All that planning, hard work and sweat equity is paying off. Your business is growing. Is it time to grow your workforce, too? You could be ready for hiring an employee if you:

  • Get bad reviews or complaints. Negative customer feedback is an early indicator that something’s amiss. Analyze this data to determine whether the issue is related to insufficient staff or a problematic process/procedure, and to identify specific times of day or functions where you need the extra help. The Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey found 62% of customers switched service providers because of unsatisfactory customer service or experience. So hiring an employee can address the problems and improve business.
  • See a new revenue opportunity. Sometimes in the course of doing business you uncover a new line of revenue stream or line of business that’s worth pursuing. But if you’re like most small-business owners, you’re already working at full tilt.
  • (read more…)

If you Google “gift ideas for your boss,” you will find pages of results, mostly from companies that sell gifts.

However, if you search “should I get a holiday gift for my boss,” the consensus answers seems to be “absolutely not!”

At least according to Miss Manners (Judith Martin), Emily Post, Ask a Manager (Alison Green), and the Evil HR Lady herself (Suzanne Lucas), all very credible workplace etiquette experts. They say it’s either blatant sucking up, or could at least give the appearance of sucking up. Holiday office gifts should be given “down” but not “up.”

On the other end of the boss gift giving continuum, you find holiday gifts that will impress your boss. While I think the idea of giving a holiday gift to impress your boss is pretty slimy, I have to give the author credit for being transparent.

Where do I stand on the issue of holiday gift giving for the boss? (read more…)

Feeling like everyone but you is being promoted? Wondering why your team has lost its spark? Questioning how few people at work are interested in your ideas and opinions?

Perhaps it’s time for a leadership practice checkup.

Professor and author Michael D. Watkins offers seven topics for leaders to take into account as they assess their leadership practices. These methods require maintaining an equilibrium between analytical thinking and conceptual mindsets—a fundamental necessity for leading as well as managing effectively. If your career growth and influence are stalled out, reflect on your answers to these seven questions.

1. Are you working as a specialist or a generalist?

Vikram Mansharamani notes that “the future may belong to the generalist.” A fast-moving, quickly changing business environment requires the ability to deal with a broad range of uncertainty. “Ideological reliance on a single perspective appears detrimental to one’s ability to successfully navigate vague or poorly-defined situations (which are more prevalent today than ever before).”

2. (read more…)

Adrian had been looking for a solution to an issue at work in her head for months (and months). She was, in her words, a perfectionist who was looking for a way to control the issue without negative consequences. She didn’t just ponder how to deal with it, she obsessed about it. It was beginning to impact her leadership and her personal relationships. Wishing that her obsessive thoughts about the issue would stop didn’t work; in fact, it made her more frustrated.

She discovered a way to find answers to the issue that worked for her and allowed her to take action. Once she did, she was able to come back to the technique she used over and over again, increasing her ability to make faster decisions and her effectiveness as a leader.

Very few leaders will claim to get stuck, but realistically we all do at some point. The decisions you don’t make are as important as the ones you do. (read more…)

Readers of this blog and of our SmartBrief on Leadership newsletter in 2013 were overwhelmingly interested in being better communicators, and it showed in the results of the most-read posts of that year.

The difficulty of communicating well and consistently, even for high-ranking and talented leaders, spurred us to add a section in the daily newsletter this year specifically for smarter communication, as well as a blog series on communication with Switch & Shift. And this focus makes sense — leaders need to communicate with each other, with their reports, with clients and customers, the public and, sometimes, government. They must communicate feedback, bad news, motivation, strategy and shape culture. And we’ll continue to emphasize the human part of work.

What was this year’s focus?

That said, in 2014, the focus of our most popular blog posts shifted a bit. Readers still wanted to become better at communication skills, but they also wanted to know how to deploy those skills and read them in others. (read more…)