Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

5 Tips to Inspire Teams

My mom sent me a great short article on inspiring people. The rules for inspiring others listed below can be used in all kinds of leadership settings.

Ron Clark taught elementary school in North Carolina. After watching a program about a New York City school that had a hard time attracting qualified teachers, he decided to head to New York with the goal of teaching in one of its toughest schools. Clark eventually landed a job doing just that—in Harlem. He asked if he could teach a class of fifth-graders who had been performing at a second-grade level. The school’s administrators wanted to give him the gifted class, but Clark insisted on the underperforming students. In one school year, Clark’s fifth-grade class outperformed the gifted class. [Read more]

Some ‘rules’ identified in the article include:
1. Raise expectations
2. Explain why before how
3. Encourage celebration and praise
4. Show genuine interest beyond business
5. Be positive and enjoy life

Categories: Leadership, Work

Public School Strikes Again

April 8, 2008 2 comments

A large part of my work day today was spent reading reviews. I am shocked at the lack of writing skills that were displayed. The spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes were almost overwhelming; sentence structure was nearly non-existent (is that the correct use of a semicolon?). As someone who appreciates good writing it was difficult to continue reading through the errors. I know that going to college is expensive and not always an option for everyone, but one of the great benefits of all the reading and writing you do there is the development of skills which will differentiate you from many others in the workplace.

Categories: Work

Where I’ve Been

March 5, 2008 2 comments

I got hit with a nasty bug that had me down and out for about 5 days. It was pretty rough working everyday while trying to squeeze in as much sleep as possible but I made it through.

Stephanie wanted me to call in sick to work a couple times but I just don’t have it in me. I feel too much responsibility to my team, my peers and my store. Plus, there were some others things going on that I wanted to be apart of and I believe that if you’re too sick to work you’re too sick to do anything else, so I had no choice but to work.

Sunday night was the worst. I had the closing shift and I actually had to call and ask Stephanie to come pick me up at 9:00pm. She was amazing and she came with no complaint. I married a real good woman!

Categories: Life, Work

Fire Fast!

February 14, 2008 Leave a comment

Tony Morgan gave a talk at a conference recently about 10 mistakes he’s made in leadership; Tim Stevens blogged the list and ironically (for a reason you’ll see below) the very first one was:

#1 Hiring Too Fast. Firing Too Slow.

I have scene first hand the carnage that firing too slow leaves behind. At my company all new employees get a learning period. After that learning period it is very difficult to let people go. Therefore it is extremely important that people are evaluated and decisions are made about their performance in a timely manner. And in the unfortunate times that things aren’t working out, people have to be let go. If this doesn’t happen you get stuck with people who hold others back, frustrate their leaders, accomplish little, and are detrimental to the rest of the team.

Today, for the first time, I had to bring an employee into my office and inform them that they were being terminated. It was unpleasant. I was nervous and my stomach was kind of feeling weird. But I had to do it. The person had shown, over an extended period of time, a pattern of behavior that was hurting the team and they had done nothing to change their behavior after being coached on it several times. I knew that letting them go would be tough, but in all honesty, the pain of letting someone go is much less than the problems that come when someone is kept around too long.

Categories: Leadership, Work

What I Did On My Time Off

February 11, 2008 1 comment

After four days of being off I am headed back to work today. It was a nice break. I had a lot of fun being with Stephanie and the kids. Some highlights of my time off are…

– meeting and talking with the pastor at our new church
– sleeping in until 8 instead of 6
– watching my little bro play hockey twice
– shoveling the driveway and watching my son play in the snow
– watching some of Hockey Day in Minnesota
– changing out two vehicles headlights (major accomplishment for me!)
– taking the family to A&W, IKEA, and the airport

Letting work go to fully enjoy my time off was difficult. As a new employee I am constantly thinking about working hard to get the job done well and looking for opportunities to supersede my daily responsibilities. Checking my work email at home and seeing issues pop up isn’t a good idea. It just adds unnecessary stress. I’ll have to work on this in the future.

Categories: Family, Work

Leadership Lessons from Work

February 5, 2008 Leave a comment

Some things I have been learning at work (maybe they’ll apply to your life as well) …

– You have to own your own development. No one is just going to hand things to you that will magically make you grow.
– Some of the best lessons are found in trial and error, evaluation, and trying again.
– Conflict usually isn’t as bad as we think it is going to be.
– A lot of problems can be avoided with a simple conversations.
– Everyone requires recognition in a different form. Identify it and give it.
– Slowing down to think and evaluate is difficult. But it is worth the effort.
– Setting aside your feelings about a person to objectively evaluate their performance is tough.
– Most people want to be trained so they can succeed.
– It is crucial to have your ‘aces’ in the right places, at the right times.

Categories: Leadership, Work

Leadership Lessons: The Challenge of Asserting Yourself

January 18, 2008 Leave a comment

I love my job. Most days. One of the hardest parts of my job is leading people who have been in a position for a long time. With the way my company runs things people in my position come and go around every 18 months. However, many times the people we manage have been in position for many years.

This is a huge leadership challenge, especially as a 28 year old working with 35-50 year olds. It has been difficult for me to lead when I am challenged back or when I’m told me idea is wrong. Sometimes when I approach individuals I’m told not to worry about it, that they’ve got it, and I’m kind of left standing there like, “Ah…ok?”

A big learning for me right now is how to lead people who don’t just follow. Does that make sense? I have to earn the right to lead people. Coming in and just barking orders is a very bad idea. And yet I am their boss, so I have to pick the right times to assert myself whether or not that assertion is received positively. I’m not a confrontation guy at all so there are moments in my week when I really feel stretched.

Through it all I’m thankful because I know that I am acquiring experiences and skills that I can build on for the rest of what God has ahead of me. But there are those days where I just feel small. And on those days I gotta push through.

Are you having to push through anything right now? Don’t back down. Go for it and overcome the obstacles that you face. You will be better for facing it. And God will use whatever your circumstance to shape and form you for your good.

Categories: Leadership, Work