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Leaders & Managers

From the nitty gritty of daily management to addressing your aspirations of leadership, this section for leaders & managers tells you how to make strong leadership decisions, build effective teams, delegate and stay above the everyday management muddle.

Get tips, strategies, tool and advice on: performance reviews, preventing workplace violence, best-practices leadership, team building, leadership skills, people management and management training.

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If you and an employee disagree about his work quality, strip away judgments and focus on measurable results. Arguing over subjective factors won’t solve anything. You’ll both insist you’re right, and that will spark antagonism and defensiveness.
You may work in a lean, mean organization. That’s fine, as long as it’s not too mean.
Some employees don’t buy into teams, but that doesn’t necessarily make them bad. You can turn these independent- minded staffers into valuable contributors by letting them produce results on their own terms.
Beware of a probe recently launched by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Q. I’m fed up with waiting six months for a great performance review, only to get a measly little raise. This has gone on for four years. What can I do to break this cycle?

Q. Almost two years ago, I was forced by my boss to take a transfer employee from another department who I knew was trouble. This person likes to pit employees against each other by bad-mouthing them. She has managed to foster several allies among my staff.
Michael Kinsley, the editor of Slate, an online magazine published by Microsoft Corp., has a formidable résumé. He joined Microsoft in January 1996 after serving as editor of The New Republic and co-host of CNN’s Crossfire. He’s also a contributing writer at Time and has written for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Reader’s Digest. Based in Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., Kinsley manages people nationwide.
Like Teflon, some bosses never have anything bad stick to them. Despite abortive projects and unmet commitments, they survive.
Most management experts warn against meddling in your employees’ every decision. That advice isn’t always right. While controlling supervisors can turn their bold innovators into pliant order-takers, there are times when micromanaging makes sense.
To reach a major decision, invite your team to vote on a course of action.
Manage change by communicating to your team the dangers of the status quo.
As much as you want your employees to challenge your ideas without fear of retribution, they may still feel reluctant to speak up.
Trying to motivate your employees to accept new goals or an organizational change? Give them a “Reason to Believe” (RTB).
Want to earn a reputation as a savvy negotiator? Then keep quiet.
You may assume that if your employees give 100 percent, then you’re doing fine. But managers who snatch plum promotions don’t accept a mere 100 percent effort. They demand 110 percent and beyond, and they usually get it.
If you ranked your employees in terms of ability and attitude, you’d have no trouble picking the best and worst. But how about the relatively poor performers who aren’t bad enough to fire?
Warning: The way you respond to your employees’ excuses may actually encourage them to feed you more excuses. If you readily accept their reasons for being late, missing deadlines or not following directions, you can expect more problems.
Imagine an athlete who trains as a diver for 11 years, five hours a day, to make the Olympics. After finally qualifying for the Olympic trials, she suddenly suffers eye trouble. She needs immediate surgery to save her sight. Her diving career comes to an abrupt end.
No matter how talented you are—or think you are—I guarantee you’ll drop a notch in everyone’s estimation if you come across as weak or fearful. The easiest way to kill your chances of climbing higher in your organization is if you admit that you’re helpless, scared or immobilized.
Q. During a performance review, my boss asked me what salary increase would “keep me happy.” I responded, “What am I worth to the company?” I thought that was a smart move, but I was wrong. My boss didn’t really answer the question. The next week he told me what my raise would be in a voice-mail message (he was out of town). I was disappointed.
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