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Memos to Managers

Empower to the people: 7 ways to help employees grow

09/27/2010

When managers create an environment that helps empower their employees, some employees will jump on the bandwagon and act empowered right away. But many of them just don’t have the confidence to risk failing or take actions without consulting a supervisor every step of the way. Here is a seven-step model for encouraging and motivating employees.

How to turn employee conflict into a positive, productive force

08/30/2010

If you manage a team that’s stuck in a rut or not working up to its full potential, it may have nothing to do with the drive and talent of the participants. They all may want to succeed and be giving 100% effort, but the results can still disappoint. The problem could be conflict—not too much, but too little.

Checking applicant references: How to dig the dirt–legally

07/26/2010

As part of the hiring process, supervisors are sometimes called on to check an applicant’s references. Those phone calls can help you accurately assess a person’s strengths, weaknesses and past job performance. But checking references can also be challenging—and legally tricky. Here are six guidelines for soliciting information without bumping into legal issues:

The fine art of persuasion: How to sell ideas to your staff

06/25/2010
In the workplace and the sporting world, teams that buy into their coach’s vision have a much better chance of success. How can you get your team all working toward the same goal—your goal? Start by following these four steps to build support:

10 warning signs of low morale … and 7 ways to boost it

06/01/2010

Low morale can easily creep into a department without supervisors realizing it. But once it’s there, it’s hard to root out. Check every day to make sure people stay in tune. Here are 10 sour notes to listen for, according to the new book, Leadership When the Heat’s On:

How to write effective and legal job descriptions

05/25/2010
Job descriptions are the cornerstone of communication between managers and their employees. After all, it’s hard for supervisors to measure job effectiveness during performance reviews unless they and the employee both know what’s expected. Here’s how to do job descriptions right.

What do employees want from their managers?

05/14/2010

Inspiring leader … Quiet problem-solver … Compassionate mentor. Different employees crave different things from their managers. Unless you’re a mind reader, it’s impossible to know exactly what your staff wants from you. But a survey of 500 U.S. employees—published in the book, What People Want, by Terry Bacon—reveals what matters most to workers.

Look beyond cliches and puffery to find resume truths

04/07/2010

As unemployment continues to hover near 10%, the temptation to stretch the truth on a résumé is becoming harder for desperate job-seekers to resist. That’s why experts say job applicants are doing more “creative writing” on their résumés these days. And hiring managers need to be more vigilant. Some tips:

Having ‘the talk’: Wise words for discipline discussions

03/12/2010

Being an effective manager means confronting those “challenging” employees who, while typically good at their jobs, too often display unprofessional or downright obnoxious behavior. The best way to tackle such problems is to meet with employees right when you spot the problem behavior. Follow these guidelines, which have the side benefit of protecting the organization from employee claims that they weren’t treated fairly.

5 ways to extract great ideas from your employees

01/26/2010

Employees are often the best sources of ideas because they are closest to the daily details of the organization. But too often, employees are sitting on great cost-saving, business-generating ideas because they’ve never been specifically asked. Here are five strategies to help encourage their input.