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Style Matters

Style Matters

I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead as well as to follow. On the journey, I’ve noticed that some leaders have the “right stuff” and others probably ought to be stuffed!

Individual and corporate management style can lead to significant success or dismal failure. These are some common traits that successful managers possess that can lead to management methods that inspire subordinates and lead to increased productivity and a happier workforce. Lets examine a few traits of successful management teams. These three suggestions are simple, but often overlooked by management.

1. Management should praise their workforce often and publicly. Let your subordinates know that their efforts are necessary and appreciated. Tangible tokens of appreciation are best remembered and engender loyalty and dedication from the recipient. Theater tickets, a coffee mug, a small inexpensive gift are easily obtainable and the potential for increased loyalty, dedication and efficiency is significant. I recall a manager presenting me with a small toy wrench for my efforts in developing a successful maintenance plan. I worked twice as hard for him than anyone before or after. In fact, I am recalling it now, some 40 years after the event. I knew he appreciated me. Remember that management can not survive if their subordinates do not fully adopt a plan or work diligently to carry out the details of a decision. If subordinates are not meeting management expectations, performance counseling should be conducted in private and provide details about the undesirable work habit along with suggestions for improvement. Make sure the session ends with a note of encouragement. It is important to be aware that everyone wants to positively contribute to success. No one enjoys failure.

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2. Management should involve subordinates in decision making to the maximum extent possible. It is not uncommon for workers to identify a problem long before management recognizes it. When subordinates are involved in decision making they become a critical part of the solution. Subordinates have the opportunity to become acquainted with management issues and if involved in the decision process become owners of that solution. That ownership means that subordinates will work diligently towards success, after all it is their solution that is being implemented. I remember years ago that I had a meeting to develop a new plan to increase efficiency. I called in the members of my team and listened to their suggestions. They suggested a plan that I was not fond of, but they were enthusiastic and against my better judgment at the time, I allowed them to go forth. It was the most successful plan that I ever didn’t develop! I’ve involved subordinates in my planning ever since and it has always reaped rewards. By the way – except for this writing I never refer to subordinates as subordinates. We are all members of a team – I just happened to be the captain.

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3. Management should remember to set the example for timeliness, dedication, cordiality and the host of characteristics that are essential for a cooperative and successful operation. A corporation, office or even a very small group of individuals engaged in a common endeavor has a personality. The degree to which that group personality represents what is desirable in human nature reflects the degree of success that the group will achieve. Management determines the personality and setting the example for success is incumbent upon those leaders. We all know a happy team is a productive team.

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These are three simple steps that will reflect favorably upon management and will lead to increased efficiency and productivity from subordinates. It is not understandable why so many chose to ignore these simple techniques.

David Richards is a retired teacher and former business owner that lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. He enjoys sharing any knowledge gained or lessons learned in his life in hopes that they may be applicable to others.

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Last Updated on October 9, 2018

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

Most of you made personal, one sentence resolutions like “I want to lose weight” or “I vow to go back to school.” It is a tradition to start the New Year with things you want to achieve, but under the influence resolutions are often unrealistic.

If you’re wondering when will be a good time to write a mission statement, NOW is the time to take a personal inventory to make this year your most productive year ever. You may be asking yourself, “How am I going to do that?” You, my friends, are going to write personal mission statements.

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A large number of corporations use mission statements to define the purpose of the company’s existence. Sony wants to “become the company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products” and 3M wants “to solve unsolved problems innovatively”. A personal mission statement is different than a corporate mission statement, but the fundamentals are the same.

So why do you need one? A personal statement will help you identify your core values and beliefs in one fluid tapestry of content that you can read anytime and anywhere to stay on task toward success.

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For example, Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire came to the realization that he had lost track of what was important to him. After writing a personal mission statement, we saw him start his own business and he got the girl, Renee Zelleweger. Not bad, wouldn’t you say? A personal mission statement will make sure that, through all the texting, emailing and constant bombardment of on-the-go activity, you won’t lose sight of what is most important to you.

Mission statements can be simple and concise while others are longer and filled with detail. The length of your personal mission statement will not be determined until you follow this simple equation to create your motivational springboard for 2008.

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To begin your internal cleansing, you will need to jot down the required information in the following five steps:

  1. What are your values? Values steer your actions and determine where you spend time, energy, and most importantly, money. Be specific and unique to yourself. Too much generalization will not be as effective. It is called a “personal” mission statement for a reason.
  2. What are three important goals you hope to achieve this year? Keep your list of important goals small and give them a date. It is better to focus on the horizon and not the stars. Realistic goals are keys to ultimate success.
  3. What image do you hope to project to yourself? How you see yourself is how the world will view you. Think about this carefully. Your image should encompass what you look like and feel after you have achieved your goals.
  4. Write down action statements from each value describing how you will use those values to achieve your three goals. Start with “I will…”
  5. Rewrite your statement to include only your action statements. Make portable copies for your wallet, car or office.

If you followed the steps above, congratulations! You have just written your first personal mission statement. Your personal statement will change over the years as your goals change. You can have more than one statement for the different compartments of your life such as your career, family, marriage, etc.

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Writing a personal mission statement is an effective method to ensure your productivity is at its peak. It is an ideal tradition to start so that when next year rolls around, the outdated practice of resolutions will be something you permanently left in the past.

Featured photo credit: Álvaro Serrano via unsplash.com

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