Help Your Team Voice Their Concerns

No one wants to upset the boss. That’s why it can be difficult to get candid opinions from your employees. But you need to encourage them to speak up if you want to know about minor issues before they become big problems. If some people are uncomfortable airing concerns in large group settings, initiate more casual one-on-one conversations. You should keep an open door policy, but don’t wait for people to come to you — go out and talk to them yourself. You can get people in the habit of speaking up by routinely asking if there are any issues you should be aware of. Offer regular financial updates so people will know what’s working and what’s not. If they feel that they have a stake in the success of the organization, they’ll be more willing speak up.

Adapted from “How to Get Your Employees to Speak Up” by Rebecca Knight.

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Use Your Commute to Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness, which is all about being in the present moment, can boost creativity, lower stress, and improve concentration. But people miss out because they think they’re too busy to meditate. Consider using your daily commute to practice mindfulness. When you get in the car, take a few deep breaths. Buckle up and become aware of your body. Feel your hands on the steering wheel and your foot on the pedal. As you drive, notice what you are looking at: the road, your windshield, your mirrors. Notice the sounds you hear. Avoid sinking into autopilot. This sounds basic, but concentrating isn’t easy. Our minds wander and we’re tempted to check our phones. Brush these distractions aside and focus on making the most of your time in the car, on a train, or however you travel. You’ll arrive at the office refreshed and ready for the day, and you’ll get home ready to enjoy the evening.

Ask the Right People for References

Don’t underestimate how important references are to the hiring process. Even before you start interviewing, develop a mental list of past and current colleagues who could serve as your references. Your list should have former and current bosses, coworkers, and subordinates. Ask managers who have given you positive performance reviews, coworkers who have thanked you for help on projects, and people who have successfully worked under you. Never ask someone to be a reference if you don’t know for certain what he or she is going to say. If you don’t want colleagues to know you’re considering leaving, offer to provide references outside of your company or offer to provide references once you get a formal job offer. Just make sure to find out what the hiring manager wants to check. For example, if he wants to learn about your leadership style, he should speak to your direct reports.

Adapted from “How to Choose the Right References” by Rebecca Knight.