Category Archives: Managing People

Good leaders know everyone is watching.

by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach

good leaders know As a leader, you are always being watched. What you say, what you do, your reactions, your comments, your behavior, everything. Inadvertently passing someone without a “hello” or acknowledgment of their existence could be viewed as a slight by the receiver. Even though that was not remotely the intent.

When I’m working with leaders, they are often surprised when I bring this up. In their minds, people should be able to know what they meant or what they were thinking. It’s just common sense, right? It might be common sense, but we can’t be in the minds of the people we meet or work with every day. We don’t know their frame of mind, what fears or doubts they have, what happened before they arrived at work. What would be “common sense” in a neutral setting, might be anything but given the baggage, everyone shows up at the office with.

Good leaders know that it’s up to them as the leader to be aware of and modify their own behavior given the circumstances, not the other way around. Smiles, frowns, jokes, hurriedness, tone of voice, words, etc. are ALL evaluated for what they might mean to the person on the receiving end. And usually, these interpretations are wrong, but they now create a new narrative about what the leader meant or wanted done. Some leaders feel like it’s a sign of strength to “leave them guessing.” It’s not. It’s a sign of a need for control. Some leaders never clean up their messes – intentionally or unintentionally – and either way, it creates chaos in the workplace and ultimately distracts from the goals.

Continue reading on Mary Marshall’s website…

Secrets to Managing a Store Successfully: Part I

male store owner

Retail is a complex and challenging business, posing problems ranging from inventory management to theft prevention. When coupled with falling prices inspired by major retailers, like Amazon, and the rising costs of labor, there are a variety of pitfalls facing modern retail businesses.

With so many ins and outs to consider, now more than ever, effective management plays a critical role in retail success.

In this two-part blog series, we reveal the core principles and techniques you should apply to manage a store successfully.

Streamline In-Store Operations

Whether you know it or not, many of the day-to-day tasks that dominate small retail operations are based on old-school styles and strategies, like counting inventory by hand, creating manual schedules, and entering sales transactions one by one into bookkeeping software. While these methods can be useful, they cost you time that could be invested elsewhere.  Continue reading

Good Leaders Are Curious

by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach

good leadersLately, I have noticed that the seeming inability to have reasoned debate within the political climate has spilled over into the workplace. There seems to be a “my way or the highway” mentality seeping into professional environments which is not productive. People are taking sides and staking claim to their view with no room for understanding or compromise. I’m reminded that whenever one side is “right,” it automatically makes the other side “wrong” and no one likes to be wrong.

I think the first step toward better understanding of one another’s points-of-view is to stop rushing to judgment. Just stepping back a beat and pretending there might be another approach or that – gasp – you might be wrong, are worthwhile steps. Being wrong is not the end of the world, it just means you have more to learn and isn’t that true of all of us? If we listened without judgment we might actually hear what the other side is saying.

If you are ready to practice, start with questions. “What” questions are usually the best and most effective for not conveying judgment. For example:

  • What makes you say that?
  • Tell me a little about how you came to that decision, belief, position, idea, etc.?
  • What other ways have you looked at?
  • Would you be open to a different point-of-view?

Read more on Mary Marshall’s website

Leadership: Control vs. Influence

by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach

As a leader, the distinction of “control vs. influence” is an important one to consider. Which is better? The answer is probably “it depends,” however, when working with employees or your team, influence can be so much more effective that it’s not even a contest.

As an entrepreneur, sometimes control is the only thing we think we have to keep all the balls in the air. Unfortunately, when you have “control” or perceived control of everything you become the bottleneck, and everyone relies on you to do or approve things. Additionally, you will get labeled as a micromanager and there are not many who like working for a micromanager. This becomes the Achilles’ heel for a lot of entrepreneurs.

Another common challenge based in control is growing and running so fast that the response to someone on your team asking you to slow down and explain is annoyance. A typical leadership pitfall is to think, “well, it’s just easier to do it myself.” This ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, (and not in a good way), as you will end up doing EVERYTHING yourself.  Continue reading

Good leaders go positive.

by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach

be-1-300x300Good leaders know that inspiring people has a lot to do with focusing on the positive vs. the negative. Unfortunately, many of us are predisposed to focus on the negative and give it more worth or value than the positive. Alison Ledgerwood, a social psychologist does a great job in this TED talk showing us how that works.

Essentially, once we focus on the negative, we are much less likely to believe anything that proves otherwise. When asked how our day was we generally start with the negative. When asked how a project is going, we typically respond with what is not working. When asked how a team is performing, we often reply with explanations of how it’s not. Who knows why we do this? Preservation perhaps?

The end result is that we are discounting that which is good and leaving opportunities for happiness out in the cold.

Read more on Mary Marshall’s website.

The Megaphone of Main Street Small Business Jobs Report, Infographic #2: The Gig Economy

Business owners reported an increase in hiring in all categories of workers over the past six months, with the greatest growth in one-time project or gig workers (37%).

SCORE’s latest infographic explores the rise of the gig economy in small business hiring.

This infographic highlights the findings of part 2 of The Megaphone of Main Street Small Business Jobs Report.

Continue reading

Top 10 HR Issues: How to Avoid Common Pitfalls