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6 Ways to Empower Your Employees

March 11th, 2014

The term “empowerment” rose to prominence in the late 1980s and saw considerable use through the 1990s in conjunctionEmpowering Your Employees with the total quality management (TQM) movement. Its use has been so widespread that the term itself has become a buzzword. We’re told repeatedly that we must empower employees to enable them to make their best possible contributions to organizational success; we’re told this as though it were something new, some late-twentieth-century discovery.

The verb “empower” contains its own simple definition: to give power to. A look into any dictionary or thesaurus reveals that one of the several synonyms for “empowerment” is “delegation.” A similar look at “delegation” shows “empowerment” as a synonym. Delegation and empowerment have essentially the same meaning, yet many present day experts tell us: Don’t just delegate to employees–empower them.

Although empowerment may be described in a variety of ways, its essence remains giving employees control of their jobs and letting them make their own decisions and solve their own problems. Therefore, there’s no difference between empowerment and proper delegation. Therein lies the problem; delegation has been so widely misused and abused that the term itself has become hopelessly tarnished. The conscientious delegating manager—or honest empowering manager—clearly defines employees’ limits and keeps hands off as long as they operate within these limits and deliver the expected results.

Read the rest of this entry »

Respectful Communicator: The Part You Play

March 7th, 2014

Respectful Communication in the WorkplaceAre you a respectful communicator? How would you know if you were not one, and why should you care? The truth is, on any given day, each one of us has opportunities to build others up, or tear them down, with the words we say (and how we say them). Striving to communicate in a respectful manner is crucial to individual and organizational success.

The first step to becoming a respectful communicator is understanding that it goes beyond not using swear words or avoiding blatantly discriminatory language. It requires that we adopt a mindset of inclusion–making the effort to ensure we understand what someone has said, caring about the way we come across and showing people we value their ideas. Read the rest of this entry »

Training Success Story: 5 Questions Every Leader Must Ask

March 3rd, 2014

Training Success in BusinessThe Problem:
A financial services company with 260 employees needed leaders who knew how to get the most from their teams, especially when so many were asked to do more with fewer people.

The Solution:
Managers, supervisors and the company’s process improvement committee took to heart the mindset-shifting message in CRM’s compelling video, 5 Questions Every Leader Must Ask. The core concept? Managers don’t have all the answers, but they do need to ask the right questions to draw out peak performance from every member on their teams.

The Success Story:
Anyone who has ever managed a diverse team knows that it takes hard work to get every member to contribute, even when the chemistry is good. Many leaders at this company found 5 Questions Every Leader Must Ask to be a valuable new way to approach the philosophy of leadership, especially when so many were feeling the heavy weight of added responsibility resting on their shoulders. Read the rest of this entry »

Helping People Through Workplace Change

February 27th, 2014

Helping People Through Workplace ChangeEven under the best of circumstances, human beings struggle with change in the workplace. Much of this is due to the fact that workplace change typically involves a fundamental alteration of the methods and procedures with which we have become comfortable. This in turn can make us bitter and resistant. We may lose our perspective and our ability to perceive our situation accurately. We may tell ourselves “we’re no good” at what we do anymore. Or, we may think we’d be better off in a different workplace and quit.

It is very common for people to dwell on the “good old days” to the point where they reject a new direction or method altogether–leading to a whole different set of problems between employees and co-workers and employees and supervisors.

Many organizations address this reality by offering training that helps employees reflect honestly on how change affects them emotionally, psychologically and physically. These employees can then build on their increased awareness and develop specific strategies to meet the needs underlying their personal reaction to change.

The Taking Charge of Change, Revised Edition video training program is a proven organizational change management tool. Built on William Bridges’ change cycle, the video uses vignettes Read the rest of this entry »

Demystifying Soft-Skills Training

February 21st, 2014

Communication. Teamwork. Conflict resolution Conducting effective performance reviews. Problem-solving and ethical decision-making.

Soft skills such as these have a reputation for being hard to teach.  Many executives question the return on investment for soft-skills training, and many employees simply roll their eyes when they’re asked to attend team building or communication skills sessions.

Yet at the same time, hiring managers tell us they struggle to find applicants with the interpersonal skills or critical-thinking ability they seek in qualified candidates.

So what’s the big deal with soft-skills training?  Why does it seem so hard to do, and is that difficulty real, or just perceived? Read the rest of this entry »

The Pygmalion Effect

February 19th, 2014

The Pygmalion EffectMuch has been written about the Pygmalion Effect, but what is it? More importantly, how can it affect you and your organization?

The Pygmalion Effect, sometimes referred to as a “self-fulfilling prophecy”, occurs when the expectations we have for another (be they positive or negative) influence that person’s performance. The phenomenon has been studied and documented numerous times both in business and education.

The illuminating video The Pygmalion Effect  uses a variety of vignettes and real-world case studies to show how teachers and managers unwittingly transmit expectations to employees and students. Time and time again, viewers see that high expectations lead to improved performance while low expectations lead to diminished performance. Read the rest of this entry »

Verbal Communication: The Power of Words

February 15th, 2014

Any organization can benefit from improved communication.  And what better way to help people brush up on their Communication & Listening Training Videoscommunication skills than through right-way, wrong-way visual examples? Verbal Communication: The Power of Words is a proven video training program that shows how, in today’s busy work environments, messages are often received in ways other than what the speaker intended.

Using compelling workplace vignettes and the analogy of an air traffic controller speaking to a pilot, the video shows that communication is most successful when the following things are in place: Read the rest of this entry »

Polishing Your Presentation Skills

February 12th, 2014

Public Speaking and Communication SkillsPerhaps you think your career does not entail delivering any presentations. Well, this is where you might be wrong because no matter what your job is, presentation skills ultimately will come into the picture in some ways. This article, therefore, focuses on the significance of presentation skills in the marketplace and in your career.

You have heard it before … public speaking is the number one human fear. Studies show that this fear ranks ahead of the fear of death for many people. Some people are born presenters. Most are not. Hence, you are not alone when you say that you do not enjoy delivering presentations and speaking in front of a large audience. Stage fright is inevitable. And yet, speak well and you can rise to the top of your organization or industry. Good presenters are quickly recognized as rising stars and catapult over their “mouth-full-of-sawdust” colleagues.

Communication is a vital key in this new century. All of us will, at some time or another, chair meetings, deliver presentations, training or workshops, either to internal or external customers. It gives an edge to keep abreast with the fast pace of the times. Presentation skills definitely work towards this goal. Maybe you are up for a presentation delivery soon and you need valuable tips. Or perhaps, you see the link between success and effective presentation skills, and have realized that effective presentation skills can be a great ally. Read the rest of this entry »

Race Without a Finish Line

February 10th, 2014

Race without a Finish LineHighly successful organizations typically don’t settle for “good enough.” Good enough is barely a step above mediocrity, and that just doesn’t cut it in today’s hyper-competitive world.

To stay on top, organizations must always be asking themselves:

  • Is our product as good as it could be?  And, if the answer is no…they make it better.
  • Is our organization as effective as it could be?  And, if it’s not, they work to address ineffectiveness wherever it is found.
  • Are there new opportunities available to us? And, if there are, they figure out how to take seize those opportunities.

Employees in successful organizations aren’t just in a race with the competition…they are in a race with themselves.  A race to achieve the best that is within them. Read the rest of this entry »


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