Most managers are rationale, logical, practical problem solvers when they first get promoted. Then, through organizational conditioning, they learn to play silly games. They are like the frog in a pan of boiling water. The change is so gradual, these silly games eventually begin to feel like “real world management.”

How many of these silly management games do you play? More importantly, do you have the courage to speak up and stop the insanity?

We’ll start with some silly budgeting games:

1. “Use it or lose it budgeting.” This is when you are getting close to the end of the year and your budget is running under your forecast. In previous years, when you underspent, your next year’s budget was set based on that year’s actual. So, in order not to have your budget cut again, you go on a shopping spree — buying stuff you really don’t need or stocking up just in case you might need it. (read more…)

Recently I had the pleasure of going on a fishing trip on Lake Michigan with three of my sons. This was our first such fishing charter, and it turned out to be a great experience all around.

Clearly, one of the most common words on a shipping boat is “catch,” as in the fish that is brought in during the trip. When used in the workplace, the term can be used to reference a great new resource, such as a new hire or tool that has the potential of adding value to the workforce and its efforts. Proactive managers and employers can also catch their workers doing something right and praise such conduct as a form of reinforcement.

On the negative side, the term “catch” can refer to the way in which employees are oftentimes evaluated, as in being caught off-guard with critiques (or worse) that stem from unstated or unclear expectations. (read more…)

Q. What is one bad management practice nearly all entrepreneurs are guilty of at one point?

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

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yec_Brittany Hodak1. Looking for “clones” to hire

As entrepreneurs who were once solo-preneurs know, when you hire someone to take over the work you were once doing yourself, it can be difficult not to jump in and say, “I did it this way” on occasion. It’s important to hire people who know more than you and can look for new, innovative ways to solve problems that you may not think of instead of training new hires to think and act like a mini you. (read more…)

The Great Recession became official in December 2007, and by its end, more than 8.8 million jobs had been lost — 2 million in the construction sector alone.

But times change, and after the massive battering, the industry is starting to bounce back. Construction spending is up, projects are more plentiful and optimism is starting to sneak its way in. But now, there’s another problem — a shortage of workers, because so many left the industry to find employment elsewhere.

To see how widespread the shortage of skilled labor is, SmartBrief and the Associated General Contractors of America conducted a poll. The findings were interesting. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How well do you balance the workload among the members of your team?

  • Very well — work is allocated fairly and effectively: 28.57%
  • Well — work allocations are fair for the most part: 61.9%
  • Not well — work allocations are often unfair and ineffective: 7.79%
  • Poorly — I have a great deal of difficulty allocating work: 1.73%

5 Considerations for Work Allocation. Balancing workload across your team is tricky business. As you do so, you need to consider 5 major aspects of workload distribution before you dole out assignments: priority, skill, availability, professional development, and personal interest. In considering all five of those elements you’ll not only allocate work more efficiently and effectively but you’ll also be building the skills of the members of your team in the process. (read more…)