Listening To Music At Work: A Solid Playlist to Increase Productivity

Every superhero manager needs to focus when he’s battling workplace villains.

One of the best ways to do so? Plug in headphones and listen to some tunes.

There’s debate on whether or not listening to music at work increases productivity. A 2010 study actually showed people fared worse on memory tasks while listening to music in the background, even if it was soothing classical music.

But music at work does help – there’s just a time a place for it.

Listening to music releases dopamine in the reward area of the brain, which can lead to a more positive mood. Music also makes repetitive tasks less daunting.

We at headquarters offer this tip: Listen to music: [Read more…]

End Workplace Misunderstandings: 5 Ways to Listen More Effectively

Ever witness an epic clash between two people you thought were both heroes and thought, This could all have been avoided if they would just listen to each other?

Forget the grappling hook – effective listening is one of the most important skills in the superhero manager’s tool belt. It might not help you scale walls, but it can stop two major enemies –  conflict and confusion – before they have time to set in and wreak havoc on employees.

Here are a five ways you can improve your listening skills and stop misunderstandings before they snowball into the next Batman vs. Superman. [Read more…]

How to Give Constructive Feedback

One of the toughest parts of a manager’s job is giving employees constructive feedback. But it’s also one of the most important superpowers managers must improve.

Without good feedback, workers won’t grow. Whether it’s positive or negative, employees need to know where they stand. For our purposes, we’ll use the example of a superhero who has excelled at giving feedback: Charles “Professor X” Xavier, the founder and leader of the X-Men.

For years, Professor X has run a private school that trains mutants and turns them into superheroes like you. It’s not an easy job – he just makes it look easy. Here are four tips to give better feedback like the leader of the X-Men: [Read more…]

Gasp! 10 Warning Signs You May Be The Office Villain

It can happen to the best of us: Jean Grey turned into Dark Phoenix; the second Robin became Red Hood; even sweet little Anakin Skywalker was eventually consumed by the Dark Side.

If they’re not careful, heroes can slide into villainy. It starts small – letting your nemesis off with a warning here, a little micromanaging there – but before you know it, you’re plotting to take over the world and employee morale has evaporated.

Here are 10 warning signs you might be the villain in your own story – if any of these sound familiar, it’s time to save yourself… before it’s too late! [Read more…]

When you’re under the thumb of a micromanager

Is there a way to manage the boss and get things back on track?

As managers, it’s important to keep a firm hand on things.

But some managers grip so tightly they create bottlenecks that choke the operations.

Not only does a micromanager hurt productivity, they also stifle their staffs’ development. [Read more…]

Managing Malcontents: End the negativity; Save your best employees

75% of managers polled – recently told us that conflict in their organization is negatively impacting productivity. This poll was from a recent presentation from Guy Harris of the Recovering Engineer.

In Guy’s presentation, he described how unresolved conflict kills your team. It leads to:
1. Poor decision making
2. Poor employee engagement
3. Distractions
4. Lost time
5. Poor information flow

The good news is – it doesn’t have to be this way. Harris described a 5-step plan to resolve conflict in your workplace. [Read more…]

When finger-pointing hurts morale and productivity

Tired of excuses, it’s time to call their bluff

In today’s challenging environment, it’s important for managers to get everyone working as a team and to be less tolerant of individual’s unacceptable behavior.

Supervisor Katherine Grant found herself facing that situation with an employee who blamed everyone for his own failures

‘It’s not my fault’

“How’s that year-end project going, Jeff?” Katherine asked. [Read more…]

The sneaky productivity killer and what you can do about it

Putting a stop to gossip at work

As a manager, you may try top stay out of minor employee squabbles, such as petty gossip.

After all, your job is to set a good example – not micromanage employees’ social lives.

But rumors and gossip can cause hurt feelings and grudges. And if left unchecked, they can lower morale and productivity.

So what should managers do when gossip rears its ugly head? [Read more…]