Stories by Melissa Shaw

Questioning skills

Last week, management expert Don Andersson explained to us the difference between hearing and listening. Sure you hear what
your employees are saying, but are you listening to them? There's a big difference.

Hearing vs. listening

When it comes to the similarities between listening and hearing, the only one is you use your ears for both. After that, they're very different. For instance, have you ever had an employee come in your office and you're on the computer? You're busy, you've got stuff to do, so while they stand there and talk to you, your body is facing the computer, your eyes are on the computer and an ear, or maybe two, is devoted to the poor soul on the other side of your desk.

More tips for running a virtual firm

Michelle Chase, managing director of all-virtual, 10-employee firm Perkett PR, shares more of her experiences and best practices when it comes to running a company with no central office.

Assuring your career success, Part 2

Last time, management expert Don Andersson told us we need to shift perspective to stay competitive. In today's economy, there's no such thing as job security, so you better start treating yourself as an entrepreneur - a freelancer - if you will. Sure, you work for the same company 40 hours per week, but you need to continue to hone your skills and learn new ones to stay employed.

Assuring your career success, Part 1

Management expert Don Andersson says there's no such thing as job security these days. Unfortunately, I don't think many of us would argue he's wrong. Despite that, many of us still live and work under the "company store" mentality, that is, "If we work hard, we'll always have a
job."

Happy Half New Year!

Is anyone else having a hard time believing it's July already? It seems like 2003 just started, and now it's half over. Many of us wake up on Jan. 1 with a head full of personal and professional plans and projects. And, all too often, many of us wake up July 1 with those plans and projects a distant memory or a trailing item on a very long to-do list.

Keeping the best

Retention is a big topic in my columns. We've covered it before, we're covering it now and we'll continue to cover it in the future because it's a critical part of your management career. After all, how good is a manager with a lousy staff?

Layoff reaction, Part 2

If there's one thing we can agree on when it comes to layoffs is that they are the pits for all involved. That may be the only thing we can agree on when it comes to that subject. For the past couple of columns, we've all been debating the merits of how a layoff is handled. Some, such as myself, believe a company should not alert employees to the impending event until it has been completed. Others say we need to be upfront and honest that job cuts are on the horizon.

Layoff reactions

In my last column, I questioned whether there was a "right" way to handle layoffs. Does a good manager tip off employees before the event or abide by the wishes of the powers that be and stay silent, all the while uneasy with the knowledge?

Layoffs: Is there one right way?

Layoffs is a topic in which most of us are, unfortunately, well-versed. These days, it seems as if few of us have avoided being touched - directly or indirectly - by this troubling topic.

Motivating yourself and others

Motivating your staff can be difficult, even in good times. So in times like these- with tighter budgets, smaller staffs and the ever-present threat of more layoffs - it appears even more difficult, if not impossible. I've talked a lot about motivation in this newsletter, but there's one angle I haven't covered: what to do if you are not motivated.

The concept of management customer service

I recently bought a laptop from one of the leading consumer PC vendors. It was not the best experience of my life. From the moment I placed the order online to the moment I sent it back, it's been a litany of confusion, frustration and dysfunction. I'm sure you can relate on some level.

The power of the gathering

While on vacation recently, I witnessed a pretty cool example of leadership in action. I was out to dinner and a couple tables over from me was a group of 12 or so people. It was early evening, the restaurant wasn't crowded yet and the head honcho's voice carried, so I got a pretty good idea of what was going on.

Hiring tools

In a previous article on Computerworld, recruitment expert Phil Sullivan reminded us it's time to get back to basics when hiring new employees. When the labor pool was shallow, it was not uncommon for managers to offer prospective employees jobs right on the spot at an initial meeting. Today, Sullivan says it's time to return to the standards of hiring, and the first step is a detailed reference check.

Making the right hire

Hiring is more of an art than a science. It's a combination of facts and gut instinct, and some times one of those factors - or both - fail us, despite our best efforts.