Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 27)

The Work You Do Impacts Others More Than You Realize

We all have a fundamental need to belong. One way to achieve this is to connect work with outcomes. When you know your work has a meaningful, positive impact on others, you are happier and more productive than those who don’t make a connection. Understanding the impact of your work encourages you to keep moving forward.

The good news is that each of us, in our day-to-day jobs, have almost innumerable opportunities to impact others. Try thinking of your work as service and help your colleagues and employees do the same. This change in mindset can be transformational.

Here are five groups to consider serving each day:

  1. Clients or customers – At the core of every organization is a customer. If it doesn’t serve that customer well, it will fail.
  2. Colleagues – Positive relationships at work are absolutely essential to engagement. Instead of self-centeredness or competition lean toward encouragement and support.
  3. Community – Organizations that implement community service programs experience a number of benefits, including better recruitment, development, engagement, and retention.
  4. Partners and vendors – When we act to serve our providers, we will benefit from better relationships with them and differentiated reputations in the marketplace.
  5. People we love – Many of us work to support a family (spouses, kids, parents, siblings, or friends) and to provide opportunities for them. Even on the hard days, we can take comfort in the fact that our work is an act of service to those we love.

Just being aware of the impact your job has on others will go a long way. Individuals who remember these daily opportunities for service will be happier and more fulfilled.

 

References:
Harvard Business Review (2022, August 25) John Coleman: Feeling Demotivated? Consider How Your Job Helps Others
Bloom Growth (2020, October 29) Content Team: 5 Ways to Help Employees See Their Impact

How to Use Successful Delegation to Combat Work Overload

At first sight, delegation can feel like more hassle than it’s worth. However, most leaders understand the payoff of delegating: You free yourself to focus on higher-priority work while offering your team opportunities for growth and development. While this is an excellent idea in theory, many good leaders struggle to put it into practice.

There are several reasons why leaders may not feel comfortable delegating:

  • They are worried about dumping their work on others. Delegation is not trying to make more work for your team, but to distribute it more efficiently so that tasks get allocated according to skills and workloads.
  • They feel threatened. The aim is to make your team more efficient and effective – and to give others opportunities to use their skills and develop.
  • They don’t want to lose control. See what it feels like to rely on others to do the work and enjoy how good it feels to watch them blossom with the added confidence you’ve shown in them.
  • They think it would be quicker to do it themselves. Doing it yourself only saves time in the moment. If you teach someone else how to do it and delegate, it saves you that time forever after.

Managers are responsible for developing their employees to ensure that they are well trained, to identify future leaders, and to prepare their own successor when they move up or move on to other organizations. Delegating responsibility is a powerful statement to employees about how much they are trusted and how competent and valued they are considered to be to the company.

Delegation is a win-win when done appropriately. However, that does not mean that you can delegate just anything. To delegate effectively, choose the right tasks to delegate, identify the best people for the job, and support them along the way.

To determine when delegation is most appropriate there are five key questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Is there someone else who has (or can be given) the necessary information or expertise to complete the task?
  • Does the task provide an opportunity to grow and develop another person’s skills?
  • Is this a task that will recur, in a similar form, in the future?
  • Do you have enough time to delegate the job effectively?
  • Is this a task that I should delegate? Tasks critical for long-term success genuinely do need your attention.

If you can answer “yes” to at least some of the above questions, then it could well be worth delegating this job. No doubt there will be discomfort and setbacks as you and your team adjust. Accept that mistakes will be made. Do not beat yourself up and question your decision to delegate. Instead, practice self-compassion, see these missteps as learning opportunities, and move on.

When you arrange the workload so that you are working on the tasks that have the highest priority for you, and other people are working on meaningful and challenging assignments, you have a recipe for success.

 

References:
Harvard Business Review (2022, September 23) Dina Smith: Stop Feeling Guilty About Delegating
Mind Tools (2017) Mind Tools Content Team: Successful Delegation: Using the Power of Other People’s Help
Society for HR Management (2012) Sam Lloyd: Managers Must Delegate Effectively to Develop Employees

Srini’s Tech Tip: Excel – Find and Replace Names on Multiple Sheet Tabs

Consider a situation where you have a workbook with multiple sheets. Imagine having 10, 15 or 20 worksheets where a spelling or name change must be performed.  Such a task would be very tedious if you were to perform the change one sheet at a time. The Find and Replace function has a setting where you can perform the change on ALL instances in the workbook.

In our example below, there are multiple sheets in a single workbook (2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023).  The objective is to change the spelling of “B & B INC.” on all the sheets to “Books and Beyond.”

Steps to Perform (Find and Replace)

1.  Press CTRL + H to get the Find and Replace dialog box

2.  In the Find What field, type the original name to be replaced – in this example, B & B INC.

3.  In the Replace With field, type the new name – in this example, Books and Beyond (case sensitive)

4.  Click on the Options button, which shows more options for replacing

5.  For Within: field, select the dropdown and choose workbook

6.  Leave the two check boxes unchecked
(Reason:  We are not trying to “find” B & B INC. in a particular case, and leaving the match entire cell contents unchecked will look for partial names or entries)

7.  Click on Replace All

8.  You now have a notification that 8 replacements were made, for this example

The Consultant’s Corner: Skills – The Hard and Soft

There’s been much research and banter in the job market about the looming “skills gap.” Some of that research lauds “hard” skills, while other research emphasizes “soft” skills, leaving many to ponder: “what’s the difference?”

Let’s start by defining the word, skill. Simply put, skill is what you can do with what you know. More formally, skill is defined as “the ability to do something well; expertise” (Oxford dictionary). When we attend to hard skill and soft skill, these are differentiated by utility.

Most often, hard skills can be correlated with technical proficiency. These skills are usually job role and industry-specific. For example, as a consultant, I need to be able to identify root cause of concerns, design initiatives to mitigate and extinguish concerns, and evaluate outcomes. These hard skills are germane to my industry. I gained knowledge about these thematic areas through education, then learned how to effectively apply that knowledge through practice, subsequently honing the skill.

Oxford dictionary defines soft skills as “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” Soft skills are more general in nature and associated with the cognitive, emotional and social attributes that facilitate productive interpersonal interaction. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “soft skills—which are needed to effectively communicate, problem-solve, collaborate and organize—are becoming more important for success as the workplace evolves socially and technologically.”

Top 10 soft skills for 2022 (Source: www.resume-now.com/job):

  • Communication
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Leadership
  • Time Management
  • Work Ethic
  • Listening

Across the enterprise, there are a wide variety of hard and soft skills being deployed to help Duke accomplish the organization’s vision and mission. To gain a broader insight on the importance of developing and maturing soft skills, see HR’s Hard Challenge: When Employees Lack Soft Skills (shrm.org).

For support with development and maturation of soft skills, visit Training | Human Resources (duke.edu) for a full list of leadership and professional development offerings that can help. If you are interested in developing soft skills with intact teams, contact Consulting Services at Learning & Organization Development.

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