3 Books to Read to Improve Your Management Skills | Manager Jobs Chicago

January 24th, 2014

People who hold management positions come in two forms; those who are satisfied with how they run their team and those who are never satisfied with how they run their team. For those of you in the second group, there are plenty of management books on the market today that can provide you with advice, tips, and information about becoming a better manager in Chicago IL. We have chosen three of those books and discuss them in this post for managers of all levels.

“Empower Your Inner Manager: Essential Skills, Self-Assessment, and Effective Planning That Secure Successful Careers”

This book was written by Ian R. Mackintosh and was published on May 31, 2012 by iUniverse. In this book, which is 173 pages and a very easy read, Mackintosh explains how you can analyze your management style and what you can do to improve it. The book describes a process that includes targeting the skills you need to improve, analyzing the skills you need to become a candidate for a management position, revisit your needs for growth in the future as they improve and developing a plan needed to improve your skills.

“TKO Management!: Ten Knockout Strategies for Becoming the Manager Your People Deserve”

This book was written by Dave Anderson and published on May 23, 2013 by John Wiley & Sons. In today’s competitive business world, it is vitally important to work as hard as possible in order to succeed in management positions. You will want to be able to perform the basics of the business world well because it can mean the difference between being successful and losing within the industry. In this book, Anderson provides readers with the practical strategies needed to defeat your competition from start to finish. The book outlines such tips as how to create a workplace environment that wins, how to hold employees accountable for their work, how to balance leadership and management skills and how to deal with underperformers.

“The Clarity Principle: How Great Leaders Make the Most Important Decision and Business (and What Happens When They Don’t)”

This book, published on May 6, 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, was written by Chatham Sullivan. Working in a management position is not easy, especially when you have to deal with various issues that arise at work each day. Some of those issues include low employee morale, battles over who is permitted to work on which project, misguided strategies and bad politics. Managers at companies whose purpose of business becomes confused are responsible for clarifying the issues at hand. This book discusses issues faced by real-world managers who saw their companies deal with identity crises and then rebound from them successfully.

We hope that you take the time to check out these books either at your local library or by purchasing one for your career library. Reading these and other books about management can help you to become better at your job in management and leading people.

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Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. Davis Staffing is not affiliated in any way with the authors, publishers or retailers of the books mentioned in this article.

How to Prepare for Your 2013 Performance Review

November 15th, 2013

At the end of each year, many employers choose to conduct their annual performance reviews. This is to help establish fair compensation increases and to set new performance goals for the coming year. Yet, for a vast majority of employees, the performance review process is negative and creates a great deal of worry.

Why do employees fear performance reviews?  

  • Employees may worry that they will lose their jobs or not get a raise in pay if they are not working up to company performance standards.
  • Staffers may anticipate that added responsibilities or requirements that will put more strain on already burdensome assignments.
  • Employees may not understand the entire performance review process and find it to be critical rather than helpful to them.

For these reasons and several others, the end of year performance review is something that causes employees to avoid thinking about them. However, this is a mistake. Instead of looking at performance reviews as a necessary evil of being employed, it’s more beneficial to look at a review as time to shine and go after the raise that you deserve. It’s always better to prepare for a performance review rather than just dread it.

Get prepared for your 2013 annual performance review!

Here are some ways you can prepare for your 2013 annual performance review, and come out ahead.

#1 – Make a list of all the new tasks and projects you worked on over the course of the last 12-months.  

Chances are, you have accomplished a lot over the last year. You’ve probably been asked to take on new tasks as a result of new projects that have landed on your desk. This is a good thing, in terms of your career. Make a note of these new tasks and projects to leverage during your performance review.

#2 – Write down at least 3-5 new things you learned and new skills you developed as a result of your hard work.

For each new project or task you’ve taken on, you’ve likely gathered a whole new set of knowledge that makes you a more valuable employee. Write down the things you’ve learned or the new skills you’ve developed as a result of your efforts. Again, these make you more worthy of a raise in pay.

#3 – Take out your last year’s performance review and compare where you were this time last year to where you are now.

If you’ve been on the job for more than a year, you probably experienced a review last year around this same time. Find or ask for a copy of your performance review (from the HR department or your manager) and take the time to read through it. Look for goals you set out to achieve, and any areas that still need work.

#4 – Make a note of the value you brought to your employer, the goals you met, and the goals you have for the coming year.

Using your last year’s performance review as a report card to what you accomplished this year, make a note of the areas you excelled in. Also consider the areas you want to focus on this year as part of your ongoing career development. You can use this information to ask for training support and to help you rate yourself during your performance review.

#5 – Mentally prepare yourself for your annual review by being positive and proactive.

When you are asked to participate in your performance review, do so with a positive mindset. Look forward to the feedback you will receive as it can help you grow as a professional. Be ready to demonstrate how you went over and beyond your normal job duties. Leverage your learning and achievements in your performance review to validate a generous raise in salary or a new job title.

If you are looking for employment agencies in Hammond IN, contact us today.

Job Hunting While Employed – Cover Your Tracks

July 27th, 2012

The job market is tough out there. Even as small signs of recovery are appearing on distant horizons, companies are still reluctant to raise salaries, reduce hours, or hire new employees.  This leaves a lot of people in the market for new jobs but unwilling to put their existing jobs at risk in the process. Sometimes, after all, “prudent silence is wise.” This is especially true when you’re putting out feelers and sending our resumes for other jobs while still employed in yours. Here are a few tips that can help you keep your job search under the radar and off the charts with your current employer.

1)   Keep your search off company tech. As tempting as it may be to check all the job sites and boards during your lunch hour, that’s not a wise use of company equipment. Don’t use the corporate computers or your business email address. You never know who’s watching or what that person is watching for. Instead, limit your job search activities to your personal computer.

2)   Remember that slow and steady wins the race. The job market is not hopping at the moment. Don’t get discouraged after one or two missed opportunities. Use them as learning curves and make the most out of the next one. For many people, keeping a hopeful eye out for the the job you want next is what keeps you coming in, day after day, to the job you have now. Don’t lose sight of that. But, be prepared to stick with it for a fair amount of time.

3)    Don’t draw attention to the fact that you’re “in the market” for another job. In other words, don’t suddenly start dressing up every few days for no apparent reason. People will put two and two together. Instead, consider changing clothes off-premises when you have an interview.

4)   Network. Network. And then, network a little more. The best job leads you’re ever going to come across aren’t going to show up in help wanted ads. They’re going to come to you over the phone or through email from friends who’ve heard about openings and think you’re a good fit. It’s true. But that means you need to get out there and start making the right kinds of friends. Attend conferences and symposiums in your field. Get to know people “in the know” and make sure they know you too. Rub elbows, have dinner, and play tennis (golf, racquetball, etc.) with them. You can do this while keeping your job without ever seeming suspicious and it will deliver results over time.

No matter what you do to try to find another job while still employed, the one thing you must absolutely do is the job you have right now. Don’t show any signs that your heart isn’t in it or it could do you more harm down the road than good.

What Workers Want from Bosses this Summer

July 6th, 2012

Summertime is often the time when HR departments are actively searching for new candidates to fill temporary and permanent assignments. Additionally, as current employees are more frequently dreaming about taking vacations at the beach, supervisors are trying to maintain staffing numbers by boosting employee morale. Knowing what workers want from their employer this summer can help to retain greater numbers of employees, and help make the workplace more productive.

So, what are many employees looking for this summer? A recent employee poll revealed that 78 percent of working parents value flexible work arrangements to care for their families, while another 62 percent of all workers agreed having a flexible schedule is a major perk. In fact, many employees reported they would take a pay cut in order to have more flexibility in their work schedules.

Having the ability to work from home at least part of the week, or being able to leave early on Fridays is another factor that employees want to have more work-life balance. There are certain job tasks that are more friendly to telecommuting, and this is something that all employers should look at closely. In some cases, it can even save your company money by reducing office use.

It’s clear that in order to keep employee happier during the summer months, employers need to be thinking outside the box in terms of offering incentives. Here are some suggestions:

  • Give all employees the option to work remotely during the summer, if their job duties allow.
  • Provide a work environment that is casual and flexible so employees look forward to coming in.
  • Have fun corporate events like catered lunches and after-work parties to let employees relax.
  • Develop an incentive plan for employees who achieve their goals in the summer months.
  • Offer employee development classes and training on-site to encourage skill and team building.
  • Encourage employees to schedule their summer vacation times in advance.
  • Design flexible work plans to allow remote employees to set their own schedules.

Your workplace can be a fun environment in which to encourage productivity and attract more talent to your team. Use the above tips to make your company a place where your employees will want to spend their summer.

Get help with your summertime staffing needs in the Southland Chicago area by working with the Davis Staffing team today!

Happiness is the Ultimate Productivity Booster

February 29th, 2012

As an HR manager, it’s important to know what really motivates workers to be their most productive. In fact, managing productivity is one of the more important roles you play within your organization. You know it’s important to keep them happy. You understand that employees are generally more productive when they are happy. But, do you know why the happiness of employees in your company makes such a huge difference to efficiency? Here are just a few of the reasons why it’s a good idea to keep your employees happy.

Happy People Tend to have a Positive Outlook

This is double good news for your organization. Do you know why? It’s because the old saying about attitudes being contagious is true. If you have people who are happy with their jobs, happy to come to work, and happy in general. It sparks an entire wave of happiness within work groups that will spread like wildfire to the rest of the company.

Optimism is definitely something you want spreading through your company. It makes it a better place for everyone to work and keeps negativity, complaints, and overall pessimism at bay.

Happy People are Problem Solvers

Your organization doesn’t have time for people to stir the pot or create problems. We all understand that time is money. That’s why it’s great to work with people who are content, or dare I say, happy, in their work environments. They are not only less likely to complain and join in the controversy but they are also the ones who are most likely to seek solutions to problems rather than allowing the problems to slow them down.

People Who are Happy at Work Want to be There

This means they are less likely to call in sick or stretch the limits of their paid time off each year. That doesn’t mean that they don’t need to take their vacations and use that time to rest, relax, and recharge. It does mean that they are much more inclined to plan the time they need off ahead of time and give you plenty of notice.

Happy People are Healthy People

In addition to not taking sick time because they are sick of work, people who are happy with their employment situation also tend to be healthier people. There is less stress over the work situation. There are fewer instances of employee burnout.

Happy employees are not only productive members of the company but they are also generally pleasant people to be around. It’s worth going out of your way as an HR manager to make every possible attempt to keep the people who work for your company as happy as possible and to constantly strive to find new ways that are not overly disruptive or cost-prohibitive to keep employees happy.

The Warning Signs Of Job Search Anxiety…and How To Avoid The Issue

October 22nd, 2011

Looking for a new job can be a stressful process for anyone. The fear of the unknown and the feeling of not being in control can cause anxiety. Some people worry they may not be able to find employment especially in an economic downturn. Job seekers may become frustrated with continual rejection from employers. Recognizing the signs of anxiety can help to deal with them.

Stress can be produced by job seekers in different situations. For people employed, anxiety can come from trying to find a job around work hours without having their employer find out. For people just starting a job search, uncertainty of how to approach the process can cause tension. People out of work for a lengthy period of time may grow frustrated and discouraged.

There are many warning signs of anxiety caused by job search activities.  Some of the signs are physiological and others are caused by behavioral and socialization issues. By recognizing these warning signs, job seekers can learn how to deal with them and improve their job search.

Some of the signs are physical in nature. People experiencing stress through a job search may experience a depressed mood due to a lack of positive results. Insomnia from worrying about the loss of income and how to support a family can produce additional physical anxiety. Stress can also induce weight gain or weight loss in individuals as they become less affected by proper eating habits.

The effects of anxiety may negatively affect interactions with others and their normal lifestyle. People may withdraw from normal activities as anxiety causes them to become more insular. They may be less involved with family as they become preoccupied with issues of not finding employment.  People may feel increased weight on their shoulders and be set off by things that did not upset them before. Long term unemployment can even lead to alcohol and substance abuse.

Personal negative feelings may also start to develop. People can start to have feelings of shame by not being able to accomplish their goals. Helplessness can set in when people feel a lack of control in their lives. Hopelessness can also set in as the job search progresses over a period of time with no discernable results.

But there is hope. By first recognizing these common job search anxiety symptom and then taking steps to minimize them, you can improve your overall job search. Start by changing the goals of the job search. It may be necessary to adjust for more reachable goals. Reflect on what works and does not work in the job search and try to improve areas that are deficient. Keep an open mind so you are prepared for any opportunity. Recognize that some positions were not meant to be. Treat each setback as a learning opportunity to improve the job search.

For support in your job search, and access to a wide range of career opportunities, please visit Davis Staffing today!

Photo Credit : Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What 3 Career Lessons Steve Jobs Taught Us

October 9th, 2011

The world was recently rocked by news of Steve Jobs’ untimely death at the relatively young age of 56. Apple’s former CEO had named his successor in August due to failing health stemming from his battle with pancreatic cancer, but very few people could imagine a world without one of the most creative thinkers and influential innovators in the 21st century.

The Steve Jobs legacy is not lost; rather it has only just begun. Jobs taught us many valuable lessons about life and about careers. His very famous commencement speech, delivered in 2005 to a Stanford University crowd, covered these lessons. As many people know, Jobs never completed college nor did he grow up in a privileged lifestyle. Rather, Jobs discovered success by being an entrepreneur and world-changer.

The first lesson that Jobs taught us is that all knowledge has a purpose. Following his dropout from college, Jobs decided to take a calligraphy course that covered typography font sizes and proper placement of letters. He did not know at that time that this information would later come to play as he developed the code, which would become the Apple operating system. If you are struggling to find your career niche, try to think of ways in which you can utilize the knowledge you have already gathered for this is valuable, whether you realize it or not.

A second career lesson that Jobs taught us that you must have a dream and be resilient in order to be successful in life. When Jobs started working on his ideas, from the meager location of an garage, he saw the bigger picture as he built the Macintosh computer. Even as he got fired by his partner from his own company in the prime of his life, at age 30, Jobs never lost sight of this dream. He instead, bounced back and took his knowledge in a new and very profitable direction. In your own career, whether you are looking for something new or on the rebound from a job loss, take heart and know that success is just around the corner if you look for it.

As Jobs wrapped up his monumental commencement speech, he also talked about making the most of life. He famously said, Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” How true and how profound this statement is. If you want to be your very best in your career, listen to your heart and surround yourself with people who encourage you to reach your full potential.

If you are struggling in your career path, or want to learn about great new job opportunities, check here at Davis Staffing for up-to-date temporary assignments with the best companies.

Photo Credit: CrunchBase

 

What Do the Top-rated Employers Have in Common?

July 9th, 2011

Image Source: scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Every year, Forbes magazine puts out a new report on the “100 Best Companies to Work for”, which is read by thousands of job seekers. If you’ve ever read that list, it can make you stop and think about what would it take to have your company make this list too? The answer may be as close as your human resources and recruiting team!

The top rated companies have several key characteristics in common that any company can adopt to become a better place to work and make a difference. These characteristics include…

Above Average Wages and Benefits

Obviously, what most career candidates are looking for are earnings and benefits that can sustain a comfortable lifestyle. The top rated companies often compensate employees with generous salaries, bonus plans and employee benefit packages. After all, being a productive company is about keeping employees happy and healthy, on and off the job. If your company lags in these areas, it may be a good time to consult with an employment company like Davis Staffing, Inc. that can guide you with updated salary surveys and affordable benefit programs to give more to the people who make your business success possible.

Flexible Work Schedules

There has been a movement for several years towards a better work-life balance for millions of working parents, caregivers and students around the nation. This movement has created a large demand for jobs that allow for flexible work schedules. Additionally, there has been a rise in the numbers of professionals who now work at least one day a week from home. Telecommuting has become so popular that recent figures estimate about 20 t0 30 million people now work from home once per week. If your company has tasks that can be performed remotely or on flextime, then now is the time to jump on board.

Onsite Employee Perks

The best companies know that employees have a lot on their plate, from raising kids to staying healthy. That’s why the top firms have instituted on-site employee perks, which range from daycare centers and gourmet cafeterias, to state-of-the-art gyms and massage clinics. If you want to bring a little bit of luxury to your company, why not contact a staffing company to see what programs can be outsourced at a discount rate. Many times, just offering employees the chance to take healthful lunches, walks or get access to corporate discount packages can make a huge difference in performance.

Casual Work Environments

Another great perk that many of the biggest and best companies allow is the casual work environment. While “old-school” business require business suits, casual work environments allow employees to dress comfortably all week long in order to take the focus off of fashion and put it back on the work at hand. Many top companies, including Google and Amazon, allow their employees spacious cubicles that can be personalized to suit individual needs…and flip-flops are encouraged. Why not allow casual Friday’s or jeans at your workplace and see how much happier employees will be?

Community and Social Responsibility

The hallmark of the top companies in America is the firms that create a sense of corporate responsibility for the communities in which they operate. This can mean anything from donating to charities, to actual community service and programs designed to better the lives of many. A great way to launch your company to the top is to participate in a community service event, like cleaning up roadways or helping to gather food for a local food pantry. You would be surprised at how well this encourages employees to think outside of their office walls.

Need more ideas for taking your company to the top? Contact Davis Staffing, Inc. today for helpful advice and support today!

 

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