Work Smarter Part 2


Working hard and working smart are not synonyms. Yes you can work both smart and hard, but you can also spend a lot of effort and fail at the end of the day. Here are 5 more principles that will help you create and maintain a healthy and productive work environment. Ignore them at your own risk.

work smart

Rebuke privately. Praise publicly. Getting these principles right has the greatest impact on morale for both paid or volunteer staff. One time I almost, and should have, fired a staff member for publicly scolding a volunteer that was late for a key rehearsal. The same is true for praise that’s done privately. If you’re happy with someone’s performance, make sure you praise them in front of their peers and superiors.

Monitor morale. Leaders are always looking ahead to figure out what’s the next move. If morale is eroding for whatever reason, it’s your job to identify the issue on its inception and deal with it quickly. A team that loses morale is ineffective at best and a poisonous cancer (I know this is strong language, but I feel strongly about this) for the entire organization. Do not allow rudeness, bickering, or lack of respect to enter your organization. Once these traits find their way in, they will eventually create a culture of cynicism and conflict. Nothing good comes out of that…nothing.

Respect the organizational structure. As you grow and move up in the organizational chart or the organization grows deeper, the tendency is for those whom you’ve know for a while to bypass the chain of command and go straight to you, as oppose to the newly appointed direct report between you and your eager friend. Avoid the temptation to engage in a professional conversation and make sure you work the organizational chart. Unwittingly, you will be undermining your new hire and create a system of inefficiency and team hostility.

Listen intently, but reserve judgment. The tendency of a manager or leader is to want to help fix someone’s problems as soon as possible. However, the worst thing you can do is agree with a disgruntled person based on the “facts” of his or her story. I have learned that there are two sides of every conflict and the truth might be something altogether different. While you should listen, stop short of making a judgment call until you’ve done your work and heard the rest of the story.

Be as loyal to your leader as you would like for your followers to be to you. This is my number one rule in business as well as ministry. Internally we might argue over a course of action, but once a decision is made, then it is the entire team’s responsibility to defend it. If you don’t agree with the decision, you have two options: defend it or leave. People with their own agenda will always try to get to a leader through someone on his team that they think can be easily manipulated. If you agree with a disgruntled client, church member or donor and allow them to feel a sense of righteous indignation, you open the door for a lot of trouble.

What other principle would you include?

  • Roy

    These are more excellent guidelines.

    Here are two I suggest (I’ll likely think of more):
    – Delegate: You can’t do it all.
    – Ask questions: Rather than make pronouncements, ask questions to draw others to your conclusions (if they are correct) or challenge you (if they’re not).

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