Monthly Archive for March, 2017

Organization Skills: the Keys To Success

As an entrepreneur, you will be used to doing everything yourself in the best possible way. But there is a big difference between an entrepreneur and a leader, because you will have to rely on other people to get the job done. And if you want to make a successful switch from entrepreneur to a leader, you are going to have to ensure your organizational skills are in top form.

In today’s guide, we’re going to take a look at a few things you can do to improve your organizational skills and become a better leader. Don’t forget, if there is one thing all successful business leaders have in common it is the ability to organize their workforce – and their workflows. Let’s take a look at some of your options.

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Take a top-down approach

First of all, it’s vital that you don’t get too wrapped up in the minutiae of running a business and take a top-down approach instead. Hire people that you trust to take up key positions in as team leaders, and leave them alone to do their jobs – micromanaging will not only prevent you from focusing on organization, but it will also antagonize your teams.

Be proactive

Great business leaders who are organized suffer fewer unexpected problems than leaders that are not. It’s that simple. Be proactive, and you will find that you are prepared for almost every given scenario that might occur, and you will also have a plan for making the most out of your weeks and months, rather than just the day ahead.

Build lists

To-do lists are the mainstay of many organized households, and the same principles can help you in business. If something new crops up, add it to your list, and it never gets forgotten. To-do lists also set everything that needs doing into concrete plans, and you can’t tick them off until you are done. A traditional pad and paper are all you need, but if you are looking for something more intricate, there are plenty of list-making apps and software out there.

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Create charts

You can create charts for almost every single business process, from hiring employees through to running individual projects – try out this organization chart maker as an example of what you can do. Organizational charts provide you and your teams with an instant snapshot of what needs doing, where everyone is, and what they need to focus on. Charts for business organization have been around for over 150 years, and although the method of delivery might be changing, there is no evidence charts are going anywhere soon.

Delegation

As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to be able to delegate tasks to various departments and workgroups. Not only will it give people a sense of authority and responsibility in your business, but it will also help you enjoy success with organization. As an entrepreneur, you might find it hard to delegate to others – your need for control is often the reason why. But it is essential that you learn the skill of delegation of you want to become a great leader.

Managing Employees Well Is Crucial To Success

Business is a complex business! But do you know what shouldn’t be complex? The management of the employees in your business. You can either run a business the right way and do things by the book, or you can do it the wrong way and take shortcuts that will not benefit your business in the long run. It is very easy to think that you can treat everyone in a way that appeals to you, or dismiss employees willy-nilly – but that’s not the way forward, and it could very well be an exercise towards disaster. You see, there are a lot of shortcuts on offer, and a lot of them are hidden in company policy as innocent bits of legislation, but can be bent and used with malevolent force.

The best way to run a business and a team? With honesty, transparency, and fairness. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so try to ensure your actions are done for the good of the business and are heavily backed up by the word of the law. Take your time with decisions, do a lot of research, talk to HR and act like a leader, not as a total bossy-boots!

The very first thing to do when managing employees is to create a productive and safe environment. This is something that is completely within your power and remit as a leader to do. Your workplace should be a place where everyone feels comfortable to be themselves in. On top of that, it should never be a place where discrimination takes place. Every single member of your staff and your team has the right to work without being harassed or discriminated against by yourself or the larger team. If you are unsure, consult your team and see what the bar is. Of course, if anyone comes to your door with a complaint regarding discrimination of any sorts it is imperative that you take this seriously as any complaint will always be grounded in some sort of upset. When staff members are upset it is up to you to not only address their complaints but to follow up. If staff members under your leadership see that you are taking no interest in their concerns, they could go above your head or even seek legal action.

Another part of creating a good working environment is to ensure that the needs of the staff are met. Can they eat and drink? Can they relax? Is it clean? Are the chairs comfortable and can the staff communicate? Making sure the office environment is clean and comfortable is key to creating a positive working environment that is safe and comfortable workplace.

You can also ensure you are doing everything possible by ensuring the team is in good spirits and that a solid rapport is built between you and your team in the workplace. People do not like to be treated as a means to an end, surprisingly, so avoid doing this! People are people, so treat them like friends and not tools. This is a sure fire way to gain respect and not animosity.

A team exists for a reason, and it is of massive importance to you and your company that you communicate with your team in a friendly and respectful manner. Some managers like to take a lofty perch and avoid creating relationships with their team, and thus lock themselves away in offices and only meet with team members based on appointments. This is not healthy. Some managers also focus on results far too much, and while results are important, they are not the be all and end all of your team, and if you keep presenting your team with results, they might lose focus and stop caring about the big picture.

Learn to speak to your employees and build rapport and a solid working relationship with your employees before focusing on any production of results. A focus on the big picture could very blind you as to what is happening right in front of your eyes. Your team needs to be able to trust in your abilities in order to deliver the results that you want from them. Think about it this way, will you be able to work to the best of your abilities if your boss is hovering over your shoulder demanding the best of you constantly?

The easiest way to build a solid working relationship with your team is to keep your door open. Your employees should be allowed to speak to you about anything as you are in a role of both authority and responsibility. Employees respond well to leaders and managers who clearly care about their wellbeing and their health not just in the place of work, but at home and in their personal life too. Speak to each employee as the diverse individual they are and do not be afraid to get to know each and every single member of your team in a personal manner.

Also, ensure you are capable of recognizing the success of team members. This isn’t just about who can bring in the most sales or hit their targets; it is about what everyone brings to the business in their own unique way. Is someone improving morale? Recognize it! Is someone taking time to train staff? Recognize it! Give credit where credit is due – it’s so very simple and will help your team cultivate a culture of success in the workplace. Staff won’t like it if their best efforts are not rewarded by the person in charge.

Before we jump into talking about discipline in the workplace it is absolutely essential to educate ourselves about the role of workplace human resources or HR. Human resource departments used to handle payroll and other areas, but are now a fully functioning arm of companies that focus on everything to do with employees. HR doesn’t and shouldn’t take a side, but they usually are the voice of the company – that does not mean that they should treat employees unfairly under any circumstances, though. Human resources departments are essential and should be well versed in not just employee and workplace law, but the law in general like Ellis Whittam. A good HR team is worth its weight in gold and should be taken seriously.

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Discipline in the workplace needs to follow company procedures either laid out by yourself or the human resources department. Every action taken against an employee needs to be grounded in consistency, the law, company procedure, and fairness. In other words, if you set a bar or there is a bar set for behavior and ability in the workplace, stick to it. If you aren’t being consistent with punishments or discipline in the workplace, you could be sued or shown to be a perpetrator of discrimination in the workplace. Employees have a lot of reasons to be unhappy with their employers which means that before you take any action against employees, it needs to be grounded in both reason and evidence. This is where HR comes in as they set the bar and can let you know if you are following the best course of action in regards to a problem employee. It is very easy to slip up in this area so ensure your actions are documented, evidence and backed up in as many ways as possible.

There’s only one way to manage employees and that’s well. Be yourself, be natural and don’t be a total authoritarian when it isn’t called for. People can see through your methods easily, so be natural and be the best manager you can be.

Clash Of The Coworkers: How To Rethink Your Open Plan Office

Many of today’s modern office spaces have what we call “open plan” layouts. In a nutshell, they have dispensed with the traditional design where each person or team would have a traditional office with a door, and closed off from other individuals and groups. Instead, everyone works together in one big room or area.

As you can appreciate, open plan layouts are attractive because they allow teams to communicate with each other better. However, there are some downsides to some open plan layouts. For example, noise levels can increase, and some people will find it hard to concentrate. Plus, there’s also privacy concerns to contend with.

If your open plan office suffers from those or other issues, you might think that such a layout isn’t for you. But, the good news is that you can resolve your problems by making some slight changes or additions. Here are a few examples of what you can do to make your open plan office more productive, inviting, and efficient:

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Use the same furniture for each cubicle

Is your open plan office a mish-mash of different styles of desks, chairs and other office items? If so, that could be part of your problem. Some of your workers may find it hard to work at desks that are too small or narrow, for instance. And others may have too much space!

One strategy to follow is removing your existing cubicles and furniture and opting for a more uniform approach. Look at sites like Arnold’s Office Furniture for some inspiration on the cubicles and furniture that work well with your particular office setup.

Make use of plants

Why do you often see plants in today’s modern offices? The answer is simple: they are cheap to buy and maintain, plus they serve a multitude of purposes! For a start, they break up an otherwise standard-looking office design.

They can also serve as a barrier of sorts to divide up an open plan office into specific areas. And, finally, they help to improve air quality and increase productivity. The latter was even proven in a scientific study on the subject!

Image Obtained From Flickr

Use the right colors

It might shock you to learn that not all offices get painted with white or magnolia colors, nor do they feature gray carpet tiles! Color can impact how we think and feel in our lives, and we can use it to convey the right message to office workers.

You also need to consider which colors work well with your particular business. For instance, an investment company might not want a kaleidoscope of colors and abstract art adorning the office space. And a technology startup might find a corporate color scheme doesn’t appeal to staff and visitors alike.

Keep it bare

“Less is more” is an approach that works for a variety of modern open plan offices. If your working environment is full of stuff, keep the clutter to a minimum. You might even wish to expose bare brickwork on the walls or steel beams in the ceiling. It gives workers the impression they are working in an area bigger than it is. Plus, it makes the look and feel of the office more attractive.