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You're a Supervisor, Now What?

Like so many people who become supervisors, I started my career as an entry-level employee and worked my way up. When I was chosen to move up into a supervisory role, I wasn't the best candidate for the job.

So often supervisors aren't chosen because they possess good people and management skills but because they possess strong technical skills within their chosen field.

Just because somebody has shown an aptitude for a technical skill doesn't mean that he or she will be good at managing the people in that functional area.

It also doesn't mean that they can't learn it just like they learned their technical skill. The problem is that most companies do not prepare these people for this new, and very different role.

So, what do you do when you find yourself promoted beyond your skill set?

One thing you can do is seek out others who have gone through the same transition and done it successfully to find out how they did it.

This blog is an excellent place to start. I h…
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8 Tips to Maximize Your Communication

Communication is a subject that makes some managers cringe. You may feel that you get beat up a lot for not imparting information. As a leader, you face much heat for not communicating well enough. At times this assessment is valid, but it does not take into account the role of the employee. What responsibility do they play in good communication? Moreover, what can you do to improve your communication and encourage them to communicate better?

When it comes to communication issues, the onus is on management. Fair or not this is the reality.
Even if you think you do a great job of communicating it doesn’t make a difference if the people you lead believe differently.

Also, you can gripe all you want about how poorly your employees communicate the reality is that you can only control your actions.
So, how do you overcome a sense of poor communication on your part and get your employees to communicate better?

In this post, I will discuss what I believe are the keys to good communication a…

Don't Forget to Be Kind to Yourself

As managers, we all have good days and bad days. Some days it seems like everything is going right and nothing can stop us from achieving our goals. Other days nothing goes correctly, and it appears that the world is out to get us.

It is on these rough days, the days when our goals seem so far out of reach, that we need to be kind to ourselves, showing patience, not just with ourselves, but those we love. Take time every day to do small acts of kindness for yourself.

Life can be a challenge, and it can be hard to stay sharp and focused every day. Somedays we will make great strides forward, and other days it is like climbing a hill of sand where every step is a slide back, and we keep getting buried under a pile of frustrations.
Just remember it’s going to be o.k.

Challenging times are a part of life, and they happen to all of us. Remember to keep things in perspective, believe that tomorrow is going to be better, and give yourself credit for the small things that did go right instea…

Effective Accountability

The heart of leading and managing people. It is about holding people to a standard and then ensuring that they are maintaining that standard. It should not be about blaming people and punishing them.

Holding people accountable for their work and addressing underlying issues that are the cause of performance deficiencies should be the goal of a manager or supervisor. Blame assignment should not be a part of this process. Moreover, in most cases, the first response shouldn’t be to discipline. Instead, it would be best if you try to identify for the root cause of the problem, assign responsibility, and then work with the employee to correct the cause.

Too often managers and supervisors shoot from the hip when addressing performance issues. Instead of taking the time to gather facts and think about what the long-term consequences of their actions are, or what they are looking to achieve, they jump into blame and punish mode.

When this happens, it serves the opposite purpose of what shoul…

Engaging and Guiding Difficult People (Part 6 of 6 Dealing with Difficult People)

Over the past five posts, we have discussed how to deal with difficult people in our work. We have looked at four specific personality types - complainers, sour attitudes, responsibility avoiders, and the spokesperson. In these posts, I have offered specific techniques for dealing with each personality.

Check out each of the other 5 parts in this series:Part 1: A Guide to Dealing with Difficult People - Introduction

Part 2: The Complainer

Part 3: The Sour Attitude

Part 4: The Responsibility Avoider

Part 5: The Spokesperson

Part 6: Engaging and Guiding Difficult People

Wrapping it All Together In this post, I would like to offer some general suggestions that can help when dealing with any problematic personality, and people in general.

As managers, we always need to approach our people with a willingness to help them succeed and have an interest in what is best for them. We need to keep this first and foremost in our minds.

We also need to take emotion out of our reaction when dealing with…

The Spokesperson (Part 5 of 6 Guide to Dealing with Difficult People)

We have made it to the final difficult personality that I want to discuss in this post series - A Guide to Dealing with Difficult People.  In the last chapter, we will summarize what we have gone over and look at some general advice for dealing with any problematic personality.

Check Out the Entire Series:
Part 1: A Guide to Dealing with Difficult People - Introduction

Part 2: The Complainer

Part 3: The Sour Attitude

Part 4: The Responsibility Avoider

Part 5: The Spokesperson

Part 6: Engaging and Guiding Difficult People

However, for now, we are discussing “The Spokesperson.” These people see themselves as the self-appointed spokesperson of the people. They are the first to hear, and share, all the gossip on the floor. They are also quick to bring problems to your attention and demand that you do something even when the problem has nothing to do with them and does not impact them directly.
Frustration and Possibility The frustrating thing about these people is their need to involve themsel…

The Responsibility Avoider (Part 4 of 6 Difficult People Guide)

Have you ever had a conversation with a subordinate or team member where you were trying to coach them and correct a problem and throughout the discussion they decided to turn away from their actions to the actions of others or other perceived issues outside of themselves?

It is a great frustration to try to get a person who takes no responsibility to focus on what they are doing. So often they want to put the focus on others in an attempt to get the spotlight off from themselves.

In this post, we will discuss how to deal with these people and get them to focus on their actions instead of avoiding responsibility and side-tracking the conversation. Don't forget to check out the other post in this series discussing how to deal with difficult people.

Check Out the Entire Series:
Part 1: A Guide to Dealing with Difficult People - Introduction

Part 2: The Complainer

Part 3: The Sour Attitude

Part 4: The Responsibility Avoider

Part 5: The Spokesperson

Part 6: Engaging and Guiding Difficult P…

The Sour Attitude (Part 3 of 6 Difficult People Guide)

In this post, we will look at the sour attitude. If you haven’t read the first two articles in the series, I strongly encourage you to go back and check out the rest of this series.

Check Out the Entire Series:
Part 1: A Guide to Dealing with Difficult People - Introduction

Part 2: The Complainer

Part 3: The Sour Attitude

Part 4: The Responsibility Avoider

Part 5: The Spokesperson

Part 6: Engaging and Guiding Difficult People

When I talk about the sour attitude, I am referring to those people who have a negative outlook. They don’t bring anything positive to the team and are always focused on the things that are wrong, often finding fault where there is none. These people will gossip, talk badly about their coworkers and the company, and always try to paint themselves as victims.

These people can poison a team quickly and must be dealt with and not allowed to spread their negative attitudes. I have found, and firmly believe, that we cannot change people. People are who they are, and all yo…