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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 15, 2019

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

Where do you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or even this time next year? These places are your goal destinations and although you might know that you don’t want to be standing still in the same place as you are now, it’s not always easy to identify what your real goals are.

Many people think that setting a goal destination is having a dream that is there in the far distant future but will never be attained. This proves to be a self-fulfilling prophesy because of two things:

Firstly, that the goal isn’t specifically defined enough in the first place; and secondly, it remains a remote dream waiting for action which is never taken.

Defining your goal destination is something that you need to take some time to think carefully about. The following steps on how to plan your life goals should get you started on a journey to your destination:

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1. Make a list of your goal destinations

Goal destinations are the things that are important to you. Another word for them would be ambitions, but ambitions sound like something which outside of your grasp, whereas goal destinations are certainly achievable if you are willing to put in the effort working towards them.

So what do you really want to do with your life? What are the main things that you would like to accomplish with your life? What is it that you would really regret not doing if you suddenly found you had a limited amount of time left on the earth?

Each of these things is a goal. Define each goal destination in one sentence.

If any of these goals is a stepping stone to another one of the goals, take it off this list as it isn’t a goal destination.

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2. Think about the time frame to have the goal accomplished

This is where the 5 year, 10 year, next year plan comes into it.

Some goals will have a “shelf life” because of age, health, finance, etc, whereas others will be up to you as to when you would like to achieve them by.

3. Write down your goals clearly

Write each goal destination at the top of a new piece of paper.

For each goal, write down what is it that you need and don’t have now that will allow you achieve that goal. This could be some kind of education, career change, finance, a new skill, etc. Any “stepping stone” goals you removed will fit into this exercise. If any of these smaller “goals” have sub-goals, go through the same process with these so that you have precise action points to work with.

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4. Write down what you need to do for each goal

Under each item listed, write down the things that you will need to do in order to complete each of the steps required to complete the goal. 

These items will become a check-list. They are a tangible way of checking how you are progressing towards reaching your goal destinations. A record of your success!

5. Write down your timeframe with specific and realistic dates

Using the time frames you created, on each goal destination sheet write down the year in which you will complete the goal by.

For any goal which has no fixed completion date, think about when you would like to have accomplished it by and use that as your destination date.

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Work within the time frames for each goal destination, make a note of realistic dates by which you will complete each of the small steps.

6. Schedule your to-dos

Now take an overview of all your goal destinations and make a schedule of what you need to do this week, this month, this year – in order to progress along the road towards your goal destinations.

Write these action points on a schedule so that you have definite dates on which to do things.

7. Review your progress

At the end of the year, review what you have done this year, mark things off the check-lists for each goal destination and write up the schedule with the action points you need for the next year.

Although it may take you several years to, for example, get the promotion you desire because you first need to get the MBA which means getting a job with more money to allow you to finance a part-time degree course, you will ultimately be successful in achieving your goal destination because you have planned out not only what you want, but how to get it, and have been pro-active towards achieving it.

Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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