Tag Archives: responsibility

GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY

Though leaders cannot be expected to have all of the answers – they should not play at arms-length either. – Glenn Llopis


Some leaders are over-delegating.  They entrust all the works to their employees and make them responsible for the ways to do them and make them accountable for the results.

Over-delegating will destroy trust of the employees to their leader. It will give the employees the impression that their leader does not know what is required to have the job done.

The leader must not only be high-tech but most of all, he must be high-touch. Although, he gets things done through people, he must always be at hand to evaluate the business, counsel and coach his employees.

I would be very glad if you could also share your ideas by giving your comments below.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

The Five Blunders in Reprimanding

Employees sometimes make mistakes or violations.  If the mistakes or violations will adversely affect the productivity or integrity of the company, you call the employee in your office and give him or her a reprimand.

There are five serious errors which a manager or leader can make in reprimanding.

1.  Failing to get facts.    Don’t accept hearsay evidence or go on general impressions but be sure to have all the facts before jumping.

2.  Acting while angry.  Do it when you are calm and be as impartial as possible in making a decision to reprimand. Make a self-evaluation, perhaps it was possibly your fault that the error or violation occurred.

3.  Being vague about the offense.  Let the person know the general charge and the specific details of the offense.  Don’t refer to general complaints or refuse to give details.

4.  Not considering the other person’s side of the story. Listen to the person’s  full story about what happened and the reasons why he did what he did. There may be mitigating circumstances, conflicting orders or even unclear orders you gave which were at fault.

5.  Neglecting to keep records.  Disciplinary reprimands should always be recorded in the personnel folder of the person to become part of his or her work history  and as evidence in the event of further disciplinary requirements.  In many cases, people who were known to be unsatisfactory employees over the years have been reinstated after discharge because the company could produce no proofs that the person had ever been told of his shortcomings.

These are the blunders that I know and if you have some in your list please share them with us by leaving your comments below this post. We love to hear from you.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Focusing on Costs as an Area which Needs Improvement

In my  article on How to Know What Areas Need Improvement , the first guide that I give is to focus on costs.

The article stresses that whatever your organization is, whether you are operating for profit or with a budget, like a government agency, the good result of initiating with a cost reduction is great.

This doesn’t mean that we eliminate necessary services, such as income-generating activity, in order to reduce costs.  It means producing more products and services for every amount that the organization spends.

You must analyze and act assertively on how the present operating expenses can produce more products and services or  how the same volume or products and services can be produced at lesser costs.

A manager’s basic function is to get the work done, but certainly not at any cost.  Finding ways to improve your operations with better, less wasteful methods is as important a contribution to your company as meeting production quotas and schedules.  Here’s how to balance the two areas of responsibility:

*  Use Time Well. Wasted time is one of the costliest elements in any operation.  A manager can cut this waste by engaging the right equipment, the right materials and the right people at the right time.  Time is the essential element.  The lack of any factor at the right time holds up the job and increases costs.  Learn these facts about each operation:  how long it takes, how many people are needed, how the work flows from station to station, and the capacity of each station.

*  Coordinate Correctly. After determining just what has to be done, where, and by whom, each step must be coordinated.  Proper coordination can eliminate waiting for assignments or supplies, cut down chasing time for information or materials, and assure optimum use of workers and equipment.

*  Insure Proper Work Flow. Sometimes poor work flow just sort of grows from a lack of any real planning.  Improper work flow results in uneven workloads and unproductive waiting time.  Don’t let time-wasting bad habits develop into accepted procedures.

*  Schedule Carefully. Any kind of bottleneck adds to costs, but you can avoid some of them with proper scheduling.  Even the occasional rush job should not throw off your schedule if you have padded in a little extra time for the inevitable emergencies.  If you don’t need the time, you don’t have to use it.  But if you do need it, using it won’t create excessive costs.

*  Use Manpower Efficiently. Failing to use available manpower to the fullest potential is always the costliest item of doing business.  Target these areas of waste:

–        Using more workers on a job than are actually needed.

–        Not having enough workers on a job, resulting in unnecessary overtime.

–        Using highly paid, skilled workers on jobs that lower paid workers can do.

–        Failure to use skilled workers in their specialties for reasons of day-to-day expediency.

–        Failure to give adequate on-the-job training.

–        Not policing the overtime.  Is it really necessary or would realistic scheduling help reduce it?

As good executive, you shall act as role model in terms of cost reduction. According to John Maxwell, When they need to cut cost, many executives will sacrifice employees ahead of their own corporate perks. They see their OWN picture instead of the big picture. I believe that a leader should not ask others to make sacrifices until he’s made some himself. A good employee is simply too valuable to let go without exhausting other options.

If you have any other cost reduction ideas to include in this list, I shall be very glad to hear from you.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

The Five Elements in Performance Agreements with Employees

Sometime in November 2009, I wrote an article on the Five Tips to Remember When Setting Performance Targets with Employees.  This is to guide you in effectively managing performance of your employees.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey shares with us the following five elements to be present during performance agreements with employees:

1.  Desired Results

2.  Guidelines

3.  Resources

4.  Accountability

5.  Consequences

Desired Results. Identify the output and when it is accomplished.   Focus on results not methods.

Let us not fall into the activity trap, which means we are so entangled in activity that we lose sight of the reason of the activity.  The activity, thus, become an end in itself.  The means has become the end.  The goal is lost in a bout of methods.  That is why we have employees who are so busy working daily but could not achieve the desired result at the targeted time because they are so busy with so many activities and methods which are counterproductive and even harmful.

Guidelines. Specify the parameters in terms of quantity, quality and time, principles, policies, etc., within which the results are to be achieved.

Resources. Identify the human, financial, technical, or organizational support available to help accomplish the results.  Tell the employees to whom or to where shall they go for help when they find problem in accomplishing their desired results.

Accountability. Set up the standards of performance and the time of evaluation.

Consequences. Specify – good and bad, natural and logical – what does and will happen as a result of the evaluation.

In performance agreements, Stephen Covey says: consequences become the natural or logical result of performance rather than a reward or punishment arbitrarily handled out by the person in charge.

If these elements are mutually understood and agreed upon by you and your employees,  performance appraisal would be easy, as the employees could judge and evaluate their own performance based on these criteria.

A Regional Director is conducting Performance Agreement discussion with her supervisors.

I’m inviting you to give your views on this article by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

How I Survived from Life’s Trial

Life is like a roller-coaster.  Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. It matters not whether you’re very down, as long as, you strive to get up every time you fall.

I experienced an unforgettable trial in my life and career in the mid of 2002.  I was relieved as Department Manager of the government corporation where I work, when the former incumbent reassumed office upon returning home after finishing her scholarship grant at a foreign country.

At first, I felt depressed, especially, when I was just reassigned as a staff of a top executive.  However, I didn’t lose hope and I looked for ways to go on with my life.

Here are the ways I adopted to survive from this trial:

1.  Never Blame and Hate Anybody. Everything happens for a reason and we are responsible for our own lives.  Stop blaming others, if you want to make the most of your talent and be successful.

If you keep on hating somebody, you couldn’t keep your focus on your self-improvement. Life is too short, so don’t spend it wastefully by hating others.

When I was relieved, I could have sought the assistance of  the Civil Service Commission or the CES board for my case, as I have a CESO rank.  But, I didn’t do that because I didn’t want to spoil my relationship with my big bosses.  In this case, stirring up the waters might not enable me to catch fish.

2.  Think Positive. Look at the positive in every trial.  There are no negative incidents only incidents which help in your improvement and strengthen your character so that you may rise to new altitude. There are no failures, only lessons.

Troubles and trials make life more interesting.  Keep in mind that nothing lasts forever.  These, too, will pass.

3.  Think of the Opportunity it Can Give. When I was relieved, I used it as an opportunity to complete my Executive Leadership Program with the CESboard.

Likewise, I used it as an opportunity to research on latest updates pertaining to my field of work so that I will have the right knowledge when the time for me to head an office comes.

4.  Devote Time to Personal and Career Development Activities. Invest in yourself.  Sharpen your saw. Organize your time.  Devote at least one hour in the morning for your personal and career development activities so that when you are given again another opportunity to hold a higher position, you are prepared for it.

Your daily personal and career development activities include meditation, visualization of your day and what you want to become, reading of inspirational books and articles and listening to motivational CDs and tapes.

At the start of 2003, I wrote my career development plan.  My goal was to be a Regional Director and the target date was not later than December 31, 2003.  I listed down my activities and worked on it, to attain my goal.

5.  Persevere. At that time, bringing my goal to reality seemed impossible as I was still frozen as staff of a top executive, with no assurance of being placed to a managerial position in the near future.

But I carried on as these words of Napoleon Hill inspired me:

“whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, he can achieve.”

I believed that if I have a written plan and persist in developing myself and my career, I can achieve my goal.

6.  Have a Strong Faith in the Divine Providence. I believe that God has a purpose for everything that happens in our life.  If we place everything in the Lord’s hands, whatever happens, it is the Lord’s will and it is for our own good.

Always bear in mind that the darkest part of the night is just before dawn.

In April 2003, I received an order designating me again as Department Manager.  In May 2003, I was promoted to a position which is one salary grade higher than my present position.  On November 25, 2003, I was assigned as Regional Director of a Regional Office whose head retired from the service.  I attained my goal before the target date.

Life’s journey is not always easy.  Now and then, we pass through bumpy roads and stormy seas and we have to survive all these to attain our goal.

I know you also have your own survival ways to tell and I’m glad if you could share it with us by leaving your comments below this article.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes