Without clear guidance, employees can embarrass your organization, break the law or leak confidential information through an email. Train new employees on these guidelines:
- How formal their writing should be. You may have separate guidelines for internal messages and those going to customers, vendors or other outsiders. Offer examples of acceptable salutations and sign-offs.
- Which words to use. Explain which words to include when communicating about certain aspects of your business and which words they should never type.
- How to handle confidential information. Provide examples of what should never be included in a message.
Remind all employees about your organizations’ email policies and the consequences for breaking those rules.
— Adapted from “Email Gaffes: Four Ways to Stop Messages Coming Back to Haunt You,” Monica Seeley, TechRepublic, www.techrepublic.com.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/liewcf.
This is a guest post by Arnold Sanow.
Thanksgiving is this week. Show employees and coworkers your appreciation with these ideas:
- Affix a note of praise to a “can’t miss” location—a computer, office door or briefcase.
- Scribble a note on a whiteboard or message center.
- Send a greeting card with a message appropriate for the occasion.
- Send an electronic thank-you card.
- Catch people doing something you admire and compliment them.
- Drop a roll of Life Savers candy with a note of thanks, acknowledging how they “saved the day.”
- Purchase inspirational books and send them along with a note.
- Stuff an appreciation “goodies” box with “appreciation prizes” and have regular drawings.
- Start a Wall of Fame, posting letters from customers praising any employee.
- Celebrate “Employee Appreciation Day.”
- Send an email thanking the appropriate staff with copies to supervisors.
Arnold Sanow, MBA, CSP, is a professional speaker, trainer, facilitator and coach. He is the author of six books, including Present With Power, Punch and Pizzazz and Get Along With Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere. Learn more at www.arnoldsanow.com or email email@example.com.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moneyaware.
Avoid the words always and never when you deliver feedback of any kind. Those words back listeners into a corner, and the listeners feel the need to defend themselves. Because they allow no room for exceptions, definite words like that are easily disproved too, and that weakens your position.
When you do not receive an expected work document from someone, send a friendly reminder that says “Have you sent the document yet? You’re always so thorough; I thought I might have missed it.”
That way of pointing out the oversight reinforces the other person’s professionalism while uncovering a possible error. It also saves you embarrassment if you did in fact overlook the document.
— Adapted from Meryl Runion’s SpeakStrong, http://www.powerpotentials.com.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/_flood_.
When an employee makes a mistake, how you react will affect the person’s morale and self-confidence tremendously. Follow this eight-point plan to address the error appropriately:
- Deal with it quickly. Leave a mistake uncorrected and you will send the message that errors are acceptable.
- Maintain your professionalism. If you have a tendency to become emotional about problems, calm down and collect your thoughts before proceeding.
- Collect the facts. First, establish whether what happened was a true mistake or an innovative way of dealing with the issue. Maybe the employee has found another way of doing things that could be equally good or even better. If not, take the next step.
- Confront the issue, not the person. Beating up on people will only intimidate them, causing them to lose self-confidence and make even more mistakes.
- Show compassion. Who has never made a mistake? Show understanding by listening and demonstrating empathy.
- Turn the negative into a positive. Make this a learning opportunity. If possible, get employees to explain how they might deal with the issue differently next time.
- Determine the root cause. If the mistake occurred because of lax work habits, inform employees of the consequences of further mistakes—asking for their commitment to do better next time. If the problem arose from a lack of training, schedule the appropriate training.
- Follow up. Praise employees for correcting the problem, or apply the appropriate consequences if they have not.
— Adapted from The Leader’s Toolkit, Cy Charney, AMACOM, http://www.amanet.org/
Successful people are often good at making small talk. They know how to put others at ease in a conversation and have many interesting things to say. If your small talk lacks pizzazz, follow these rules to liven it up:
- Say your name. When you meet someone whom you’ve talked to only occasionally before, repeat your name again when you shake the person’s hand. That not only reinforces your name in the person’s mind, but also saves the person any potential embarrassment if he or she has forgotten it.
- Say what’s new. If someone asks you “What’s new?” or “How are you doing?” make sure you have something interesting or pertinent to say. Avoid simply mumbling “Nothing” or “Not bad.”
- Speak as if. When you are talking about other people, always speak as if they were in the room with you. That prevents talking about people behind their backs, and generates respect for others as well as yourself.
— Adapted from “Ray’s Rules,” Ray Smilor, Beyster Institute, http://www.beysterinstitute.org.