Resist last-minute errors as you head for the door
At work, most people try to hit the ground running when they arrive in the morning. But how you finish out your workday may be just as important to your productivity. Instead of trying to pack as much as you can into your last few minutes, increase your efficiency by avoiding these activities:
• Big decisions. You’re rushed, you’re tired, and you’re focused on going home. Any decisions you make in a hurry usually won’t be as successful as those you consider when you’re fresh.
• New projects. You won’t make much headway during the last 10 minutes of the day. Make a few notes if you must, but don’t try to get a jump start on important work when you and your co-workers are finishing current jobs.
• Leaving people hanging. Take a look at your commitments from the day. If anyone is waiting for a return phone call or a quick email, get back to him or her before you leave, as long as you can answer questions quickly and succinctly. You want people to know you value their time.
• Obsessing over uncompleted tasks. Checking your to-do list can lead to frustration if you worry about the tasks you didn’t accomplish. Concentrate instead on putting tomorrow’s to-do list together and getting a fresh start in the morning.
• Not saying goodbye. You’ll build better relationships by taking the time to say good night to your co-workers and boss. You don’t have to linger, but you should make sure people know you’re leaving and that you look forward to seeing them tomorrow.
Is your manager too ‘nice’? Get the guidance you need
Most bosses want to be nice to their employees. But sometimes you run into a manager who’s so committed to being friendly and inoffensive that he or she doesn’t provide the kind of direction and feedback you need. If that happens to you, try these tips for enhancing your relationship (as suggested by author and professional coach Lisa Quast on the Forbes website):
• Talk to your boss. Sit down to explain your need for more feedback and guidance. Be clear but polite. Most bosses will be happy to give you the coaching you want once they realize you’re open to it.
• Agree on goals. If your manager simply isn’t inclined to take a more direct approach with you, do your best to develop some solid, measurable goals together. This will give you at least some idea of how well you’re contributing to your organization’s success.
• Volunteer outside your department. Get involved in committees and task forces that bring you into contact with other managers. You’ll learn from different people and receive more of the professional guidance and leadership you’re looking for.
• Look for mentors. Seek out other managers who are willing to coach you and help you develop your skills. Don’t bad-mouth your current boss; simply express interest in maximizing your potential so you can do a better job for your organization.
Meeting success: Ask these three questions
If you spend a lot of time in meetings, as either a leader or participant, you may have noticed that you can’t always tell whether a meeting has been successful or not. Whenever you’re unsure that a meeting has accomplished anything of value, try asking these three questions:
• Was this decision the best one we could make? • Will it be good for the people in the organization? • Will it be good for our customers?
If you can’t answer yes to all three of these questions, then you and your co-workers have more work to do.
Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning.—Malcolm Gladwell
When given an opportunity, deliver excellence and never quit.—Robert Rodríguez
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