Active listening in 4 steps: The best managers make the best listeners Managers spend a good part of their workday listening to other people. But bear in mind, there’s a big difference between “passive” and “active” listening. Effective listening includes a four-step process to ensure understanding:
1. Listen to the total message. 2. Prove your understanding by using nonverbal signals. 3. Use open-ended probes. 4. Paraphrase what you hear.
Motivating employees through realistic deadlines: 4 do’s and don’ts Without deadlines, employees flounder. They can’t be aware of the urgency or priorities of a project unless their supervisors tell them. Following are four tips on motivating employees by setting realistic deadlines:
1. Do be specific Name the target day and time. And mean what you say. If you ask for completion “next week,” don’t complain on Friday that you really needed it on Wednesday. 2. Do clarify priorities Let people know if this assignment takes precedence over any other projects they’re working on now. Avoid the old, favorite deadline “ASAP,” which usually translates in an employee’s mind as “whenever it gets done.”
3. Don’t set false deadlines Setting a deadline earlier than necessary (because you don’t trust your employees to meet the real deadline) creates more problems than it solves. Your staff will soon learn that’s how you operate and will assume there’s always air in the schedule. As a result, they’ll always miss that first deadline, just as you knew they would. 4. Do establish an update schedule The best-laid plans can go astray, and so can deadlines. You’ll minimize the chance of this occurring by setting up a progress report schedule when you assign the project. This is especially important for long-term projects.
Motivating employees to do their best each day: 6 office communication techniques Here are six tips for motivating employees to stay on task and work together toward the common goal, according to a report by OnPoint Consulting: 1. Clarify, clarify, clarify. 2. Establish clear expectations. 3. Don’t micromanage your entrepreneurial-minded employees. But do monitor them. 4. Encourage employees to share bad news with you. 5. Solve problems quickly, but not too quickly. 6. Encourage informal and spontaneous interaction. Managing employee retention: Listen for subtle whispers of employee turnover Most good employees don’t stand up one day and quit out of the blue. They send off subtle hints that, if you’re listening, you can act on before the good employee walks out the door.
That’s why it’s important to listen to statements like these that can act as an “advance warning system” for employee turnover: * “This job isn’t what I thought it would be.” Rather than exploring what the employee was originally told or trying to defend miscommunication, focus on the present. Ask, “How do you want your job to be?” * “I’m at a plateau. I can’t grow here.” Consider that a plea for job stimulation. Provide the employee with new responsibilities, cross-training opportunities or exposure to influential mentors. * “I don’t get any feedback.” Most employees crave regular input from their supervisors. Don’t leave them in the dark. Plan regular sessions to discuss ongoing projects and performance. * “This place has too much politics.” While you may not be able to eliminate all dissension and politics in the organization, you can level with the employee. If someone makes this complaint, address rumors head-on, and don’t play favorites.
Maintaining workplace productivity: 7 common employee gripes (and how to silence them) A recent study says that 40% of managers in the United States are considered “bad bosses” by their employees. Yet most managers assume that their relationships with their employees are running smoothly. Obviously, some of those bosses are wrong … and that can create major problems for workplace productivity. A Gallup Poll says organizations are 50% less productive—and 44% less profitable—when serious boss-employee conflicts exist. Employee retention strategies: 8 little things managers can do to retain the best When good employees leave for greener pastures, it makes a manager’s job much more difficult. Managers can prevent this syndrome by doing what they can to make their own pasture the greenest. While compensation helps, it’s not always cash that makes pastures greener. When salaries are equal with the marketplace, other factors take priority.
Here are eight easy-to-plant “seeds” that help keep employees growing and content, according to a KEYGroup report: 1. Keep them engaged. Consider ways to provide opportunities for employees to improve on their skills or learn new skills they can use in their jobs. 2. Give praise where praise is due. Recognizing a job well done isn’t an expensive proposition, but it will mean the world to your employee. 3. Be aware of employees’ changing needs. By recognizing their changing needs, you show sensitivity to what’s going on in their lives. This builds loyalty and helps bring stability to their personal lives, which means they can focus better at work.
4. Realize that great employees thrive under great leaders. Employees won’t leave for greener pastures unless you drive them. The buck starts and stops with their leaders. 5. Conduct regular “stay” interviews. Rather than exit interviews, use regular “stay” interviews to provide an opportunity to compliment high performers on their work and inspire them to do more. 6. Create an environment where people can do their best work. By allowing employees to develop and implement their own ideas, you’ll keep them passionate about their work.
7. Create an environment of trust. Employees are happier and work harder when they trust their leaders. They decide which leaders they can trust based on how their fellow employees, company vendors and customers are treated. 8. Rid your pasture of weeds. The weeds are those poor performers and negative employees who stifle the good attitudes and high performance of their co-workers. The bottom line: Striving to keep employees happy and engaged is not just a “nice” thing to do — it’s the only way to maximize workplace productivity. Thoughtful employee retention strategies are useful not just for retaining people to avoid the high cost of recruitment. Engaged employees are creative, productive, motivated and brimming with good ideas
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