5 Ways To Neutralize Micromanagers

One of the biggest demotivators any professional can experience in their career is a micromanaging boss. They’re highly stressful individuals who misrepresent their stress and anxiety as intensity and passion. They confuse distrust and insecurity with perfectionism and obsession with details. And more often than not they are very inexperienced and fearful of failure. Defying them can be detrimental to your own success, no matter how annoying and frustrating they are. Therefore it’s best to strategically outmaneuver them. Here are 5 ways to neutralize micromanagers:

  1. Establish Constant Communication. Micromanagers are often consumed with anxiety about what’s happening or what’s not happening. It’s best to keep them well informed so that their level of anxiety is kept to a minimum. Provide updates to them frequently and ask them loads of clarifying questions when they make requests or inquiries.
  2. Become a Master of Anticipation. It’s much better to anticipate requests than to be caught off-guard. Micromanagers tend to frequently change their minds about what they’re asking you for, repeatedly changing details of the requests as you progress through them. Do them and yourself a favor and anticipate any potential issues or change requests on the first ask. That way you can establish alternative deliverables ahead of time. Mastering anticipation may also earn you more of the micromanagers trust, which should result in them falling back a bit and allowing you some space to operate.
  3. Collect Evidence of Your Productivity. Using apps such as TOGGL you can track how you spend your time, broken down by project, task, and subtask. This can serve as proof that you’re highly productive without the constant peering over the shoulder. You could also volunteer to share your productivity reports weekly or even daily with your micromanaging spaz of a boss. This should help put them somewhat at ease and allow you a bit more breathing room for creativity and general independent thought.
  4. Be Direct and Confront the Issue Tactfully. When making a few compromises isn’t effective enough to neutralize the situation, then it’s time to take the direct approach of confronting the issue, tactfully of course. Let your boss know that you feel stifled and untrusted. Share with them again your work history and impact, dispelling the need for micromanaging you as a professional. If they’re not understanding of your position, and decide that it’s their way or the highway, then move on to number five below.
  5. Fire Them. That’s right, fire your micromanaging boss by resigning and moving on into a more suitable company culture. No experienced professional wants to be badgered or berated all day, especially for miscellaneous things. If you’ve proven your ability to be productive and successful, then you’ve earned some level of trust and independence. Don’t let your ingenuity and creativity be limited by the likes of micromanagers – just keep it moving in a positive way. Onward and upward.

3 Great Lessons From The Worst Job I’ve Ever Had

The worst job I’ve ever had actually turned out to be great because it taught me some valuable lessons. I love to learn, although I prefer it not be the hard way. One of my missions in life is to empower career changers and military veterans with useful knowledge and information about careering. You don’t have to learn the hard way (if you haven’t already). Here are 3 great lessons from the worst job I’ve ever had:

  1. A Higher Salary does not mean an employer grants you greater responsibility or more trust. Instead, it can mean that an employer will demand more of your time and energy, outside of the norm, because they feel entitled. I learned this lesson especially during my Paternity Leave when my wife was about to deliver our second child. My work phone was called literally every day for non-emergencies, and I was penalized for not answering every beckoning call. Also, I went from being the senior site leader at my previous job with my own office and with great trust and respect from my higher ups to being a regional leader in title only, since I then became relegated to working at a desk in an open floor layout where I was micromanaged and treated more like an hourly administrative assistant. I’ll stop there with my venting, and get to the point: consider every aspect of compensation before accepting a job offer (i.e. workspace, paid time off, education benefits, freebies and discounts, etc.).
  2. If you’re promised things during the interview process, such as being able to work from home whenever it’s not essential to be at the corporate office, then be sure to GET IT IN WRITING before you sign and accept the job offer. Sometimes, very rarely, employers will use a “bait and switch” approach to getting you onboard. Whether intentional or not, this scenario points to a serious lack of integrity. When you’re hired, you’re expected to do exactly what you said you could do during the interviews. Empower yourself by expecting an employer to do exactly as they said also, and hold them accountable because you will surely be held accountable if you don’t deliver.
  3. Read company reviews online from legit sources like Glassdoor. If most of the reviews are negative, especially pertaining to overall company culture, and definitely when the negative reviews spring from multiple locations across the country, then you may want to just decline the offer and move on to something different. Working in a toxic company culture for an obviously negative organization is not worth the stress and headaches, regardless of the amount of money.

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5 Great Benefits of Hiring Veterans

Job-seeking military veterans are ultra-competitive candidates. They have proven track records and in-demand skill sets. Sometimes their value gets lost in translation, but here you’ll find some of the crystal clear benefits for recruiting and hiring them.

Currently, there are many commendable initiatives advocating for the hiring of military veterans. I greatly appreciate every organization and individual concerned with the interests of our country’s transitioning service members. However, as a military veteran myself, I’d like to turn the tables and focus on how hiring military veterans is a lucrative move for companies across every industry. Here are just five of the many amazing benefits of hiring veterans:

1. CAPABLE CHANGE AGENTS

Change can be challenging and is often met with resistance But there are people out there who know how to both embrace and implement change. Those people are often veterans. They are going to ask the tough questions, intent on truly understanding the coming changes so that they can be an active and impactful contributor to the overall transformation. They will also support the change leader(s)’s vision and they will help to communicate it to other team members. They will act with patience, as they have been through many changes throughout their time spent in a military uniform.

2. PEER-TO-PEER ACCOUNTABILITY

Military veterans are excellent at keeping themselves and those around them on track. Integrity, order, and discipline all play a factor here, which are some of the greatest attributes of veterans. As a current Operations Manager with over 50 employees I am responsible for, I find that high levels of peer-to-peer accountability coincide with high levels of morale. Not only will veterans be very vocal in identifying non-compliance, they will also offer support in correcting any issues…

(Continue Reading at Udacity for Business Blog…)

6 Great Blogs To Subscribe To For Career Transition Guidance

Career change is almost never easy, but it can be simplified in some instances. From mid 2012 to nearly the end of 2014, I was on an unrelenting career transition journey, as I transformed from active duty military service member to where I am today. Throughout that time I needed guidance, sound advice, inspiration, and some times just a good story to read. The six blogs listed below gave me all of that and more. I’m hoping they can do the same for you.

1-CAREEREALISM:

The belief at CAREEREALISM is that every job is temporary. That’s why it’s so important to stay informed and to keep learning, growing, acquiring new skills, and relationship building. CAREEREALISM produces an exclusive Recruiter Directory, publishes a daily career insights newsletter, and presents “sneak peeks” articles with the inside scoop about employers to help you find a workplace that fits you best.

2-UDACITY:

Want to learn how to be considered “in demand” as a job seeker? Are you pondering an effective entry into the world of technology professionals? Well then this is the blog for you. Better yet, one of UDACITY’s Nanodegree programs may just be the solution you need to fix your income stream. Gain highly desired credentials that are built and recognized by industry leaders such as Google and General Electric. Check out UDACITY’s blog for further details.

3-TASK & PURPOSE:

This is a great news and culture site, primarily focused on providing a platform to amplify the voices of millennial American veterans. If you’re seeking amazing stories to motivate you, challenge your perceptions, intrigue healthy debate, or simply to lighten your mood, then Task & Purpose should become a go-to source for you.

4-MELISSAWASHINGTON.COM:

As a fellow military veteran, Melissa Washington is an outstanding advocate for women and veterans in the labor market. In fact, she is the Founder and Director at Women Veterans Alliance. She is also the author of “Get Back to Work”, a book on real-world strategic career moves to put you ahead of your competitors.

5-AMERICANDREAMU.ORG:

As put simply on its website, American Dream U is committed to empowering those that serve. The site provides a ton of free resources, mentor networks, and a calendar of its signature events like VETRACON. Founder Phil Randazzo, a serial entrepreneur and investor, is a genuine proponent of active duty military members, veterans, and spouses finding their dream job and/or entrepreneur resources.

6-G.I. JOBS:

Coming out of active duty Air Force in 2012, G.I. Jobs is what I primarily consumed for inspiration and information. The stories are highly motivational, the employer profiles are deeply insightful, and the extra tools provided were critical to my eventual career change successes (i.e. the pay calculator, the interview survival kit, and the transition readiness quiz).

I look at career transition as a never-ending journey. In that mindset, I also pursue perpetual development as a professional. That’s why I’m subscribed to all six of the above mentioned blogs, and why I’m also a contributing writer to several of them. They each provide value in exchange for your time and attention.

Sound Advice for Businesses with Stupid Billing Policies

Make it easy for people to change their preferences or cancel the service, so they don’t leave angry. “It engenders a negative brand perception if you make customers pick up the phone and wait in line to stop paying you.”

-Michael Dublin, CEO of Dollar Shave Club

Above is some sound advice for business owners to strongly consider. Recently, as a customer, I’ve experienced the frustration of dealing with a business that makes it difficult to cancel its services. The business I’m speaking of in particular is a fitness club called French Riviera Spa, and I’m annoyed at their stupid billing policies.

First, I take responsibility for signing their membership contract, without thoroughly examining the terms as I usually do with any contract before endorsing. Second, I comprehend and respect the need to protect one’s business from potential loss of revenue. But, and excuse my language, “it’s a damn gym”! Should I choose to cancel and move on then, at most, charge me for an extra month and let’s keep it moving. But the worst thing to do is what French Riviera Spa did: attempt to shackle me to a service that I no longer desire.

Why am I writing about this? Well, besides venting, I viewed this incident from an entrepreneurial perspective. Because I travel, sometimes I join different fitness clubs depending on my location at a given time. When able, I try to stick to a consistent fitness club brand. If  I happen to return to a particular location, then I go back and join a fitness club that I may have once left. Well, needless to say, there’s not ever a chance of me rejoining as a member of French Riviera Spa, a sentiment that I’ve come to find out is shared by quite a few previous members.

My point overall is, this particular fitness club has completely ruined an opportunity to gain repeat business from me and others in the future, due to utterly ridiculous billing policies. I am not one to be shackled, and most people feel the same way. Of course I found a way out of their policy, and I am warning others to not join such a club unless it changes its billing policies. If you own and operate a business, I hope that you will not make the same mistake. Follow the sound advice of Michael Dublin, and make it simple for people to change their preferences or cancel the service.

Why Coffee Shops Are Better Than Golf Courses for Small Business Deals

I’m admittedly not an avid golfer. I’ve never negotiated a deal on the green. But, I have closed many deals over a fresh cup of java. I personally find coffee houses to be the perfect neutral grounds for dialogue, be it business or personal. And you can switch it up a lot, especially if you’re not just relegated to Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. I’m all about driving local economies and supporting small businesses. That’s why, specifically here in the city of Memphis, I only frequent coffee shops such as Republic Coffee, Avenue Coffee, or Cafe Eclectic. Aside from the convenient access to food and beverages, here’s why I say that coffee shops are better than golf courses for small business deals:

  • More Cost Effective – now, I know greens fees vary depending on the type of facility and the golf market where you live/play. But, even at the cheapest, you’re looking at about $10 per person for a 9-hole round of golf, and that’s without accounting for a cart, clubs, or food and drinks. That same $10 per person becomes a beverage or two and something to snack on at a coffee shop. As a small business owner, I’m always looking to maximize my dollars, and golfing just isn’t an optimum choice.

  • Not as Restricted by Weather Conditions – who’s going golfing when it rains? Maybe Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, but not many others. Inclement weather could delay negotiations on an urgent business matter, if you’re staging the talks at the golf course. With a few exceptions, coffee houses have roofs and walls. Come rain or shine, we can go get a deal done at a local coffee joint while also warming our souls with a couple hot cups of joe.

  • More Inclusive – coffee shops are usually very diverse, whereas golf courses are usually the opposite. Coffee shops are grounds for all to come, whether they’re a seven-figure-earning executive looking for a place to skim the New York Times while they enjoy their coffee, or whether they’re a just-over-broke college student looking for a place to get a last minute assignment done because they have no internet service in their apartment. Everyone should be able to feel comfortable in the coffee shop environment. Golf courses are more for the exclusivity crowd (which there are times when that is beneficial, too).

  • More Intimate Setting – the best coffee shops have environments that are welcoming and relaxing, yet simultaneously invigorating and help spark creativity and productivity. They make you as a customer feel connected to all within the facility, yet there’s space for a bit of privacy and discretionary conversation.

  • FREE WIFI – yes, I’m aware that most club houses on golf courses also have WIFI, but often to gain access you must first become a member. That’s not the case when strolling into a coffee shop.

  • Focus is on Collaboration versus Competing on the Golf Course – breaking bread together and having a tasty beverage brings about a more cooperative, collaborative energy than does golfing. I mean, out on the green you’re keeping score and vying to win. Even if you do so happen to break bread together at the golf course, it often occurs after the game’s been played, when egos are slightly bruised and pride is a distraction.

  • What’s ordered (and how) are key indicators for the business relationship moving forward – I use these opportunities to observe and take mental notes on the habits, customs and courtesies of my counterparts. How long did it take them to decide on what they wanted from the menu? Were they polite or slightly rude to the customer service representative? Do they keep it simple, or do they go all out on what they order? Do they substitute something due to allergies? (this is helpful when considering gifts later)

Guiding Leadership Principles of Successful Entrepreneurship

By: Fran Tarkenton, Founder & CEO, GoSmallBiz.com
(Originally Published: 24 July 2013)

No matter what type of business you’re in, there’s one thing that’s certain: the life of an entrepreneur is ridden with challenges. It is easy to get caught up in the rise and fall of the larger macroeconomic environment or the successes and failures of everyday life as a business owner. An article by Pratik Dholakiya got me thinking about how to set goals, stay focused, and achieve success.

You Hold the Keys to Success, Not the Economy

The success of your business is not a direct product of any external factors. You cannot allow yourself to be distracted by the inevitable ups and downs of the market. Whether businesses around you are failing or have never seen better days, at the end of the day business is a game of numbers. As long as you’re meeting prospects and making sales, your business is going to survive regardless of how the market is performing. Stay focused, and determination will drive you to success.

Embrace Technology

Technology is an unavoidable aspect of doing business in today’s world. Not only is it a lot of fun to conduct business over your new Smartphone or tablet device, but it is also extremely practical. Two things you should look for when considering whether to acquire new technology are speed and portability. If you can save time and conduct business with ease while off-site, you can’t afford to ignore new technology. As technology continues to progress, an entrepreneur must stay current in order to maximize efficiency.
 
Customers Are People Too

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in the sale and forget that a business’s mission is to serve the customer. Offer a product or service that people either want or need, and there is no need to exaggerate your sales pitch. High sales volume will help you get your business off the ground, but repeat customers and referrals will keep you around. Treat people well, and you will be successful.

Selfless Sells

It takes a lot of work to turn a business idea into a product or service that garners a sale. There is no doubt that you deserve a lot of credit for all that you have done to get to this point. But guess what: it doesn’t matter. The customer doesn’t want to hear about your long hours spent recalibrating the latest malfunctions during the wee hours of the morning in your garage studio. Selfless sells, ego does not.

Retain Your Vision

Every business starts with a vision. Whether it’s turning the world on its heels over the latest technology or selling out to the company of your dreams, vision is a strong indicator of motivation and driver of success in business. Once you’ve achieved your initial goals, focus on either retaining or reworking that vision. Dream big and your potential to achieve will grow.

Have a Plan

Whether or not you’ve nailed down your financial projections and drafted a beautiful description of your business to go along with your 70-page business plan, you should have a solid plan to base your actions off of. Whether you prefer to lay it out in detail or in brief, a written plan will ensure that you are targeting something definite and trying to remember a great idea that you had a few months ago. Ink lasts, thoughts don’t.

Be Studious

In addition to knowing your business inside and out, you should make it a priority to learn as much as possible about your industry, your competitors and of course, your customers. A knowledgeable business owner will be able to sell his or her product or service with confidence, and that’s one thing money can’t buy.

The Charity That Just Gives Money To Poor People

DAVID KESTENBAUM and JACOB GOLDSTEIN

August 23, 2013 3:24 AM

There’s a charity called GiveDirectly that just gives money to poor people in Kenya. There are no strings attached. People can spend the money on whatever they want, and they never have to pay it back.

The idea behind this is straight out of Econ 101: Poor people know what they need, and if you give them money, they can buy it. But many people in the charity world are skeptical of what GiveDirectly’s doing. They say people will waste the money, or become dependent.

We recently traveled to Kenya to see how the program was going. We talked to a man named Bernard Omondi who used the money — $1,000, paid in two installments — to buy a used motorcycle. He uses it as a taxi, charging his neighbors to ferry them around. Before he had the motorcycle, he says, he sometimes worked as a day laborer, but often couldn’t find any work at all.

We talked to several other people who started small businesses. One family bought a mill to grind corn for their neighbors; another started selling soap and cooking oil.

All of the people who got money from GiveDirectly lived in mud-walled houses with grass roofs. Many of them spent part of the money on metal roofs, to replace his old, grass roofs. As it turns out, grass roofs are not only leaky, they’re also oddly expensive — they have to be repaired several times a year, which requires buying a special kind of grass. Buying a metal roof costs more up front, but it’s cheaper in the long run.

GiveDirectly uses a Kenyan mobile money system that makes it cheap and easy to send money to anyone with a cell phone. (The group gives cheap phones to people who don’t already have them.) Mobile money is spreading to other countries, and the people who started GiveDirectly think giving cash could become one of the major ways people in richer countries help people in the developing world.

If giving cash does prove to work, it will raise an awkward question about some of the other charities out there: Maybe they’d do more good if they took the money they’re spending and just gave it to the poor.

We’ll have more on that question that later today on All Things Considered.

What Inspires Me: Game-Changing People Everywhere (posted on LinkedIn by Richard Branson)

My professional inspiration has no separation from my personal inspiration: it is people who will stop at nothing to make a positive difference to other people’s lives. I am fortunate to come across quite a few of these game-changing people, and the desire to help (and keep up with them!) is what drives me.

As Steve Jobs famously said:

The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

There are lots of these crazy ones hard at work today trying to make the world a better place, but there is always room for more! Nowadays I spend most of my time working with our not-for-profit foundation, Virgin Unite, and am honoured to work alongside inspirational people taking on challenges from climate change with the Carbon War Room to conflict-resolution with The Elders.

In The B Team, we are stimulated by the desire to ensure business has a purpose beyond profit, also focusing upon people and the planet. I think it is all of our responsibility to try and leave the planet in a better condition than we found it. A good way to find inspiration — and to have a positive impact — is to think about your grandchildren (whether you have any yet or not). What type of world do you want them to inherit?

Elsewhere within the Virgin Group, there are countless people who provide endless inspiration, not least the pioneers at Virgin Galactic. The whole area of space exploration can be held up as an example of what can be achieved with action and ambition. I have looked to the stars for inspiration since I was a child, and hope to be inspired by looking back at earth from space one day soon.

Back on this planet, there is always another exciting new idea to get my teeth stuck into and find inspiration. I get a lot of business proposals and they are usually fascinating to hear, as you never know where the next game-changing idea will come from. Yet it is the personal tales of people I meet that are most inspiring. Thanks to social media, I hear plenty more stirring stories from people all around the globe. Often I am more struck by the potential of an individual than their idea. As I said recently, if you find the right people to work with, you can’t go wrong.

If you are creative, then inspiration can come from anywhere. Creators are never fully satisfied. They can always be better. They are determined to change the game for good. I would love to hear what motivates you, too. Where do you find inspiration?

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130722225611-204068115-what-inspires-me-game-changing-people-everywhere