADEN learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghost writing books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Build a Career Worth Having

We live in a time of chronic dissatisfaction in the workplace. How can I explain this? Certainly factors like the sluggish economic recovery and stuck wages play a role, but I think the real answer is even more straightforward: It's not clear how one designs a satisfying career in today's professional culture, especially if lasting fulfillment (as opposed to salary maximization) is the goal. 

So basically what can be done to build a career worth having! I have figured out certain pointers that would aid you in a suffice response.

1. See your career as a series of stepping stones, not a linear trajectory.
There's an implicit view that careers are still linear. Sure, many people accept that the career ladder is broken, but most still attempt to somehow increase the "slope" of their career trajectory.

They wait until they are unhappy, look around for opportunities that seem better than their current job, apply for a few, cross their fingers, and take the best option that they can get. Then, they toil away until they are unhappy again, and the cycle repeats. Though this approach can increase your salary over time, studies show that, once you make more than $75,000, more money doesn't correlate to happiness or emotional wellbeing. Most people end up with a career path of somewhat arbitrary events that, at best, is a gradually improving wandering path, and, at worst, is just a series of unfulfilling jobs.

So what’s the solution to this dismal cycle? Let go of the idea that careers are linear. These days, they are much more like a field of stepping stones that extends in all directions. Each stone is a job or project that is available to you and you can move in any direction that you like. The trick is simply to move to stones that take you closer and closer to what is meaningful to you. There is no single path — but rather, an infinite number of options that will lead to the sweet spot of fulfillment.

2. Seek legacy, mastery, and freedom — in order provided.
Research from authors such as Daniel Pink (Drive), Cal Newport (So Good They Can't Ignore You), Ben Casnocha & Reid Hoffman (Startup of You), and Tony Hsieh (Delivering Happiness) shows that there are three primary attributes of fulfilling work:

·    Legacy. A higher purpose, a mission, a cause. This means knowing that in some way — large or small —   the world will be a better place after you've done your work.

·   Mastery. This refers to the art of getting better and better at skills and talents that you enjoy using, to the extent that they become intertwined with your identity. Picture a Jedi, or a Samurai, or a master blacksmith.

·   Freedom. The ability to choose who you work with, what projects you work on, where and when you work each day, and getting paid enough to responsibly support the lifestyle that you want.

The order is important. People are fulfilled most quickly when they first prioritize the impact that they want to have (legacy), then understand which skills and talents they need to have that impact (mastery), and finally "exchange" those skills for higher pay and flexibility (freedom) as they develop and advance. People don't typically have just one purpose. The things you're passionate about — women's health, early childhood education, organic food, or renewable energy — are likely to evolve over time. And it's important to develop a high degree of freedom so that you're able to hunt down your purpose again when it floats onto the next thing. This means being able to do things like volunteer on the side, go months at a time without getting a paycheck, or invest in unusual professional development opportunities.

3. Treat your career like a grand experiment.
In my experience, people who are successful in finding — and maintaining — meaningful work approach their careers like a grand experiment. All of the things you think you know about what you want to be doing, what you're good at, what people want to hire you to do (and at what salary), how different organizations operate, etc. are hypotheses that can be validated or invalidated with evidence — either from the first-hand experience of trying something (including bite-sized projects), or second-hand from asking the right questions of the right people. The faster and cheaper that you're able to validate your career hypotheses, the sooner you'll find fulfillment. You don't have to take a job in a new industry to realize it's not for you. You can learn a ton about potential lines of work from reading online, having conversations, taking on side projects, and volunteering.

And a bonus — by doing your homework on what's actually a good fit for you, you won't waste your time applying to jobs that you aren't competitive for. And like any good scientist, you'll achieve a healthy detachment from your incorrect hypotheses — they are just par for the course, after all.

I use the word "grand" to describe this experiment because the reality is that your career is not just a way to earn a living. It's your chance to discover what you're here for and what you love. It's your best shot at improving the world in a way that is important to you. It's a sizeable component of your human experience, in a very real way. As such, it should be an adventure, with a healthy bit of magic and mystery along the way. 

So if you're one of the many who find themselves on the path to meaningful work — remember to enjoy the journey, don't give up, and don't settle.