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  • feedwordpress 14:30:01 on 2018/07/12 Permalink
    Tags: Assertive, , , ,   

    Develop a Healthy Curiosity 

     

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    I would like to focus on tips from my high-end boot camp for administrative and executive assistants called World Class Assistant™. The topic is Develop a Healthy Curiosity.

    However, I want to assure you that if you are not in the administrative profession, you will still greatly benefit from today’s topic. So continue reading.

    In order to excel in today’s workplace, you will need to be a good investigator. Why? Because so often in the fast-paced world we work in, people do not communicate well or perhaps better said, completely. What seems clear to them is incomplete to us.

    1. Ask Questions

    Learn to ask questions; specifically, the right question. The right question clarifies. It encourages details. The right question grants you the information necessary to perform the task for the purpose of completion with excellence.

    2. Ask The Next Question!

    The next question elaborates. It encourages additional helpful information. It is not badgering in tone; it does not interrupt the speaker (or it may be seen as argumentative). Asking the next question is a technique to gain additional details.

    3. Be Proactive

    There is no way around this one. If you want to sit in your chair and wait to handle “transaction-based” tasks that come all the way to your desk, you won’t be a good investigator!

    Ask, seek, compare, analyze, resource, hunt, gather, glean, and energize your work tasks by building your investigative skills to gain increasing knowledge so that you can make better decisions and become that “go to” person in your organization who will proactively get the information people need and want in an efficient manner.

    4. Be Resourceful

    Glean the Internet for reputable sources of information. Read the Wall Street Journal after your manager is done with it. Scour the publications and journals for pertinent information. Learn what your manager likes to follow, and become her eyes and ears on the subject.

    5. Use Caution In Relaying Potent Information

    Resist the temptation to share what you have heard or know if it will harm someone or break confidentiality. Remember never to harm the trust your executive or manager extends to you. Think carefully about the timing, venue, and reason you are sharing pertinent information with another.

    Wishing you a week of curiosity!

     

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    The post Develop a Healthy Curiosity appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:15:57 on 2018/07/10 Permalink
    Tags: Assertive, , , , ,   

    Getting the Most Out of Your Next Performance Evaluation 

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    Scheduling a performance evaluation meeting and setting measurable goals can be stressful or even seem unproductive to some. The meeting is typically a way to evaluate the past year’s project management, acknowledge achievements, receive valuable feedback for performance improvement and create new goals for continued productivity. A performance evaluation is more than a method to measure outcomes for a company though, it’s also an opportunity to discuss professional and personal development opportunities that help each employee grow.

    I’ve spoken with several assistants that have voiced frustration at the standard process. I have personally experienced stress in the past too! Sometimes it is more difficult for administrative support staff to set measurable goals. There are ways to decrease the stress levels and frustration though! The process should actually be an exciting time to discuss progress and development goals that will help you maintain or create the position you want to excel in!

    Getting the Most Out of Your Next Performance Evaluation

    There are several tips for getting the most out of your next performance evaluation & reducing stress. Below are a few:

    • Throughout the year track each project and goal progress, additional duties added and positive feedback from others. Keeping track all year will help you easily prepare a list of projects you are most proud of completing and/or assisted with. Include as much information as possible; date range, project specific tasks, coworkers involved and try to include how that project tied into the company’s mission. Keep the file on your desktop or easily accessible.
    • Define and review your job description and connect completed goals & projects to one or more duties you are responsible for. If it’s a new project then a performance evaluation meeting is a great opportunity to point out the new responsibilities you have taken on.
    • When creating future goals ensure they not only support the company’s mission and department specific goals but also your own personal & professional goals & growth.
    • Setup brief progress meetings six months, three months and one month before your evaluation deadline to ask or confirm anticipated departmental or company growth, your progress, adjusting goals if needed and your manager’s specific goals so you are in tune with his or her vision while focusing on your own goals.
    • Accept constructive suggestions for improved productivity. Be prepared to ask questions & request justification if negative feedback is given.
    • Communicate with your manager to ensure you both understand the expectations of your position and confidently discuss the future vision for you and your position.
    • During the meeting, your manager should discuss expectations, ask your input on your performance, ask what resources you need to be as productive and comfortable as possible, ask if you have any concerns, discuss any professional development opportunities you are interested in and ask what areas you most want to improve in. If applicable and your manager does not ask these or similar questions you should be comfortable enough to bring them up during your meeting.

    Getting the most out of your next performance evaluation includes setting achievable and meaningful goals. These goals not only support work performance, but they also provide an opportunity for you to change what you don’t like about your position or ensure you maintain the workflow that you do enjoy. I like looking at this yearly evaluation as a way to reignite my passion for the work I do and the position I choose through the new goals I set.

    When setting goals, I suggest keeping in mind a method such as S.M.A.R.T.E.R (Specific, Meaningful, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, Evaluate, Readjust). Making a spreadsheet with the method’s keywords as tab headers will help prepare you for your next evaluation and help you stay focused throughout the year.

    I have set several different goals over the years that I have evolved from and coworkers have shared some of their goals with me. Below are a few examples of general and job-specific goals:

    • Set a professional development goal whether it’s attending a conference, completing an online course or program, reading a certain book or two, scheduling time each week or month for webinars, computer program training, time management courses, etc. Learning is always a win-win for an employee & manager and progress is easily tracked.
    • Update phone extension list to ensure callers are directed to the appropriate person. This may require you to do some research and meet with other departments.
    • Develop department specific orientation process even if HR has a main practice ensure all new employees are familiar with your unique department and the manager’s procedures, vision, and expectations. This can be done via a checklist with feedback from your manager and coworkers.
    • Serve as department liaison and attend or participate in company-wide committee meetings to stay up to date on new policies and announcements and report back to manager and department.
    • Explore ways to reduce supply costs by 5% to 10%. Track all supply orders, communicate with the department to determine necessary items and compare monthly costs of previous year then report progress to manager.
    • Create email templates for responses to most frequently asked questions to save time.
    • Discuss the importance of a calendar time block for your manager to focus on emails, presentations, budget, etc. without interruption then create the blocks by a certain deadline.
    • Create a project checklist and ask all team members to use the form when asking for project assistance. The form may include date received, date needed, specific instructions, project number if applicable, links or shared files to additional information needed, etc. This is a more productive use of time-management, can be left when you are away from your desk and easily measured.
    • Create or reevaluate daily routine to be more productive. For example, spend the first-hour checking and responding to common or quick reply emails, go through the mail, process invoices, etc. At the end of the day write out a to-do list and prioritize tasks for the next day.
    • If applicable for your company and position, another goal could be to set up an auto-response to incoming emails from outside the company with answers to most frequently asked questions, common contact information, etc. Especially for weekends or after hours since some emails are basic questions and could be answered by an auto response.

    I hope you look forward to your next performance evaluation and get the most out of it! Please share your performance evaluation and goal setting tips in the comments section.

     

     

    dana_buchananDana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

    You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager

    The post Getting the Most Out of Your Next Performance Evaluation appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 21:04:09 on 2018/06/25 Permalink
    Tags: Assertive, , , , ,   

    Cleanup and Organize Your Workspace 

    Summer is a great time to do a little cleanup and organize your workspace. Business is usually a little quieter, employees take a vacation, and there seems to be a more relaxed work atmosphere. It is the perfect time for you to get organized before the craziness of business sets in this fall.

    Clean desks look smart, professional and, well, just organized. Messy desks are an eyesore and can lead to lower productivity.

    Let your desk reflect you. You don’t want others to see a messy desk and assume you are disorganized. Don’t let this impact your career.

    A clean desk can help you focus. Gone are the days of cluttered desks with everything from printers to having so much paper on them.

    With open work areas being more popular now, let’s take a few minutes to get organized!

    When you are organized, you are better able to handle the day and stay on top of the important assignments. Look smart, be smart, and have a great week.

     

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    The post Cleanup and Organize Your Workspace appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:15:15 on 2018/06/21 Permalink
    Tags: Assertive, , , , , , , , ,   

    Staying Energized Throughout The Week 

    As you know, I usually share tips on combating the Monday-morning “blahs,” especially after a nice, relaxing weekend. I recently met someone who says she has a different problem: “Monday, I am refreshed from the weekend and ready to tackle just about anything,” she explains. “But by Friday, I am usually struggling to finish what I started. I’m pooped!”

    That’s an interesting twist on the same theme and a challenge that some of you probably face as well. So this week, let’s look at a few effective ways to replenish your energy during the week:

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    These ideas are just a start. What else can you do to stay energized all week long? Ask your colleagues and friends for their best ideas.

     

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    The post Staying Energized Throughout The Week appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:30:28 on 2018/06/19 Permalink
    Tags: Assertive, , , , ,   

    Introduce Yourself to Yourself 

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    You’re not the person you once were. Times change. People change. You have changed, too. You owe it to yourself to make time for introspection so that you’re not a stranger to yourself. Don’t wait for quiet time to open up because it never will. There will always be a project to work on, family demands, another errand to run, another memo to write.

    Schedule time for getting to know yourself. When the time arrives, ask questions. As you search for answers, avoid knee-jerk responses, which tend to camouflage the truth. For example, if you ask yourself “Where do I want to go?” and the answer is “I  want to work for this company until I retire, and I’ll do my best to keep my job,” it may be the answer your spouse or friends expect from you. If so, you’re operating on automatic pilot! Perhaps you would really like to work for a top executive instead of a middle manager. If so, say so. Soon you may think about steps to take to groom yourself for the job. There’s a very slim chance that you’ll ever work for a top executive unless you know that is what you want to do.

    Are You Courageous?

    Don’t neglect to ask yourself about courage. Courage is that inner quality you possess that enables you to face challenges (e.g., change) and act without showing fear.

    Are You Easily Intimidated?

    This is another good question to ask yourself during a period of introspection. That’s because feeling intimidated is self-limiting.

    • It holds you back from being the best you can be or from offering good suggestions to improve work conditions.
    • It can lower your sense of self-worth.
    • It stunts professional and personal growth and doesn’t allow your star qualities to shine.

    You may not realize that this heavyweight is chained to your ankles. If you look down and find it there, get ready to break the chain.

    Such things as another person’s title or tone of voice intimidate some people. Some feel intimidated when a coworker is opinionated and speaks loudly, stands too close or is considerably taller.

    It’s likely that each of us feels intimidated on occasion, but it’s very helpful to combat the feeling because it’s plain old not good for you!

    After you tap into this reservoir of information about yourself, notify yourself that you’re in charge: “I’ve got five years of valuable experience behind me, and I can build upon that.” Find a way to do what you want to do. You may need others to help you reach your goals. Reach out to those folks. It’s impractical to wait and see if someone will come and take you by the hand. Moreover, the journey to attain your goal should fill you with excitement and bring you joy. (Did you ever hear the saying, “Getting there is half the fun”?)

    When life pitches you curves, conjure up creative ways to knock them out of the ballpark. You might get knocked down, but you don’t have to stay down. Pick yourself up and get on with it.

     

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    The post Introduce Yourself to Yourself appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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