Archive for Morale


Posted in "10 Leadership Practices to Stop Today" by Paul Spiegelman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2012 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.


If you want to be the best in your industry, you have to get rid of your outdated management style.

You might not feel it day-to-day, but business management is in a major transition. The old days of command-and-control leadership are fading in favor of what might be better termed a trust-and-track method, in which people are not just told what to do, but why they are doing it. More formally, we’re moving from what was called “transactional” leadership to “transformative” leadership. And there’s no turning back.

Business owners certainly have a long way to go, especially in more established companies where old practices die hard. But you can see increasing evidence that by creating a company with a clear purpose and values, you’ll find your employees connect themselves to something bigger, and that increases productivity. In other words, a culture of engagement leads to greater customer loyalty, and better financial success.

Here’s my list of “old school” practices you ought to chuck, and “new school” practices to champion instead:

1. Out: Micro-management, or the need to control every aspect of your company. In: Empowerment, the ability to give your people some rope–even rope to make mistakes without blame.

2. Out: Management by walking around the office; it is no longer enough to be visible. In: Leadership by watching and listening, engaging in conversation, implementing the ideas presented to you, and distributing the results.

3. Out: Pretending you know everything. You don’t have all the answers, so why try to make people think you do? In: Knowing your leadership team members and trusting them. Choose great people who have the right skills and fit the culture. And get out of the way.

4. Out: No mistakes, or a “no tolerance policy” some still think works. In: Learning from mistakes, or being the first to admit an error.

5. Out: The balance sheet drives the business, and informs all other decisions. In: People drive the business, boosting customer loyalty, and profit.

6. Out: Job competency is sufficient. Do the job asked, and you’ll survive. In: Recruit “A” players who will go the extra mile. They’re out there.

7. Out: Invest in technology to increase productivity. In: Invest in people.

8. Out: Demand change; be very specific about what you want and when. In: Nurture change; your people can come up with the best ideas and you can give them credit for it.

9. Out: Fried food in the cafeteria. In: Wellness in the workplace.

10. Out: Incentives; pay employees more money and they’ll do more. In: Rewards; being valued matters more than money.

So ask yourself which of these out-of-date practices you’re still using. There’s no time like now to try something new.

– Paul Spiegelman is founder and CEO of BerylHealth, which manages patient interactions for hospitals, and co-founded the Small Giants Community with Inc. editor-at-large Bo Burlingham. Read more at @paulspiegelman

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.


Motivating Your Team (Part 6)

Posted in General Management, Motivating Your Team with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

motivationIn conclusion, the easiest way to figure out how to motivate your team is to ask yourself what motivates you. Take a step back and a more global view. Does the environment you’ve created encourage the team to not only be motivated from above, but also from within?

I highly recommend you look at the culture of your company. Write it out. Make it clear to everyone. Motivating your team and maintaining high morale can be challenging, but it can also be fun. Instill a strong sense of belonging, respect, teamwork and fulfillment. When a culture becomes the life blood of all in the company, the team will support each other and you. To understand the importance of this, study the successful companies that have dedicated themselves to maintaining a very positive and nurturing culture. Take a look at Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. Read books like Jim Collins’ “Good To Great” that detail how the strongest U.S. companies don’t take this subject lightly.

thumbs upCreate an environment that motivates you, and you’ll create one that motivates your team. Lead by example. Communicate. Be a strong supervisor, stick to your convictions and your team will stick with you.

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Motivating Your Team (Part 5)

Posted in General Management, Motivating Your Team with tags , , , , , , on July 27, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

motivationConsequences or no consequences, that is the question? The answer is a resounding “yes.” A fearful supervisor might think otherwise, but I can assure you that company is running a muck and morale probably stinks.

It’s equally important that employees know that there are consistent positive and not-so positive consequences for their actions. Without this, your all-star players will look to be traded. They in particular will want to be rewarded for their efforts and, when necessary, those who don’t carry their weight, need to experience reasonable consequences. employee-recognitionAs the CEO of Zappos said yesterday at a conference I was attending, “Be slow to hire, and quick to fire.” When you’ve taken the time to assemble a great team, make sure they’re rewarded. You can kill great morale by allowing unaddressed problems to fester. A supervisor needs to be strong. In order to be successful, he or she needs to make tough decisions to insure the company’s success and the culture maintained.

The team needs to know what is expected of them…and you, as the supervisor, need to know what they expect of you.

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Motivating Your Team (Part 4)

Posted in General Management, Motivating Your Team with tags , , , , , , on July 25, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

motivationI’m going to keep this one short but motivational. I’m attending a seminar and my time online is very limited. As I mentioned in my blog “Invest In Yourself,” I highly recommend furthering your education.

As one who has supervised many and been supervised, it’s very comforting to know where you stand. Providing feedback on a regular basis is so important for morale. I’ve always said that an employee should never be surprised if a promotion or walking papers are being deliveredemployeereview. Keeping the team informed about their individual performance is key. It’s hard to keep them motivated if they don’t know how they’re doing. So schedule reviews – I recommend every six months – with the year-end being more detailed. In my book, a review does not constitute a pay raise. If it’s earned, and the company is in a healthy position, an increase can be delivered anytime. Trust me, it won’t be turned down.

Again, communication is paramount if you want to motivate and maintain great morale.

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Motivating Your Team (Part 3)

Posted in General Management, Motivating Your Team with tags , , , , , , on July 24, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

motivationOne of the keys to successfully motivating your team is good communication. There are few things that kill morale faster than a lack of it. And it all starts with clearly defined expectations. If the team doesn’t know what’s expected of them, how can they possibly be successful?

business-communication-indexAll too frequently, supervisors think they’ve laid out the plans, goals, targets, deadlines, requirements in a way that’s impossible to misunderstand or misinterpret. But look at the blank expressions on the faces of the team, and you’ll know otherwise. It’s crucial that there’s no ambiguity. As a manager, take the time to ask for questions, feedback…make sure everyone knows the desire outcome.

time_deadlines1Keep this same philosophy in mind when the plans or requirements change before a deadline is reached. When that happens, it can really throw the team off track. It’s very important that you give an explanation. Maybe you can’t say everything, but at least say something, especially if the deadlines have to be moved up. If you don’t, you can expect the employees to wonder whether their supervisors know what they’re doing, just winging it or don’t care about the undo stress they’re causing. If the reasons are…well, reasonable, the team will continue to be supportive.

Bottom line here, the clear communication of objectives is one of the most important keys to motivating and maintaining great morale.

If you have any questions or comments,
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Motivating Your Team (Part 2)

Posted in General Management, Motivating Your Team with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

motivationWe’re off to a good start. This is going to be Motivation and Morale Building 101. Without this foundation, the building won’t be solid. Okay, I trust you already have the smiling down, so let’s move on.

Does being liked by your team make it easier to motivate them? It certainly helps. If you’re disliked, odds are you’re not motivating them and morale is in the toilet. There’s a balance here that needs to be considered. If you try too hard to be liked, I doubt you’ll be respected as a leader. arrowIf you base your business decisions on whether or not the team will like you, you’re not being an effective manager. Be decisive, supportive, empowering, informative (no one likes to be in the dark), an advocate of change, dedicated to the cause, a positive influence and, of course, lead by example (ah, there it is again). Simple keys to being a great motivator. And you know what, you still may not be liked…but you’ll be respected and remembered. So let’s assume the best and take it from there.

power of wordsAn important aspect in engaging your employees is having very positive conversations, using simple, yet powerful words. I remember a few years ago having an employee in my office to discuss why she had decided to leave Target Corporation. She reported to one of the department heads below me. “Quite simply,” she said, “if Monica said ‘Thank you’ once in awhile, I’d have stayed.” That’s all it would have taken. “Thank you.” What I’m getting at is the importance of using encouraging, supportive, grateful comments. “Please”…never underestimate their value…or your team’s.

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Motivating Your Team (Part 1)

Posted in General Management, Motivating Your Team with tags , , , , , , on July 22, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

motivationWhen you’re in a management position, it is your responsibility to make sure that your team is motivated and that morale is high. This might seem like a daunting task, but it’s really quite simple…if you take it seriously. And you should! You have an incredible impact on your employees, and an obligation to make them feel valued. It’s as important to them as their compensation and opportunities for advancement. So if you’re not already dedicating the necessary time to motivating your team, I would suggest you get on it, before they’re looking to be traded.

GreatAttitudesHow you show up to work sets the tone for the workplace. The team will look at you and determine what the climate is today and in the future. Although it’s not always easy to do, I try to leave the stress of life outside the front door. We all have our ups and downs in life, but as a leader, you don’t want to carry your troubles on your sleeve. If you telegraph a defeated, stressed, unhappy attitude, I can assure you, the team will pick up on it and it will kill morale. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…and again…”Lead By Example.” Change your mood or state before you walk in. Smile, show confidence and enthusiasm. Take time to say hello and get people energized. This isn’t difficult to do, but it requires some effort. It’s totally up to you.

If you have any questions or comments,
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