How to Become a Better Listener to Advance at Work

Rather than become a better listener, do you tend to zone out while co-workers or even your supervisor are speaking? That makes you human. It’s something that we all do. It makes sense.  The New York Times reported that the average person’s attention span is eight seconds. Now multiple electronic distractions vie for your time and drag your attention away from the worker in front of you. It makes being a good listener pretty challenging, but it isn’t impossible.

become a better listener and advance your career

These days, employees often enter meetings or 1:1 conversations with an agenda.  And everyone’s face reflects this. So, rather than having a dialogue, it descends into two or more workers talking at each other without stopping to hear what the other person is trying to say. It will only get worse, as life grows more hectic.

You have to stop approaching discussions on the job with your agenda in mind. The goal should not be to guide, manipulate, or maneuver the exchange to your benefit. It’s about learning!  You will be a more productive team member.

Here’s 5 steps to become a better listener:

The Balance

The hint that a conversation is more about listening than speaking is the fact that you possess just one mouth, but two ears. When you talk too much, steer the topics too often, it can result in people seeing you as controlling (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03637758909390246?needAccess=true&instName=King%27s+College+London). Everyone should be able to contribute to the conversation equally. So, listen to what others have to say and consider their perspective!

Keep An Open Mind

When you try to make new information and knowledge fit with your existing beliefs of representations you become a poor listener. This can result in you jumping to conclusions and being close-minded. A study from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, demonstrated how often this occurs (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0010028581900086). Students were directed to an office they believed was serving as a sort of waiting room for the experiment they were due to take part in. However, this was part of the experiment. Once they left the office, they were directed to recall any items they’d seen while waiting in the office. They recalled many items associated with offices but were prone to falsely recall items not present simply because they were typical office items.

Focus On the Message

It is really easy to get caught up with the person delivering the message rather than focusing on the message itself. Once you view someone as a friend or foe, you tend to accept their message based on that designation. That doesn’t mean your rival doesn’t have a valid point to make or important information to share. Likewise, it doesn’t mean your friends are always right!

Eye Contact

Eye contact is an important aspect of clear communication, but how does that help you become a better listener? It’s a signal to the other person that they have your attention. You are dialed into the conversation and fully present. If your eyes are on theirs, then your eyes are not wandering and distracted by everything around you. You’ll also take more information in that way.

Ask Questions

When you ask questions relevant to the topic at hand it shows that you are listening to what the person said. It also highlights that you are considering what they have to say. The added benefit of asking questions is that it prevents miscommunication. Asking questions is a great way to check-in and ensure you are understanding the points others are making.

It’s always a good idea to pause before you respond. Take time to consider their comment before you choose to ask a question or form a response.

Summary

There are a wide variety of productivity techniques that improve your listening skills. You can learn far more from listening than you can from speaking over others or wrestling control of the conversation.  And you will gain the support of your supervisor and associates.

 

 

 

 

The Harm Resentments Can Have on Work Relationships

Resentment is the feeling that you’re being overlooked, treated unfairly, or not getting the respect or appreciation you deserve. It’s been compared to drinking poison but waiting for the other person to die. It eats at you, sometimes for years on end, but the only one who suffers is you.

Two angry workers

Here are 5 important tips to help you avoid one of the most toxic elements in any work relationship we call resentment:

1. Ask, instead of assuming

We’re all busy, juggling many things at once, so much so that we take what’s important for granted, especially with those who work closest to us. Sometimes life gets in the way of us feeling appreciated and respected, even to the point of living with personal integrity.

We ignore what’s bothering us because it’s easier, hoping it’ll go away on its own or magically disappear into thin air. Yet ignoring issues like this doesn’t make them go away, it makes them grow until they’re too big to handle. That’s when the state of your co-worker interactions really starts to feel the weight of these problems.

And you know it’s there, but you don’t know what to do about it. Many times, we don’t bring up certain issues because we’re afraid to confront our bosses or peers and shy away from conflicts. But by doing this, you’re pushing away your associate without realizing it and this is one way that resentment builds up.

2. Be part of the solution, not the problem

Putting blame won’t get you anywhere; in fact, most times it just makes things that much worse. Instead, work at overcoming your anger and distrust so you can reach an agreement. Showing empathy is a big part of this process, especially after an argument because it tells your associate that you understand how they feel and why they did so-and-so. Empathy really goes a long way.

3. Give each other some space

When you first start working with another employee, you can’t imagine going an hour without approaching a work process with your supervisor or teammate or hearing each other’s take, let alone a whole day. But as you mature into a steady working relationship, and you gain experience, it’s wise to find some tasks you can accomplish working on your own.

This maintains your sense of self, while giving you something to chat about, so it’s a win-win. Taking some “me” time and distancing yourself from your work partner could be something you do periodically.  The point is to make yourself a priority during that time, so you came back into a close working relationship with fresh eyes and a sense of looking forward to camaraderie.

4. Don’t let small things grow and fester

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if your work partner just apologized when appropriate? Work would be so simple and pleasant. But it’s not always like that. It’s normal to have disagreements or arguments, big and small.

Feeling anger and hurt on occasion is also alright. But don’t sit on these feelings, waiting for that perfect moment to let it all out. You and your co-worker should be each other’s supporter and shoulder to lean on through difficult projects. Remember, you’re on the same team.

5. Communicate

Talking and listening requires a bit of vulnerability, which can be difficult at times, especially if you harbor feelings of mistrust or resentment. But there’s no way around it, opening up is crucial to healthy rapport.

Talk honestly with your associate and ask to be really listened to. And it’s important to listen without judgment when it’s your turn to be attentive to your associate. Practicing these confidence-boosting techniques will bring you and your workmate closer and more productive as a team.

It’ll also help break any, barriers either one of you had put up as a defense mechanism because, let’s be honest, we are on our guard at work. So why do we make it even harder on ourselves and keep our guard up even with our work partner?

Workplace relationships need work and care. That’s where people make the mistake of forgetting about the small details of everyday projects. We just say or do something without thinking it through.

But the truth is it does matter and over time, some of these things linger and fester into something ugly that brings out the bad in everything, and ultimately suffocates any good working relationship. Resolving issues before they get out of hand is the key to avoiding resentment and enjoying a cheerful, efficient, and balanced workday.

Flexicrew Support

At Flexicrew we constantly help workers with everything from interviewing to how to conduct themselves through stressful job situations.  Contact us Today to find out how we can help.

Sources

https://www.lifeadvancer.com/resentment-in-relationships

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/marriage-resentment/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-gaspard-msw-licsw/is-resentment-ruining-your-marriage_b_5531600.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201109/chains-resentment

https://www.bustle.com/articles/161065-7-signs-your-partner-resents-you

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inviting-monkey-tea/201711/can-relationship-recover-resentment

 

4 Key Ways to Stop Procrastination at Work

We’re all guilty of doing it, more often than we’d like to admit. Procrastination may not be just about turning in your work project at the last minute. It may also be putting off important life decisions like whether or not you should ask your boss for that raise he promised last month, or whether you should change jobs, fire an unproductive worker, attend a seminar – it’s endless.

And if you don’t start learning how to stop putting things off, you’ll have to deal with procrastination your whole life which may have a negative effect on your career, and personal health.

The thought process behind procrastination is that we believe there’s always tomorrow, so why not just steer clear of the stress and anxiety and just put it off until later. So, this is the first thing you need to tackle. It won’t be easy but try to figure out what the stress factor is behind your procrastination. It could be fear of failure, fear of confrontation, fear of not being perfect.

overcome procrastination

You are your own worst critic

You judge your flaws and imperfections way too harshly. Yet studies show that when you forgive yourself for putting things off or not getting things done as perfectly as you would’ve liked, can actually help fend off procrastination. And most importantly, have realistic goals before you give yourself a hard time.

Sometimes we tend to bite off more than we can choose, then we go off the deep end because the end result wasn’t anywhere what we had envisioned.

Follow these tips to help you avoid procrastination once and for all.

1. Turn burdensome tasks into habits

We all have enough willpower to get about 3 or 4 tasks done each day. Habits use other parts of our brain rather than the prefrontal cortex which is associated with rational thinking. So, when you train yourself to do something out of habit, rather than look at it as a mundane task, you think about it less which means you’re using less willpower and you won’t fall into the procrastination rut.

Things like brushing your teeth or driving to work have all become daily habits which you automatically perform without even considering putting them off. Why not turn building work connections, gaining proficiency in your work position, or turning in reports ahead of time into daily habits as well?

After that it becomes easier, but you still have to keep yourself motivated and inspired. Procrastination is all about taking that dreaded first step. So why not ease into it with the knowledge that after a certain amount of time, or once I’ve finished X, I can watch videos on YouTube or go get a cup of coffee. Make it pleasant for yourself because the reward is the part that the brain assimilates to gauge your enjoyment level. If you’re happy, then your brain slowly turns this task into a habit which you look forward to, instead of something you dread on a daily basis.

2. Break work tasks into chunks

At work, big tasks may seem daunting when you look at them as a whole. The answer? Break it down into smaller tasks. Make an outline of the entire project, and then divide it up into smaller tasks.

Working in 30-minute increments also helps break down tasks into smaller chunks which are manageable and not so intimidating. After the 30 minutes, take a break and assess your work. Seeing how much you’ve accomplished will give you that boost of confidence you need to keep at it.

3. Remove distractions

Checking your email every 5 minutes isn’t doing you any good. So, once you’ve committed to doing the job, limit distractions by putting your cell phone away. You can find apps that help you stay on track, but some will say that’s completely missing the point.

The important thing is that you set up a certain time for checking emails or your social media, and once you’ve started your task, you avoid the urge to take a sneak peak.

Another serious distraction is multi-tasking. Even though it may seem that you’re being productive, the truth is it’s a complete waste of time and energy. Think about it, it takes your brain about 20 minutes to completely focus on one task and give it 100%, and then you bring in another task which means you decrease your focus level by half, bring in a third task and the focus drops even lower. So even though you’re working more, your end results will be below average.

4. Work during your peak hours

We all have certain times during the day when we’re most alert. Some of us are morning people, some are night owls, and some have more energy during the afternoon hours. Find out what your peak hours are and tackle your most difficult tasks then. You’ll be more of a powerhouse then with your brain working at its maximum capacity.

Procrastination is different than being lazy because when you procrastinate, you delay doing something for a more pleasurable task. So why not turn that mundane task you’re dreading into something more fun and enjoyable, and kill off the urge to procrastinate?

Flexicrew Selects Corry Adams 2019 Employee of the Year Tucker/Norcross, Georgia

Flexicrew Staffing Employee of the Year Winner – Self-Starter, Go-Getter, All Around Top-Notch Performer

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee, September 18, 2019 – Flexicrew Staffing, a leader in the industrial staffing industry, selected from its over 2,000 temporary staff to choose Employee of the Year for Tucker/Norcross, GA.

Mr. Adams attitude and performance has earned him praise and delighted Flexicrew.

Job Assignment – Production Assembler and Packer

Adams has a great personality and interviewed well.  We placed him in a production environment in June and he has done very well.  His client reached out to Flexicrew to discuss Corry.  Having employees like him is what helps make Flexicrew successful.

About the Award

The purpose of this annual award is to recognize an outstanding employee in each Flexicrew Staffing branch with the following attributes:

Responsibility Temporary staffer is punctual, works hard, and exhibits dedication to tasks and on- time completion.

Cooperative Displays courtesy with an agreeable attitude toward coworkers and supervisors. Good communication skills and willing to help others.

Creativity Temporary employee goes above-and-beyond to get the job done, holds self to a high standard, and tries to learn different aspects of the client operation to improve the work.

Safety Follows safety requirements and leads others by example in safety in the workplace.

About Flexicrew

Flexicrew was recognized by Staffing Industry Analysts in 2015 as the 4th fastest-growing staffing company in the U.S. over a 5-year period.  Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Flexicrew makes use of technology and industry best practices to deliver the most talented and qualified industrial – skilled and unskilled, technical, and professional talent to clients within most major industries. Flexicrew has more than 2,000 contractors currently placed in companies throughout the U.S. To learn more, visit www.flexicrew.com

 

 

Feliciano Palacios – 2019 Flexicrew Employee of the Year Gainesville, Georgia

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee, September 18, 2019 – Flexicrew Staffing, a leader in the industrial staffing industry, selected from its over 2,000 temporary staff to choose Employee of the Year for Gainesville.

Flexicrew is particularly proud of how Mr. Palacios is dedicated and wants to get his assignment done just right.  That reflects in his performance for his client and Flexicrew.

Feliciano Palacios – Fabrication Welder                                                                                             

Mr. Palacios reports to work every day and is willing to go the extra mile.  He is a good worker with great attendance.  He helps our client train other employees when needed.

About the Award

The purpose of this annual award is to recognize an outstanding employee in each Flexicrew Staffing branch with the following attributes:

Responsibility Temporary staffer is punctual, works hard, and exhibits dedication to tasks and on- time completion.

Cooperative Displays courtesy with an agreeable attitude toward coworkers and supervisors. Good communication skills and willing to help others.

Creativity Temporary employee goes above-and-beyond to get the job done, holds self to a high standard, and tries to learn different aspects of the client operation to improve the work.

Safety Follows safety requirements and leads others by example in safety in the workplace.

About Flexicrew

Flexicrew was recognized by Staffing Industry Analysts in 2015 as the 4th fastest-growing staffing company in the U.S. over a 5-year period.  Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Flexicrew makes use of technology and industry best practices to deliver the most talented and qualified industrial – skilled and unskilled, technical, and professional talent to clients within most major industries. Flexicrew has more than 2,000 contractors currently placed in companies throughout the U.S. To learn more, visit www.flexicrew.com

 

 

How to Motivate Your Team in 5 Easy Lessons

To motivate your team and achieve greater productivity use these 5 ideas that work.

There is one area that ranks high up in what workers want from their job – motivation.

What comes to mind when you want to motivate your team?  Methods like money and praise drive people to work hard.

But, you’ll need to make sure that your team has the incentive to reach for higher levels of excellence. The most successful workers rely on a mix of outside and internal motivation.

Money is the most common motivator used with employees. And money is obviously quite relevant. But it can become a problem if it’s the only type of motivation you offer workers.

Soft motivators are important also because they are what tend to produce energy among workers and keep them going through difficult tasks.

How to Motivate Your Team on a Budget

Actually, how to motivate your team is personal for each different worker.

Encourage workers to figure out what motivates them to reach goals in addition to money. Then help optimize those motivators.  Several benefits result…

  • productivity goes up
  • work stress reduces
  • burnout goes down
  • the whole team gets closer to its individual and team goals.

Similarly, as a manager, it’s not your job to provide your workers with motivation. (You can lead a horse to water, etc.)  But, you can help them figure out what blend of factors drive them to work at their best.

Here are some accepted ideas to motivate your team that don’t involve financials.

1. Employee Value

To find satisfaction in a job well done, workers want to understand the value they deliver.

Do you have an employee who is very satisfied working for your company? That employee is probably driven by a strong sense of purpose and recognizes his value in the company.  Most likely his supervisor gives him adequate and specific feedback on how he’s doing.

Use that motivation to motivate your team by making sure you offer everyone feedback. Share constructive reactions with the team to remind them of why they work.

2. Responsibility

When you set your own goals, you’re more likely to go after them. While the company will have goals for the team, it’s important to let your workers set some individual goals and define how they will achieve them. These goals should be specific, realistic, and challenging.

Also, personal targets that relate back to team and company-wide goals helps with self-motivation.

Employees need a “coach” to advise on company and department goals or provide specific hands-on fine-tuning.  But they don’t need an auditor constantly looking over their shoulder with criticism and micromanaging.

3. Independence

Trust and a level of independence is a great way to motivate your team. Workers’ daily activities feed into working towards the established company goal.  But letting them control how they prioritize their daily schedules or the approach they use can be a great motivator.

Micromanagement is often listed as a key reason someone leaves a job. Instead, managers should ensure their team has the tools and authority they need to make decisions and problem-solve at an appropriate level.   That frees them from having to move everything up the hierarchy for resolution.

4. Rapport

Discuss with your workers your supervision style and the feedback you will offer. Some may find it motivating to have frequent, quick meetings with you to check in and get quick answers. But for others, a less frequent sit-down is more desirable – and effective. Decide with your staff what works best for each member.

Some managers use personality type testing to determine the best working relationship for each team member. Knowing how they think and are likely to act and respond in the workplace helps build rapport between supervisors and each individual worker.

5. Work Environment

Research indicates the environment you work in plays a big role in motivation and success. Workplaces with more natural daylight and places to get privacy or some quiet time promote productivity.

You might add greenery, encourage breaks, and regulate the office temperature. (If you’re unsure, studies have found 70-77° F ideal for peak productivity.)

Do you need more help finding top performers for your team?

Call Flexicrew. As one of  the Southeast’s top staffing agencies, we have years of experience serving employers – and helping them find truly exceptional people. Contact us today to learn more!

6 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time we give thanks for family and friends and it’s equally important to show employee appreciation. Although you should express gratitude to your staff all year, Thanksgiving is a perfect time to boost your attempts to show them how much you are grateful their contributions.6 ways to show employee appreciation at Thanksgiving

And, as one of the Southeast’s top staffing agencies, Flexicrew Staffing knows that saying ‘thank you’ is much more than just a feel-good exercise. It can make a measurable impact on productivity, worker engagement  and profits. Also, the way you show employee appreciation is frequently the way they will treat your customers.

Equally, It’s important to define how employees want to be recognized, given their work environments and their job roles.

6 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation at Thanksgiving

To help you get started, here are six ways to show employee appreciation:

 

1. You’ve got to express your thanks

Each member of your team wants to know they are appreciated and that there is meaning and purpose to what they do.  And a simple ‘thank you’ for efforts or contributions or even going the extra mile is the easiest, fastest and least costly way to show employees you care  and notice their contributions. So get into the habit of saying ‘thank you.’  When was the last time you thanked an employee for a job well done?  And realize that recognition is best when it is specific and timely.

Another good way to show employee appreciation is in writing.  A simple way say ‘thanks’ is to jot a handwritten note. Just be specific with your employee and add at least one mention of a major strong point, behavior or completed assignment that you really appreciated and why.

2. Shine light on top performers

Send out an email to your entire staff recognizing certain employees for their excellent performance. You can promote their performance, too, in your company newsletter to customers.  Don’t hide their success under a bushel basket.

3. Casual conversations

Schedule a casual meeting with each employee to talk more about performance. But don’t simply talk about your goals and expectations.

Keep it low key.  Attempt to get to know them better. Ask about their career hopes and aspirations and how you can help them achieve more. Find out how they think things are going on the job and find out what you can do to give them more support.

4. Describe opportunities for career or job growth

Show your employees how much you trust and respect them by offering growth opportunities. By expanding access to opportunity, not only will you enhance their skills, but their loyalty as well.  Whether you recommend a stretch assignment, you can enhance their personal growth while also rewarding employees.

5. Employee appreciation day

By all means, if you want a formal event, plan an employee appreciation day once a month. Then you would highlight one or two staff members who have made an especially big impact that month. Not only will you recognize a top performer, but you’ll also stimulate others to work harder and expand their performance.   Look at it as a meaningful way to foster employee engagement, thank employees for their hard work and build employee camaraderie.

6. Reward system

Develop a program where every time an employee meets a goal or completes a project, they can earn points towards prizes.

Start to Show Employee Appreciation

In short, don’t assume your staff knows how much you value and appreciate them. Your responsibility is to show it – and these six suggestions are useful ways to start.  You will strengthen the emotional relationship between your organization and the people who deliver your results.

Do you need more help finding top performers for your team?

Call Flexicrew. As one of  the Southeast’s top staffing agencies, we have years of experience serving employers – and helping them find truly exceptional people. Contact us today to learn more!