Friday, December 23, 2016

How to better engage millennials in employee benefits

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Our country’s young adults have officially taken over the workforce. Millennials are 75.4 million strong and compose nearly one-third of the U.S. workforce — and that number will continue to grow. The 19- to 35-age range is set to make up half of our workforce by 2030.

Despite a reputation for being well-educated and tech-savvy, research shows that millennials have low participation rates in employee benefits and are less likely to know about their employers’ benefits compared to other age groups.

So how do HR professionals encourage employees — of all ages — to take advantage of consumer-directed benefits, such as health savings accounts, healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts and commuter benefits? It’s no small task. In order to educate millennials about their benefits options and drive participation, HR leaders need to be deliberate about what information is sent to employees, how it is delivered and why they should care.

Hitting “send” on the right platform

Millennials certainly like their mobile devices — 77 % own a smartphone. In addition, this age group accounts for 41% of the total time that all Americans spend using smartphones. In order to communicate with millennials, it must be done in a way that will make the most impact, capture their limited attention spans and stand out among competing information. Open enrollment and year-round benefits should be no different. Because millennials spend so much time on their smartphones, their benefits education and enrollment process should be provided on these devices, in a format that’s simple and familiar to them.

It’s important to go beyond face-to-face benefits meetings and paper-based communications, as millennials consume information differently than previous generations — they are accustomed to being fed bite-sized pieces of information. Aim to work open enrollment information into their daily news feed, sharing information that’s easily accessed from their phones, where they can quickly scan and click embedded links to a site where they can take action. By capturing their attention via emails, ad tiles, banners and videos, you can creatively communicate how the benefits work, how to enroll and how employees can save money by taking advantage of offerings like commuter benefits.

When communicating these benefits to employees, highlight ease of use and mobility features that will appeal to millennials. For example, many may not realize that some consumer-directed benefits, including HSAs and FSAs, can be easily managed by downloading an app. The WageWorks EZ Receipts mobile app, for example, allows benefits participants to manage their benefits accounts from anywhere—with the ability to snap and submit photos of receipts, file claims electronically, and view transactions and account balances right from their phones.

Focus on the benefits that matter most to millennials
Because of their current stage of life —perhaps living in a big city, earning entry-level or mid-level income and living without any dependents — millennials’ ideal benefits package will likely look different than that which is appropriate for an executive with a family of four.

Rather than giving an all-encompassing overview of every potential benefit offered to employees, HR leaders should highlight those that make the most sense for millennials and provide information in bite-size portions. It’s also important to be transparent about true costs. Millennials tend to be reluctant to enroll if they are unsure about how the benefits work, how they save and their out-of-pocket costs. Benefits communications should include real-life savings examples that allow millennials to better understand how pre-tax contributions can lead to significant annual savings and potential savings for retirement if HSAs are offered. For example, outlining to employees how an employee making an annual salary of $60,000 can take home $2,025 in tax savings by contributing the maximum amount to an HSA when paired with a high-deductible health plan, may peak their interest.

As for which benefits to focus on, FSAs and commuter benefits are typically home runs for millennials. Many millennials are not flush with cash, so they love how FSAs can help alleviate out-of-pocket healthcare expenses like prescriptions and copayments. Commuter benefits are particularly appealing for city-dwelling millennials, as they allow employees to save money on routine commuting costs via public transportation and even ride-sharing services like uberPOOL. Whether employees are living solo in the city or commuting to and from work from their parents’ homes in the suburbs, commuter benefits are a great way for millennials to put extra money in their pockets each month.

Looking ahead: Anticipating and educating on future benefits needs
While employees’ younger years present a great opportunity to save money while moving their way up the career ladder, millennials’ benefits needs will transform as their lives change.

Once millennials get married, they may want to increase annual contributions to HSAs or FSAs, as pre-tax funds can be used for eligible healthcare costs for spouses. Not long after that, millennials may benefit from a dependent care FSA to cover childcare costs or elderly care for aging parents.

Additionally, as millennials jumpstart 401(k) savings, they should also be aware of how HSAs can act as a 401(k) for healthcare. Projected healthcare costs in retirement show a massive increase, so millennials need to be prepared and start saving now to prevent unexpected costs that could cause them to dip into their savings for medical reasons.

Open enrollment can be a stressful time of year for both HR leaders and employees, but with the right preparation and tools, HR leaders can engage with millennial employees in a way that helps them save money in the short-term and better prepare financially for their futures.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

The Love-Quotes That Change Your Life

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Quotes from Bob Marley. This quotes will change yourself. This is ultimate tips to improve your self-esteem.

someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.

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Mahatma Gandhi's Top Fundamentals to Change & Improve the World

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“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”

Mahatma Gandhi needs no long introduction. Everyone knows about the man who lead the Indian people to independence from British rule in 1947.

So let’s just move on to some of my favourite tips from Mahatma Gandhi.

1. Change yourself.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have – or maybe even have thought about – while stuck in your old thought patterns.

And the problem with changing your outer world without changing yourself is that you will still be youwhen you reach that change you have strived for. You will still have your flaws, anger, negativity, self-sabotaging tendencies etc. intact.

And so in this new situation you will still not find what you hoped for since your mind is still seeping with that negative stuff. And if you get more without having some insight into and distance from your ego it may grow more powerful. Since your ego loves to divide things, to find enemies and to create separation it may start to try to create even more problems and conflicts in your life and world.

2. You are in control.

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

What you feel and how you react to something is always up to you. There may be a “normal” or a common way to react to different things. But that’s mostly just all it is.

You can choose your own thoughts, reactions and emotions to pretty much everything. You don’t have to freak out, overreact of even react in a negative way. Perhaps not every time or instantly. Sometimes a knee-jerk reaction just goes off. Or an old thought habit kicks in.

And as you realize that no-one outside of yourself can actually control how you feel you can start to incorporate this thinking into your daily life and develop it as a thought habit. A habit that you can grow stronger and stronger over time. Doing this makes life a whole lot easier and more pleasurable.

3. Forgive and let it go.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

Fighting evil with evil won’t help anyone. And as said in the previous tip, you always choose how to react to something. When you can incorporate such a thought habit more and more into your life then you can react in a way that is more useful to you and others.

You realize that forgiving and letting go of the past will do you and the people in your world a great service. And spending your time in some negative memory won’t help you after you have learned the lessons you can learn from that experience. You’ll probably just cause yourself more suffering and paralyze yourself from taking action in this present moment.

If you don’t forgive then you let the past and another person to control how you feel. By forgiving you release yourself from those bonds. And then you can focus totally on, for instance, the next point.

4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere.

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

Without taking action very little will be done. However, taking action can be hard and difficult. There can be much inner resistance.

And so you may resort to preaching, as Gandhi says. Or reading and studying endlessly. And feeling like you are moving forward. But getting little or no practical results in real life.

So, to really get where you want to go and to really understand yourself and your world you need to practice. Books can mostly just bring you knowledge. You have to take action and translate that knowledge into results and understanding.

You can check out a few effective tips to overcome this problem in How to Take More Action: 9 Powerful Tips. Or you can move on to the next point for more on the best tip for taking more action that I have found so far.

5. Take care of this moment.

“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”

The best way that I have found to overcome the inner resistance that often stops us from taking action is to stay in the present as much as possible and to be accepting.

Why? Well, when you are in the present moment you don’t worry about the next moment that you can’t control anyway. And the resistance to action that comes from you imagining negative future consequences – or reflecting on past failures – of your actions loses its power. And so it becomes easier to both take action and to keep your focus on this moment and perform better.

Have a look at 8 Ways to Return to the Present Moment for tips on how quickly step into the now. And remember that reconnecting with and staying in the now is a mental habit – a sort of muscle – that you grow. Over time it becomes more powerful and makes it easier to slip into the present moment.

6. Everyone is human.

“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

When you start to make myths out of people – even though they may have produced extraordinary results – you run the risk of becoming disconnected from them. You can start to feel like you could never achieve similar things that they did because they are so very different. So it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is just a human being no matter who they are.

And I think it’s important to remember that we are all human and prone to make mistakes. Holding people to unreasonable standards will only create more unnecessary conflicts in your world and negativity within you.

It’s also important to remember this to avoid falling into the pretty useless habit of beating yourself up over mistakes that you have made. And instead be able to see with clarity where you went wrong and what you can learn from your mistake. And then try again.

7. Persist.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Be persistent. In time the opposition around you will fade and fall away. And your inner resistance and self-sabotaging tendencies that want to hold you back and keep you like you have always been will grow weaker.

Find what you really like to do. Then you’ll find the inner motivation to keep going, going and going. You can also find a lot of useful tips on how keep your motivation up in How to Get Out of a Motivational Slump and 25 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself.

One reason Gandhi was so successful with his method of non-violence was because he and his followers were so persistent. They just didn’t give up.

Success or victory will seldom come as quickly as you would have liked it to. I think one of the reasons people don’t get what they want is simply because they give up too soon. The time they think an achievement will require isn’t the same amount of time it usually takes to achieve that goal. This faulty belief partly comes from the world we live in. A world full of magic pill solutions where advertising continually promises us that we can lose a lot of weight or earn a ton of money in just 30 days.

Finally, one useful tip to keep your persistence going is to listen to Gandhi’s third quote in this article and keep a sense of humor. It can lighten things up at the toughest of times.

8. See the good in people and help them.

“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”

“Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.”

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”

There is pretty much always something good in people. And things that may not be so good. But you can choose what things to focus on. And if you want improvement then focusing on the good in people is a useful choice. It also makes life easier for you as your world and relationships become more pleasant and positive.

And when you see the good in people it becomes easier to motivate yourself to be of service to them. By being of service to other people, by giving them value you not only make their lives better. Over time you tend to get what you give. And the people you help may feel more inclined to help other people. And so you, together, create an upward spiral of positive change that grows and becomes stronger.

By strengthening your social skills you can become a more influential person and make this upward spiral even stronger. A few articles that may provide you with useful advice in that department are Do You Make These 10 Mistakes in a Conversation? and Dale Carnegie’s Top 10 Tips for Improving Your Social Skills. Or you can just move on to the next tip.

9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”

I think that one of the best tips for improving your social skills is to behave in a congruent manner and communicate in an authentic way. People seem to really like authentic communication. And there is much inner enjoyment to be found when your thoughts, words and actions are aligned. You feel powerful and good about yourself.

When words and thoughts are aligned then that shows through in your communication. Because now you have your voice tonality and body language – some say they are over 90 percent of communication – in alignment with your words.

With these channels in alignment people tend to really listen to what you’re saying. You are communicating without incongruency, mixed messages or perhaps a sort of phoniness.

Also, if your actions aren’t in alignment with what you’re communicating then you start to hurt your own belief in what you can do. And other people’s belief in you too.

10. Continue to grow and evolve.

”Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

You can pretty much always improve your skills, habits or re-evaluate your evaluations. You can gain deeper understanding of yourself and the world.

Sure, you may look inconsistent or like you don’t know what you are doing from time to time. You may have trouble to act congruently or to communicate authentically. But if you don’t then you will, as Gandhi says, drive yourself into a false position. A place where you try to uphold or cling to your old views to appear consistent while you realise within that something is wrong. It’s not a fun place to be. To choose to grow and evolve is a happier and more useful path to take.

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The Year of Financial Feminism: Big Idea 2017

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I’m going to be crass. My mother is going to be appalled….but I’m going there. I’m going to talk about money. Women and money.

It may be trite to say “money is power”….but money is power, particularly in a capitalist society. As professional women come to terms in these closing days of 2016 that our progress in business has slowed to a crawl – despite all of the energy around it over the past few years – they will look for new means to move forward.

My 2017 Big Idea is that this is the year in which “financial feminism” becomes a things. It is the year in which the term “empowerment” (which the dictionary defines as “to be given power”….to be given!) bows out of the feminist vocabulary. It is instead the year in which professional women recognize we don’t need “to be given” power; it is the year that we recognize that wealready have tremendous power, and, increasingly, the means to use that power. 

How much power? In the US, women direct 80% of consumer spending, control $5 trillion of investable assets, jointly control $6 trillion of investable assets and represent half of the workforce. Yep, that’s power.

To some extent, of course, it has been untapped power; for so long, the best we could do was decide not to buy Carl Jr’s hamburgers because their commercials are (incredibly) offensive. But in 2017, we have the increasing means to use that power: rapid changes in information dissemination and the proliferation of start-ups organizing that information are changing the equation.

We can now direct our purchases to reward companies that align with our values. There are any number of new businesses to help us do this. For example, BuyUp Index is an app that scores companies from which we buy based on their commitment to gender diversity. And DoneGood is a new browser extension that enables us to identify companies that make the world better, through diversity, but also on measures like environmental friendliness and cruelty-fee products. These are just two; there are more.

We can also now direct our investments: my own Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund and the new She ETF Index invest in the top-rated companies for advancing women. At the same time, impact- and values-based investing spaces are well-outstripping growth in the traditional asset management business. These type of investing vehicles have swiftly moved from “tree-hugging, granola-eating, don’t-they-have-to-be-return-diminishing-?” offerings to much more mainstream.

And we can have much more knowledge before we go to work for companies. Services like FairyGodBoss provide company reviews for women, by women; this can give us the information, and frank assessments, we need on what people-and-family-friendly policies companies have in place before we work there (or, heck, while we work there, so that we can engage with them around these issues). 

Smart companies will get this shift and recognize it for the positive that it is. Companies that play the “business as usual” game will be hit; they likely won’t realize why for some time, as they begin to slowly lose females as customers, employees and investors.

So, yup, money is power, and as a group, professional women have a lot of it. We are reaching a tipping point in which we more thoughtfully direct our money to have an impact.

That said, as individuals, we have more progress to make. Today, women retire with 2/3s the money of men; at many socio-economic levels, we have much less wealth than that, in comparison to men, over our lives. This is particularly true for women of color and those with disabilities. The negative implications of this were laid out in a January 2016 article on the importance of the f*ck-off fundfor women, which attracted a lot of attention and discussion. It’s worth a read (and for you gentlemen, too, and most particularly if you have a daughter). It’s a heart breaker. 

The money issue cannot be boiled down to being caused by just “one thing:” professional women continue to face a range of money gaps, which can cost us millions of dollars over our lives. The gender pay gap is well known, but there’s also a gender work achievement gap, a gender debt gap, a gender funding gap, a gender expense gap, the unpaid labor gap and a gender investing gap.

So 2017 will also be a year in which women become increasingly attuned to these gender money gaps, and the costs to them personally; and they will renew their efforts to close them. Here again, new businesses and technology can accelerate this. Women can turn to services like GetRaised to calculate their own gender pay gap and get steps for reducing it; GetRaised claims the average raise they help women get is about $6,700. Women can turn to services like LearnVest to work to reduce their gender debt gap, and to my own Ellevest, which is committed to helping women close their gender investing gap.

(For more, we’ve written a whole Ellevest e-book on the topic of the gender money gaps, quantifying them and providing sources, advice and hacks for closing them.)

Personal conversations around money have been hotbeds of shame for forever (for so many reasons: because we don’t make as much money as we “should,” because maybe we make more than our friends, because our parents fought over money, because we were told it was tacky to discuss, because it seems to say so much about how others perceive our worth). What is different now is that services like the ones above are giving individuals the information and tools – and therefore the power – to take action. It’s a lot easier to gather this information on a Sunday afternoon on your computer than to poll your friends.

So, in 2017, the wake-up call of 2016 will provide a spark. The election brought into sharp relief the slow progress on the advancement of professional women – and in some arenas – outright regression. This will provide the incentive for women to take action; and they will have more information and more means to take that action than ever before.

Money is power. Financial feminism will come of age in 2017.

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Why Being a Perfectionist Could Ruin Your Business

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Being a detailed nitpicker is more curse than blessing when it comes to running a business. Here are 4 signs you're too focused on the details and headed for a downturn

Most of us know this scenario all too well: You have a new project to tackle, and you’ve been going over it in your head and imagining how amazing the results will be. You know you’re capable of achieving your end goal because you have high standards and you’ve pushed yourself to continuously evolve and move forward.

Why Being a Perfectionist Could Ruin Your Business
There’s nothing wrong with setting a high bar for yourself, but if your inner critic has come on a little too strong lately, it'll do more harm than good for your business.

In many ways, we’re all perfectionists. After all, who wouldn’t want to be the best possible version of themselves? The problem is, when you become too obsessed with perfection, you end up placing value on the wrong things, which can actually hinder your ability to produce great work. Stanford professor John Perry wrote about this mindset in his famous 1996 confessional essay, "Structured Procrastination," where he explained that once the bar has been set too high, people naturally start putting off tasks because they’re afraid they won't be able to meet those high expectations.

The Price of Perfectionism

But perfectionism is common today simply because we’re taught from an early age that if we work hard enough, we can achieve whatever we want. That push for perfection can help us achieve our goals—but it can also quash our dreams. It all depends on what type of perfectionist you are.

In 1978, psychologist Don Hamacheck identified two forms of perfectionism: normal and neurotic. According to Hamacheck, the normal perfectionist strives to achieve greatness but doesn’t obsess about it or let it affect their happiness. The neurotic perfectionist, on the other hand, is miserable and often feels fear, shame and worthlessness because their happiness is linked to impossible goals. These neurotic perfectionists have inner critics that castigate them or tell them they’ll never be good enough.

If your constant need for perfection becomes obsessive, it can ultimately ruin your career, according to LaRae Quy, a speaker, author and mental toughness coach, who recently wrote about the topic of perfectionism on her website. But how do you know if you're a perfectionist and whether it's helping or hindering your business? These four tips can help you decide.

1. It Takes You Longer to Complete Tasks

Time is money, and if you’re an avid perfectionist, you’ll likely take twice as long to complete tasks because you’re so focused on making every detail perfect. "Successful people make decisions on how to make the best use of their time," Quy writes. "They do not focus on perfection or being the best; instead, they work on doing what is needed to get the job done."

Wasting your time revisiting already completed work will also leave you with less time to pursue other projects. In the end, no matter what profession you’re in, you lose. Instead, you should strive for excellence but also know that perfecting every detail doesn't matter.

2. You’re Working More Than Necessary

When you believe every task needs to be completed perfectly, you’ll put in the extra hours you think are necessary. What perfectionists don't understand is that no one expects “perfect” work. Instead, they expect competent work that's completed by the deadline—your extra hours or tweaking and re-tweaking will likely just leave you exhausted without getting any extra attention from your client. Even worse, if you’re too wrapped up in the details of a project, you’re probably missing out on better and more important opportunities.

3. You’re a Know-It-All

Perfectionists often believe they need to have all the answers. On the other hand, the most successful leaders know that being great means not having all the answers, but finding them.

“Resist the urge to be a perfect know-it-all and step back,” Quy writes. “Do not be afraid to respond by probing and asking even more questions, but focus on asking the right questions so the answers will lead you closer to finding success.” In short, admitting when you need help will get you a lot further than thinking you can do it all on your own.

4. You Can’t Evolve Quickly

The most successful business owners need to be able to think fast on their feet, but perfectionists may pine over a problem because they just can’t risk it not being the best way to get things done.

“The desire for perfection will cripple your need to adapt to fast-moving situations where minds need to remain nimble and flexible," Quy explains. Instead of focusing on solving a problem the first time (which is what perfectionists do), the better choice would be to continue trying new things until you find something that works well enough for you.

When you’re competing in today’s business environment, there are any number of reasons why you want to achieve excellent results and produce the very best work you know you’re capable of. But as our world spins faster and becomes more innovative, the people who will make it are the ones who continually adapt until they find something that works and the market responds to.

When you find yourself obsessing over details that stop you from doing the work necessary to compete, it's time to ask yourself: What do you really gain from being a perfectionist?
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The 5 Worst Leadership Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

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Are you making one of these common leadership mistakes? Simple tweaks can help you create a workplace with more engaged—and more effective—employees.

Teams are such an integral part of our workplace today that you'd think business owners would have mastered the skills to help their teams function at their very best.

Sadly, it seems we keep making the same leadership mistakes. Following are five you may very well be making with your employees—and the strategies you can use to fix them.

1. Forgetting That Your Team Is Made Up of People

It’s easy to get caught up in the “million things to do” and “I’m so busy” trap. Everyone is too busy these days. But when you’re leading a team, taking the time to check in with them is critically important. After all, they're the people who get things done in your company.
Each task you continue to do yourself is a task no one else in your company knows how to do.

Fix Suggestion: Consider setting up individual, once-a-week check-ins with each of your employees or, if your company is too big for that, with each of your direct reports. You may think you don’t have time for this, but trust me on this one, you probably do—and it will likely pay off big time for your company. If you dedicate 30 minutes every week to meet with each of your team members, you'll often be able to better guide them as needed and stay on top of what’s happening with them on the work front.

2. Doing It All Yourself

It’s really easy to justify taking care of a problem yourself that should be delegated to an employee by saying, “It'll only take me a few minutes.” But if you have several of those a week, they can add up and eat up a chunk of your time that would be better spent in other ways. Plus, each task you continue to do yourself is a task no one else in your company knows how to do.

Fix Suggestion: Figure out what tasks you're doing that can be delegated to someone else. You might think you know exactly what these tasks are—that you've been keeping a mental list—but that would be a mistaken assumption. A better way to find out what you should delegate is to keep track of your time for a week, then decide which of those tasks can be passed on to someone else. Once you’ve decided, you can jot down the process for the task, meet with the person you're delegating the task to, and do the hand off. It often helps to keep the communication lines open so the task gets done properly.

3. Missing Opportunities to Provide Feedback

People crave feedback about their work. If you’re the kind of leader who thinks that providing a paycheck for your team is feedback enough, then you may want to rethink your leadership strategy. Telling employees (publicly) when they’ve done a great job and (privately) when they need to do a bit of improving is key to keeping people engaged in their work.

Fix Suggestion:  Just say thank you. It’s amazing how this simple phrase can make someone’s day. Better yet, telling an employee what a good job they did on a project and identifying specific reasons why it was good will go a long way toward keeping them motivated. The same goes for helping them improve. Your employees want to do good work. Your employees usually want to do good work. Sharing pointers and “tips of the trade” can help them be better.

4. Not Knowing When to Be “Hands On”

Most of us worry so much about being a micromanager that we tend to skew in the other direction of being too “hands off.” But that’s not a good idea either. There’s a reason why there are leaders in an organization—to lead and manage the direction of the company. That requires you being present and knowing when it’s the right time to stay a bit closer to what your team is doing.

Fix Suggestion: If you have seasoned employees, you have a pretty good idea of what their capabilities are. But if your team is new, understanding how they work will take some getting used to. Being “hands on” isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. Take into consideration the task at hand and the skills of your employees when deciding how much managing you need to do. Each situation will be different.

5. Forgetting to Communicate the Target

It’s tough for your team to help you hit your business targets if they don’t know what they look like. Your hopes, dreams and goals for making success happen shouldn’t just live inside your head.

Fix Suggestion: Meet with your employees annually to establish goals for the year. One of the best ways to get them really engaged in the outcome is to have them be a part of the goal-setting process. Once your goals are set, don’t shove them into a folder and forget about them. Make sure you review them on a regular basis to assess your team’s progress and make adjustments as needed.

Being an effective leader may not come naturally to everyone, but by putting a few key strategies into play, you can develop your skills and create a successful team.
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