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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 September 28, 2020

How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips

How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips

The brain is a tangled web of information. We don’t remember single facts, but instead we interlink everything by association. Anytime we experience a new event, our brains tie the sights, smells, sounds and our own impressions together into a new relationship.

Our brain remembers things by repetition, association, visual imagery, and all five senses. By knowing a bit about how the brain works, we can become better learners, absorbing new information faster than ever.

Here are some study tips to help get you started:

1. Use Flashcards

Our brains create engrained memories through repetition. The more times we hear, see, or repeat something to ourselves, the more likely we are to remember it.

Flashcards can help you learn new subjects quickly and efficiently. Flashcards allow you to study anywhere at any time. Their portable nature lends them to quick study sessions on the bus, in traffic, at lunch, or in the doctor’s office. You can always whip out your flashcards for a quick 2 to 3 minute study session.

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To create effective flashcards, you need to put one point on each flashcard. Don’t load up the entire card with information. That’s just overload. Instead, you should dedicate one concept to each card.

One of the best ways to make flashcards is to put 1 question on the front and one answer on the back. This way, you can repeatedly quiz yourself into you have mastered any topic of your choice.

Commit to reading through your flash cards at least 3 times a day and you will be amazed at how quickly you pick up new information.

As Tony Robbins says,

“Repetition is the mother of skill”.

2. Create the Right Environment

Often times, where you study can be just as important as how you study. For an optimum learning environment, you’ll want to find a nice spot that is fairly peaceful. Some people can’t stand a deafening silence, but you certainly don’t want to study near constant distractions.

Find a spot that you can call your own, with plenty of room to spread out your stuff. Go there each time you study and you will find yourself adapting to a productive study schedule. When you study in the same place each time, you become more productive in that spot because you associate it with studying.

3. Use Acronyms to Remember Information

In your quest for knowledge, you may have once heard of an odd term called “mnemonics”. However, even if you haven’t heard of this word, you have certainly heard of its many applications. One of the most popular mnemonic examples is “Every Good Boy Does Fine”. This is an acronym used to help musicians and students to remember the notes on a treble clef stave.

An acronym is simply an abbreviation formed using the intial letters of a word. These types of memory aids can help you to learn large quantities of information in a short period of time.

4. Listen to Music

Research has long shown that certain types of music help you to recall information. Information learned while listening to a particular song can often be remembered simply by “playing” the songs mentally in your head.

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5. Rewrite Your Notes

This can be done by hand or on the computer. However, you should keep in mind that writing by hand can often stimulate more neural activity than when writing on the computer.

Everyone should study their notes at home but often times, simply re-reading them is too passive. Re-reading your notes can cause you to become disengaged and distracted.

To get the most out of your study time, make sure that it is active. Rewriting your notes turns a passive study time into an active and engaging learning tool. You can begin using this technique by buying two notebooks for each of your classes. Dedicate one of the notebooks for making notes during each class. Dedicate the other notebook to rewriting your notes outside of class.

6. Engage Your Emotions

Emotions play a very important part in your memory. Think about it. The last time you went to a party, which people did you remember? The lady who made you laugh, the man who hurt your feelings, and the kid who went screaming through the halls are the ones you will remember. They are the ones who had an emotional impact.

Fortunately, you can use the power of emotion in your own study sessions. Enhance your memory by using your five senses. Don’t just memorize facts. Don’t just see and hear the words in your mind. Create a vivid visual picture of what you are trying to learn.

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For example, if you are trying to learn the many parts of a human cell, begin physically rotating the cell in your minds eye. Imagine what each part might feel like. Begin to take the cell apart piece by piece and then reconstruct it. Paint the human cell with vivid colors. Enlarge the cell in your mind’s eye so that it is now six feet tall and putting on your own personal comedy show. This visual and emotional mind play will help deeply encode information into your memory.

7. Make Associations

One of the best ways to learn new things is to relate what you want to learn with something you already know. This is known as association, and it is the mental glue that drives your brain.

Have you ever listened to a song and been flooded by memories that were connected to it? Have you ever seen an old friend that triggered memories from childhood? This is the power of association.

To maximize our mental powers, we must constantly be looking for ways to relate new information with old ideas and concepts that we are already familiar with.

You can do this with the use of mindmapping. A mind map is used to diagram words, pictures, thoughts, and ideas into a an interconnected web of information. This simple practice will help you to connect everything you learn into a global network of knowledge that can be pulled from at any moment.

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Learn more about mindmapping here: How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Featured photo credit: Alissa De Leva via unsplash.com

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