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Tucker

@tucker347

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2 Kinds of Work Praise
  1. WE-STRENGTH - This is the type of praise where the entire team is elevated and pushed forward.
  2. ME-STRENGTH - This is the type of praise wherein it makes an individual employee stronger. It is where the person is most comfortable, joyous, and focused on work that brings them satisfaction.

However, it is important to keep in mind that every employee has different strengths where their we-strength could be intrinsically different from their me-strength.

@tucker347

The 2 kinds of praise we all need to get at work

ideas.ted.com

  1. It is important for a manager to be able to gain clarity in each employee's me-strengths. This can be done simply through observation and asking the right questions.
  2. The employees' responsibilities must have room to be exercised regularly. The space given to them will provide positive long-term results and increase employee satisfaction.

When we celebrate our employee's strengths they will feel valued and special, thus making them much more willing to exercise that strength again in the future.

In order to identify your employee's me-strengths, ask them:

  1. What do you enjoy doing but haven't done yet?
  2. What sorts of activities do you finish that make you want to do it again?
  3. What do you see on your calendar that excites you?
  4. Tell me about a time when you were doing an activity where you didn't notice how much time has passed.
  5. On your very best workday, the day you think you have the best job in the world — what transpired that day?

In order to identify your employee's we-strengths, ask them:

  1. What do other people compliment and praise you for the most?
  2. What’s gotten you the spotlight with your career?
  3. Where do you feel most useful?
  4. What have you done in the past that you’re not doing now that you think had a lot of impact?
  5. What seems to come more easily for you than for others on the team?
Building Trust While Starting A New Job

A new joinee has to showcase the skills he possesses and at the same time, build the foundation of a good relationship with the new coworkers.

Establishing trust is important to ensure success in one’s new job role.

How To Build And Maintain Trust When You Start A New Job

blog.trello.com

Trust makes us feel psychologically safe at the workplace. One can focus on creative, collaborative work where there is a free flow of ideas and everyone is benefiting from each other’s energy. One can freely ask for support, test new ideas, and be oneself without any fear of judgement.

Trustworthy colleagues result in a positive, safe and comfortable work environment that translates into better work. There is less stress, faster decision making and more innovation.

One can take cues from how coworkers trust each other by their body language, the way they interact on Slack, or how relaxed and casual they are around each other.

If help is sought after, and clarifications are prompt, even during virtual (Zoom calls) environments, one can gauge the level of trust in the workplace.

A strong foundation of trust needs to be laid as early as possible. Create a ‘shield of goodwill’ to minimize any miscommunication.

Building trust will ensure that even if there is ambiguity, the words and actions are coming with good intentions.

Trustworthiness is a combination of competence and warmth. Great leaders are loved and respected, but also feared at the same time.

One has to strike the right balance between love and fear to appear authentic, vulnerable and credible. To start things off, be compassionate and warm.

  1. Talk about one’s upbringing, hardships and personal history, while keeping it work-appropriate. Getting to know people on a personal level builds trust and connections, as they see a human being and not just a new employee.
  2. Ask for help whenever possible. It shows vulnerability and boosts good feelings among team members. They like being perceived as competent while demonstrating that you are okay with admitting that you don’t know something.
  3. Ask for feedback and take your teammates' opinion whenever possible. You can ask a person having expertise, even if there is no direct work involvement.

Communication is the magic key for building trust. Body language, expressions, tone are all important.

  1. Speak in a calm, soothing voice.
  2. Make sure that the atmosphere is cheerful and smile whenever possible.
  3. Do not smile with raised eyebrows, as it looks as if there is anxiety.
  4. Do not fidget with your fingers and stand straight.

Virtual teams and WFH policies have complicated and muddled the communication that happens in a physical office. We need to provide remote team members with the benefit of the doubt while interpreting their behaviour. There is much less context to access what is meant by their words and actions.

The least we can do is watch our tone, and be as polite and generous in the initial months as possible. It always pays to be warm, friendly and human.

  1. Trust can be built by showcasing your competence and skills.
  2. Trust yourself, shaking out any imposter syndrome and do not doubt your competence.
  3. Be transparent and honest, not hiding the information that makes you appear bad.
  4. Be a person your teammates can count on, by showing your reliability and keeping your word.
  5. Accept your mistakes and do not attack or blame a coworker.
  6. Treat coworkers equally and do not show bias.
  7. Treat people with fairness, integrity and try not to be the gossipy, two-faced coworker that no one likes.
  8. Have good intentions and be the person you would trust.
Keeping Your Composure At Work

It's inevitable running into negative nancy at work or those who choose to undermine your capabilities. However, you get to decide how to handle people like them. You can either fight them or let them talk and not be bothered by what they say.

Every situation can be handled with grace as long as you let yourself do so. Take a deep breath and remember that what people say about you is ultimately a reflection of them and not you.

How to Deal With Someone Who Keeps Undermining You at Work

inc.com

If your fight mode has been activated when dealing with someone that is undermining your work, don't let it eat you up entirely, instead, try to ask what they meant by their backhanded compliment.

Keep focused on staying calm so that you can address the root of the problem and not add gasoline to the fire. If they still do not want to change their mind about you, smile, move on, and be the bigger person.

Don't let a petty comment discourage you. Do not succumb to the negativity because at the end of the day what people say about you don't matter.

Your actions have more significance than what anyone else say.

  • Be curious about the other person.
  • Your smile and will go a long way toward a positive first impression.
  • Listen, then show you were listening.  
  • Talk about your business in a casual, non-salesy way.
  • Research attendees and come prepared with questions
  • Introduce yourself with an anecdote that resonates.
  • Learn how you can help each new connection.
  •  Go in without a strict agenda and try to make a new friend. This takes the pressure off. 

10 Networking Tips To Help You Make A Great First Impression At An Event

forbes.com

The challenges of hybrid teams

Most companies embracing remote work also have dedicated headquarters. But remote-ish teams have even more communication and collaboration challenges than fully remote teams.

For example, in hybrid teams, remote employees are often left in the dark. Office workers are often heard, recognized, and promoted, while remote workers are forgotten.

How to be Remote-First When You Still Have an Office

blog.doist.com

The single biggest mistake companies can make is to opt to be remote-friendly instead of remote-first. Companies often accept the idea that remote is the future of work without creating an inclusive culture to ensure it works for everyone.

  • Remote-friendly environment: Employees are allowed to work remotely, but work is not optimized for it. There is a disconnect between office and remote employees and team meetings exclusively occur in a co-located time zone. Water cooler chat is a space for key decisions and presence is correlated with meaningful work. Communication is synchronous-first. Managers must work in the office.
  • Remote-first companies: Employees are empowered to adopt remote work. Real-time meetings are kept to a minimum and recorded. Decisions are made online and performance is measured by output, not by hours worked. Communication is asynchronous-first. Managers are encouraged to work from home.

Hybrid companies function best when the entire company is optimized for remote work. Successful hybrid teams set up processes to help their remote workers thrive alongside their office teammates.

Leadership must acknowledge the various challenges remote workers face and create solutions. Create a remote work policy that keeps remote workers and contractors from feeling like second class team members. Remote workers should feel fully connected and not missing a thing.

  • Mentorship weeks and in-person onboarding. Extend new remote team members the opportunity to meet their office peers by flying them out to headquarters for onboarding. It builds personal relationships early on that ease collaboration.
  • Get office colleagues to work from home. Create work from home weeks for office colleagues to help build empathy and understanding of the pain points of remote work.
  • Offer company conference perks. Give remote and office teammates a chance to build relationships through shared learning experiences with conferences or professional development opportunities.
  • Host company-wide retreats. Whenever possible, bring the entire team together for a few days for a retreat or off-site to accelerate bonding experience.

While these opportunities are costly and require coordination, they pay ongoing dividends.

Create an explicit work-from-home policy for office employees that extends the benefits of remote work to office employees. Clearly outline the expectations of remote workers in documentation.

Ensure your guideline answers the following questions:

  • Can office employees work from home any day of the week?
  • How many consecutive days can office employees work from home?
  • What is the maximum number of days an office employee can work from home?
  • Do office employees working from home need to maintain certain working hours?
  • Can office employees work remotely while travelling?
  • Do office employees need to ask for permission to work from home?

While treating both remote and office employees fairly, they don't necessarily need to be treated the same. Consider the unique needs of each group and create policies and perks that address them.

  • Office employees only can receive public transit credits, free coffee and snacks, Friday catered lunches, and an on-site fitness facility.
  • Remote employees only can receive a home office budget, healthy snacks or coffee shop allowance, and internet subsidy, one annual trip to HQ.

Remote-ish teams should adopt asynchronous communication as the primary source of correspondence.

  • Synchronous communication, where a quick back-and-forth conversation is possible, falls short for remote-ish teams. Synchronous-first teams encourage an always-on culture, defaults to meetings, relies on time zone coordination and real-time collaboration.
  • Asynchronous communication serves hybrid teams, where participants communicate when they're available and discussion occurs intermittently. Asynchronous-first teams default to writing, choose their own productive working hours, and default to undisturbed deep work.

A few important areas where centralized and accessible documentation should exist:

  • Company policies, core values, and operating principles
  • Project management system guidelines
  • Critical service outage instructions
  • Technical implementation resources
  • Product and project roadmaps
  • Career development paths
  • Decisions should be documented and the next steps put in writing

Clear and concise documentation is crucial to empower individuals and teams with the information needed to do their work. It allows remote individuals to work more independently without having to wait for an answer.

Video calls and other forms of synchronous communication still serves a function. However, synchronous communication should be made available asynchronously:

  • For occasional synchronous meetings, find reasonable time for everyone. Ensure ideal time slots are rotated between team members.
  • Try having everyone call in from their respective desks and computers to eliminate side conversations.
  • Record video calls and make them available for viewing later in a central place for all team members.
Tackling Trust Issues

It is quite possible that certain employees are not trusted by the manager, and there is a lack of confidence in their abilities. The employees are given lower-quality work or are micro-managed.

To rehabilitate the bosses trust, one has to first clarify the expectations and ask specific questions laying down what they want from you.

What to Do If Your Boss Doesn’t Like You

hbr.org

  • Once there is clarity, one needs to enhance the bosses perception about being competent, reliable and trustworthy. Playing on one’s strengths while correcting the weak areas is a good initial strategy.
  • Have frequent check-ins to ensure there is no derailment, or to make any course correction.
  • Provide a plan of action that is tangible, measurable and showcases your progress in a visual, clear way.
  • Provide daily or weekly updates about your activities and try to appear bold and confident.
  • Do not protest if you still get lower-quality work, as it may lead to the boss believing that you should not be given higher-quality work, just like before.
  • Be transparent and forthcoming and the work with your boss rather than providing them with bad news at the last moment.
  • Do not rush towards becoming a ‘hero’ right away, and try to make steady progress, demonstrating your competence.

Watch the level of eye contact to understand if there is a likeability problem between you and your boss. It is possible that your boss may not like you, or not relate to you, which is quite common.

Communication is key here, and one can find the areas that the boss is working on, or is interested in, and carry a conversation that can help both of you know each other well.

  • Using palm gestures at navel height creates an unconscious connection between humans, according to a leading body language expert.
  • This is because the region around our navel is a ‘truthplane’ and demonstrates that you are safe and trustworthy, with nothing to hide.
  • Having a comfortable eye gaze while communicating with the boss, and sitting right in front of them provides a better connection than sitting sideways where they strain to look at you.

Humans have a negative bias and tend to create or personalize any problem even when there are many factors that are not in one’s knowledge.

Do not be a leech just because you have this hunch that the boss doesn’t like you. It also not a good idea to complain or gossip about your boss to others, as word-of-mouth is fast.

Work towards developing and strengthening your relationship with your subordinates, peers and colleagues.

Your boss will not be able to maintain a poor image of you when there are many who speak good about you. Invest in building deep professional relationships instead of being dependent on one person that does not seem to favour you.

How Remote Work Became Possible
  • Computers and the internet have made remote work a common arrangement, and this is a recent phenomenon. PC and internet access changed the shape of work in an unimaginable way, and the technical advances of the 90s, which was the Information Technology revolution, offices started using networked PCs and embraced e-mail.
  • As the millennium happened, broadband access became cheaper, and a cheap audio communication software was released in 2003, which was called Skype, which evolved into video conferencing later, helping people connect professionally in a remote setting.

Why Remote Work Is So Hard—and How It Can Be Fixed

newyorker.com

Today, remote and flexible work arrangements are seen as a perk.
In 2018, a survey showed that around 3 percent of Americans worked from home on a regular basis. Due to technological advancements (starting with Blackberry), employees were working from everywhere, the subway, the café, home and during the commute.

But even after we have the technology required for remote working for about fifteen odd years, we have been slow to adopt mainstream remote working. The mass-adoption needed a catalyst, and that was provided in 2020 in the form of a deadly disease.

  • The 2020 pandemic has shown that all remote working is possible, and bosses are no longer reluctant towards it, a forced change due to the present conditions.
  • Many global giants like Google and Twitter have embraced remote work in a big way, in their bid to protect worker health and to reduce corporate liability.
  • The unpredictable nature of the pandemic and an expectation of the second wave of infections can hamper any chance to return to offices.

While remote work has a lot of benefits like reduced commute, time efficiency and safety, many conclude that the richness of in-person interaction is irreplaceable, and many studies do seem to confirm that people in the office just get more done.

Face-to-face interactions help employees communicate and bond, making them think, investigate, synthesize, write, plan, organize and brainstorm together, something the best of technology finds hard to match with people in remote locations in their pyjamas.

In many remote working environments, employees are reduced to their email addresses and/or slack handles, delegated with work which can easily overload them due to the current unstable situation across the world already complicating life, and most people having their kids at home.

Offices, on the other hand, have the advantage of the personal touch, with long back and forth emails are usually avoided, with a spontaneous conversation working out well.

The software industry is already organized towards a systematic work approach that is compatible with remote working, which involves agile project management systems and coding sprints, understanding the needs of the coders.

Modern city life has placed the office as a place where adults interact, hang out, and work together, getting into friendships and relationships in the process.

These benefits of an office, where our emotional needs are being fulfilled, are being deprived by the concept of remote working.

The new remote worker may find that there is unnecessary demand for his attention and attendance, bordering on intrusive, while he is trying to work remotely.

A good way to handle this is to consolidate your appointments in the second half of a day, and provide yourself a set of hours for actual productive work (known as flow). Constant email back and forth all day won't be productive.

Assigning your work in specific blocks of time adds structure to your work routine and get more done during a day, as you would be knowing that another task is time-blocked, and the current tasks need to be done in the stipulated time.

Good collaborative softwares like Trello, Microsoft Flow and others, make tasks appear in a more transparent manner.

Apart from software, how an employee is managed remotely by a boss also matters. The best way is to provide employees with clear goals and then leave them alone to use their own approach and creativity, while being available in case of any query.

Hidden problems

Companies are struggling to balance employee and public health with the maintenance of basic operations. The obvious answer is to go virtual and work from home.

But it is not that simple. Companies gain a subtle but profound value from social interaction. Productivity and sound decision-making rely heavily on informal communication, like coffee breaks. Employee trust relies on daily in-person interactions like nods of courtesy, morning greetings, and so on. Specific strategies can be implemented to preserve the social fabric essential to success.

How to manage the hidden risks in remote work | MIT Sloan

mitsloan.mit.edu

The quality of online conversations can lack much of the interpersonal richness present in in-person discussions.

Conversations could be monitored with RIFF Analytics, for example, that uses artificial intelligence to analyze online conversation dynamics and provide real-time personalized feedback to each participant: Is anybody dominating the conversation? Is discussion as inclusive as it should be?

When working remotely, physical distance can quickly develop into psychological distance. Companies need to take extra care to include people in decision-making.

  • One method is secret voting on new ideas to prevent the loud guy from taking over.
  • Another method is Idea markets, where colleagues can vote new ideas up or down.
  • Companies could reward groups with social incentives. It could take the form of peer reward, where people working in a group vote for colleagues who have been helpful.
  • Consider a remote movie viewing among coworkers to reinforce social ties.
  • People can also partner up for weekly discussions about challenges outside of work, like childcare.

To give your day structure, keep the same routine as when you went into an office. Get up at the same time and make a to-do list. Check in with the same person every morning.

Your schedule will change over time as you adjust to your new working arrangement.

How to Work From Home, if You've Never Done It Before

nytimes.com

Pick a place for your office away from distraction.
Boundaries also apply to other people who may be sharing the same space. Children can work alongside you as if they were coming to the office.

You won't have the same cues as you do from your workplace to remind you to get up or get lunch. When you lose the pace of your day, everything can start to blend together.

Treat your exercise, meals and stretch breaks as you would any other meeting. Put it on your calendar, at least to start.

Proactively stay in touch with others rather than waiting for someone to reach out. It could be emailing colleagues more often, using chat tools or just picking up the phone.

Getting a pet is another way to break isolation, or playing a familiar movie for a background hum to break the silence.

The evening commute is often a way to end the workday and beginning home life.
It is important to continue to end your workday when you work from home, even if you only move to a different spot in your home or shut down your work applications.

Creating parent-teacher groups enables parents to share their opinion in regards to topics that concern directly their children, such as classroom activities, field trips, or homework. 

This can prove extremely efficient, as parents are the ones who know the best their kids and can, therefore, make great decisions when it comes to them.

How parent involvement enhances classroom community | The JotForm Blog

jotform.com

Allowing parents to participate in their children's field trips can prove an inspired idea, as they often have great suggestions. 

Moreover, getting their feedback both before and after the trip might lead to the improvement of such activities.

This kind of program often results in successful cooperation between parents and teachers, therefore ensuring that no feedback is lost. 

Parent volunteers get in contact with other parents for topics related to their children and forward their opinions to teachers, enabling an efficient communication of everybody's thoughts and suggestions.

The cooperation between teachers and parents can lead to a relationship based on mutual respect and exchange of opinions and experiences, which can only have good effects regarding a child's development.

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