I love managing people. And it's not because I want to give other people all the jobs I don't want to do! It's because managing people can be such an amazing, rewarding, and teaching experience. I love working with people and figuring out how to fit their talents with activities that are just the right match for them. I like connecting with them on their work, helping them to improve in some areas and highlighting where their skills are strong.
I'm lucky in that I get to do a decent amount of management / delegation / supervision in my line of work - but it isn't super easy work. Managing, delegating, and supervising is an art, and you need to be strategic about it to build positive relationships and ensure the employees are getting a lot out of it, and the project is moving forward efficiently.
When I was recently checking references on a new employee, one of the questions I asked was "do you have any recommendations on how best to manage this person?" The reference responded with, "manage them well."
I think they made a great point here. You have to manage people well. If you don't manage them well, it doesn't matter how talented they are or intelligent they are or friendly they are. They likely won't do as well and you likely won't have that great of a relationship with them. Management is strategic in that it ensures that everyone benefits: you, the employee, and the project itself.
A few pointers when it comes to delegating, managing, and supervising others:
- Give them some background and context. Explain your position and role, and why you are their manager. This might be fairly obvious in some circumstances, such as if you own the business, but if you're at a nonprofit or similar, then it's good to give them some explanation for why you're going to be supervising them.
- Provide a work plan with timelines. Work plans are so much fun to put together (seriously. I'd love to put together work plans and timelines and reports all day long), but more than that, they're a valuable resource for the person you're supervising. They can refer to it to ensure they stay on track, follow deadlines, and have a general idea of what their responsibilities will be in the coming weeks or months.
- Meet regularly. This can be once a day for someone who has just started, once a week while they settle in, and once every couple weeks after they've become comfortable with the work. Take advantage of this time to check in and see if they have any questions, and also to give feedback on their work. Compliment them on work they do well, and recommend areas that they can improve in.
- Ask them what's doable. If you need to delegate something, check what their schedule is like and what their skills are in relation to the task at hand. Ensure that they understand what the task will entail. By taking a few extra minutes to walk it through with them in the beginning, you can save yourself and them time later on by reducing the chance that the task will be carried out incorrectly or poorly.
- Find out what they need. It's important to provide feedback on their skills and abilities, but it's also important you find out from them what you excel in and where you could strengthen your skills! Ask them if they need more or less guidance from you, if you're asking a reasonable amount, and if there's anything you can do to make them feel more comfortable or work more efficiently. By doing this, you can quickly find out if they want to meeting every two days rather than every two weeks, or you can find out that they might prefer specific tasks with deadlines rather than general tasks. This will be invaluable to ensuring efficient work and a healthy relationship!
What do you do to delegate, manage, and supervise effectively? Share in the comments section below!
One of the best ways to ensure you stay well-organized and communicate efficiently is to make use of an agenda or day planner religiously. Use it to mark down your to-do lists, addresses and phone numbers for important contacts, meeting times and locations, project deadlines, and social events. You'll never be late or miss a deadline again!
Agendas and day planners can vary widely, and you need to choose the one that works best for you. Shop around a bit for yours; don't just grab the first one you see.
A few things to consider when choosing your agenda:
- Is it the right size to fit in your bag? Do you need to carry it around with you everywhere?
- Does it have enough space for each day?
- Do you like the "feel" of it?
- Is there a space for notes?
- Does it have times listed for each day?
- Can you make use of the calendar feature on your smart phone effectively enough for it to act as your day planner?
These are some of the main questions you should ask yourself. For myself, I find that I can get along fairly comfortably with all kinds of day planners, and have a different style every year. But my favourite has to be my newest one, which is very big (letter size) and lists times for each day. There's plenty of space to write important information, with additional space for notes along the side.
Do you use agendas / day planners? Do you find that they help you to communicate more effectively and reduce stress? What style do you prefer? Share in the comments section below!
From their website:
You have heard about it and may be using this type of social media, but are your messages generating discussion and feedback useful to your organization’s goals? We’ll look at:
- Briefly, how to use Twitter
- What all the hype is about
- How to engage and develop a following for non-profits
Bring your questions or tweet about them ahead of time on Twitter to @volunteermb.
Learn more and sign up for the workshop at http://volunteermanitoba.ca/newsite/Tweeting%20for%20Engagement.htm.
Hope to see you there!
When giving a presentation, the type of presentation you do depends on your audience, timeframe, topic, and much more. Here's a breakdown of some common types of presentations and a few examples of what they might be best-suited for:
- Lecture (with or without handouts). When there's just one or two people standing at the front of the room talking, it shouldn't be a lengthy presentation. Lectures should be no longer than 30 minutes without handouts, or 1 hour including handouts and a question period. Lectures can be tricky, as you need to be a dynamic and enthusiastic speaker to hold your audience's attention. Try not to talk about the same thing for any longer than about five minutes, as most attention spans don't last much longer than that.
- PowerPoint or Prezi. These should be flashy - go for lots of pictures, graphs, and bullet points. Most of your presentation should be you talking (NOT reading off of the PowerPoint or Prezi), but this gives you a great option to supplement your words with images, which the audience will enjoy looking at while you speak.
- Demonstration. When the audience has something to watch as well as listen, they'll be able to pay attention for a longer period of time. Make sure that your demonstration makes sense for the presentation and that it's something easy for you to do and interesting for others to look at.
- Hands-on interactive session. These can be much longer sessions than any other type of presentation. Explaining instructions and giving everyone enough time to carry out the activity can mean that your audience won't even notice the minutes ticking by. This is especially good for youth or for an audience that might otherwise be bored by your topic, but do make sure that the activity is relevant to your topic!
- Discussion. Want feedback from your audience? Discussions are a great way to encourage others to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions. You do need to act as moderator here, however, to keep the participants on topic and on time.
If you're in doubt of which type of presentation is most appropriate, try mixing and matching a couple of these! Done right, they can work beautifully in conjunction and it can be a fantastic way of holding your audience's attention and ensuring that they learn as much as possible from your presentation.
What's your favourite type of presentation?
I receive at least a few news releases every single day in my inbox for new! and! exciting! health-type products, services, promotions and books. And to be honest, most of these news releases annoy the hell out of me because there's just so many things wrong with them.
Here is what bothers me the most about many of the news releases I read:
1) Misspelling of my name - or the wrong name altogether. Dear Whitney, we have a new health product we think you might be very interested in! Yeah, my name isn't Whitney. This is poor proofreading on their part, that the person sending the news release has simply copied and pasted their email and forgot to change the name at the top. I have nothing against copying and pasting, but you should at least change the name at the top, even if you aren't going to personalize the entire email. And if you are going to use my name, please do your research on me ahead of time so that you know my name is spelled "Sagan," not "Segan."
2) Misspellings, grammar errors and typos throughout. It's one thing to make a typo or grammatical error when writing blog posts and the like: it's completely different to make those errors when you're writing in a professional capacity. Edit, edit, and edit some more!
3) Geographical errors. If you take the time to do you background work, you can generally find out fairly easily where a person is located in the world. So I really don't get why I keep receiving news releases for events and promotions taking place in California or New York. I currently live in the Canadian prairies. Anyone can find that out on my health blog or on Facebook, both of which show up on the first page when you type my name into a search engine. Google me before sending me a generic news release that doesn't apply to me at all.
4) Products and services that don't fit my philosophies. Most bloggers state their philosophies pretty clearly on their blogs. When I receive news releases promoting books that talk about the best frozen meals, I can't help but laugh. You only need to skim one of my Living Healthy blog posts to see right away that frozen meals are not something I condone.
5) Ridiculously lengthy pieces of text that don't get to the point. Sometimes I receive news releases that don't seem to say anything in particular or have any sort of relevance. There's no news in there at all! You can bet that most bloggers and journalists and the like are receiving piles of news releases daily, so please, only send something if you actually have something to say. Otherwise your email address is going to be added to the spam list, and when you do have something interesting to say, we'll ignore it. And that's not good for either of us!
What annoys you the most about news releases?
This article investigates six ways your schoolteacher sabotage your business writing. Definitely worth a read! Number 6 really resounded with me. I recall being frustrated in grade school one time when a teacher crossed out the "And" at the beginning of a sentence I'd written, because it wasn't "correct." My response was that I knew it wasn't correct, but I was deliberately breaking the rules because it sounded better and fit my story well and I'm a good writer, dammit, so I'm allowed to make my own rules!* Cheeky little monkey, I was.
Do you follow all the rules? Or have you discovered that the rules you learned in school are not to be applied to business writing?
*Okay, I didn't say it in those words. But I was thinking it
Last week I was in Toronto for a few days, and I visited Occupy Toronto (Toronto's version of Occupy Wall Street) the first night that it was set up. It was fascinating to witness the rhetoric of an international protest such as this one. Here are some of the signs that I snapped photos of which I thought were interesting:
Have you seen any protest signs lately? What do you think about the ones above? Share in the comments section below.
When I was younger, I received a book as a gift entitled The Handwriting Analyst's Toolkit: character and personality revealed through graphology. This book is fantastic in that it has beautiful pictures and it examines just about every part of handwriting imaginable, deciphering your personality and mood at the time of writing based on how you slant your writing, how you dot your "i," the type of punctuation you use and so much more. Obviously even at the time I took it all with a grain of salt, and it's fun just to flip through it once in a while. I really enjoy these types of books that analyze the type of person you are based on things like your handwriting or when you're born or if you're the youngest or eldest child and so on.
I had rather forgotten about the book until recently when I was perusing my bookshelves and came across it. I started skimming through it and thought that some of you might enjoy hearing a couple parts of it. Here are some of the things you can analyze about your own handwriting or another person's (again, with a grain of salt, of course ):
How to tell if someone is sincere (page 90):
- Closed tops to "a" and "o" letters.
- A fairly fast speed with a distinct slant to the right.
- An even baseline.
- Signature should be the same size as the rest of the missive.
How to tell if someone is really happy (page 76):
- Rounded loops in the upper or lower zones.
- Steady or regular rhythm within the script.
- Defined extensions on the end strokes - but not too long.
The meaning of doodles (page 83):
- Arrows: an ambitious nature.
- Ladders: a social climber.
- Stars: a determination to succeed.
- Patterns: organizational abilities and power.
Size of script (page 18 - 19):
- Average script: practical, realistic, largely conventional, down-to-earth.
- Large script: inner need to be recognized, expansive nature, inability to concentrate, selfish, lack discipline, restless, optimistic.
- Small script: careful, shy, attention to detail, reliable, loyal, independent, strong and calculating inner drive.
- Variable size script: careless, indecision, moody, wear emotions on their sleeves.
What do you think? Is there any truth to this handwriting analysis? Have you ever analyzed handwriting before? Do you think that what handwriting looks like says something about the person?