Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Art of Negotiation

Being a successful negotiator requires a person to have other critical skills- such as having effective communication skills, and learning to listen more than you speak. Patience is also not only a virtue, but will but will benefit you greatly in a difficult negotiation. Mastering the art of negotiation can be beneficial to anyone from all walks of life and help you get things you want in life; as well as be a driving force in progressing your career. Here we will review some successful negotiating tips; and how to get what you want without being pushy.

Information is something all parties strive to learn in any kind of negotiation. Learning what other’s goals and objectives are early in the negotiation process can be beneficial to everyone. Another characteristic to learn from is body language; being able to interpret body language as well as being conscious of the signals you are sending with your own body language.

Below is a list of critical factors in successful negotiating:

1. Listening- the capacity to listen can be the strongest and most used skill and good negotiator has in their arsenal. It is a natural characteristic of humankind to talk as a way, even subconsciously, of validating they’re own self-worth. Letting other parties speak freely can be key to learning what their goals and intentions are in the negotiation process. The more people talk, the more information they give away. Remember this works both way, do say more than is necessary; and think about your response thoroughly before speaking. Silence can truly be golden; don’t be too quick with your answers, responses and questions.

2. Enter any negotiations relaxed and at ease, no matter if this is your first negotiation or hundredth, remain calm and focused on your goals.

3. Never insist that you are right, always strive to see others’ points of view. Negotiating is a give and take process; all parties have something they want to achieve. Prioritizing your goals and objectives is extremely important; know what you are willing to give in order to get something high on your list of what you want to walk away with. Successful negotiations end with all parties leaving the table with a feeling of achievement- it should be a win-win situation for all.

4. Make certain you are negotiating with the right person, prior to any formal negotiating be sure the person you are dealing with has decision making authorities. Do not waste time of everyone involved in negotiating with someone who can not make the final decision.

5. Preparation- in order to be successful in any situation is life being prepared to a critical factor. Do you’re homework before any talks begin, make sure you come to the table with clear goals and an agenda, knowing beforehand what kind of outcome you want to achieve. This includes researching the party with which you will be negotiating; get to know who they are, what they represent, and what they are seeking to get out of the negotiations.

6. Following are key factors to successful negotiations:

a. Knowing your own as well as other parties’ objectives.

b. Know what your needs and desires are.

c. Bargaining points, know your limits- what is your walk-away point. Do not be afraid to walk away if you feel that a positive outcome will not be achieved. Fall back, re-group and try again at a later date.

d. Leave your ego at home! The negotiation should not be about you, focus on the topic, do not take rejections to your offers personally.

e. Expect mistakes to be made, however make sure to correct any mistakes you make immediately, do not want for others to point them out to you. Correct you’re mistakes, learn from them and move on!

7. Perseverance will pay off in the end. You will sometimes be pushed by people just to see how far they can push you before you break. Know your breaking point and stick to your convictions. You can be pushed; just don’t let yourself be pushed around!

8. Do not be too eager or rush to close a deal; before making any final decisions take a break and make sure the outcome is what you want.

9. If you are negotiating as part of a team, make sure all team members are on the same page, you should present a unified front at all times.

10. Understand clearly the terms and conditions of any agreement. Read over all written material; look for any loopholes or inconsistencies.

11. Keep the big picture in mind, how will the outcome of the negotiation affect your overall goal and objective. Do not think short-term, will future negotiations be necessary?

12. Learn the art of persuasion. Being persuasive can be very beneficial. Most people like and are drawn to people they relate to, establishing a common bond or goal is good for all. However, be sure you are genuine; most people can spot a fake a mile away.

13. Demonstrate your trustworthiness, and that you are a trusted source of information. One way to demonstrate your honesty is to admit your weaknesses up front. If you are not an expert or confident in any particular area, do not try to bluff your way through it, just admit it and look to a expert in that area for advice.

14. In times of uncertainty people look to experts for advice and tend to follow what others have done in similar situations. If you reach this point in the negotiations, point out how similar situations have been resolved.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stress Management Tips

Stress Management – Real World Stress Relievers

Stress is a fact of life for everyone, no matter what your social status is, what career path you have chosen, or if you own your business or if you are a stay at home parent. How you deal with the stress in your life, or if in fact you deal with it at all, will determine your success rate and overall happiness in every aspect of life both personally and professionally.

Stress effects people in different ways, however it is a fact for all that stress left unchecked creates turmoil in your life and can cause serious health problems. Just as we are all different in how stress affects us, consequently the most effective way to relieve our stress also varies from person to person. Here is a list of general stress relieving techniques that can work for most anyone. See what works best for you, or come up with your own techniques, but make it a habit to be good to yourself and make time each day to unwind.

• Meditation or Yoga- There are various types of mediation and yoga exercises that can be beneficial. Search the internet for “meditation” “yoga”, or check your local library to find specific techniques that may best fit your lifestyle.

• Listen to Music- Have quiet, soothing music to listen to as you unwind. Start a collection of your favorite music that puts you in a relaxing mood.

• Sex- The physical activity of sex can be a great stress reducer; for certain it will take your mind off of the stressful issues.

• Deep breathing- Take a few moments throughout the day to practice “deep breathing exercises” that will help you from getting too stressed and keep you focused.

• Time Management- Learning to effectively manage your time and your projects so that you get the most out of your day will go a long way in relieving your stress. Keep a to-do list, so you stay on track.

• Delegate- Learn what your support system is and what resources you have, and who you can count on to delegate projects to that you have confidence in their ability to see it through to completion.

• Eat a balanced and healthy diet- Well it goes without saying that a healthy diet is good for you; and it is a critical factor in a person’s wellbeing, productivity, and energy level.

• Take a walk- Taking a short break (or longer if needed) during the day when you need a break from the routine. A short walk will help you get refocused and clear your mind.

• Laughter- We have all heard that laughter is a cure-all. While laughing may not solve all your problems, it will certainly relieve the tension and stress of the moment.

• Take a long hot bath- a good long soak in a hot tub or bath (with some aromatherapy candles burning) will do you a world of good!

• Reduce caffeine intake- Cut back on the caffeine.

• Join a social network online club of your interest (search for ones on stress relief).

• Work in your garden- many people (or those with green thumbs) say working in the garden is therapeutic.

• Don’t try to please everyone- first of all it’s impossible, you will drive yourself crazy trying.

• Live your life by your own beliefs & values- don’t live your life according to the values and beliefs of others; it is your life, live to make yourself happy. Happy and positive people attract other positive people. Surround yourself with a good support system of people who have common values, beliefs and goals as you do.

• Learn from your mistakes- your mistakes are just that, a mistake; as well as an opportunity to learn and grow. Learn from your mistakes and move on!

• Set Goals- set goals for yourself, both personally and professionally, keep them realistic and attainable; at the same time pick goals that maintain your self respect.

• Develop a plan of action for your goals- Goals are important, but there has to be action to reach those goals. Establish a workable plan so that you can reach your goals, one at a time.

• Do not try to change too much too fast- Break large goals into smaller, less intimating goals, that you can focus on and not get discouraged.

• What are your priorities?- Examine your priorities, they should reflect your values and objectives for your life. Revaluate often to keep yourself on track and remind yourself what is important to you.

• Choose your battles wisely- Don’t try to continue to fight a loosing battle, recognize what you have control over and what you do not.

• Plan B- Think ahead, always have a back-up plan in case your original plan does not work.

• Get regular physical exercise- This is a hard one for many of us, however a brisk walk every day (or at least every other day) can be extremely beneficial.

• Don’t be a workaholic- strive for a balance between your personal life and work. Also, do not bring the stress from work home or vice versa.

• Know your limits- know your limits, strengths and weaknesses; pace yourself accordingly. Spend your most productive time each day tackling your most challenging projects.

• Don’t take yourself too seriously- learn to lighten up, everyone around you will appreciate it!

• Choose a career that you enjoy- if possible, choose a career that you enjoy doing, and you are good at. Always strive to keep learning, growing and moving forward.

• Get plenty of sleep- some of us need more sleep than others, whatever your optimum amount of sleep is for you to be at your best, make sure you get it every night. Lack of sleep is a source of major stress, and you will find yourself quickly burned out.

• Keep a to-do list- be reasonable in setting your deadlines, keep to your schedule and stay focused.

• Seek help- if you are faced with a problem that seems to be insurmountable, seek out qualified help from the most appropriate source.

Conflicts in the Workplace - How to Resolve or Avoid Them

Clear Communication Can Avoid Conflicts in the Workplace- Are a Good Communicator?

Dealing with conflicts is a fact of life, both personally and professionally. How you react to those conflicts has a huge impact on you career, family life, personal relationships, stress level and ultimately your health. Understanding the common causes of conflicts and recognizing the signs early are critical to a successful and positive outcome for all parties; thereby avoiding the conflict altogether or at least minimizing its impact. Here you will learn the signs of conflicts which are the indicators, beginnings of conflicts; when conflict is destructive and when it can be constructive (and yes it is possible to have a positive and constructive outcome in a conflicting situation).

Get to the root of it! The first step is to determine what the cause of the conflict is. There is a wide variety of issues that can lead to a conflicting and tension filled environment; such as personality differences, different work styles; and lack of communication skills. Let’s say you are a manager of a department “team” where you oversee several staff members who are a diversified group in many aspects, from work style to education level and very different personalities. As the manager, and someone who the teams looks to for leadership and direction, it is your job to learn to recognize the signs of potential conflicts and find solutions that offer a positive outcome for the entire team.
Beginnings of conflicts:

• Poor communication- this is one of the most common causes of conflicts.

• Power seeking individuals- we have all known someone in life who seeks power for themselves without concern for the effect of the team or their co-workers.

• Weak leadership- having weak or ineffectual leadership can lead to dissention among the ranks. All teams need a effective team leader to be productive and successful.

• Change in leadership- sometimes change can be a hard pill to swallow; however through open communication and clear goals and objectives change can be a positive thing to happen.

Conflict indicators & their effects:

• Body language- our body language can speak volumes without any verbal contact. Be aware of defensive and aggressive body language.

• Disagreements in any form, for any reason.

• Withholding bad news- it will only get harder to break the news, get it over with and out in the open so everyone can move past the issue.

• Surprises- surprises can be a good thing if you are the kind of person who likes them. However, in the workplace it can be detrimental, try to avoid surprises by keeping everyone informed of any changes, especially ones that have a direct impact on them. Keep open communication with all team members on all matters large or small.

• Voicing disagreements publicly or through the media- Disagreements of any nature should always be dealt with between the parties affected or involved, without outside interference.

• Differences in personal values- We have all our own sets of values, and it is human nature to feel as our values and beliefs are best. In the workplace it is best to respect everyone’s personal values whether or not you agree with them. It is okay to agree to disagree, just do not let it detract from team productivity and attitudes.

• Lack of respect- Adhere to the old adage ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ Everyone at every level deserves respect, no matter what a person’s social status, education level, or career stage should be respected as an individual in their own right.

• Lack of clearly set goals- We all need goals, something to reach for. Team goals should be discussed openly; setting goals as a team as well as developing a plan of action on how to achieve those goals. Promoting your staff’s creativity will only produce positive results. By nature people are more supportive of what they have a hand in creating. Maintain consistent team discussion on the progress of the team’s goals.

Negative of Destructive Results from Conflicts:

• Undermines team morale (as well as individuals);

• Increases differences and can lead to irresponsible behavior;

• Takes attention away from the team’s goals and other important activities;

• Decreases productivity.

How can you avoid and/or resolve conflicts? Following are tips to avoid, or at the very least, minimize conflicts in your working environment.

• Communicating, Are We On The Same Page?- When communicating to your team it is important to be clear in your message, be specific in your expectations for the team as a group, as well as individuals. Think carefully about the message you want to convey and the best possible way to get your message across so that you avoid any possible misinterpretations, miscommunications or misunderstandings. Always allow for a Q & A session at the end of your meeting. Each team member should walk away from your meeting with a clear sense of their duties and what is expected of them. (For more detailed tips on improving your communications skills check out The Great Communicator- Do You Communicate Effectively?)

• Open Door Policy- As a manager you should let your staff members know that you have an open-door policy, make sure you are approachable and understanding to your employee’s concerns. Treat everyone with respect, and always offer to spend time with anyone who may need ‘face time’, such as time with you as their supervisor where they can feel comfortable getting things off their chest so to speak. This time can be a great stress relieve and could possibly be a key factor in avoiding conflicts.

• Management Style- Are you a reactive manager or predictive manager? The difference between a reactive and predictive manager is the reactive manager solves problems as they occur; and a predictive manager tries to prevent problems or conflicts from arising in the first place. (To learn more about these management characteristics check out Management Styles - What Type of Manager Are You?)

• Regular Team Meetings- As a manager it is your job to train, guide and mentor your staff members. A manager should make it a priority to have regular team meetings where you discuss any possible issues or concerns from staff. Review team goals and progress towards those goals. Discuss any roadblocks or barriers that arise, request input from staff members for suggestions on what they feel they need to break down the barriers and remain productive. It is the manager’s responsibility to remove barriers; however a smart manager seeks input from staff, those who are involved in the ‘hands-on detailed functions’ on what they see as barriers. Remember that is okay, and even healthy, to have varying viewpoints, learning to compromise is the key to a positive outcome for all.

• Address any conflicts head on- Do not let conflicts fester into something out of control. Allow all people involved in any conflict or dispute to explain and clarify their opinions on the issue at hand. Identify the ideal outcome for all involved; work together to determine what can be done to achieve the goals of the team as a whole. Determine if the end result is worth the time and energy that will be expended, and is it worth everyone’s time.

• Set Goals- In a team environment where it takes multiple team members to be successful and reach their goals, then it makes sense to involve the whole team when setting the goals. (For more on goal setting see the following article- How to Set Your Team Up For Success).

• Discourage gossip- Office gossip is a surefire way to ignite hostilities and conflicts among employees. Discourage your team from getting on the gossip treadmill; encourage them to come to you if they need to talk, get anything off their chest that may be bothering them.

• Provide training- Providing training to employees not only benefits the employees, but also the team and company as well. It has been proven that a well trained staff (and well informed) is a much happier and productive team. Work with your HR Department to establish appropriate training programs for all staff members. Besides the essential job skill training, it would be helpful to provide training in areas such as conflict resolution, and other empowering type training. Teach them how to behave the way you expect them to behave. Providing training and coaching your team in learning and using good communication skills will empower your team members and will produce a more harmonious and productive environment.

• Praise achievements- Recognizing and giving praise for achievements, no matter how large or small, of staff members, shows that you notice their efforts, and that you appreciate them. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to keep pushing themselves to improve.

Staff is a company’s largest investment and can be their largest asset. Invest the time and money on proper and effective training for your staff members at all levels. Empower them to give the job their very best. It will be the best investment you ever make!

Learning Effective Communication Skills

Effective communication is a learned skill, meaning people are not “born communicators” this is a skill you learn in life, which can be an invaluable tool no matter what career path you choose. There are many aspects to be considered when learning to be an effective communicator. For those who have mastered skills of effective communication will see positive results in their professional as well as personal lives. After all, good communication provides any type of relationship a strong foundation to build upon. For now we are going to concentrate on effective written and verbal communication skills.

The definition of communication skills is defined as: skills that enable people to communicate effectively with one another. Effective communication involves the choice of the best communications channel for a specific purpose, the technical knowledge to use the channel appropriately, the presentation of information in an appropriate manner for the target audience, and the ability to understand messages and responses received from others. The ability to establish and develop mutual understanding, trust, and cooperation is also important. More specifically, communication skills include the ability to speak in public, make presentations, write letters and reports, chair committees and meetings, and conduct negotiations. (Source- )

For communication to be truly effective it is important that both the person who is sending the communication and the person or group receiving the message to both understand or arrive at the same conclusion as a result of the communication. In other words, when communicating effectively all parties should be on the same page. Miscommunication can destroy relationships and careers. Being able to convey your thought and feelings effectively, and in a positive manner, is important skill for managers at any level and in any field or industry. In a recent survey of HR managers, staff recruiters of large companies, communication skills, both verbal and written, were cited as the single most important skill set desired in managers. So it is to be expected that the lack of communication skills, or poor communication skills has been an obstacle in the path of many seeking to progress up the ladder to the management level.

Key points to effective communication are:

1. Be clear and concise in the message you are conveying;

2. Know and understand your audience;

3. Tailor your message to accommodate your audience, however do not patronize

4. Be aware of your body language; body language can speak volumes, without an exchange of words. You can close someone’s mind to your message automatically by giving the wrong signals through body language.

5. Make eye contact people, this reflects confidence in your own abilities;

6. Listen to the input you get from others, give them your full attention, do not think about your response while someone is still speaking, give respect to those speaking to you, even if you do not agree with their message. You need to hear them through before you begin your response.

7. When dealing with a difficult situation, or when speaking with someone who is upset or mad, try to diffuse the situation and relieve tension. Do not make negative or insulting comments as this will just make a bad situation worse. In a difficult moment, taking a break can be beneficial for all involved, as this provides time to calm down and gather thoughts so that effective communication can continue without getting off track by letting emotions rule the conversation. If you are in a management role, take the initiative to take a moment for everyone to take a break; it is your responsibility to keep the conversation on a professional business level and above all result in a positive and successful outcome.

8. Learn to negotiate; sometimes you have to give something to get something that you want in return. (Learn more about “The Art of Negotiating” in a future article.)

9. Always project a positive attitude. A smile goes a long way toward putting people at ease.

10. Present yourself appropriately, positive first impressions are critical. When you meet someone for the first time you are generally sized up in the first 3-5 seconds. (See more about ”First Impressions- Those Critical Seconds Count!” in the next article).

11. Be open, confident and approachable.

12. Always be courteous, attentive and respectful.

Effective Written Communication:

The written word can be a very effective tool; words can break down barriers; build a bridge, as well as show your creativity. However, it is important to remember when communicating in the written form to make sure your writing style- meaning your grammar, spelling and punctuation-are at their best. Remember that once you put something in writing you can not take it back; written communications leave no room for errors or incorrect facts. Your writing style reflects on you personally and professionally, if you are communicating in writing with someone that you have not yet met in person, your written correspondence is going to be what people base their first impression of you on. Following are some key tips to improve your writing communication skills:

1. First and foremost, think about what message you want to convey and who you will be addressing your message to. Second gather all information needed and make sure you have sufficiently researched the subject you are writing about, and have all facts and figures verified. Providing incorrect data to someone is a sure way to communicate that you really don’t know what you are talking about and haven’t taken the time to learn, making yourself look incompetent and unreliable. So do yourself a favor and do your homework prior to putting words on paper.

2. Learn the art of wordsmithing. It is especially important in the business world to convey your messages clearly and concisely.

3. Avoid the use of slang words and clichẻs.

4. Make absolutely certain that all names of people and companies are spelled correctly. (Nothing can be a bigger turn off than someone seeing their name misspelled).

5. Any time you make a direct quote, be sure you put quotations marks around the quoted text.

6. Numbers should be in word format for any numbers under 10; for numbers 10 and over should be in numerical format. If beginning a sentence always write the word version of the number.

7. Keep your sentences short and to the point.

8. When writing a letter to an individual it is best to use a personal name; you should also choose your closing carefully, such as ‘Sincerely yours’ in a letter that you know the individual and have addressed them by name. However if your letter is more generic in nature a closing such as ‘With warm regards’ may be more appropriate.

9. In written correspondence you should state clearly in your first paragraph why the letter is relevant to the recipient. You can go into greater detail in the body of the letter; however make sure your paragraphs flow smoothly and logically from one to the next and your points are clearly understood.

10. Stay focused on your topic without rambling on and getting the reader off track.

11. End business correspondence with an action sentence, stating clearly what the reader can expect you to do; such as stating ‘I will call you tomorrow to discuss further’, or ‘I will follow this conversation with an agreement in writing.’ (Be sure you follow-through on any statement you make- add to your to-do list.

12. Proofreading your correspondence is critical in any format, whether it is a formal letter, a memo or email; misspellings and incorrect grammar will reflect poorly on you and the company you represent. With today’s technology using the spelling and grammar checking functions are taken for granted that they catch any errors; however it best to make it a habit of re-reading your material in print, and having another individual proof for you as well.

13. If you are requesting the reader of your message to take some type of action, make sure your expectations are stated clearly; do not leave readers to guess what you expect of them. Quantify measurements in time periods and dates so that there are no misinterpretations.

14. Finally, as with all forms of communications preparation is critical; it may be helpful to prepare your message in draft form to make sure you get all your points across and your message is clear and error free.

Resources for improving communication skills:

“The Elements of Style”, by Strunk and White

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Effective Tips For The New Manager

Work smarter not harder! How many of you have heard this phrase? Working smarter not harder is a great thing if you have practical and effective ways to make the most of your time and the time of those under your supervision. The first thing all managers of any level should do is to objectively examine their managerial skills, take note of how you actually spend your time each day; how much time do you spend of a project; and can you do something differently to accomplish your goals in less time without sacrificing quality?

How your relationship with your staff members and other co-workers is; do you have a positive relationship with open communication? If not, you should identify the negative aspects of your working relationships; how that affects your performance and the performance of your team members. Make a list of key areas where you feel improvement is needed to overcome the negativity and create a positive and productive environment within your department. As in just about any relationship, communication is a key factor in your success as a manager. Successful managers have learned (and always strive to improve their communication and management skills) the art of effective communicating with people at all levels in and outside of the workplace. Here are some practical tips that you can implement immediately and be own your way to becoming a successful, effective and in-demand manager. Be careful though, your new positive attitude and outlook is likely to be noticed and may even be contagious. You may even become an inspiration to other managers to be a positive role model.

1. Learn the layout. Learn the organizational structure of your corporation as well as other corporates in your industry. Get familiar with the managerial culture of your organization, while you may have been with a particular company for many years, if you now find yourself in a management position your role and expectations of you are going to be different. It is your position as a manager to learn what is expected of you and stay on top of best practices in your particular field.

2. Stay grounded. Keep your feet on the ground; don’t get too lofty in your attitude. A promotion to management does not mean you are now the supreme know-it-all; don’t let your new-found power go to your head. Remember that you were “one of the little people” once and be considerate of how you treat others. Everyone at every level deserves respect; you will get much more in return from those around you if you have a considerate and respectful attitude. Remember your basic manners you were taught as a child, such as saying “Please” or “Thank you”, showing your appreciation when a job is well done can go a long way.

3. Communication. Get to know your team, make an effort to spend individual time with your staff, as well as a team as a whole; listen to their concerns, any ideas of suggestions they may have for improvement. Learn each member’s strengths and weaknesses; develop training plans for each member to strengthen weak areas and promote professional and personal growth. Developing good communication skills will make your job easier, as well as your team members. Make your expectations clear from the beginning, work together with your team to establish realistic and obtainable goals as individuals and as a team. Establish the ground rules of communication; assure your team that you have an open door policy. Set a regular time to meet as a team to review projects; team goals, encourage discussion among the team on how to improve upon any weaknesses.

Communication between you and your supervisor is important as well. If you are a new manager you probably have a new supervisor, or you may have joined a new company where you have to get to know everyone and how things work in this new environment. It is important that you take the initiative to get to know your supervisor, what their expectations are of you; what their “hot buttons” are; learn their style of management, and always ask questions if there is any uncertainty.

4. Be a good role model. Being a manager is a lot like being a parent, you are a role model for those you are responsible for. Remember that your staff members are watching your every move. When you establish your expectations for staff in attendance, performance and creativeness, you should remember that actions speak louder than words; you should be the example of what you expect from your staff. You can not expect staff members to arrive to work in a timely manner if you are consistently late yourself. If you expect the best from your staff, show them that you give your best at all times.

5. Learn how to delegate. Delegating is sometimes one of the most difficult skills to master (especially if you are a person who prefers to be “in control”), however delegating to others will be beneficial to you as a manger, your staff and department as a whole. Before you begin delegating, it is important to learn each of your team member’s strengths and weaknesses; you do not want to make the mistake of giving them a job that is too far above their head, therefore setting them up for failure. On the other hand you do not want to give someone with above-average administrative skills and entry level task that may be better suited for another team member. Make sure you are utilizing all members’ skills to get the most benefit for all. As a manager you will be expected to use your strategic and critical-thinking skills; delegating minimal tasks to others will enable you more time to analyze your department’s functions and focus on higher level projects.

6. Give credit and praise. Take the time to express to your staff that you notice when they are really giving 110% to their tasks. People learn and grow at different paces, so do not measure or compare your staff with each other. Communicate clearly that you always expect them to give 100% of their time and attention to the job at hand; realizing when they are giving it their all should be related to staff often. As a manager you are their inspiration or “wind beneath their wings” so to speak.

7. Avoid burnout. One thing new managers fall prey to is overworking themselves (and sometimes others) in order to learn as much as possible and make a good impression on their supervisors to show that they are capable of filling the manager role. Realize when you and your staff members are at your best each day, when you are most productive, if by mid-afternoon you know that you are becoming tired and therefore not able to give 100% of yourself, you should allow yourself (and staff) to take a short break. Do whatever you need to get focused again, maybe take a walk outside or take a brief “power-nap”. Being able to realize your weaknesses as well as strengths will enable you tackle the most challenging projects at best time so that you will be at your peak of productivity. Spend the last hour or so of the day getting ready to hit the ground running the next day.

8. Follow-up and follow-through. Being consistent in your follow-up or follow-through on projects and tasks with your team members helps keep everyone on track, allows time for questions or suggestions. Follow-up and follow-through works both up the ladder as well as down. As a manager you should make it your practice to keep a “to do” list, this will keep you on track and enable you to keep your supervisor informed on the status of projects assigned to you. This shows you are on top of your game, and that you will not let anything “slip through the cracks.”

9. Preparation. Preparation is key to success at any level, in any industry, in any trade for everyone. Keep a team chart, which is accessible to all team members; list all projects, who they are assigned to, what is the expected outcome; due dates and status section. This allows everyone to be on the same page and work more effectively as a team. Make it a habit at the start of each day to review your team’s activities, make sure all team members are track; then at the end of each day review the status of tasks assigned, make note of what was completed and what remains outstanding, what needs your attention. Finally, always look ahead for the next few days to make sure you know what is coming your way and what is expected of you and your team.

As a manger you should know what your resources are, where to look for answers, and give appropriate resources to all team members so that they are fully equipped with the tools needed to successfully complete projects in a timely manner.

10. Managing Up. This may be a new concept to some, especially new managers. However, a skilled manager knows how and when to manage up, another words manage their boss. It is important for managers at all levels to understand that they, as well as their supervisors, have things to accomplish in order to everyone’s job to be completed successfully. Keep your supervisor up-to-date on all projects, and any unexpected obstacles you face. Your supervisor is your primary resource to help in getting over or around anything that stands in the way of your ultimate goal.