“Work Happy” by Jill Geisler: Part One

1. “His enthusiasm is contagious. People enjoy working for him because he isn’t jaded or cynical. He inspires people to work harder. His judgment is respected by both his staff and supervisors. He is loyal to the company, yet not afraid to speak his mind.”

2. Twelve Core Management Competencies:
• Maintaining and raising quality.
• Developing and improving systems.
• Couching employee performance.
• Communicating across the organization.
• Collaborating across the organization.
• Resolving conflicts.
• Building employee motivation.
• Leading with emotional intelligence.
• Building teams and team performance.
• Managing change.
• Managing your time and priorities.
• Working with ethics and integrity.

3. Top Five Daily Challenges for Bosses:
• Managers disappoint people every day.
• Managers push people out of their comfort zones.
• Managers are routinely caught in the middle.
• Managers can’t always tell people what they want to know.
• Managers make mistakes.

4. Assume that building trust with staff is paramount. You do it by letting them know the standards and values that drive your decisions. You do that person-to-person, day after day. There’s evidence that even when people don’t like the outcome of a management decision, they will react less negatively and be more accepting if they believe the process by which it happened was fair.
5. Fair processes:
• How much input employees feel they have: Are their opinions solicited and considered?
• How they perceive decisions are made: Are they consistent and driven by facts, not by personal bias? Can mistakes be corrected?
• How managers behave in delivering and carrying out the decisions: Do they act with respect? Do they listen, explain, and empathize?

6. The key is to be moderately assertive most of the time, so even-keeled about it that people barely notice. But you may be prepared and able to power up or down based on the situation and other people involved.

7. “Managing Up”: Keeping your bosses in the loop about the progress and potential of your people, along with their big victories and vexing challenges.

8. Commit to sharing appropriate information generously. At the same time, educate people about the kind of information you won’t spread freely. Strive to make certain that people who are most affected by bad news don’t learn it secondhand.

9. Recognize that the way you respond to your employees’ mistakes shapes the way they view yours. If you’re a hothead and slow to forgive, your actions will come back to haunt you when you stumble. When you screw up, apologize sincerely and specifically.

10. You have the ability to shape “the way we do things around here”—the workplace culture. It’s about structure and processes, systems and relationships.

11. You design strategy and guide execution: This is the part that puts your brain into high gear. You scout for opportunities, anticipate challenges, and identify needed changes. While you’re keeping an eye on the quality of today’s work, you’re also looking down the road.

12. What’s next? What’s better? How can we work smarter and outperform our competition.

13. An ability to overlook frustrating minutiae and maintain clarity on the big picture.

14. Social scientists who study trust define it as confidence—in the face of risk—that the other party will do what’s right by us.

15. Three things employees will never FORGET:
• My boss apologized to me when he or she was in the wrong.
• My boss reacted to a truly boneheaded error of mine with remarkable wisdom.
• My boss responded to something personal and important to me—a joy or a tragedy—with empathy and encouragement.

16. The thing employees never FORGIVE:
• My boss lies.
• My boss takes or gets credit for the staff’s work or ideas.
• My boss is one person around the troops and another person in the company of his or her own superiors.

17. Great bosses don’t ignore or avenge, they help people learn from their mistakes. They investigate the cause, assess the damage, express disappointment, look for the lesson, teach the lesson, and expect better.

18. Great bosses understand that when something of great consequence happens in an employee’s life, they have the power to enhance the joy or ameliorate a little of the pain.

19. Some staffers may assume that a visit to the bosses’ turf is reserved for problems or conversations on topics that are remarkable, not routine.

20. Build a culture that encourages people to solve problems at the lowest level and talk with their immediate supervisor before coming to you.

21. How to build transparency and disown your evil twin:
• Don’t assume that people can read your mind or that your actions speak for themselves.
• Explain your intentions. Be clear.
• Don’t hesitate to share the “why” behind your decisions.
• Make sure your deputies feel free to warn you when something you’re about to do has the potential to be taken the wrong way.
• Cultivate your top performers to become your candid advisors. They see how your leadership affects the team, and have more confidence than most to call you out when necessary.
• Thank anyone who has the courage to warn you that your Evil Twin is in the room.

22. “Is there anything you need more of—or less of—from me?

23. Assessing your impact:
• Do people come to you regularly and frequently with ideas of projects they’re developing rather than wait for instructions or permission?
• Do people offer their opinions freely in conversations and meetings without waiting to hear what you think?
• Do staff members talk to your in terms of the whole organization, not just the group’s work?

24. I believe that when you have responsibility but no authority, you’ve discovered the definition of Managerial Hell. If you’ve had to work that way, you know what a devil of a time you had. You’re held accountable for results but lack the complete set of tools to do the job. With power, you can get things done more effectively provided you are smart and strategic in how you use it.

25. 5 Types of Power:
• Legitimate power
• Expert power
• Coercive power
• Reward power
• Referent power

26. They also know the danger of overreliance on their expert power. It may be flattering to have your staff routinely ask, “What would the boss do in a case like this?”—But if that’s all they do, they aren’t building the critical thinking skills that enable them to innovate and problem solve on their own.

27. People respect bosses who use their coercive power judiciously. But they don’t do their best work in a climate of anxiety, and rarely choose to follow bosses who specialize in scaring them.

28. He has the qualities such as courage, confidence, innovation, creativity, wisdom, and commitment. He has our trust and respect.

29. He makes people feel special. They are ready to climb big mountains for him when he asks them to.

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