The Savvy Office Manager

Cal Butera is the editor of Business Management Daily’s Office Manager Today, Manager’s Legal Bulletin, Managing People at Work and Communication Briefings newsletters. He has been with Business Management Daily since 2007 and worked 22 years for midsize daily newspapers as sports writer, news reporter, layout and design editor, copy editor and city editor.

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One of the first things a manager comes to realize is that employees can’t really be changed. Oh, you can steer them a bit with rewards and discipline, but you can never transform them into your dream workers. They either are or they aren’t. For those little irritating idiosyncrasies you’d like to pluck from your workers, all you need is a pair of tweezers and a steady hand ...

Workplace decorum or etiquette—call it what you want—is essential to staying on a successful career path or just being likeable by the people who spend eight hours a day with you. And although your employee handbook is loaded with do’s and don’ts on the issues of legal importance and organizational protocol, there are some things that are too weird to print. These are the gaffes found in every workplace committed by many employees who, well, just don’t get it. And it’s worse when a boss doesn’t get it.

When dealing with millennials, take a tip from Pizza Hut: Don’t focus too much on them as a homogenous group.

Have you ever taken a good look around your workplace? I mean a really critical look, as if you were a highly recruited job candidate deciding if yours is the place you would want to come to every day. The truth is, a shoddy, unkempt, outdated workplace may not only hamper productivity, it’s probably driving away good job candidates as well.

Both of these lovable cartoon characters have characteristics inherent in a lot of the folks who answer your employment ads—or who are on your payroll right now.

Bosses are full of bossisms. You know, a certain way of speaking to your workers that naturally comes to all who enter the gates of management. And whether you’re euphemizing, energizing or just skating by the moment with a threadbare phrase, just be aware that those words you say are going through your employees’ decoders. Here is a list of common bossisms and their interpretations by the rank-and-file.

As Dr. Seuss once famously noted, “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” And buried—not so deep—in the pages of his books are some of the simple answers, wisdom and advice that could help you become a better manager and leader:

Seems like there are odds—strange as they are—for just about anything. But what about what you do? What are the odds? Where are the stats? Since you deal with people, and people are inherently unpredictable, it might seem difficult to pin probability on their behavior and idiosyncrasies. But we’re talking about people in a workplace, and as you might guess, patterns begin to form that curiously repeat themselves no matter where you work or who you supervise.

A résumé is a peculiar document. The writer bares his professional soul, fusses over verbs and gerunds, though he’s not sure what gerunds are. You know what you’re looking for when it comes to experience and education. But sometimes you’re fooled.

It doesn’t take much to lose the boss job you thought you could do. Here are six common things managers do that will put an end to their careers.
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