Managing yourself creatively

…Make yourself Indispensable? CONTINUED….

Upgrade Your Performance

Most of us tend to view our work, after a while, as routine; consequently, there is the ever-present danger of settling for routine performance. If you would like to upgrade the quality of your work, try this extraordinary experiment.

For two weeks, be a perfectionist. Take infinite pains with every detail of your job. Write letters over as many times as necessary to make them say precisely what you mean, no more, no less. Review and modify decisions until they appear flawless. Handle each task like a great artist putting the finishing touches on his masterpiece. Obviously, you are responsible for a certain volume of work and cannot be a driving perfectionist all the time, but the discipline of this two-week-long experiment will carry over to your future work and leave an indelible stamp of quality on it.

Get Your Subordinates to Produce

To a large degree, your value to your firm hinges on the performance of those who work under you. If they get things done, you rightfully share in the overall accomplishment. If they do not produce, again you are rightfully held responsible. To get your subordinates working on all cylinders, try this program:

Know Your People

The continuous study of “what makes them tick” is a must for getting things done through people. Human motives and attitudes are important clues for the executive and they can be determined only by careful scrutiny of every individual under you. Since security is the main drive in most people, giving recognition to the contribution of others and to their role in your company or department is a useful starting point in getting them to put forth their best efforts.

Of course, people vary widely in their other characteristics. Well- timed praise may spur one person to new heights of achievement, but it may only inflate another. The skillful executive constantly hunts for the right approach with each individual. For background, he searches beyond the office or plant. Since people’s motives and attitudes are heavily conditioned by personal situations, a tactful drawing-out of subordinates can often supply invaluable information for understanding them.

Set a Good Example

If you are irregular in your own work habits, late for appointments, fuzzy in expressing yourself, careless about facts, bored in attitude, the people under you probably will be, too. On the other hand, if you set and live up to a high standard yourself, in all probability they will be eager to follow your good example.

Be Considerate

Few things contribute more to building a hard-working team than a considerate chief. Be calm and courteous toward your subordinates. Consider the effects on them of any decisions you make. Take into account their problems, both business and personal. Do all you can to build up their pride in their work and their self-respect.

Be Consistent

If you “fly off the handle”, you are likely to frighten your people into their shells; if you vacillate wildly in reaction, mood and manner, you will probably bewilder them. Neither pattern of behavior will win you their confidence and cooperation, which you must have to get things done. People follow only that leader whose course is steady and whose actions are predictable.

Emphasize Skill, Not Rules

Judge your subordinates’ actions by their results in terms of increasing both the strength of your department and the satisfaction of the human needs of the people who work in it. Go easy on pat rules, for doing it “by the book” isn’t always the most satisfactory way. If an unorthodox solution works effectively and pleases the people who use it, don’t discount it just because it isn’t “according to Hoyle”.

Listen Thoughtfully and Objectively

The boss who knows his people, their habits, worries, ambitions, and touchy points come to appreciate why they behave as they do and what motives stir them. The best and fastest way to know them is to encourage them to talk freely, without fear of ridicule or disapproval. Try to understand how others actually feel on a subject and whether or not you feel the same way. Never dominate a conversation or meeting by doing all the talking yourself if you want to find out where your people stand.

Give Objectives

Your subordinates should have a sense of direction – know where they’re going, what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it – in order to plan their time intelligently and work effectively. Good employees seldom enjoy working from day to day. Therefore, make clear the relationship between their daily work and “the big picture” – the larger company objectives.

“Disguise” Instructions as Suggestions or Requests

If your people have initiative and ability, you will get vastly better results in this way than you will by giving orders or commands. Issue the letter only as a last resort. If you find that you have to give orders all the time, you had better re-examine the way you have been handling your own job.