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10 Things You Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Ask For At Your Job

10 Things You Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Ask For At Your Job

In this day and age, new jobs are scarce and unemployment is still a very real possibility. Because of the uncertainty we’ve all grown accustomed to, you might find yourself skittish when it comes to making certain requests in the workplace. Of course, a two-hour martini lunch and a new suite of Apple hardware may be out of line, but there are certain things you should never be afraid to ask for at your job. Read on to learn what they are, and how some of them may actually improve your career.

1. An Acceptable Lunch Break

Are you constantly being bothered during your lunch break? If there are no set parameters for when to take your lunch, or how long you have, there’s nothing wrong with asking for a little clarity. The U.S. Department of Labor does not require that an employer offer a lunch break, however your particular state’s laws may differ. Consult your employee handbook and the labor department of your state before approaching your boss. If you point out that you prefer a specific time each day to get away and recharge your batteries, you just might get the answer you’re looking for.

2. Ability to Provide Input

If you’re never asked for input on projects and you think you have something valuable to offer, ask for permission to speak up—this goes for projects you’re not directly involved with as well. Employee input can go a long way toward improving the overall success of a project, and after you’ve commented successfully on a few initiatives, it’s sure to be encouraged even more.

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3. Performance Evaluation

Ask your supervisor for timely performance evaluations if you don’t already receive them. Affirm your commitment to meeting and exceeding company expectations, and mention that it’s going to be easier for you to achieve your goals if you receive regular feedback regarding how you measure up.

4. Letter of Recommendation

There’s nothing wrong with asking for a letter of recommendation if you happen to leave your job. Just be sure you know who to ask. Choose a supervisor who values your work and thinks highly of you, then be polite and let everyone you contact know that you understand if they decline. Offering a draft form of the recommendation letter is another solid strategy for success.

5. Workable Schedule

If you’re unable to adhere to your current work schedule, ask if an adjustment can be made. Employers are much more understanding nowadays when it comes to family commitments and outside responsibilities, including second jobs. Just be sure to provide a solid list of reasons why your current schedule is difficult and how you can better perform with an altered one.

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6. Assistance With a Heavy Workload

You do neither yourself nor your organization any good trying to meet the expectations of an unreasonable workload, so if your boss is simply putting too much on your plate, speak up. If you need help from others, ask them for it. Alternately, ask to whom you can delegate certain tasks in order to better focus on the priorities you’re charged with.

7. More Responsibility

If you are doing a stellar job with your current workload, go ahead and ask for more responsibilities. It’s exactly what your bosses and supervisors want you to do, and it’s a great way to pro-actively advance your career.

8. Proper Tools to Complete Your Job

If you don’t have everything you need to do your job competently, say something. Companies and supervisors have supply budgets to comply with, but shortages around the office do affect productivity. Politely mention that, just be sensitive regarding the company’s finances. Your manager may not know you don’t have what you need.

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9. To Be Treated With Respect

If you’re not being treated respectfully, whether from a co-worker or a supervisor, speak up. Again, your boss may not be aware so it’s in your best interest to mention it. No one else is going to.

10. Better Communication

Does your supervisor communicate clearly with you? If not, express your concerns. Most managers are busy and they might not even know that your ability to perform is being hindered by their communication style. Of course, tact is key here. Restate to your manager the instructions you’re given just to be clear that you’re on the same page.

This article from money crasher gives your some details about developing effective workplace communication skills.

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The Don’ts

Now that we’ve talked about some of the things you should ask for at your current job, let’s talk about some of the things you should not request. Do not ask for a raise—especially if your company is struggling—unless you’re long overdue or have very solid achievements to back up your request. Don’t ask other employees to pick up your slack unless you’ve done the same for them in the past. Don’t ask for a promotion if you know you’re not fit for the job, and refrain from asking for any sort of special treatment. Jobs are political. It’s important to know when to speak up and when not to. Finding the right balance can benefit you personally and professionally, and just may benefit your employer as well.

What do you think you should ask for at your current job?

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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