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The Savvy Office Manager

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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What’s the right temperament for a good manager? Here are 5 ideas and techniques to help you become an assertive manager:
Here are scenarios which most—if not all—managers will encounter in the course of their careers. How do you score on the effectiveness scale?
Here is a list of words and phrases that all too often are stuffed into the job ad for no other reason then, well, it wouldn’t be a job ad without them. Maybe it’s time to retire these terms, in the name of making the job sound a little more desirable and a little less trite.
Here are some actions you can take (or not take) that would be surefire C-suite pleasers.

Two months into his once-promising career, Bam! The new hire's co-workers are grumbling to you about his ineptness, his work is shoddy and often turned in late. And his attitude is about as appealing as the forgotten lunches in the break room fridge. What happened? There are only two things, and you only have control over one of them.

Here’s what I learned from the game and its trimmings that I can put to use in my quest to be a better leader.

Does your company allow its employees to bring their kids to work? There are only three options for this issue.

When you step into management, you begin operating under certain tenets of human behavior in a societal cluster known as the workplace. The people in that workplace—your employees—are wired differently, but are all there for somewhat common reasons: to make money, get along as best as possible and remain on the payroll. Which should mean there are certain truths or tricks of the trade to keep them all humming. Not so fast. Here are several myths of management and the realities behind them.

What’s the hardest part about being a manager? Confrontation. Especially if you’re naturally averse to conflict.

Generally there are two types of rule-breakers: those who unwittingly break them (a quick reminder will set them straight); and those who knowingly break them (a tougher job for you). Here are some guidelines to deal with the latter.

If you want to keep your employees plugged into their jobs and coming into work with better ’tudes, you’re going to have to reinforce them somehow. But the question is, how? And when? And how much?

Employees expect decorum out of their managers, and are equipped with “decoders” to interpret a boss’s underlying meaning in their words. Those decoders often malfunction, painting you as an uncaring, bulldozing oaf, even though you’re not. (You’re not, right?)That leaves you with one recourse if you want avoid inadvertently sucking the wind out of a worker’s sail—unless that’s your goal. Be careful what you say.

Here are things that all workers seek in a workplace, and how those things rate on the “happy” meter.

Cornering an employee to address performance issues is an unpleasant but necessary part of your job. It is, in essence, a closed-door moment where you lay out the person’s shortcomings, give him or her a chance to explain and then agree to a course of action.
If you think about it, those hasty, canned responses to an underperforming employee are no different than the useless lines you might spew at a disobedient child. And how did that work out? Here are five to avoid.

Maybe your workplace has a policy against crusty language on the job. Many places don’t. If yours doesn’t, don’t just sit back and let your ears ring from the F-bombs bursting in air as the cuss jar quickly fills up to bankroll the next pizza party. As a boss, you need to temper the language, if not put a downright stop to it. Here are some points to ponder.

Your book of regulations is likely not all-encompassing, vague in spots and open to interpretation in others. It’s just a guide, for crying out loud. Which brings us to the fine art of fudging, bending or otherwise looking the other way in some circumstances. Done deftly, rule-bending can build a more engaged workforce.

Do you put much thought into your email sign-off? Chances are you don’t. Generally you pick one and stick with it no matter the length or gravity of your message. The reader of your email, especially one whom you are corresponding with for the first time, gleans something about you from your sign-off. Here are the top five email sign-offs and what the recipient could conclude.

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