Work Management

Tips for Training Your Boss To Be a Better Manager

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by Arlene S. Hirsch
April 15, 2008

Work can be miserable when you and your boss don't get along. At times, quitting may seem to be the only option.

When she was a working journalist, Jill Geisler decided she didn't want to work for someone she remembers as a "gloriously imperfect" boss. "Picture Anthony Quinn, Vince Lombardi, and Hawkeye Pierce all rolled into one man," she says. "Volatile. Demanding. Larger than life."

Ms. Geisler, now a group leader in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the Poynter Institute, a training center for journalists, sought advice from a mentor, who counseled her to get to know her boss before making a rash career decision. Now she's glad she did.

She and the man she didn't want to work for are good friends who laugh about their rocky start 15 years ago. Despite differing styles, they both valued high-quality journalism and community service. Once Ms. Geisler had earned her supervisor's trust and respect, she could question and challenge his decisions and even nag him about his idiosyncrasies.

One reason the relationship succeeded is that Ms. Geisler took responsibility for making it work. Her candor became the foundation for a close and fruitful professional partnership.

If you work for an imperfect boss, what are you prepared to do about it? These suggestions from consultants and employment experts can help you to improve your relationship with a new or long-time supervisor:

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Are you Mono or Polychrone?

Are you known to be late for meetings or appointments? Do you feel stressed because you can’t seem to find time to have dinner with family members, go for your spa session or finish your work on time?

Are you always rushing your children from one place to another, taking them to ballet, French lessons, violin practice and other dreadful “enrichment” activities, and feeling more exhausted than they?

If you answer YES, heaven has mercy on your soul for you’re being condemned to a lifetime of penal servitude, no different from a convict doing hard labour.

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Get Out of Your Career Rut!

Do you feel like your career is in a rut and that your work is making you unhappy? You may be suffering from a mid-career crisis. What brings about this predicament and how do you walk out of it before the resentment bleeds into the rest of your life?

By Becky Lo

Feeling the blues

You’ve heard of a mid-life crisis, but how about a mid-career crisis? Unlike a mid-life crisis, a mid-career crisis is not age-related, but is about the dissatisfaction you feel about your career.

Many working adults in their late 20s to mid 30s are facing mid-career crises, or what is also known as “mid-career blues”. It usually happens after a few years working in the same field as you feel that your job is heading towards a dead-end: Your work routine is becoming boring, you see your peers edging ahead of you but realise that you are not at all interested in catching up.

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Balancing Work and Play

Singaporean women in the accounting and finance sector want better work-life balance, says a survey conducted last May on more than 700 female professionals in the public and private sectors in Singapore.

Almost 60 percent cited work-life balance as their top priority, over other concerns such as opportunities for advancement, job security and skills upgrading. And more than 50 percent of those polled said they would leave their current job for one that offered a better work-life balance, even if it means less money.

It’s probably not just women, but men too, who need to find the right balance between work and their personal life.

Are you married to your work?
It can be tempting to rack up the hours at work — especially if you're trying to earn a promotion or extra money to send your child to university or for a dream vacation to the Caribbean. For others, it is simply necessary because of the heavy workload.

But if you're spending most of your time at work, what suffers is likely to be your home life and personal relationships. If you are perpetually working overtime and on weekends, you may miss out on important events such as your child's first bike ride, your father's 60th birthday or a reunion with your old friends. Missing out on important milestones may harm relationships with your loved ones.

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Promote Yourself, Be Slightly Famous

Whether you are driving a forklift, making fengshui divination or lecturing in economics, you must stand out and be recognised by everyone as the expert in your trade.

Not too long ago, to be an expert meant that you had to have an advanced degree and be doing a specialised job for years. Today, people will pay attention to you if you can deliver what they need, regardless of your professional experience or academic qualification.

Experts are sought after. They get cushy job offers and business opportunities, and command high fees. Even expert forklift drivers are in high demand as trainers and to display fancy moves in industrial competitions.

Reporters interview them whenever an issue or situation crops up in their area of expertise. They get invited to speak at conferences. And if they own a business, their firm gains more market share than their competitors. They are not anonymous because people recognise that they know more.

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4 Ways To Add Power To Your Speeches And Presentations

You must have heard hundreds speeches in your life. Do you remember all the speeches and the names of the speakers? I doubt it. However, I am sure there are a few speeches which have found a permanent place in your minds and hearts. In this article, I will outline few ways to add power to your speeches and presentations.

1. It’s not about how good you are
Many speakers make the mistake of showing their ‘talent’ and bragging about how good they are. Well, it is important to establish credibility that you are an expert, but it is unnecessary to brag a lot about your achievements. In the first few minutes of your speech, you have to answer the “What’s In It For Me?” question of your audience members. The audience must feel that they made a wise decision to attend your speech.

How can you do that? Simple. Focus on their needs. If you are speaking to a group of engineers, talk to a few engineers and discuss with them a brief synopsis of what you are about to present. Take their feedback and tweak your message.

2. Warm-up
You know the importance of a warm-up before you play a sport or working on your routines at a gym. Similarly, you must also warm-up before your speeches. Many speakers arrive few minutes before the speech and are busy setting up the equipment (mainly laptop-projector connections). That’s not warm-up. Here are a few examples of warm-up:

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Five Steps for Achieving Work-life Balance

Working longer hours and E-mail make it hard to balance the demands on your time, particularly if you have family commitments. But having a meaningful career doesn't mean sacrificing your personal life either. Achieving work-life balance isn't that difficult.

By LesValene Ngion

The recent decade's economic and environment upheavals—like the 1997 Asian financial crisis, 2003 SARS, 2006 Tsunami, and 2009 Global credit crunch—have changed and impacted companies' and individuals' attitudes and perspectives of work and life.

The talk about work-life balance probably surfaced as early as the 1970s and Singapore firms were introduced to the phrase in the late 1990s when the Health Promotion Board and Ministry of Manpower began to help and support organisations in work-life strategies, programmes, and funding.

People are faced with the ongoing saga of unpredictable changes and uncertainties of tomorrow. As job scopes are expanded as a result of downsizing or retrenchments, people with jobs have to be prudent to meet immediate needs. So in the midst of keeping a job regardless of whatever it takes—is there a need for work-life balance?

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Achieving Intergenerational Nirvana

‘Generation gap' and ‘communication breakdown' are terms more often used in a social context: but when it comes to work, the problem can take a professional turn for the worse.

By Nabilah Husna A. Rahman

Perpetuating a sundry mix of staff across ages at your workplace can bring a whole lot more than generational vibrancy. What can also be at stake is work productivity, and according to the latest Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI), 76% of the 3,000 local respondents find that generational differences often affect workplace operations.

It is politically accurate to suggest that an open and lively culture can be encouraged through a fusion of old and young: the fresh-faces bring novel ideas into the workplace, while the veterans uphold industry tradition and impart astuteness. With the right staff and the right balance, all would be well, or at least seemingly so.

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Dealing with work fatigue

It's not yet 3 p.m., and you're already feeling wretchedly tired. You've already knocked back 5 cups of coffee, but you still long for bed. Especially since you have nothing but a desk full of work, and an in-box clogged with emails to look forward to for the rest of the day.

By Marie Kreft

Burn-out. We all know the feeling. Drifting from day to week on endless cups of coffee, five hours’ sleep each night and a series of headaches, stresses and workrelated nightmares. It’s not fun and it’s certainly not good for your health or happiness.

But when general tiredness gives way to fatigue, it’s time to stop listening to your alarm clock each morning and pay more attention to your personal alarm bells. Are you making yourself unhappy? Stressed? Ill? It’s one thing feeling sleepy at your desk after a late night – and another thing when you lose all motivation to work. Feeling tired in the workplace can lead to mistakes, illness, depression and even accidents, so it’s important to spot the warning signs and give yourself a break. When fatigue starts creeping up on you, take note of these simple ways to beat it…

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