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Your boss raised his/her voice at you. Now what?: Part Two

Your boss raised his/her voice at you. Now what?: Part Two

Check out Part One of this two part series here!
Check out Part Two of this two part series here!

We are back with “Your boss raised his/her voice at you. Now what?”

In part one, we discussed the importance of pulling your boss aside to discuss the situation surrounding him/her yelling at you. Then, I explained the importance of explaining your mistakes to your boss and apologizing for doing what was wrong.

In part two, I explain how you should handle the rest of the one-on-one meeting with your boss in a way that is solution-minded and in a way that communicates you have boundaries that you do not wish for him/her to cross again.

3) Create and present possible solutions.

Don’t just tell your boss that you were wrong. Come up with a list of possible solutions to the problem(s) and state your intent to follow his/her lead. People often yell when they do not feel powerful, ironically. It makes them feel like they are usurping power they wish they had. So, show your boss you are willingly giving him/her power, and you very well could cool off the entire situation:

  • “These are some ways I think we can solve this issue and make sure it never happens again. However, I am thoroughly open to and want your insight so that I can improve in my position, understand your perspective, and better serve you under your leadership style.”

This will make your boss calm down, realizing that you aren’t as big of a bad guy as he/she originally thought. Showing humility (without self-deprecation) and offering a kind word goes a long way to bring logic back into the picture. You can do all this without groveling; I promise.

4) Express your boundaries.

Although it is important for your boss to correct you when you are wrong, it is absolutely uncalled for, for your boss to raise his/her voice at you, let alone yell. In your one-on-one meeting, make sure to end with this:

  • “I understand you were frustrated with me. Anyone would have been. I have to share, though, that my boundaries were crossed in that meeting/discussion/whatever the situation was. So, I respectfully ask that you do not raise your voice at me again.”

This can be scary to say, but as long as you do not raise your voice or show angry body language, you can say this short statement, and let your boss sit in it. Let the silence that follows show you are serious and that you will not allow someone to deal with you in that manner. Ultimately, your boss may even feel embarrassed for being “called out,” on their poor attitude in such a professional way. It is important to have boundaries with people, and that includes your boss.

5) Repeat.

Whenever you feel there is a white elephant in the room with your boss or your boss is yelling at you, repeat this process. It is as simple as that!

Your boss raised his/her voice at you. Now what?: Part One

Your boss raised his/her voice at you. Now what?: Part One

Check out Part One of this two part series here!
Check out Part Two of this two part series here!

Getting yelled at in any circumstance is hard enough, let alone getting yelled at by your boss. When you have someone yelling at you or even just raising his/her voice, it can be difficult to not yell back. When you don’t yell back solely because you fear losing your job, making things harder for yourself, ruining your reputation in front of others, or getting reprimanded, things can get pretty tricky. If you are in an argument with someone who is not above you, you can at least be honest and open about all of your feelings right then and there and come to a reasonable, calm agreement.

When it is your boss yelling at you, however, there are so many factors involved that go into how you will respond; it can be overwhelming. Some of the thoughts you might have include:

  • What if I yell back?
  • I want to call my boss a bad name, but I can’t.
  • What do I even say that will make my boss just stop yelling?
  • How do I avoid this in the future?
  • Gosh, this is embarrassing. What is my boss’ problem?
  • Do I feel like I’m being hazed or verbally abused?
  • How do I tell my boss that…
  • Who can I go to, to talk about this?
  • Can I talk to anyone else about this?
  • Why is my boss raising his/her voice at all?
  • How could he/she do this to me?!

The list goes on and on. The thoughts can be endless if you don’t get a handle on them. Herein, I discuss ways you can sift through your thoughts and emotions, find the story you wish to share, create a solution with your boss, and stand up for yourself.

1) Pull your boss aside.

If your boss is correcting or reprimanding you in front of others and it causes you to have any negative emotions because it is in front of others, your boss is in the wrong, period. Sure, can there be some validity to what he/she is trying to communicate? You bet. However, he/she is absolutely wrong for how he/she treated you. But, now that you know he/she is in the wrong, what do you do? Yell back? Quite the contrary. Remain calm. Do this by thinking to yourself, “I am going to be the adult here, the bigger person, and take the high road.” This will help you feel empowered in such a powerless situation. Calmly ask your boss, if you can meet with him/her one-on-one to follow up.

2) Fess up.

Take at least a night of sleep in between when the situation happened and when you privately meet with your boss. Analyze what he/she said. Put yourself in your boss’ shoes. “Why did he/she yell at me?” Think outside the box here. There are reasons that could be because of you, because of someone else, or because of an unknown situation in your boss’ life.

Regardless of the reason, you cannot control your boss’ anger; but, what you can do is identify what you did wrong and own up to it. Make this the first point to tackle in your one-on-one with your boss.

Come back in a week to see part two, where I explain the three steps to take following this point in your one-on-one with your boss!

How to Celebrate Your Employees’ Birthdays

How to Celebrate Your Employees’ Birthdays

There are so many ways to celebrate a birthday. People go wild; people have parades; people celebrate in the quiet of their homes; and, sometimes, people mourn or don’t celebrate at all.


Companies have the means to ensure birthdays are celebrated and remembered fondly (or anonymously if that’s how the employee likes it).

1) Start off with a birthday survey.

Collect the following information on the survey.

  • Please enter your first and last name.
  • What is your month and day of birth?
  • Do not get the year to avoid people knowing how old someone is. This can bring about negative feelings for some.
  • What is your favorite flavor of (insert special treat you’d be willing to get for the office to share, such as cupcakes)?
  • Please list all of your known food allergies.
  • Do you want your birthday to be celebrated in the office or kept hidden from public knowledge?

This simple survey can be sent to each employee upon being hired. Then, this can allow the HR department to move into the next step for celebrating employees’ birthdays.

2) Send out a monthly birthday email.

At the beginning of each month, send out an email, stating there are treats in the breakroom/kitchen for all to enjoy, including the flavor of treats for all birthdays celebrated that month (including the non-celebrated birthdays’ favorite flavors). Also include in the email whose birthdays are being celebrated that month and on what day. Again, do not include their year of birth. Encourage people to write a birthday note and pin it on the birthday board that can be hung in the breakroom/kitchen. Keep reading for information on all these various pieces of this celebration-practice in the office.

3) Provide birthday treats for everyone in the office to enjoy.

Provide the flavors of treats the people with birthdays that month stated were their favorite and a couple of traditional flavors. This means all can enjoy in the celebration, as well as the birthday people! This will also encourage people to partake in the next step.

4) Encourage people to post an appropriate birthday wish on the birthday board.

This Birthday Board can be hung in the breakroom/kitchen near the birthday treats. A cork board usually will do the trick, as they are not too expensive. Put out markers and fun colored papers for people to write notes. Each month, post a picture of the birthday people on the board with their full name above their picture and birth month and day. People can then pin their wishes near the pictures for each person. At the end of the month, gather the notes for each person in an envelope and leave them on that person’s desk or in their mailbox, whichever is company policy.

5) Send out an email first thing in the morning on the last week day of the month.

Tell people that today is the last day to celebrate office birthdays for the month of (fill in the blank). This will encourage any last minute people to post nice notes for the birthday people before they are taken down.

Repeat this for each month for all the workplace birthdays! This keeps things clear, concise, fun, and cost effective for the company to celebrate employee birthdays.

Want to be Their Wise and Trusted Leader? Do This 1 Thing Now: Part Two

Want to be Their Wise and Trusted Leader? Do This 1 Thing Now: Part Two

We are back with Part Two of “Want to be Their Wise and Trusted Leader? Do This 1 Thing Now!”  In Part One, we discussed how getting organized is the number one way to showcase three powerful skills.  Trustworthiness is the first skill we discussed, now it’s time for wisdom and leadership.

Skill #2: Wisdom

There is textbook knowledge, and then, there is “street” knowledge. The different between the two, as you may know, is that the former is all about theory and memorization, while the other is all about implementation and applied theoretical concepts. People often find that theory is not always correct in full. What really throws a wrench in theory is people. People can sometimes be unpredictable.

Here’s the Point: So, use your role as boss to show your employees that you don’t just have industry knowledge, but you also have industry wisdom–the ability to tell right from wrong based on experience.

Skill #3: Leadership

By showing people your wisdom through trustworthy actions and by giving people a sound understanding of what people can expect from you over time, all you have to do is simply facilitate coaching opportunities with each employee on your team.

A coach is, “a person who trains an athlete or a team of athletes,” to win a certain game. When coaches train athletes, they realize the season has to start off with easier tasks to accomplish and slowly build up to harder ones. Throughout that process, they pause practices to offer useful instruction that is equivalent to a SMART goal. According to Duncan Haughey from ProjectSmart, a SMART goal is, “Specific,… measurable,… agreed upon,… realistic,… and time-based.” Eventually, these players get thrown into a game and are commanded to act without intermittent instruction. Then, the coach reviews with the players actionable tasks they can implement to improve their play next time.

This is how a true leaders act.

These coaching opportunities are not times where you should yell or raise your voice even at your employee. This is a time to take the employee aside (Note: DO NOT do these in front of others.) and talk to him or her about (1) what happened, (2) why they did what they did, (3) what you expect of them moving forward, and (4) how to accomplish what you wish to see them do. Then, you should have a meeting to check back in on the issue with the employee.

“How is it going as you try to implement this strategy I taught you?” you might ask.

This type of scenario gives employees the true hope that they can come to you with problems and not bury them.

Here’s the Point: So, be a coach, not a tyrant, “who uses power oppressively or unjustly.”

If you showcase these three character traits, your employees will know they can follow you because you are good to your word, you are thoroughly knowledgeable and experienced, and you are someone who leads with a just attitude, not a vengeful and/or emotional attitude.

Want to be Their Wise and Trusted Leader? Do This 1 Thing Now: Part One

Want to be Their Wise and Trusted Leader? Do This 1 Thing Now: Part One

Employees do look up to their bosses. Whether they like you or not is an entirely different matter.

The important thing here is that you know that they see you as above them in at least some manner, and so, regardless of how they view you now, you need to capitalize on that thought of theirs. Instead of using that power to do whatever you may please, think to yourself, “If I were in their shoes and I noticed there was something that needed fixing or tuning up in the company, and I brought it to my manager, wouldn’t I be frustrated if my manager didn’t do anything about my plea or, worse, forgot about it altogether?”

This question shouldn’t drive you to give them every single thing they ask for, but rather, it should drive you to do one thing:

Get organized.

Getting organized is key to showing your employees a variety of different skills you have, which are vital to your success as their manager. When you get organized, you will give yourself the opportunity to showcase these three powerful skills. With these three skills, you will surely be the best manager in the office.

Skill #1: Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness is not just a character trait; it is a skill, because you have to diligently practice it overtime to truly earn the trust of those around you. A simple way to increase your employee’s view of your trustworthiness is to tell them you will do something and then do it. This may seem simple, but this requires you to be diligent about even the smallest things you tell them you will do.

Schedule a date that you will follow up on their inquiry and actually get back to them about it, no matter how small. Make their inquiries of high priority to you; you do manage them, after all, and it is your duty.

This will not only be a good example for other managers, it will also show your employees what is expected of them if they wish to grow in the company. Your employees will complain less, because they will know they can come to you with anything, and you will act on it. You may not always act in their favor, they might note, but they know you will truly take into consideration all that they say.

Here’s the Point: So, be a person of your word no matter how short and sweet that word might be.

Come back in a couple weeks or Part Two of “Want to be Their Wise and Trusted Leader? Do This 1 Thing Now!”

What Exactly Does a Management Consultant Do?: Part Three

What Exactly Does a Management Consultant Do?: Part Three

We are back with Part Three of “What Exactly Does a Management Consultant Do?” Here are the twelfth through fourteenth things I teach management teams and make it worth your business’ money and time to use my services.

12) Instruct management teams to abolish the annual performance review.

This is one of the more daring topics I teach management teams. Annual performance reviews tend to induce large amounts of stress and anxiety in people. In the employee’s mind, there could be a plethora of potentially disciplinary information the management team wants to share with the employee in those meetings, making it an immediate source of very real fear for the employee. What I recommend instead of the annual reviews is something simple: Give performance reviews in each moment. If there is a need to address a particular action or behavior in an employee, do not wait until it magically disappears. You have to take action, confront the employee, and then, this is imperative, encourage that employee with positive reinforcement to do what is correct and according to policy. Then, follow up with them. Tell them when you see they have acted according to your wishes.

13) Relay to leadership how to help each employee grow how they want to grow.

The desire to professionally develop oneself tends to subside once someone gets the job position he/she desires. However, when the dust has settled, an employee will begin to wonder, “How can I move up from here?” This is where professional development comes into play as a long-term mindset instead of sending employees to, say, workshops on growing as a professional here and there. As a manager, I will teach you have to have one-on-one professional development meetings with each of your employees, while helping you to achieve greater efficiency long-term, providing you with more free time to complete higher level tasks. It will also show the employee that they are cared for intimately by their company, giving them the charge to do better work and potentially inform your management team of skills or experience the employee has or is developing that could be used for the company’s benefit in the future that management would have otherwise never known.

14) Show leadership teams that they need to not only create plans of action, but also engage with employees about their pieces to the puzzle and how valuable they each are.

As a management consultant, I consider it my duty and charge to show companies how to inspire proactive action in their employees. To do this, I show management teams how to celebrate each employee’s work in front of others so that they shine and feel appreciated and seen. I show management teams how to make each employee feel like their work–or rather, their “piece to the greater puzzle” that is the company itself–is special, needed, and rewarded.

Do you have any challenges to my methods? Any questions or new ideas inspired by reading this blog? Tweet me @RickHevier to continue the conversation!

What Exactly Does a Management Consultant Do?: Part Two

What Exactly Does a Management Consultant Do?: Part Two

We are back with, “What Exactly Does a Management Consultant Do?” Below, see the eighth through eleventh out of fourteen things I teach my clients as a management consultant that make my service worth a business’ time and money.

8) Relay to leadership teams how to encourage improvement without instilling fear or anger.

Oftentimes, managers can get frustrated with how a team is meeting their objectives. They may see that employees are cutting corners, acting rude, demanding higher pay when it is not applicable, or simply skipping steps for lack of proper training or knowledge on the given subject. In high tension moments like these, it can be tempting for managers to intimidate, threaten, or even scream at employees. These methods are, frankly, bogus in my opinion. They may make your now frantic employee hop to his/her tasks in a quicker, more cautious and thorough manner, but that will only be for a short while. Long-term, the effects of instilling fear and/or anger in your employees will distance them from you and their job duties, encourage them to look elsewhere for a better career, decrease productivity, as happiness in one’s job increases productivity over 10% higher, and so on. As a management consultant, I will train you as a management team how to use positive reinforcement and competition with one’s past accomplishments to see long-term success for your company and your team.

9) Instruct management teams the value of having employees trade spaces.

When empathy is running low in your company, I will show you how giving your employees a day in someone else’s shoes will increase their empathy for their coworkers. Let’s say you have two departments switch for the day, with each department trying to do the work of the other’s. This will not only increase empathy in your company, but also spur on positive and uplifting conversations between employees.

10) Teach leadership teams to create specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and time-based goals for their employees instead of sharing objectives.

I also teach the foundations of how to communicate desired goals in a way that meets all your standards and vision. By teaching how to create “S.M.A.R.T.” goals, as well as communicate them effectively to your team, your company will be working well like never before.

11) Show management teams how to take away the common problems each employee faces in his/her position.

By teaching management teams the pros of active listening, I teach management how to truly care about and listen to employees and foresee potential needs they have, as well as problems they thoroughly communicate. This creates not only a confidence in your team that they can trust in and rely on you, but also an atmosphere in the office where complaining is not necessary, as employee’s management teams actually care about and act on their concerns and inquiries.

Come back next week for the final piece in this series–Part Three–on, “What Exactly Does a Management Consultant Do?” Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickHevier for management tips, tricks, and news in the meantime!

What Exactly Does a Management Consultant Do?: Part One

What Exactly Does a Management Consultant Do?: Part One

What does a management consultant do anyway? Are they needed? Do they communicate real value to companies they work with? All of these questions ask valid questions. Management consultants can, at times, be vague and offer non-specific results of their work. This is not how I conduct my consulting business. Here are fourteen specific and valuable actions I take to assist companies in functioning better for their employees and customers.

1) Instruct management teams to create a consistent, constant purpose for their employees.

If there are employees whose objectives and tasks conflict with one another, this is an issue. Management Consultants teach managers how to create specific objectives that apply for all workers.

2) Teach leadership teams to encourage ethical practices by not offering bonuses and realize they are in control, not the workers.

When leaders are taught that they are in control of outcomes, not the workers, it instills a sense of urgency in communicating effectively to team members. Management Consultants show leaders that they are responsible for issues in their team, not the workers. This makes leaders take minor issues seriously instead of letting them go. This creates a less stressful work environment for employees, where they feel as though their qualms matter to their superiors.

3) Show management that quality must be ascertained now, not through correcting mistakes later.

Leaders need to know that they need to take the time and money to create a quality product now instead of getting it out, seeing there are issues with it, and then changing the product/service after the fact. This change will certainly take more effort, but in the long-run, it will create more wealth for the company. Management Consultants teach companies why this is important with hard facts, not just vague, positive sayings.

4) Teach leadership to not chase nickels and dimes with ever-increasing prices of products and services.

Major overhauls of pricing structure to meet company demands is one thing, increasing prices by pennies every year or month is another. Where real wealth comes from is long-term relationships with vendors and contractors. Management Consultants teach this so that leaders don’t focus on the wrong goals, making their employees work harder for less important priorities.

5) Instruct management on how to reduce variation in products/services.

Nothing, even machinery, is perfect. Machines can create slight variations in products even when they are programmed to be exact. Leadership needs to pay attention to this so that marketing efforts are communicating the right messages to consumers about what they offer. Management Consultants teach leaders how to specifically reduce variation in their products and services according to in-depth production analyses at each company.

6) Teach leadership teams how to give on-the-job training throughout the duration of one’s career.

Leaders who do not continually train their employees will find their employees are undervalued. Employees who feel appreciated for not only their work, but also for their strengths that they bring to the table, will feel as though the company cares for their professional development as a person, not just an employee.

7) Show management teams how to be leaders not bosses.

Management consultants teach bosses how to become leaders that look like this:

Rick Hevier

Not this:

Rick Hevier

Stay tuned in a couple of weeks for part two!

The 9 Foundational Principles of Effective Leadership

The 9 Foundational Principles of Effective Leadership

Leadership takes on various titles and personalities. Leaders can come from any race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, and socioeconomic status. What makes a leader is not his/her title or background, but rather, his/her ability to harness and exude the following characteristics.

1. A leader is self aware.

Leaders are well aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They know when to reach out for help and who they should reach out to for that help. They understand the power of delegation and recognize when someone is strong where they are weak.

2. A leader shows his/her authority through actions not just words or title.

Leaders do not take their title for granted. They know that leadership is a privilege not a right. They do not use their tenure and experience as the sole purpose for why they get to make decisions. Leaders earn their title and trust not demand it.

3. A leader can confront others.

Leaders know how to kindly and authoritatively effect change in a company. They do not demand others to act or speak. They encourage, ask questions, and suggest change with a sense of sincerity, support, and authority. This type of leadership encourages employees to come to them with problems and suggest solutions without fearing immediate wrath, discipline, or rejection.

4. A leader knows when to take a firm standing and when to change his/her mind.

Leaders are not always popular. The phrase, “It’s lonely at the top,” often applies to leaders. Sometimes, leaders need to make tough decisions that they believe will truly be best for the majority of employees, the company, and the company’s consumer audience.

5. A leader leads by example.

Leaders exemplify the phrase, “Monkey see monkey do.” If leaders yell and scream to get their way, employees will often follow suit. If leaders take short-cuts in work and diminish quality, employees will think it is okay to do so, as well. Leaders need to show, with actions, that what is ethical and best for the company and consumer is their priority.

6. A leader is vulnerable with the right people.

Leaders show vulnerability to their management team. They do not do so to just gather compassion and sympathy from others, but rather, to brainstorm how to fix any issues at hand. This encourages honesty and unity within the management team, thereby creating honesty and unity within the various teams of the organization.

7. A leader knows when to say, “I’m sorry.”

Leaders are not too proud that they cannot admit when they are wrong or have failed. Leaders should never be above an apology. On the same token, leaders know how to apologize and then bring a possible solution to the table for all involved to consider. This shows humility, as well as a working knowledge of leading and fixing problems.

8. A leader understands vision and chases after it.

Leaders eat, sleep, and breath company vision. They know the ins and outs of the vision, not only its past and present, but also its future. A leader knows when to chase a vision and when to change the vision to meet the organization’s mission, values, and financial goals.

9. A leader is empathetic.

Lastly, leaders know how to be active-listeners, being well-read on topics of psychology, counseling, and organizational behavior. Leaders listen with the intent to understand not to reply. They consider others as equals, each with valuable insights and understanding. Leaders who are empathetic quickly gain the trust and confidence of their team(s) and encourage others to do the same.

Embodying these character traits makes for a powerful, influential, compassionate, and fair leader.

3 Characteristics of a Fair and Empathetic CEO

3 Characteristics of a Fair and Empathetic CEO

When looking for a new CEO of a company, it is important to not only take into consideration their vast experience, product/service knowledge, and pay grade. It is important to ask them specific questions in interviews, relating to how they manage people beneath them. You want to make sure your new CEO creates an atmosphere of care, understanding, and value in each and every employee. To be a just and fair CEO, it is important that he/she exhibits, through understanding and experience, the following three traits.

1) He/She has been in the lowest position in a company before.

When CEO’s have been in the lowest position in a company before, it shows that he/she knows what it is like to be the, “new guy.” It shows he/she knows what it is like to feel intimidated to share his/her opinions to his/her boss or colleagues. When CEO’s have this experience, they have a working knowledge of how to do other positions within a company and the challenges that come with it. As a CEO, it is important to understand how to do other people’s jobs in the company, because it will help him/her to be fair to employees when issues arise.

2) He/She can articulately explain his/her management style.

If a CEO does not know how to explain his/her management style and give specific examples of how he/she has implemented this style in the past, it shows they are inexperienced and very well could be lacking the foundation needed to be your new CEO.

Their management style should be able to cover public speaking, organizational skills, thought leadership, an in-depth understanding of the company’s products/services, kindly encouraging and correcting workers in their positions, how to recognize a leader in the making, the ability to innovate, how to take educated and worthwhile risks, how to create and execute decisions, how to delegate fairly, how to control his/her emotions, how to celebrate and reward success, how to create incentives for employees, and the like.

3) He/She can explain numerous experiences handling problems with a team he/she has lead in a just manner.

One of the worst feelings in the world is when your boss corrects or reprimands you in front of other employees. It is degrading, embarrassing, and discouraging. Employees feel enraged when this happens but also helpless. They cannot express their anger for fear of getting further reprimanded. So, they keep it to themselves or start to complain to their equals in the company. This creates a sense of distrust, disloyalty, anger, and tension in the atmosphere.

It is important, as a leader of any kind, to take employees aside and encourage them towards making the right decisions in their positions. If a potential CEO expresses that they do not privately reprimand or correct their subordinates, this is a major issue. This potential CEO should be able to give examples of how he/she corrected problems in their company, while simultaneously letting employees know they are heard, understood, and taken very seriously. When employees know this, they feel they can come to the CEO with any qualm they may have without being judged, dismissed, or yelled at. This creates open communication, a quicker turnaround time for fixing problems, and a happier work environment. “A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.” That is a 22% gap in productivity, which can result is a major decline is meeting deadlines with an employee’s best work.

In the end, knowing how to pick a CEO based on their credentials, experience, and knowledge is vital for any company to succeed. Making sure he/she is fair, understanding, and empathetic, however, leads to happy workers who are exceedingly more productive than unhappy ones.