In a landmark ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court has upheld that Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to sexual orientation and gender identity as well. This ruling was unexpected and long overdue- a major victory for equality in the workplace!
According to this ruling, employers are no longer permitted to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. In the words of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch “an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law."
So what does this mean for employers? For most of us, not much. As long as you're firing individuals because of reasons like performance issues, nothing will change. However, for those who want to fire someone simply based on being transgender or homosexual, you could face consequences.
Whether you are a team leader, or entrepreneur, or manager, one things is for sure- you are under the constant pressure of deadlines. However, there's one key step you can always take to make sure that everything on you plate is handled- delegating. Want to know how? Here's our top 5 tips on how to delegate:
1. Learn to let it go
As a manager, one of the hardest transitions to make is being responsible for just your own work to being responsible for the work of others. Often, we want to do things ourselves in order to avoid having to train others or out of fear that they won't do it correctly. However, as a manager, it;s essential that you learn to let it go and trust your team.
2. Establish a priority system
One great way to determine what to delegate is developing a priority system. This can vary based on expertise, your organization, and the type of task involved, but the general principle remains the same. Keep the highest skilled task on your plate, while those with lower skill requirements can be assigned to others. Delegating with this method can save tons of your time and effort, while not having to waste time training staff members on complicated processes.
3. Know your employee's strengths
When you know what each of your employees are excellent at, you can use this knowledge to optimize the quality of work you receive back on your delegated tasks. Is Carol a great writer? Have her tackle that press release for you! Jane is an excel junkie? Let her create the charts you need for a presentation.
4. Always include instructions
Even if the task seems to be simple, make sure that you include instruction with everything you delegate. Be sure to set a firm deadline as well so that the task doesn't get put on the back burner. Include straightforward instructions with a clear due date will help in avoiding the communication gap, and you can get your task done in the way you want. It's a proactive strategy that both you and your employees will appreciate.
5. Trust, but verify
Once you have delegated the task to your employee, let them take it from there. You delegated to get this item off your plate and no one likes a micromanager. However, make sure you let the employee know that you're free to answer questions and offer support as needed. Then, verify the completed work is up to standard when completed and provide any feedback you have so that the employee knows for the future.
Delegating is not an easy task, but it can be an incredible time-saver for any busy manager. Be sure to follow these tips as you improve your delegating process and it's sure to be a load off your plate in the future!
You've gone through the hard process of hiring. Countless interviews, hours of pouring over resumes, and you've finally found the one! Most managers at this point are chomping at the bit to make the offer. However, it's a huge mistake to skip one last step- reference calls.
Why? Well, there are countless horror stories out there on the internet of managers who discovered that their dream employee was actually a convicted embezzler or quit their last job in a flourish of sabotage. However, on a less dramatic scale, talking to references gives you valuable insight into how employees actually behave in the workplace. So far, all you have to go off of is the word of your potential new superstar. We all want to think the best of ourselves though. Talking to a former manager can give you a sense of what it's really like to work with this employee.
I'd also advise avoiding an emailed questionnaire. You get a lot more context from a phone call than you do an email. The reference's tone of voice and inflection can give you insight that you may have not gathered otherwise. It also gives you the opportunity to ask follow-up questions and probe deeper into the comments they made.
My favorite questions to ask references include:
We've all been there. You like your employee. They're a great person, they've got a family to support, but their performance just isn't what it needs to be. As a manager, you need to give them feedback. Like many of us, you may be tempted to try and deliver your feedback in the nicest way possible. However, this actually may do more harm than good!
When managers sugarcoat their feedback, what often happens is that the specifics get lost in the attempt to make your criticism as nice as possible. Employees may leave the conversation confused as to what they need to do or worse- they have no idea they just received a critique! So how do you deliver feedback without losing the message in the niceness? Here's my advice:
1. Be clear and to the point
Make sure you're making the point in crystal-clear language. This may seem harsh, so I like to start with a compliment, then move into the critique. For example, "Ann, I really appreciate your positivity and the energy you bring to our team. However, your sales have been below 20% this past month. What's going on?"
2. Lay out expectations and consequences
Often, managers leave the conversation open-ended without clearly laying out what they need to see going forwards. This puts employees at a huge disadvantage, as they can't reach your goals if they don't know what they are! Say something like "I need to see your sales above 20% by May 1st. Otherwise, we'll need to terminate your employment. Given that, what can I do to support you so we can get your sales back up?"
3. Follow up via email
After the conversation, document what was said in clear terms via email. I like using bullet points for this. State what issue was addressed, what the expectation is (including a deadline), and what you can offer to help them overcome this issue. By sending this email, you make sure that the employee doesn't forget anything that was said during the meeting, especially if emotions were high.
Change is hard. But what may be even harder is managing that change. Managers face a slew of complaints, concerns, and more when changes are implemented. However, it doesn't need to be a nightmare. Here's my secret to addressing the top complaints you'll hear when change is coming and how to avoid headaches down the road.
1. But that's the way we've always done it!
Lord, this complaint is one of my biggest pet peeves. Change is a good thing- otherwise women wouldn't have the right to vote, alcohol would still be illegal, and your cell phone wouldn't exist! While I certainly don't advocate change simply for change's own sake, it's important to grow and develop to avoid becoming obsolete. When met with this objection, I like to make sure that I'm being completely transparent about why the change is taking place. Many employees may not normally be given the reason for change- they're just told that change is happening, end of story. By explaining the reasoning, you allow them to become invested in the change and see the benefits, especially ways that the change will benefit them as employees. Now, some employees will dig their heels in just for the sake of being contrary. However, for most reasonable employees, if the change is soundly based in logic, simply explaining why can be enough to dispel this objection.
2. We don't have time for that
Often, implementing change involves a workload that's higher than normal. However, any good project manager will have a plan in place to address this. Determine what projects or tasks may need to be pushed back to accommodate this. Get feedback from your team members so that you can make them feel valued and get a realistic understanding of how the change will affect their workload. Consider bringing in a temp during the transitional period. Then, communicate this all to your team upfront.
3. We tried that before and it didn't work
For long-time employees, this can be a common and reasonable concern. If they've seen time wasted on an initiative in the past, why why it be any different this time? This is why its important that prior to implement change you look at the history of the organization and get feedback from employees. If its been a failed attempt in the past, why did it fail? What are you going to do that's different? Then, communicate this to your staff up front.
Seeing a theme here? The best way to avoid objection and push back is clear and early communicate. By gathering feedback from your staff, they feel invested in the success of the project. Addressing their objections up front allows you to both get their buy in and address any roadblocks that you may have not anticipated.
Now, go forth and make that change happen!
This week, I had the opportunity to chat with author Angela Smith about my career, inspiration, and some relationship advice. You can read all about my opinion on relationship dynamics, what a day in my life looks like, and more! Check it out here.
If there's one thing I always tell new employees, it's this: documenting is your best friend.
Have a problem employee? Documenting from day 1 can take letting them go that much easier. Employee does amazing work and tackles multiple projects with ease? If you write it down, performance reviews will be a breeze and you won't risk forgetting important accomplishments. Alternatively, if performance wasn't up to par, documenting can make your evaluation objective and fair. Want to stay on top of all the projects your team is on? Document with project management software, emails, or even a giant whiteboard behind your desk! When in doubt, document.
To demonstrate, let me share the story of the first person I ever fired. When I was promoted, I started creating performance metrics for all of my staff. I wanted to make sure that I was objective in my evaluations of staff and could keep an eye on their performance. To my surprise, I discovered that one employee had done no work in the past 8 years. Absolutely zero- his job was to delete records and none had been deleted in 8 years. I was flabbergasted.
Had this been caught in his first year on the job, perhaps he could have been retrained. However, because I caught it so late and previous conversations with supervisors were not documented, I had to start from scratch and go through the process of a PIP. Moral of the story, document from day one. Don't let problems marinade for years before taking action. By recording issues from the day they start, you can help to catch issues early and make your job easier in the long run.
Is there a time you wish you had documented? Share below!
This week we talked with Dr. Donna Marie Cozine, Founder and CEO of Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts. Donna is an educational leader and the author of So You Want to Be a Superintendent: Become the Leader you Were Meant to Be! You can visit her online at www.consultdmc.com.
Tell me about yourself!
I am the founder and CEO of Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts. Although people don't usually associate entrepreneurship with education, that is exactly what charter schools are about. We create an innovative school environment from scratch that empowers and changes the lives of children who otherwise would have poor educational options. I have been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, adjunct college professor, curriculum writer, author and now CEO/superintendent. I have two beautiful children who attend my school and an incredibly supportive husband.
What made you decide to start your own school?
I was an executive coach for leaders in the Rochester City School District, the school district with the worst outcomes in the nation, when I realized that parents needed better options for their children's education. I was also thinking about school for my then 3-year-old and 10-month-old. I decided that I would use my skills and talents to architect an elementary school for children that used the arts to grow other competencies. That school, Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts, is in its 7th year of operation with over 500 students and 93 staff members. We consistently have hundreds of children on our wait list each year.
What's the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?
Being the "head cook and bottle washer" can be trying at times! Also, it is a truly a 24/7 proposition. You need to be available to address concerns whenever they arise.
What's your favorite part?
Knowing that what I am doing is improving the lives of thousands of children and their families.
What advice would you give to women either working in business or starting their own?
Align your mission to your position and be true to yourself in all that you do. Don't compromise or sacrifice what you want to do. It will come.
What is your favorite quote?
What doesn't challenge you doesn't change you!
You know what one of the quickest ways to kill morale in the workplace is? Micromanaging your employees. When managers clock-watch, micromanage, and aren't flexible, it makes employees feel undervalued and can kill morale and retention. So what can you do? Here are my top three tips!
1. Be Flexible
Ultimately, your employees have lives outside of work. Kids get sick, emergencies happen, and sometimes 9-5 isn't possible for a day. By allowing your employees to work from home, come in later, or leave a little early, you can give them a benefit that they'll value just as much as a raise or great health insurance. For many, flexibility when needed is invaluable and a higher-paying job may not be worth leaving over. If you're able to offer it, make flexibility a priority for your team.
2. Don't Clock-Watch
There's nothing more demoralizing than being told that you're 5 minutes late returning for lunch when you've been putting in 50 hour work weeks. Unless it's truly egregious, avoid the temptation to clock your employees. Of course, with hourly employees, you need to be more mindful and pay them for all hours worked. However, as a general rule, 5 minutes is not worth demoralizing your team over.
3. Trust Their Expertise
You hired your staff for a reason. Micromanaging is one of the biggest complaints I hear from employees. While you should check work, you don't need to breathe over your employee's shoulders. In addition, nothing empowers your staff more than allowing them to make decisions. Do you really need to sign off on every waived fine? Think about what you can do to empower your staff and show your confidence in them. It'll take a load off your plate and help keep your staff morale high!
Have you ever felt micromanaged at work? What do you wish your employer had done instead? Comment below!
This week we talked with Caitlin Brookes of MyPropella. Caitlin is the Founder and CEO of MyPropella, an online platform creating a community of solo female travelers to connect and travel together. Caitlin holds a UNSW Bachelor of Social Science and a UNSW Masters in Planning. In addition to the demands of her CEO role with MyPropella, Caitlin provides consultation services in relation to social media communications strategy, community and stakeholder engagement and community engagement events. You can visit Caitlin online at mypropella.com.au/.
Tell me about your business!
Many women travel solo due to circumstance, not choice. We match women travelers so they can travel safely, in comfort and with ease to their chosen destination.
How did you business come about?
I’m an avid traveler having traveled to 35 countries. I experienced this problem first hand when travelling solo to Africa. I found it hard to connect and meet with like minded female travelers to share my travel experience with. I started researching by interviewing and surveying over 200 women and discovered women were experiencing the same issue as me. This was mainly felt by women aged 50 years and over.
What's the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?
Stamina and the persistence to keep going when you have a health setback.
What's your favorite part?
Continually learning new skills like web development, financial management, people management and working on my passion project.
What advice would you give to women either working in business or starting their own?
Find supportive women who can mentor and encourage you.
What's your favorite quote?
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.