- BE ENERGIZED – Keep your activity levels high. Now is NOT the time to become lethargic or complacent. The people who report to you model themselves after you. The more you accomplish, the more they will accomplish. The harder you push yourself, the harder they will push themselves. Younger employees are sometimes seen as being more energized than older employees – prove them wrong. Exercise daily, at least 30 minutes each day. Watch your diet and your weight.
- BE A MENTOR – You have a responsibility to train and motivate the people that work for you. The knowledge you possess is not your own. It should not be guarded and kept secret to increase your job security. The more knowledge you give away, the more that will come your way. You will be seen as the “go-to guy” and a subject matter expert on a wide variety of topics. Your younger employees will respect and appreciate the knowledge and experience that you possess and will tell others of your accomplishments.
- BE A STORY TELLER – People want to learn from your experience. Over the course of your career, you can probably recall all sorts of situations where you, or someone you know, had faced adversity and overcome it with a brilliant idea. That kind of relevant experience is what makes older workers valuable for the organization. It’s particularly encouraging when younger people are caught in the middle of projects that have stalled, derailed or been hijacked. They need words of wisdom in an anecdote they can understand.
- BE A DOER – Just because you’re in management, doesn’t mean that you should bark orders through a bullhorn while your underlings carry out your wishes. Good leaders are in the trenches, working side-by-side, to get things done and the ball into the end zone. Your superiors will appreciate that closeness with your team and you will appreciate the knowledge you gain from being in close to the action.
- BE A LEARNER – Whatever your age, whatever your industry – the minute you stop learning, you start losing a tactical advantage over younger employees. Don’t be bypassed by technology. Don’t be put out to pasture for hanging on to an aging skill set. Take on online class. Buy a book and self-teach yourself something new or enhance your knowledge in your chosen area of focus. Don’t fall for the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.
- BE ENCOURAGING – Far too often, I see people who are discouraged and losing their way in their careers. Be there to listen and guide people through difficult times. Make sure though, that person is really following their calling and not just working a job. If you do what you love, you’ll never work again. If they aren’t following their calling, you should encourage them to follow that call and then they will find happiness and fulfillment.
- BE A LEADER – By far, the most inspiring thing an employee can be is a leader. But are you a leader? Do people follow you? Are you resting your laurels on a job title or do people really believe in you? You have to be the kind of person they want to be. You have to be someone they look up to.
- BE FEARLESS – My favorite saying is what I try and live my life by – “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”. You have to believe in yourself to the point where you become invincible. When I stepped off of Parris Island quite a few years ago as a young Marine, I felt bulletproof. In many ways, I still feel that way!
I think every manager wants more productivity. We hope that every person seeks to improve their productivity. I saw this infographic on LinkedIn this morning and thought it had some good tips and I wanted to share that with my readers.
While the title is misleading, positive versus productive, it also touches little on what it takes to improve the “soft skills” necessary to function as part of a team and a team leader.
1) For both a team member and a team leader, goals need to be set that are measurable, realistic and achievable. Accountability is an important metric in the workplace because it establishes balance among the team and gives managers KPIs for the team and ultimately themselves.
2) When things go wrong, and they always do, don’t place blame – learn the lesson. Poor managers seek to blame the team or individual team members when projects fail or don’t meet their goals. Good managers, ensure that team members fully understand what went wrong and why, then the manager owns his part of the downfall. The focus shifts from finding a scapegoat to making sure the same mistakes don’t happen again.
3) Ideas for change should always be encouraged. When we look at all of the project management methods in use today, change is something that should be welcomed. Yes, change management is vitally important to the success of any project but the overall goal should be to please the enduser. Delivering products that fall short of this goal, even though it’s on time and on budget, won’t cut the mustard.
4) Cry freedom! Why do managers hire employees and then not let them live up to their full potential? People, especially creative ones, don’t fall into those nice cookie-cutter models that managers sometime envision in their minds. Let employees do their jobs, giving them as much latitude as possible to explore using new tools and methods. The worst thing ever said in the workplace? “We’ve always done it that way”.