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…)

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…)

Madeline is sitting in her boss’s office, patiently waiting for his full attention so she can preview a client presentation she has to deliver tomorrow. Meanwhile Rob, her boss, is sending a text on his smart phone. Before he’s finished with that, the computer pings, signaling an incoming e-mail that Rob says he must answer immediately. He interrupts that process to grab a ringing phone and finally waves Madeline away, mouthing “I’ll catch you later,” as she backs out the door.

Rob is a busy guy. He’s hustling all day long. And Madeline knows if he doesn’t review her presentation before she delivers it to the client, he’s very likely to snap her head off. Rob has the “Rush Syndrome.” Unfortunately, he’s spreading this infection throughout his entire team.

Does any of this sound familiar? There have probably been times when you could identify with both Madeline and Rob. If you detect some symptoms of “Rush Syndrome” in yourself, how can you stop the infection? (read more…)

My first leadership post was the most unusual and most unexpected management position that I ever held. When I was a high school senior, a friend of mine whose father ran a kosher-certification agency asked me if I could provide supervision in a kosher restaurant on Saturday nights.

I didn’t live too far from the place and wanted to earn some extra cash, so I agreed. The position, I was told, included oversight in the kitchen, and, because I did not have to be in the kitchen for more than a few moments at a time (as all of the ingredients were kosher), manning the cash register.

My first night on the job was going pretty smoothly. It took me a short while to learn the inner workings of the establishment’s kitchen and how to operate the register. Not bad, I thought, for $10 an hour. But then, one of the waiters told me that I had a phone call. (read more…)

One of the hardest things for emerging leaders to learn is how to let go.

Entrepreneurs are notorious for falling into the do it yourself (DIY) habit. That may be good for home-repair people but not for business people. And especially not rising executives.

Well-focused leaders stay on track, in part because that’s their job, but also because their energy comes from managing the team. (read more…)