Exact Staff News
Tags: Great Things Leaders Do, Important Things Great Leaders Do, Improve Overall Productivity, Improve Productivity, Improving Productivity, National Staffing Agency, National Staffing Firm
Want to get more done? Inspire your team to greatness? Build a stronger organization?
Oh, and do these things EVERY DAY?
Develop better leadership habits.
It makes sense. Great leaders are consistent and disciplined in their practices. They’ve acquired habits which improve their effectiveness and drive their success, every day.
Thankfully, nobody has a monopoly on great leadership habits. With sustained effort (and a focus on the right behaviors), you too can become an even better leader. Where should you start? We’re glad you asked. Below, Exact Staff shares three important things you should do every day to get more from your people – and deliver better results for your organization:
Communication breakdowns lead to confusion and conflict, yet they’re one of the biggest issues leaders face. The good news? Small tweaks to your current habits can yield big benefits for your entire team. Here are a few tips:
- Ask for more feedback. Communication is a two-way street; you need honest input from your staff as to what’s working (and what’s not) to build trust and become better at your job.
- Provide all the information employees need up front. And then some. You’ll prevent mistakes, stalls and frustration – while making your employees’ jobs much easier. By over-communicating, you’ll also minimize the amount of follow-up emails and calls you receive – which will free up more of your time and improve your focus.
- Choose the right medium for the message. Consider the importance and level of complexity of your message when deciding how you’ll share it. Then err on the side of caution. Face-to-face conversations do take more time and effort, but sometimes it’s the best option for sensitive issues or discussing important information.
The best leaders are resilient – they respond quite effectively to everyday disruptions and conflicts that derail more rigid managers. Rather than reacting to negative work situations with distress, fear or anger, resilient leaders are able to overcome problems and quickly bounce back by:
- Managing their strong feelings and resisting impulses;
- Making realistic plans they can effectively execute;
- Focusing on solutions.
How can you make resilience a habit? If you’re like most leaders, you have opportunities to put it into practice every day. When problems (large or small) arise:
- Prevent yourself from reacting. Anger and fear are natural reactions – but not the most effective ones for you as a leader. Practice restraint, check your emotions and act intentionally.
- Be fully present. Work on improving your ability to face the facts, no matter how difficult or scary they feel. Be realistic about what you’re up against, but optimistic that you’ll be able to find a solution.
If you’re like most professionals, you have more on your plate each day than you could ever realistically accomplish on your own. So don’t try! Great leaders start each day by examining their “to dos,” prioritizing their responsibilities, and then delegating non-critical activities.
Want to make delegation a habit, but don’t have the internal resources? Give Exact Staff a call. We’re here to help you get non-critical activities off your plate.
Want to be a Better Leader?
Choose the Right Staffing Partner.
The right staffing partner can improve your effectiveness, by rapidly delivering exceptional people to support your busy team. Take on pressing projects. Improve productivity. And flex your workforce in response to changing demands.
With a national presence, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, Exact Staff can design the ideal solution for your business. Ready to get started? Contact your local Exact Staff office today.
Are you as committed to your employees as you want them to be to you?
Consider how your team members would answer the following questions (if their responses would be kept anonymous):
Does your boss care about your happiness?
Is your boss committed to helping you achieve your career goals?
Does your boss recognize and appreciate your hard work?
Does your boss support your professional growth and development?
If you’re not certain that your employees would answer a resounding “Yes!” to each of the above, you may not be showing your employees enough loyalty.
Loyalty is a two-way street. To get it, you have to show it! Today, Exact Staff shares four ways you can prove your commitment to your staff – and get greater commitment, effort and loyalty in return:
Create Clear Career Plans
Hold periodic one-on-one meetings to determine employees’ long-term career goals. Help each individual to develop a three-to-five year career development plan that provides the challenge and clear direction he needs. Another way to show that you’re committed to helping employees achieve career goals is by implementing a formal mentoring program. Pairing talented staff members with mentors clearly conveys your commitment to their growth and professional fulfillment.
Invest in Employees’ Professional Development
Conferences, seminars, webinars and e-learning opportunities are valuable tools to accelerate employees’ professional development and improve loyalty to your organization. If funds are tight, consider one of these lower-cost training options:
- Cross training
- Brown-bag lunch seminar (where key managers give a one-hour training presentation during lunch)
- Bartering training services with other companies
Hold Teambuilding Events
Teambuilding is a great way to strengthen the interpersonal connections that build trust and loyalty. If you’d like to plan your own event, here are a few tips to ensure its success:
- Hold it offsite. The change of scenery will energize your staff and minimize distractions.
- Promote the benefits. Encourage buy-in by using internal communication to generate enthusiasm and explain what employees stand to gain.
- Mix it up. Break up the program into several short sessions. Include time for work, play, eating and socializing – and balance intense activities with more relaxing ones.
- Allow time to process and reflect. During and after the event, discuss takeaways and benefits. Your team will get more out of the process if they understand the purpose and meaning behind the teambuilding activities.
Express Your Gratitude
Thank employees formally and informally, for things big and small. Frequently showing your appreciation sends a clear message that you value their contributions – and value them as both humans and professionals. It’s free. It’s easy. And it has a huge impact on loyalty!
Another great way to express gratitude for employees’ hard work?
Provide the support they need. Whether it’s a single temporary for a day or an entire project team, Exact Staff provides a range of staffing and placement services to increase productivity and create a healthier bottom line.
Ever hear of the “CASE” method?
It’s an acronym for Copy And Steal Everything, something that great managers, executives and entrepreneurs do all the time. After all, why start from scratch when you can learn from another exceptional leader’s success?
Of course, you can learn from terrible leaders, too – what NOT to copy and steal, that is. Check out these three things bad execs do (so you don’t make the same mistakes):
Employee engagement is more than a feel-good tactic; it’s vital to keeping your team happy, productive, loyal and motivated. Bad managers are frequently guilty of missteps like these that alienate employees:
- Needing to win at all costs. A terrible leader feels compelled to win every argument and exert his authority in every discussion.
- Explaining why others’ ideas won’t work. Managers who use this maneuver may think they’re demonstrating superiority by shooting down an employee’s perceptions. Over time, however, they destroy motivation – leading to avoidance and disengagement.
- Failing to express gratitude. Not expressing appreciation is obviously a big de-motivator; no employee wants to be taken for granted. If a leader conveys the attitude that he doesn’t really value employees’ hard work, he can’t expect his employees to care about building the company’s success.
What You Can Learn
Take a look at your own management behavior! Make sure you’re saying and doing things that foster an engaged work environment – and create dedicated employees:
- Demonstrate integrity in your actions and beliefs.
- Protect your employees, especially when they make mistakes. Find ways to remedy situations that helps employees learn and grow.
- Show your appreciation. Leverage recognition, awards and verbal praise as ways to increase engagement.
Being Too Nice
Appeasing employees and colleagues in order to prevent conflict may seem like a smart idea at first glance, but leaders who are too accommodating in their behavior pay a high price:
- Their own ideas may be overshadowed by more assertive leaders.
- They may wind up doing others’ work to prevent conflicts and make complaints “go away.”
- Over time, they ultimately lose the respect of their subordinates, peers and managers.
What You Can Learn
While being “tuned into” employees is certainly important, you can’t afford to be a pushover. Set clear performance expectations for employees and hold them accountable.
And instead of avoiding conflict, realize that a certain amount is actually healthy. Improve your leadership abilities by truly listening to what others say, evaluating whether or not their ideas and points of view are valid. And if they are, be willing to embrace those ideas. Being an exceptional leader is about producing great results, not just being right.
Another Thing Terrible Leaders Do?
They overlook the benefits a staffing partner like Exact Staff can provide. With a national presence, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, we can rapidly deliver exceptional people to build your core team. Improve productivity. And seamlessly flex your workforce to match changing demands.
What can we do for you? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.
Looking for new ways to thrive in an increasingly competitive world?
Try ditching your org chart.
Think we’re kidding? Then it’s time you look at your organizational chart with a fresh set of eyes. Sure, it’s one of the most ubiquitous elements of the modern workplace. Yes, it’s comforting to have a visual hierarchy of who’s who in your business. But all that structure and rigidity might be holding your organization back.
A recent post by David Burkus recommends a newer, more fluid approach to organizing your company’s structure – using successful Broadway production teams as a model. Citing research by Brian Uzzi of Northwestern University and Jarrett Spiro of INSEAD, Burkus explains that the fluidity and project-based nature of Broadway production teams make them an ideal model for organizing your business.
Notably, the highest-performing Broadway production teams had a combination of closely connected colleagues (who had worked well together in the past), as well as new individuals who brought required expertise to the “project.” These teams were well equipped to tackle the challenges of producing a show, benefitting from the experiences of known colleagues and the fresh ideas of newcomers.
Bringing Broadway to Your Business
While we certainly don’t recommend ditching your organizational chart entirely, use these tips to keep your structure flexible enough to respond to changing business demands:
- Think of the future. Be willing to let go of the way you’re structured today, in favor of a framework that will make you competitive over the next three to five years.
- Identify the major functions of your business (e.g., sales and marketing, operations, finance, administration), and list the key responsibilities of each. Use these functions as the primary organizational elements for your business org chart. Then, be willing to “pencil in” everything below it – forming fluid teams around your problems, services and/or products.
- Assign one person to each function, and then hold that individual accountable for leading and delivering results – by assembling teams and organizing work in the most practical ways possible for your current operating environment. As conditions and demands change, this person should have the authority and ability to make necessary changes to the roles and hierarchy within his function.
Your Organization is Changing.
Exact Staff’s Solutions Keep Pace.
The rapidly changing nature of work requires your organization to be able to turn on a dime. Exact Staff is here to help you stay flexible. Together, we can develop a staffing strategy to address your top priorities – and respond seamlessly to shifts in your business. Contact our national staffing services today.
Ever wondered why some work teams soar and accomplish amazing things – while others stagnate and fail?
That’s what Google set out to determine over four years ago. In their quest to build the perfect team, Google’s People Operations department launched Project Aristotle, investing millions of dollars and thousands of man hours to measure nearly every aspect of their employees’ lives, managers’ behavior and more. Their experts:
Reviewed a half-century’s worth of academic studies on team dynamics and performance.
Analyzed team composition, including members’ gender, interests, education and motivations, to identify patterns which influenced group success.
Even scrutinized employees’ lunchroom eating behavior, to see if and how social networks related to team performance.
Did they uncover some “magic formula” for creating a high-functioning team? Nope. But, they did determine a fundamental (and somewhat common-sense) component to successful team-building: psychological safety.
In plain English, “psychological safety” enables team members to feel comfortable opening up to other group members and taking reasonable risks – without fear of embarrassment, rejection or punishment.
Makes sense, right? When team members feel secure with one another, they’re more likely to work well together.
Take advantage of Google’s team-building revelation. As a leader, here are five things you can do to increase psychological safety – and create better teams:
Encourage Team Members to Think
Permit employees to express their opinions, offer new suggestions, challenge one another’s thinking, and even disagree with you. Welcome their involvement. Listen to their input. Take their suggestions seriously – and test out their best ideas.
Be Willing to Give Up Control
Work with your team to establish clear priorities, guidelines, measurable objectives and accountability. Then be willing to let go, allowing the team to direct their own activities (both individually and as a group). Empowering your team increases cohesion and ultimately supports success.
Share the Big Picture
Make sure your team understands how their work fits into and impacts other departments, your organization, your community and beyond. When employees know how and why their work matters, they feel inspired to do great things.
Encourage team members to talk openly with one another. Establish guidelines and routines for professional, friendly and detailed communication, regardless of the medium used. Do what you can to enhance the flow of dialogue among members and with you. The fewer communication “silos” you have, the more tight-knit your team will be.
Make Failure Acceptable
To foster great teams, build a culture in which acceptable risk-taking and failure are tolerated. As a leader, it’s up to you to create a “psychological safety zone” in which employees know they can try and fail – without being punished or fired. And when employees do make mistakes, use those missteps as opportunities to learn (experience is often the best teacher!).
To Build Better Teams, Start by Choosing the Right Staffing Partner
With a national presence, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, Exact Staff can rapidly deliver exceptional people to build your core team. Improve productivity. And seamlessly flex your workforce to match changing demands.
What can we do for you?
Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.
Is your workplace a hive of harmonious activity – or does it feel more like an episode of Hell’s Kitchen?
Whether they begin with policy disagreements, personality clashes or simple misunderstandings, workplace disagreements can quickly escalate into full-blown battles without proper management. And the results can be disastrous, including:
Lowered productivity and morale;
Even costly legal action which can sabotage profitability and your company’s reputation.
In all fairness, not every workplace conflict leads to such dire consequences. Often, squabbles and disagreements are short-lived, and a certain amount of conflict is healthy and normal.
Still, it’s better to be prepared to effectively resolve arguments you find yourself in – instead of allowing your loud and aggressive conversation devolve into something more dangerous. Here are a few actions to help you halt, or even turn around, a serious argument at work:
Acknowledge Your Role
It takes two to fight; if you find yourself embroiled in something more than a heated professional discussion, stop in your tracks. Take a deep breath. And authentically take responsibility for your role in the conversation’s derailment. Even if you’re not the one who provoked the argument, be the bigger person and apologize for compromising your work values.
State Your Intentions
Make it clear that you don’t want to argue, but that you’d like to find a mutually beneficial solution – even if you don’t know what that is at the moment. Demonstrating a sincere desire to resolve the conflict will instantly relieve the tension in the air and shift momentum in the right direction.
Define Rules of Engagement for Moving Forward
Once you’ve both regained your composure, set ground rules for civil discussion (even if you continue to disagree):
Use “I” instead of “you” statements to keep the discussion from turning back into an argument Avoid pointing fingers or placing blame.
Focus on work behaviors; skip personal attacks.
Use a professional, calm tone when speaking. Yelling, sarcasm or even disrespectful body language (e.g., eye rolling, defensively crossing arms) should not be tolerated.
Take periodic time-outs, if needed, to stay calm and in control of your behavior.
Focus on Agreement
Naturally, people who argue fixate on what they disagree about. You can profoundly transform a negative conversation, however, simply by shifting the focus to areas of common ground. Take a moment to calmly and sincerely list your points of agreement. Then, use those as the foundation for resolving your differences. The road to resolution may still be bumpy, but civility and a sincere desire to work things out will keep you on track.
Need Level-Headed Team Players for Your Organization?
Contact your local Exact Staff office. As a national employment agency, we deliver hard-working, professional individuals who will mesh with your culture, focus on results, and work well with the other members on your team.
What do BuzzFeed, Facebook and CVS Health all have in common?
They were named as the top 3 most innovative companies for 2016 by Fast Company.
How did they do it?
They looked fear right in the eye.
Sound intimidating? It is! And that’s kind of the point. Innovation IS a scary thing – if you’re doing it right. Innovation requires you to:
Confront your (and your team’s) boredom, safety and complacency at work;
Disregard tried-and-true business practices in favor of uncertainty;
Question how and what your business does – to the point where you threaten the status quo;
Risk being rejected, ignored, isolated or being labeled a heretic by your peers and employees.
Sure, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, it means relinquishing control and certainty. But unless you push yourself to the point where you’re afraid, you’re probably not really innovating.
Honestly, fear is what prevents most companies from being more innovative. Rather than pushing boundaries or risking rejection and failure, leaders continue to do things the same way, year after year. That may be easy and comfortable, but it also puts them at prime risk for becoming irrelevant, outdated or obsolete (which is even scarier than innovating!).
Moving Past Your Fear of Innovation
In this earlier post, we shared a few tips for fostering a culture that fuels innovation by:
Giving employees the freedom they need;
Challenging the status quo;
Making it okay to fail;
Fostering a more positive work environment;
Elevating employees’ thinking.
In addition to building the right culture, use these tips to push past the fear that may be holding you and your company back:
Build Diverse Work Teams
Hire people with a varying backgrounds, values and points of view. Doing so encourages respectful “bumping of heads” that challenges traditional ways of thinking in positive ways.
Cover Your Team’s Back.
Build employee relationships based on trust, mutual support and shared confidence. Make it clear that you welcome your team’s ideas (even if they’re controversial) and that employees won’t be punished or ridiculed for making unpopular suggestions that threaten your company’s status quo.
Inspire Your Employees to Embrace Fear
Lead by example! Share your experience with facing fear for the sake of innovation. Talk about your successes, your failures and what you learned in the process. When your team sees the benefit of pushing boundaries and asking tough questions, they’re more likely to try it (in appropriate ways) themselves.
Fuel Innovation with a Smart Staffing Strategy
As a leading national staffing agency, Exact Staff can provide the talented people and intelligent staffing solutions that will turn your great ideas into reality.
To develop the best strategy for your organization, we invite you to schedule a free workforce consultation with us. Together we can assess your needs, brainstorm options and design creative solutions to help you overcome whatever workforce or hiring challenges you face.
There’s no “I” in groupthink.
Okay, there IS – which is ironic, because the term, coined in a 1952 article by William H. Whyte, refers to the process of achieving group consensus by minimizing conflict (where’s the “I” in that?). But often, that consensus and “group harmony” comes at a high price for organizations. Here are two of the dangers of groupthink in business teams:
- Innovation is suppressed. When contrary opinions and individual thinking are thwarted, innovation’s spark is effectively snuffed out. Group members self-censor their ideas and opinions in favor of unanimity.
- Critical questions go unasked. Groupthink often pressures dissenters to conform to majority opinion. As a result, members miss out on critical evaluation of alternatives. Important “what if” questions may never be asked, nor the ramifications considered – leaving organizations at greater risk for strategic missteps and missed opportunities.
Not exactly a recipe for business success, right?
Obviously, completing projects and achieving goals requires team work. How can you balance the levels of connection and esprit de corps your teams need to function at their peak, without compromising the “I” (i.e., the individual insights, creativity and, yes, contrary perspectives needed to keep your organization competitive)?
Renowned leadership expert and author Kevin Eikenberry proposed a solution in a recent blog post: teamthink. If you’ve never heard of the concept, here’s a quick overview and a few practical benefits this organizational mindset can deliver:
What is “Teamthink”?
According to Eikenberry, “Teamthink is the collaborative thinking that comes from people who care about each other and their goal enough to listen carefully, consider options and make the best decision for themselves and those they serve.”
In simpler terms, it’s a healthier alternative to group decision-making that achieves results without stifling individuals’ input. If groupthink is pervasive in your organization, move toward teamthink by:
- Galvanizing the goal. As with all team efforts, all members must understand and buy into a goal or purpose that’s greater than themselves.
- Building relationships. To ensure that individuals aren’t systematically overruled, ignored or discounted, make deliberate efforts to solidify work relationships. This doesn’t mean that all group members have to be friends (or even like one another); it means that they must respect one another professionally and commit to working well together, despite their differences.
- Creating trust. Self-censoring and rushing to agreement often occurs because individuals don’t feel safe sharing ideas which may be considered unpopular or controversial. Can you blame them? If you want to guard against groupthink, you need to increase trust among team members. Only when you give employees a safe place to listen, brainstorm and exchange ideas without being judged can new opinions and ideas get due consideration.
Need innovators? Independent thinkers? Team players?
Exact Staff can deliver the high performers you seek. With a national presence, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, the talent you need is just a phone call away.
What can we do for you? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.
You know how important effective time management is to your personal and organizational success. Obviously, it determines your overall productivity. But, it also has a psychological impact as well. If you’re great at managing time, you experience less stress, are more resilient and can be a motivating force for your entire team.
Given how critical effective time management is, it’s high time to start managing it better. Here are four fresh ideas from Exact Staff to help you get more done in less time:
Get off to a great start.
By making a few small changes to your routine, you can greatly improve the way you manage your time. End each work day by creating a clear plan for what you need to accomplish the next morning. When you lay out your top priorities in advance, you begin your day focused and proactive.
Block your time.
The way you schedule your time each morning dramatically impacts your productivity throughout the day:
- Tackle your highest priority and/or least favorite (but important) activities first. Setting aside time for the tough things you absolutely need to do creates a “no excuses” operating environment that yields greater efficiency.
- Make appointments with yourself. Meetings and calls aren’t the only things you should block off time for. Schedule time for any activity that requires your full focus.
- Set time limits for predictable tasks. Reasonable time limits naturally motivate you to work harder. Furthermore, when you allot a certain amount of time for discrete aspects of your work, you’ll minimize time wasted on deciding what to do next.
Be a “serial focuser.”
Multitasking has been much-hyped, but research has proven that it doesn’t work. Instead of paying attention to multiple things at once, your brain actually focuses on concepts sequentially – continually switching from one activity to another.
So give your brain a break (and your time management a boost) by becoming a “serial focuser.” By giving one task your undivided attention, you allow your brain to reach a depth of focus that simply isn’t possible with multitasking – ultimately helping you to stay organized and accomplish more.
Remove yourself from distractions.
It’s pretty logical: the higher your focus, the more you’ll accomplish in any given period of time. While it may be impossible to completely eliminate interruptions at work, finding ways to control them will greatly boost your efficiency. In this earlier post, we cover these four ways to minimize distractions – and get more done:
- Planning for interruptions
- Controlling your physical environment
- Scheduling distractions
- Improving meeting productivity
Want more free time? Get help from Exact Staff.
With a national presence and a full complement of staffing and placement solutions, we can free up more of your time by:
- Providing temporary support to “offload” low-priority or repetitive tasks.
- Taking a proactive approach to staffing and recruiting. The better you plan your needs, the more effectively we can help you meet them (saving you time and frustration!).
- Assuming the time-consuming aspects of hiring including managing job postings, screening resumes and conducting initial interviews.
The result? An optimally staffed organization. Exceptional hires. And more productive hours to focus on your business. If you’re ready to learn more, give Exact Staff a call.