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Increase Work Productivity by Going on Holiday

Increase Work Productivity by Going on Holiday
By Patricia Goh

It is of underrated importance for workplace employees to take time off from work and break out of their 9 – 5 routine for better productivity. Understandably, with bills to pay, clients to meet, deals to close, who has the time to lie on a Caribbean beach sipping margaritas all day long? Paid holidays are common in the working world. However, 75% of Americans don’t take claim their paid holidays. When your senses gradually dull, you might want to think twice about having a break from work.

Child at heart

With September looming, students in most countries are returning to school in the fall with new stories to tell and new expectations, ready to start their academic year with a new sense of self, confidence and enthusiasm. They are well-rested and more importantly, they have had a change of scenery. They might have been to camp, gone abroad or even did nothing and stayed at home, but the schooldays routine was broken and that allowed them a breath of fresh air. Read the Complete Article

Harnessing the Power of Conflict

Harnessing the Power of Conflict
By Kiron D. Bondale

Few of us enjoy dealing with conflict.

But shying away from conflict doesn’t work – you’ll get mediocre results from a team who focuses more on being nice than making progress, or worse, your better team members will become disengaged and actively seek new roles.

So what are some clues to alert you that you may need to step in to catalyze the chemical reaction?

Pay close attention to people’s body language. If you are frequently witnessing a mismatch between what people are saying and how they are acting, that might indicate that they are really not in favor of a direction.

If the drive to maintain team harmony appears to trump all others, that may need to be called out. A symptom of this is whenever any discussion starts to become lively, a number of team members suggest that it be taken offline (which never happens), or some other type of interference occurs to interrupt the progression of the conflict. Read the Complete Article

Leadership and Compassion – A Powerful Combination

Leadership and Compassion – A Powerful Combination
By Manfred Gollent

Compassion is a fundamental pillar for highly effective leadership, however, it may not always enjoy the level of importance it deserves! Let’s explore some basics and the related implications…

What is compassion in practical terms?

I found an appealing explanation of the term compassion at the “Greater Good” website and they state it as the following:

“Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.

Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. Altruism, in turn, is the kind, selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion, though one can feel compassion without acting on it, and altruism isn’t always motivated by compassion. Read the Complete Article

Thoughts About Motivation

Thoughts About Motivation
By Bill Scott, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

I delivered a Project Management, Communications and Leadership class at our NYC training center last month. We discussed motivation and how project management was being influenced by Frederick Herzberg’s Hygiene Theory (which has little to do with hygiene). The Herzberg theory is more related to the two-factor theory than hygiene. But that’s another story for another day. Herzberg developed a list of items the he classified as hygiene factors, better known as demotivating events, such as:

  • Policies/procedures/administration
  • Management
  • Physical working conditions
  • Working relationships
  • Salary/status and security

Herzberg’s list of motivating factors included:

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Job interest
  • Job responsibility
  • Growth
  • The work itself

Herzberg’s theory basically says almost all demotivating factors have to be removed before the motivating factors will motivate. Imagine a motivating meter hanging around one’s neck with a pointer at the 12 o’clock position (neutral). The 12 o’clock meter pointer position indicates no motivation and no demotivation. Read the Complete Article

The Alchemy of Great Leadership

The Alchemy of Great Leadership
By Art Petty

Alchemy, according to Malouin in the Encyclopedia of Diderot, is the chemistry of the subtlest kind which allows one to observe extraordinary chemical operations at a more rapid pace-ones that require a long time for nature to produce.

Newsflash, there are no shortcuts to great leadership. Much like the failure to change nature’s principles in search of longevity or turning lead into gold, one’s ability lead develops slowly over time and with much strain.

10 Lessons Learned in Search of Success as a Leader

  1. You’re always an apprentice. If you think you’ve mastered this, you’re failing. Approach each day eager to learn another lesson, and you will. Approach each day assuming you’ve got this role licked, and you’ll get clobbered when you least expect it.
  2. Great leaders require great missions. It’s the humdrum of the mundane of the status quo that squashes the spirits of leaders and the people around them.

Read the Complete Article

Maintaining Team Morale When Your Projects Get Tough

Maintaining Team Morale When Your Projects Get Tough
By Bruce McGraw

‘I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits the bottom.’ – General George Patton

Today I had a tough travel day – The Northeast US is snowed in by Winter Storm Janus (When did we start naming winter storms?) and flights and airline staff were crazy. I had some time to think about rough times, team work and managing projects under severe conditions.

As a project or team leader, you are responsible for keeping your team on track, regardless of whether you hit a roadblock or not (That does include bad weather). In today’s environment of complex projects and management demands for faster/cheaper/better project implementation, you also must be responsible for keeping your team’s morale up—even when things go bad or we lose. I manage a PMO team that gets constant challenges as it bids new work for clients and I have to deal with both the demands of winning as well as the morale and health of the team

Here are some things a good manager does to maintain team morale and positive energy—even in the face of a failure. Read the Complete Article

Managing in A Matrix: How to Lead When You Lack Authority

Managing in A Matrix: How to Lead When You Lack Authority
By Richard Lepsinger

When General Electric’s leaders pioneered the matrix more than four decades ago, they acknowledged they were setting themselves up for challenges.

In fact, the company called them out right in its Organization Planning Bulletin from September, 1976:

“We’ve highlighted matrix organization, not because it’s a bandwagon that we want you all to jump on, but rather that it’s a complex, difficult, and sometimes frustrating form of organization to live with. It’s also, however, a bellwether of things to come. But, when implemented well, it does offer much of the best of both worlds. And all of us are going to have to learn how to utilize organization to prepare managers to increasingly deal with high levels of complexity and ambiguity in situations where they have to get results from people and components not under their direct control…

Successful experience in operating under a matrix constitutes better preparation for an individual to run a huge diversified institution like General Electric-where so many complex, conflicting interests must be balanced-than the product and functional modes which have been our hallmark over the past twenty years.”

These insights were groundbreaking at the time, yet they still ring true today. Read the Complete Article

The First 100 Days of New Leadership

The First 100 Days of New Leadership
By Mary Kelly

“I don’t have time to spend with my employees,” the new vice president complained. “I am always running to a meeting or trying to catch up on phone calls or trying to make sure I am reading what I need to read or signing papers. My employees should know what they need to do.”

This new executive was in the first 100 days on the job, and he was failing. Why?

He was invisible to his people. He took over and they barely saw him. He didn’t walk around. He didn’t know where their offices were. His office door was open, but he wasn’t there when his employees could see him. He made a cursory showing at a few official events, but he didn’t talk with anyone who worked for him. He was too busy chatting with the other Vice Presidents and the CEO. Read the Complete Article

Keeping the Boat Afloat and Teamwork

Keeping the Boat Afloat and Teamwork
By Kerry Wills

In today’s corporate world most organizations are matrixed in different ways. This means that there are many handoffs and intersection points for most solutions and programs. This adds complexity to programs to ensure that all intersection points are planned for and monitored closely. But the key to success is with people within those matrices to take accountability. It is not enough for one group to say they are “green” but then deliver in such a way that a dependent group can not make their dates. That is like the picture below where one team is reacting to a hole in the boat and other people are saying they are glad it is not on their end….but yet they are in the boat also.

Keeping the Boat Afloat

Figure 1: Keeping the Boat Afloat

So the key is for all team members to realize that they are on the boat regardless of where the hole is. Read the Complete Article

Empower Your Team to Succeed

Empower Your Team to Succeed
By Tracey Fieber

Running a successful small business is never a one-man job. Getting it off the ground and continuously elevated up to new heights requires a collection of skilled professionals following an accurately designed strategic plan. But even the most thought-out plans run into unexpected problems from time to time. This makes it crucial that you empower your team of professionals to make the decisions needed in order to keep the company’s progress on track.

Why Empowerment Is Key

No matter what industry or field you’re in, or how many people you have working in your company, empowering your employees has the potential to generate big results. Just a few of the different ways that empowering your team can help your business succeed include:

  • Better use of human capital – The individuals you’re hiring for the various positions in your company are being chosen because of their skills and qualifications.
Read the Complete Article

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