Laurel and Associates, Ltd.

Category Archives : management and leadership

Tip #684: Engagement or Redirection?

“Engagement may have been optional in the past, but it’s pretty much the whole game today.” Gary Hamel

I recently read about a Forrester Research report on employee engagement (or the lack thereof). It was based on round-table discussions with 40 senior managers from different companies.

The report noted that constant work and communication are two keys to maintaining employee engagement. However, the report also advised employers to “minimize the increased pressure at work.”

I assume that the basis for the recommendation for constant work is the idea that employees who are always busy either are engaged or have no time to become disengaged.

I do wonder at the type of constant work the polled managers had in mind. … Read the rest

Tip #671:  Make Better Hiring Decisions

On May 16, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #671:  Make Better Hiring Decisions

Hiring people is like making friends. Pick good ones, and they’ll enrich your life. Make bad choices, and they’ll bring you down.”  Jason Fried

In the past, hiring decisions were primarily based on a review of the candidates’ resumes and their references. Unfortunately, neither of those sources are completely reliable. Professional resume writers abound who can transform poor qualifications and/or experience into new and misleading statements.

With regard to references, many companies limit a reference response to simple confirmation of the candidate’s employment. In addition, unless the hiring manager knows and trusts the reference, it is possible that the current manager may speak highly of an employee that s/he wants to leave the company.

Even if the resume and/or … Read the rest

Tip #667: When to Adjust Your Management Style

On April 25, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership, By ,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #667: When to Adjust Your Management Style

“The best leaders don’t know just one style of leadership- they are skilled at several and have the flexibility to switch between styles as the circumstances dictate.”  Daniel Goleman

Management style depends on the task, the people and the situation that needs to be managed.

Daniel Goleman has identified six different management styles, each of which may be appropriate depending on the specific situation:

  1. Directive
  2. Authoritative
  3. Affiliative
  4. Participative
  5. Pacesetting
  6. Coaching

The most effective managers move from one style to another to get the best outcome, adopting the one that meets the needs of the moment. An effective manager’s repertoire should include many different management styles.

Six Management Styles
Management Style Main Objective Characteristics Motivational Approach Use Do Not Use
Read the rest

Tip #666:  Are Your Performance Expectations Reasonable?

On April 18, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #666:  Are Your Performance Expectations Reasonable?

“If you align expectations with reality, you will never be disappointed.”  Terrell Owens

There are many reasons why employees are unable to meet performance expectations:

  1. The expectation is not realistic in relation to the employee’s skills, experience or position in the decision-making hierarchy.
  1. The expectations are too vague.
  1. The time limits for the task are unrealistic.
  1. The manager mistakenly assumes that the employee has the necessary knowledge and resources to perform the task.
  1. The manager does not check to see and factor in what the employee is working on at the time and what other deadlines and projects s/he may have.
  1. The manager unrealistically expects the employee to work as long and as hard as the manager does.
  1. The manager
Read the rest

Tip #662: Getting to the Root of a Problem

On March 14, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership,Uncategorized, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #662: Getting to the Root of a Problem
“When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves.” Anthony J. D’Angelo
There are many reasons why solutions to problems are often ineffective, such as the fact that they:

1.     address symptoms rather than the real problem.

2.     are based on insufficient or inaccurate information.

3.     are made for subjective rather than objective reasons.

4.     are made for the sake of expediency.

5.     fix only one part of a larger problem.

6.     are based on the wrong root cause.

7.     are unrealistic.

8.     are the wrong solutions for the real problem.

9.     do not consider all of the contributing factors.

10.  are beyond the scope of those who have to implement them.

11.   solve the

Read the rest

Tip #659:  Generating Ideas with SCAMPER

On February 21, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #659:  Generating Ideas with SCAMPER

“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” Linus Pauling

Whenever there is a need to generate ideas, brainstorming inevitably comes to mind. But there is another method called SCAMPER that puts a spin on brainstorming. SCAMPER stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse.

You go down the list, using each of the words as a prompt for questions to brainstorm, when you want to come up with new ideas to develop or improve a product, process, service or even people.

As with any brainstorming session, some of the answers may not be possible or useful. However, SCAMPER provides a format that can generate more answers than … Read the rest