Category Archives: attention to details

The Digital Camera as an Indispensable Tool

In his book, Developing the Leader Within You, John Maxwell says, A leader’s main responsibility is developing others to do the work. In order to be an effective people developer, a leader must first know the names of his people, especially if he is new to them and the people he is handling are 400 or more.

When I was new to my present regional office, I required the employees to wear their identification cards around their necks so that I will know their names.  But later on, I feel awkward looking at their IDs everytime we meet.  I feel more comfortable looking at their faces, seeing them eye to eye, smiling and greeting them; Hi, Hello, Good Morning/Afternoon or How are you?

I always carry my digital camera in my bag wherever I go.  This tool has helped me a lot in my desire to be a people person and be a good leader.  Whenever there are meetings, conferences, seminars and special occasions, I request someone to capture the events for me.  I also take pictures during my inspection and other official trips.

A pose with some employees.

Pictures keep the memories alive but they have done more use to me as the head of office.  I store the pictures in the laptop, make folders of each event and indicate names of people on it through the help of my executive assistant and other employees.

Now that I know how to use some applications of the famous social networking site, the Facebook, identifying people became a lot easier because I could now tag people in the pictures.  I find time to look at them whenever I get hold of my laptop so that I can call them by names everytime we meet.  People feel worthwhile and important if you care to know their names.

Being a good leader does not happen overnight and I know that through my digital camera, I have taken a step towards my desire.

I know you also have some good uses of your digital camera and I’m glad if you could share your list with us by leaving your  comments below this article.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Leaders Must Use Mistakes at Work to Advantage

To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future. Plutarch

As a leader, one of the challenges you must face in the workplace is handling mistakes, especially those of your people because control over others is not as easy as control over yourself.

When you say to your people, “Don’t commit any mistake in your job, otherwise you will suffer the consequences if it will happen,” , your people will be extra careful in doing the task. But, he might not take the initiative to perform beyond his functions, such as improvement activities, for fear of committing mistakes. People who fear mistakes, says Molly Napier, make no progress.

Encourage your people to tell you immediately if mistakes occur so that they could be corrected immediately. Encourage them to admit their mistakes.  Forgive them for their mistakes, let them learn lessons from them and  resolve not to commit the same mistakes again. Stephen Covey says: People will forgive mistakes, because mistakes are usually of the mind, mistakes of judgment.  But people will not easily forgive the mistakes of the heart, the ill intention, the bad motives, the prideful justifying cover-up of the first mistake.

At work, I always tell my people to ask for some clarifications, if instructions are not clear to minimize mistakes,  because they involve costs to the company in terms of time, money and energy.  They must not pretend that they know everything. Ask, ask, ask!

Stop blamestorming. John Wooden says, A man may make mistakes, but he isn’t a failure until he starts blaming someone else.

While you must assure your people that making mistakes is no cause for worry and trembling, never allow them to believe that mistakes themselves are  “okay.” Otherwise, mistakes become a habit.

Face mistakes at work and create a task force composed of the best brains you have available to focus on and recommend solutions to the problem.  Some of the best systems and procedures were formulated and implemented out of the lessons learned from mistakes.

You might also some ideas in your mind and I’m inviting you to share them to us by leaving your comments below this article.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Four Effective Ways to Make Performance Appraisal Easier for Everyone

One day, one of my supervisors came to my office and requested that one of his employees shall be reassigned due to poor performance in his office.  When I called the attention of the employee for his poor performance as verbally reported to me by his supervisor, he reacted: “Is he kidding, Madam?  He always gave me a “Very Satisfactory” performance rating every rating period.”

At the end of the rating period, the employee just simply copies his or her previous performance appraisal forms and submits them to the supervisor for confirmation and signature.

On the other hand, majority of the supervisors are not honest in rating their employees.  The supervisor gives a “Very Satisfactory” rating to the employee even if he or she doesn’t deserve it, as the supervisor is sick of getting arguments from his people when they didn’t get the rating they thought they deserve.

An appraisal is supposed to be informative for you and your employee.  It ought to inform him how he’s doing in relation to performance targets.  It is supposed to identify his strengths and the areas where he needs improvement.  Conducted correctly, it can help you get the performance you need.  But if you rate employees higher than they are worthy of, they begin to think they’re okay and might not be urged to do better.

Here are the four effective ways to make performance appraisal easier for you and your employee:

1.  Make sure to evaluate employees fairly.  Don’t play favoritism in rating employees.  Establish uniform performance standards as your guide.

2.  Stick to facts and shun evaluations of performance based on casual observations. Gather data and keep written records of performance of employees as basis of evaluation.

3.  Keep a better balance between praise  and criticism during your performance evaluation meeting. Commend the employee for the areas where he excels in performance and point out the areas where he needs improvement.

4.  Select one or two goals for the employee to work toward instead of trying to change everything overnight. For the areas where he needs improvement, set two goals for him to achieve for him to improve his performance.

I know you also have your own list in mind and I am glad if you could share it with us by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

How to Make your Workspace as a Source of Inspiration

I have just read one of the popular posts of Bob Bessette titled “Cubicle Bliss: 10 Steps to create an inspiring workspace” at his website at http://totallyuniquelife.com or you may also reach it by visiting www.bobbessette.com.  I like the intelligent way he presented his steps.

He listed down these 10 steps to create an inspiring workspace:

1. Keep it clean!

2. Get a comfortable chair and keyboard.

3. Surround yourself with words to live by.

4. Quotes, quotes, and more quotes.

5. Display your weekly tasks prominently.

6. Display your yearly goals prominently.

7. Buy some cool stuff for the cubicle.

8. A pic says a thousand words.

9. Collect artifacts and display them.

10. Soothing Sounds.

I agree with his steps but step number 2 depends upon the availability of funds in the office where you are connected.  For the pictures,  place them in a folder in your laptop, or in a photo album or in a scrapbook.  For ease of performance,  keep decorative objects and  personal mementos in a spot where they won’t get in your way or distract you.

It is important that you make your workplace an inspiring and livable one because you spend more of your waking hours at the office than at home.  Another step that I could add is color coding in the office, including files.  It is a remarkable innovation because it makes the work area bright and a cheerful place to work in.

I know you also have your own list of steps and I will be very glad if you could share it with everyone by leaving your comments below this article.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Five Ways to Manage your Secretary, for you to Operate at Peak Performance

In my previous article, I emphasize that your secretary can make or break you. Your secretary is the extension of your hands and feet in just getting all the things done that you can’t take time “mechanically” to do yourself.

Here are the five ways to manage your secretary, for you to operate at peak performance:

1.  Your secretary must be specially selected by you. He or she must be specially or carefully selected by you to suit your temperament.

However, if you are in government offices, whenever you are assigned to your new office, you usually inherit the secretary of your predecessor.  So, it takes a lot of patience and perseverance to adjust to each other.

2.  Establish warm and friendly relation with your secretary. Although a majority of you are aloof at some people, you must have a harmonious working relationship with your secretary in order to perform effectively.

3.  Keep your secretary informed. As anticipated, he or she will be handling confidential information, it’s important to stress to your secretary the need for a tight lip.  It is quite futile, however, to anticipate him or her to assist in the management of your office without being aware of what they need to know to get the job done.

4.  Know what your secretary is doing. This is one of your basic requirements in using a secretary.

5.  Make your secretary adapt to you. The main requirement of a secretary is that he or she be flexible in adapting his or her work habits to those of the executive.  In other words, a good secretary requires the personality of a chameleon.

I know you have also some ways in your list and I will be glad to read your thoughts by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes