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Thoughts about Success for the New Year Ahead

Know the Score

Posted: February 12, 2008 11:33 p.m.
Updated: April 4, 2008 2:02 a.m.

Smart business people know it’s important to look for that extra “edge” that will develop new business, ensure you remain ahead of the competition, keep existing customers satisfied and basically make you and your business a success. Now that we’ve all had several weeks to attempt to keep our New Year’s resolutions, let’s take a look at what we can honestly do for a more successful year.

Decide what you really want and take one step at a time. Each accomplishment builds confidence, enthusiasm and power. Expect good things to happen and enjoy life. You’re free and your potential is unlimited. Create the person you conceive yourself to be and release your hidden talents. Your new self-image acts like a magnet, and will attract people, opportunities and resources. The power of enthusiasm has no limits.

Believe in yourself so strongly that nothing can shake your inner belief that you are a “successful leader” of your company. Research has shown four competencies shared by many of the most successful leaders of today:

1. Attention management. The ability to draw others to your vision by commitment and focus.

2. Management of meaning. Clearly communicating your visions to your staff.

3. Management of trust. The main determinant is reliability and constancy.

4. Self-management. Knowing your own skills and using them effectively.

Delays and frustrations are natural, but if you’re familiar with the top ten peeves of most employees you’ll be ahead of the game.

Here’s what makes many managers boil:

• Bad attitude is number one. All businesses notice when employees take a passive-aggressive attitude or display a lack of courtesy when dealing with others.

• Whining is next. Know there’s a difference between constructive criticism and focusing on the negative.

• Delegating. If you delegate a decision-making chore to an employee, don’t allow them to pass it up to you. At most it will be a growing experience for the worker — even if it’s a bad decision.

• Withholding information. Most employees would rather have you deliver bad news to them if there is any, so don’t be afraid. In the long run they’re grateful for the information.

• Lack of dependability. See that your employees are punctual and communicate problems to you if any exist.

• Most companies have a big picture so let your staff contribute to its goals.

• Bickering. Solve problems between co-workers rapidly and without involving others, if possible.

• Unrealistic expectations. Don’t let your staff think that things will always be the same, or that the bottom line won’t have an effect on the workplace. That’s unrealistic because change is inevitable.

Good customer service doesn’t just pertain to your clients, it is just as important to your staff. It’s important to strike a balance between straight-forwardness and tact, especially when facing a problem. Learn how to assert yourself as the boss in calm, non-threatening way and it will keep things on a positive and even keel.

When you must deal with a staff problem make sure you make eye contact so your staff knows you’re sincere about what you’re saying. But be careful to not stare at anyone person or that could be mistaken for aggressive behavior. Stick to the facts and be specific. Make sure to explain yourself clearly and discuss only what is clearly observable. Never say “never” and avoid absolute words like “finally” and “always.” These can exaggerate the facts and put people on the defensive.

When you’re dealing with a problem don’t fidget. Don’t tinker with a pen or notepad on your desk, or rattle the change in your pocket if you’re a man. Such distractions weaken the importance of the conversation and what’s being discussed. Let your face and demeanor reflect your feelings. If you’re truly angry about something, don’t smile and make light of it. On the other hand, if you’re genuinely pleased with the situation, make sure you project that positive feeling.

Being a successful leader and employer is often a matter of common sense applied to everyday life. Never forget to say thank you to anyone who has done you a favor or a good job. When possible show up. Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting when you need to communicate with someone, and don’t delay. Don’t let small problems fester — deal with today’s molehill before it turns into tomorrow’s mountain.

To keep your business on the success tract, master minutiae and master your time. Focus on what you need to accomplish, and though distractions may need your immediate attention don’t lose sight of your overall goal. Cultivate allies everyday you work. Don’t waste your time trying to convert doubters who will never see your point of view. Instead develop strong supporters as dependable allies.

Most importantly, don’t let the “niceties” of life get in the way of results. Minding your manners is important, but remember that sometimes it’s necessary to get mad. Just make sure you pick the right battles before you go to war!


Commentary by Dr. Maureen Stephenson, a local author and owner of REMS Publishing & Publicity. Her column represents her own views, and not necessarily those of The Signal.

Copyright: The Signal


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