Traci's 2021 Business Tips

Updated: Apr 5

Giving equal weight to all of your tasks and projects might be your goal, but it is almost impossible to do, especially over the long term. So before randomly jumping in, consider the amount of time you have, standards for acceptable work products, and critical deadlines. Then prioritize, so you consistently allot appropriate amounts of time and attention to meet expected deliverables. (Posted December 5, 2021)

Don’t bury your head in the sand and think “THAT” could never happen on my watch. First, you have a responsibility to be present, vigilant, and receptive to concerns in the workplace. Then, when you become aware, you must act. Hoping that time will take care of issues is poor management. It is also almost a guarantee that undesirable behaviors will continue and employees will stop sharing their concerns. (Posted November 28, 2021)

Employee potential should not be judged based on who is most like you, who you like the most, or who has the loudest voice. Instead, pay attention to and look for the potential in all employees; learn about their aspirations and interests. Though everyone won’t be interested in leadership positions, the organization will benefit when you capitalize on employees’ strengths and help them shore up areas that need growth. (Posted November 14, 2021)

Be grateful for your prestigious title, having employees to lead, and earning a livable wage. But, don’t let them go to your head and make you indifferent or insensitive to those who don’t have the same. Instead, practice humility, and at every opportunity, use your status to help others succeed. (Posted November 7, 2021)

Time is a valuable resource, so don’t disrespect others by wasting it. If you are not prepared to have meaningful discussions at meetings, reschedule. Don’t make decisions on the fly when others have used thoughtful analysis to reach theirs. (Posted October 31, 2021) ​Rarely does clarity come when you are highly stressed or completely exhausted. When significant decisions loom, double down on self-care¾eat healthy meals, get quality rest, and focus on enjoyable activities to help you decompress. When your mind and body are fully charged, you are better positioned to make thoughtful and reasonable decisions. (Posted October 24, 2021)

If you have a work problem keeping you up at night or causing undue stress, talk it through with a trustworthy confidant. Observing appropriate confidentiality protocols, if necessary, use them as a sounding board to help you gain clarity on your best course of action. Then, move forward with confidence, but be prepared to fine-tune as you go. (Posted October 17, 2021)

Words matter. Don’t use your bad mood as an excuse to be rude to those around you. As a leader, your harsh or careless words have the potential to send your employees into a tailspin. When you are in a position of power, you must be mindful of how you speak and interact with others. (Posted October 10, 2021)

​Professional rivalries are unproductive and generally benefit no one. During normal day-to-day operations, organizational leaders usually don’t need to compete against each other. Strive to increase your professional growth, and improve how your organization functions by sharing your knowledge and learning from others. (Posted October 3, 2021)

Don’t beat around the bush or sugarcoat employee conduct or performance issues. Instead, respect them enough to provide complete and accurate feedback, so they have a chance to improve. Anything less is not only harmful to them but the organization as well. (Posted September 26, 2021)

When it comes to employee performance, strike “always” and “never” from your vocabulary. Unrealistic expectations can harm employees who are performing well and those who are not. Employees are not one-dimensional beings. Even “the best” employees need guidance and encouragement, and those that struggle need support and nurturing. (Posted September 19, 2021)

As we move into a new season, choose how you “fall.” Instead of lamenting that you are understaffed, fall into gratitude for everyone who shows up to work and gives it their all. Rather than complaining about working additional hours, fall into thankfulness that you have a job. If negative thinking begins to take over, choose to fall back into a mindset of appreciation. (Posted September 12, 2021)

​Being in work mode 100% of the time and trying to power through when you need a break increases your chances of crashing and burning when you have nothing more to give. No one is immune from physical and mental burnout, which can negatively impact your health and well-being. When you are not at work, focus on family and other enjoyable activities that allow you to recharge. (Posted September 5, 2021)

While formal corrective action is one way to address undesirable workplace behaviors, it should not be the first tool out of your toolbox. Often, employees live up or down to the bar that you set. As a leader, you should state and model the behaviors you expect from others and hold them and yourself accountable. (Posted August 29, 2021)

“Hey, you.” “What’s your name again?” ‘You over there.” None of these are examples of respectful ways to address your employees. One of the first things you should do when you have a new hire is learning their names. Choosing not to do so is disrespectful. If employees don’t feel valued and aren’t treated courteously, they will quickly detach from you, the work, and the organization. (Posted August 22, 2021)

If you rush to judgment when issues are presented to you, it can be challenging to backtrack when new or different information is shared. Be careful not to make statements or take actions based on a one-sided view. Instead, seek additional information until you are confident that you have the complete picture. Once you are assured, then take the appropriate actions. (Posted August 15, 2021)

While it can be good to have a casual and friendly workplace, don’t get into the habit of oversharing about your personal life. Sharing too much information or the wrong information can lead to short-and long-term trouble. When deciding on what’s appropriate to share, think of how you would feel if the information landed on the front page of the local newspaper. (Posted August 8, 2021)

Thoughtfully consider how you respond to complaints about yourself or others in the workforce. Don’t get defensive, retaliate or downplay concerns. These actions increase liability for the organization and decrease confidence in your leadership. Instead, listen to what’s shared, gather additional information if needed, and take action appropriately. (Posted August 1, 2021)

​Note: It's vacation time! There will be no tips posted for the weeks of July 18 & 25, 2021. Business tips will resume on August 1, 2021.

It is unrealistic to think you know everything, good or bad, that occurs in the workplace. Create and foster a culture that not only encourages but welcomes open and honest dialogue. You will then have more opportunities to show appreciation to employees who are doing well and address the behaviors of those who are not. (Posted July 11, 2021)

Leaders can miss out on great solutions by refusing to listen to or devaluing the opinions of non-supervisory employees. Often, those who do the work day in and day out have a good understanding of problem areas and how to address them. Don’t let titles, rank, or pay grades limit organizational opportunities for innovation and breakthroughs. (Posted July 4, 2021)

Anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion should be more than buzzwords in the workplace. As a leader, you set the tone for how people are seen and treated. If you take a hands-off approach, expect that many employees may suffer in silence. Be active; be vocal; and hold yourself and everyone else accountable for respectful, welcoming, and inclusive behavior in the work environment. (Posted June 20, 2021)

Don’t give your employees conflicting information about their ability to make independent decisions. If you constantly second guess or alter their decisions, they will stop making them. Instead, they will wait for you to make/approve all decisions no matter how minor. Unless you have a compelling reason, get out of the way and trust your employees to do the right thing. (Posted June 13, 2021)

As a leader, you may appear unreachable and out of touch with your workforce. Strive to show your human side! Don’t downplay your successes or shield employees from your mistakes. Get out and talk to people and continually create an environment built on shared understanding and mutual respect. (Posted June 6, 2021)

Don't make commitments and then fail to deliver. Before you agree to take on a task, make sure you have the time and energy to complete it. While it might make others feel good when you say "yes," your credibility weakens when you fail to deliver. It's better to be realistic on the front end than a disappointment on the back end. (Posted May 30, 2021)

As we move into the summer season, take advantage of this time to get outside your typical workspace. Go for a short walk, explore a new trail, or sit outside for a while. With a bit of bug spray and the right attitude, watch how your mood and productivity increase when you return to work! (Posted May 23, 2021)

Although you may feel that you must push yourself past your limits, it’s not only bad for you but sets a poor example for your employees. When your mind and body are tired, your decision-making skills are not at their best. Give yourself and those around you permission to make downtime an equally important part of the work-life journey. (Posted May 16, 2021)

No matter how good or bad your day was, the next day is a new day with no guarantee for success or failure. Don’t get caught up in your greatness or defeat from your daily experiences. Every day, you have to fully engage, put in the work, and stay focused on your goals to make it the day you want it to be. (Posted May 9, 2021)

​​​I need help. Saying these three words can be challenging and even more difficult to act on. Regardless of your title, rank, position, or pay grade, you or a loved one might need support for mental health issues at some point in your life. Do not let shame or embarrassment prevent you from reaching out. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Remember that you are not alone and that there are resources nationally and in your community to help. (Posted May 2, 2021)

What’s comfortable for you might be off-putting to others. Respect people as individuals, and don’t assume that what works for one person applies to everyone. Take time to ask people how they prefer to be addressed, how they pronounce their names, how much physical space they need, etc. Then, respect and use the information every time and all the time. (Posted April 25, 2021)

When you are in a leadership position, you are judged not only by how you speak but also by your writing. If your written communication is riddled with incorrect grammar and misspelled words, your message will be lost, and your abilities may be questioned. To avoid misunderstandings and misperceptions, take a refresher course if you need it. Also, use tools like Spelling and Grammar Check and Read Aloud in Microsoft Word to check your documents, emails, etc., before sharing them with others. (Posted April 18, 2021)

Leaders should not expect perfection from themselves or others. When things are not going well, don’t give up, and do not berate others to the point that they no longer want to try. Pause, assess, modify, and then re-engage. Repeat this process as needed until you and others achieve success. (Posted April 11, 2021)

When a project seems undoable, don’t get overwhelmed by the whole. Instead, learn how to “chunk” it into smaller (and less overwhelming) bites. For this strategy to succeed, early on, you must be disciplined enough to identify action steps, when they need to start and be completed, and who holds the responsibility for each step. You also need to communicate with everyone involved, so they are onboard. If you procrastinate and fail to act, the project will be poorly done or remain incomplete. (Posted April 4, 2021)

Even in jest, put-downs have no place in the workforce. On any given day, what started as a joke can quickly escalate and result in hurt feelings, lower productivity, or disengagement from the organization and coworkers. Consistently using positive and encouraging language sets the tone for a productive and respectful workplace. (Posted March 28, 2021)

There is nothing wrong with striving for excellence (and beyond). However, there are often sacrifices that come with achieving the platinum standard. If you are struggling to create a better work-life balance, periodically do a self-check to determine if you should adjust your target to “good enough.” (Posted March 21, 2021)

If you have an issue with a person or situation, speak up. Don’t let unspoken feelings fester and become resentment. Although you may think you are managing your emotions, the negative energy eventually seeps through and adversely impacts the workplace. (Posted March 14, 2021)

The person who has the most to say verbally is not the only person you should attend to. Communication and contributions to the work environment come in many forms, so pay attention with your eyes and ears. Don’t let the performance of those less vocal go unnoticed. (Posted March 7, 2021)

When you’re feeling tired and overwhelmed, it can be challenging to make time and space for employee concerns. That’s usually when they need you the most. If your plate is overloaded, there is a good chance that they feel overstretched as well. Since you are in the best position to make changes, listen, and work with them to reduce their stressors and yours too. (Posted February 28, 2021)

Being an exceptional leader does not mean sacrificing your health and wellbeing for the good of the team. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. As a leader, you have a responsibility to model good and expected behavior. This means knowing and showing how to achieve career goals while maintaining a healthy life outside of work. (Posted February 14, 2021)

There will be times that you doubt yourself and your ability to accomplish important goals or tasks. Cultivate relationships with people who are inspiring and have faith in you. Therefore, when you struggle to believe in yourself, you have someone in your corner cheering your efforts and providing a boost of encouragement. (Posted February 7, 2021)

Don’t throw away opportunities for personal and professional growth. If you sacrifice your integrity for the appearance of being right, you have a serious problem. You gain confidence and knowledge when you are willing to admit you are wrong and then figure out what you need to know to increase your chances of being right the next time. (Posted January 31, 2021)

When making tough personnel decisions that impact your employees’ lives, reason and logic are essential, but so are empathy and compassion. Take time to think through what you will say and how you will deliver your message. Imagine you or your loved one being on the receiving end, and adjust accordingly. (Posted January 24, 2021) ​

Don't minimize the fear you feel when you are afraid of failing. Acknowledge it and try to figure out what steps you can take to increase your chances of success. If you are not successful, take time to figure out what went wrong and how you can do better the next time. Above all, don't quit! Keep trying because the only way to really fail is to give up. (Posted January 17, 2021)

There is a fine line between expressing confidence in your employees' abilities and glossing over their stated concerns. If they tell you they are overwhelmed or don't know how to proceed, stop, and listen. After gaining a better understanding, offer guidance, support, or help as appropriate to address their needs. (Posted January 10, 2021)

2021 is a new year with endless possibilities for challenges and opportunities for success. Be proactive about identifying potential challenges and take steps now to prepare yourself to withstand or overcome them. Along the way, don’t forget to celebrate your many successes. (Posted January 3, 2021)

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