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Traci's 2019 Business Tips

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

In the business success equation, don’t forget the importance of the people who make “it” happen. While the bottom line (profit, service delivery) is usually the most important deliverable for any business, and it may seem as if your business can run by itself, don’t be fooled! Business success is the result of the skills and commitment of competent employees who complete and manage all the large and small tasks needed for optimal business operations. (Posted December 15, 2019)

As Thanksgiving approaches, take time to reflect on things you have to be thankful for, such as your health, your family and your job. Acknowledging the goodness in your life and expressing gratitude are powerful tools to assist you in good and bad times. Never let yourself get too busy to appreciate the people and the experiences in your life that bring you joy and contentment. (Posted November 24, 2019)

Work issues that you think are the most important in the world take a back seat when your health fails. You can’t put a price tag on good health; if you lose it, it can be challenging to get it back. Commit to a self-care regimen that improves your odds of developing and maintaining a healthy mind and body so that you can continue to make and weigh in on critical organizational decisions. (Posted November 17, 2019)

Integrity is not situational. You either have it or you don’t. If your team trusts you to be honest, fair and just, they will follow you even when times get hard. If they don’t consistently experience these qualities when dealing with you, when challenges arise, they will scatter like leaves during the fall season. (Posted November 10, 2019)

There are times when you may need to give more than you get. Give direction when requested. Give support when needed. Give praise when warranted. When you give freely, you invariably get back more— a work environment where everyone thrives—than you gave. (Posted November 3, 2019)

Being a leader does not mean you have superpowers and can run a fully functioning organization all by yourself. Oftentimes, even superheroes need help to save the day. If you intend to be an organizational hero, make sure you identify, nurture, and utilize your employees' powers as well! (Posted October 27, 2019)

Laughter is good for the soul but not at the expense of others. It’s not ok when jokes or humor are used to embarrass, hurt, or put someone in their place. While you might think you're being clever, they could be suffering in silence. Make sure you’re clued in to not only how individuals are responding verbally, but to their facial expressions and body language as well. (Posted October 20, 2019)

Don’t burn yourself out because your level-of-importance scale is unbalanced. Everything you do is not a “10.” As such, they should not receive the same level of energy and effort as those things that are. When you feel completely overwhelmed by the tasks ahead of you, pause, check your scale, and assess how important they really are. (Posted October 13, 2019)

Don't let a moment of poor judgment on social media be the start of your professional downfall. Be mindful of how you present yourself. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security because your "friend group" is small. Keep in mind that social media posts are not secret. To minimize problems, hold yourself and others to the same standard of respectful behavior that you expect when interacting in person. (Posted October 6, 2019)

As a leader, if you spend a significant amount of time looking over your employees' shoulders, you have a problem. Talk to your employees to determine how you can best support them. Also, evaluate your hiring practices to determine if you are hiring qualified individuals. If qualified employees are underperforming, ensure that your onboarding and training practices are sound. Finally, back away and let them do the jobs they were hired to do! (Posted September 29, 2019)

As the daylight lessens and the temperatures fall, pay attention to how you are feeling. Are you happy and sparky or moody and snarky? Be a role model; find strategies and activities to avoid or minimize the winter blues. Remember your mood and attitude, good or bad, shape the work environment. (Posted September 22, 2019)

Are employees in certain age groups in no win-situations? Are younger employees’ opinions blown off because they “don’t have enough experience” to offer sound counsel? Are older employees not heard because they “just want things to stay the same”? Don’t throw away the potential innovation and wisdom you can gain from respecting and incorporating feedback from different generations. (Posted September 15, 2019)

Emergency drills are critical components of workplace safety protocols. Don’t moan and groan because you have “more important” things to do. As a leader, your attitude can determine how seriously drills are taken by your subordinates. Learning what to do during a real emergency situation can potentially save your life and the lives of others. (Posted September 8, 2019)

Interrupting others before they can complete their thoughts and “yes, but” are strategies that are detrimental to good, two-way communication. Unless there is a true emergency, give individuals the time they need to express themselves, and then listen with an open mind. When you actively focus on what individuals are communicating, you might be pleasantly surprised by what you learn. (Posted September 1, 2019)

At times it may seem that you are out of sync with other team members. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Your voice may give others the courage to speak up and may sway the team to consider new or additional options. (Posted August 25, 2019)

If you feel guilty for enjoying non-work-related activities, stop that faulty thinking! Don't let family, work, leisure and other aspects of your life suffer because you fail to practice self-care. Say "yes" to a lifestyle that supports your physical and mental health. (Posted August 18, 2019)

Plotting and planning payback for something someone said or did to you is a waste of time. No one is in elementary or middle school, and the work environment is not a playground! Use your time and effort to identify the issue, work to resolve it, and then move on. (Posted August 11, 2019)

When adversity comes knocking at the door, you can ignore it, pretend it’s not there, and hope that it will go away. Or, you can tackle it head-on. If you choose the latter, use the resources available to you—you and your team’s knowledge, internal policies and procedures, and when called for, the law. (Posted August 4, 2019)

​Success breeds success. Don’t just tell others how to be successful; be the example! If you push your employees to be better, but you stay in a rut, which message do you think they will respond to? (Posted July 28, 2019)

Does your quest for perfection cause you to delay starting tasks or leave you feeling defeated and unsatisfied? Don't waste time trying to attain the unattainable. If you instead strive for excellence, you may achieve more and feel better about desired outcomes. (Posted July 21, 2019)

You have the power to choose how to act when confronted with highly stressful situations. During uncertain times, many emotions come into play, including anger and tears. Don't exacerbate problems by beating yourself or others up. Instead, take time to share and listen to concerns, and then strategize on how to address them. (Posted July 14, 2019)

Deliberately sharing outdated, incomplete, or incorrect information is unacceptable. Knowledge truly is power. Don’t let laziness, incompetence, or a desire for unchecked power cause you to neglect your duties of loyalty and care to the organization or its employees. (Posted July 7, 2019)

Don't wait until stress shuts you down. At times in the workforce, events occur, or actions are taken that are beyond your control. There is no shame in reaching out to your network of family and friends to get assistance and support when you need it. (Posted June 30, 2019)

Don't be so distant that you sacrifice meaningful interactions with your employees. Constantly displaying your poker face can create unnecessary stress and confusion. Employees need to see your facial expressions and other body cues in order to gauge your level of interest, engagement, and understanding. (Posted June 23, 2019)

Is the work environment that you foster so sterile that there is no room for people who look, think, or process differently? Don’t miss out on hiring and retaining good people. Failing to truly appreciate diversity and inclusion could lead to you losing the opportunity to identify and utilize the unique talents that everyone has the potential to bring to the organization. (Posted June 16, 2019)

How often, if ever, do you take time to reflect on your growth as a leader? At least annually, assess and celebrate areas of growth and identify areas in need of improvement. Throughout the year, do mini self-checks to ensure you stay on track with your improvement goals. If you follow this plan, you and others will benefit from the strength of your leadership and contributions to the organization. (Posted June 9, 2019)

​Outside “packaging” matters. As a leader, do you take time to ensure that your dress is professional and appropriate for the workplace? If you aren’t setting the standard, don’t be surprised when the bar for professional attire lowers to the point where it’s a clothing (or lack thereof) free for all! (Posted June 2, 2019)

If you are in charge of your budget, don't relinquish that responsibility to others. Not being a "numbers person" is no excuse for not understanding how revenue and expenses relate to the overall management of your program, project, or department. Ask questions and seek clarification when you need to, but don't minimize or neglect your duties. (Posted May 26, 2019)

The intuitive way to handle a personnel matter and the legally compliant way may not be the same. While following your gut may serve you well in some cases, make sure you don’t run afoul of the law. If you are unsure, seek out additional information and guidance before you proceed. (Posted May 19, 2019)

If being right is your most important objective, check yourself. Make sure you're not throwing people under the bus to make yourself look better. Being the "best" doesn't necessarily equate to being right all the time. Being the best means you are living up to your full potential. If you are being the best you that you can be, positive recognition will naturally follow. (Posted May 12, 2019)

Leadership is not like a coat that you put on and take off based on environmental conditions. Great leaders are those who are steadfast in their convictions and who consistently relay expectations and provide appropriate guidance and support even when they don't feel like it or are having a bad day. (Posted May 5, 2019)

How do you handle yourself when the person up your chain of command is creating or exacerbating problems? If you are in a leadership position, it is not an option for you to ignore the concerns and hope they go away or resolve themselves. Be brave! Schedule a time to discuss your concerns and be prepared to offer input on how they can be addressed. Most reasonable individuals are open to ways to improve. (Posted April 28, 2019)

Do you know what your professional non-negotiables are? Take time to figure these out before you are in the heat of the moment. It's better to have identified and communicated your values before you are put into a position to have to defend or compromise them or to make a choice to walk away from your job. (Posted April 21, 2019)

Do you trust your decision-making or are you always second-guessing your decisions? Not having a clear direction can create unnecessary confusion for employees. While no decision is ever set in stone, make sure you do your research and seek input, as needed, before relaying plans that constantly change. (Posted April 14, 2019)

Assistance should not be provided with a dose of disdain. If you can’t be gracious, it’s better to decline. Making someone feel less than, when they ask for assistance, is a guarantee that they won’t seek help and guidance when they really need it. (Posted April 7, 2019)

While you may believe that you are a “natural” leader, don’t lose sight of the fact that every leader has room to grow. Don’t rest on your laurels. Instead, continue to seek out resources that help you to grow professionally. You also have a responsibility to ensure that individuals who are new to leadership positions have access to ongoing training and support as they develop their skills. A good investment for any leader is to hone your communication as well as conflict management and resolution skills. (Posted March 31, 2019)

Strive to incorporate strategic thinking and actions into your leadership toolbox. Be deliberate in scanning your external environment for changes that may have a significant impact on your organization. If you only focus on the day-to-day, you may miss new opportunities and impending threats. (Posted March 24, 2019)

If an employee's behavior, demeanor or performance has noticeably changed, don't turn a blind eye. Check in with them to see if there are appropriate supports that you can provide. While you should never play armchair psychologist, being aware of employees’ mental and emotional health may help prevent more severe problems down the line. Finally, if you have an employee assistance program (EAP), spring is an excellent time to remind all employees of its availability. (Posted March 17, 2019)

If you have an immediate and intense negative reaction to an individual with whom you interact in the workplace, take time to identify the root cause of the issue. If something needs to be addressed, do so quickly and professionally. It is not acceptable to ignore, demean or otherwise potentially treat someone unfairly because you don't care for them. (Posted March 10, 2019)

Sloppy hiring practices can lead to significant problems down the road. Ensure you are consistently following your organization's written recruitment and hiring policies and procedures to avoid mistakes such as failing to check references, making inappropriate comments during the interview or on applicant materials or discarding applicant materials prematurely. Better to take your time on the front end rather than have a mess to clean up on the back end. (Posted March 3, 2019)

If you believe that your contribution to the organization is undervalued, don't sit and stew about it! Ask for what you need or for what you think you are worth. Be prepared to explain why you believe you deserve better compensation, benefits, recognition, etc. If you don't advocate for what you want or need, the blame rests with you. (Posted February 24, 2019)

How you bounce back from professional setbacks, sets the tone for the work environment. If you sulk and complain, your employees will follow your lead and soon everything is doom and gloom. If you are resilient and bounce back with new and better ways to tackle challenges, employees will be more likely to embrace and contribute to the new direction. (Posted February 17, 2019)

Be true to your personal values. Even if you feel compelled internally or by others, don’t compromise your integrity. After all, when all is said and done, you have to live with the decisions and their consequences. (Posted February 10, 2019)

Respect is a two-way street. Take time to assess if you are giving the same respect that you expect from others. If you can’t answer in the affirmative with absolute confidence, determine what changes you need to make. Remember that respect can't be mandated; it must be earned. (Posted February 3, 2019)

When a problem seems insurmountable, and you’re tired and fed up, pause but don’t quit. You are more than capable of finding and implementing a solution. Think of the satisfaction you’ll experience when you resolve the issue! (Posted January 27, 2019)

Don't let fear of change stop you from having the future you desire. The start of a new year is an excellent time to do a realistic assessment of your career goals. Are you doing work that feeds your soul? Do you have the education and credentials you need to feel confident in your abilities, perform at a high-level, or to advance in your chosen field? If not, now is the time to make changes and take steps to reach your goals. (Posted January 20, 2019)

Don’t neglect to express your gratitude on a regular basis for the work that your employees do. A sincere "thank you" helps to boost employee morale and dedication. When people feel appreciated, they are more likely to try harder, encourage others, and go the extra mile. (Posted January 13, 2019)

Strive to surround yourself with knowledgeable, self-confident individuals who are not only encouraged, but expected to challenge the status quo. Independent thinkers will serve you and your organization much better than blind followers. (Posted January 6, 2019)

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