August 2009 Newsletter

Am I responsible?
August 2009 Newsletter ImageSure, you’re a responsible adult and manager. At least you think so. But Tim Connor, in his book, “81 Challenges Smart Managers Face,” might make you think twice about how you are responsible. “Although you are responsible for your employees’ output, productivity and results, you are responsible to people, not for them,” Connor writes. He goes on to say that some folks think being responsible for people is the same thing as having sympathy for them. “Sympathy keeps people dependent. You feel that if they fail, you have failed.  Being responsible to people requires empathy; you understand what they are going through, but it is their stuff, not yours.” Support them, help them, Connor says, but give them the tools and training they need to be effective.

In his chapter on responsibility, Connor goes on to list how managers can be responsible to their employees, rather than for them:
1)  Make no excuses for poor employee performance.
2)  Apply empathy when employees have personal issues that may get in the way of their effectiveness.
3)  Permit no negative attitudes from top performers.
4)  Permit no employees to break the rules that others must follow.
5)  Don’t play favorites with certain employees.

Connor notes “personal responsibility is an absolute requirement if employees are to succeed and contribute their share to the overall success of your department or organization.” Making exceptions for one employee when it comes to performance standards “sends a message to other employees that the rules and expectations vary,” Connor says, depending on a host of variables, from gender to tenure. “Everything you do as a manger sends subtle signals to everyone,” Connor writes as he concludes the chapter. “Be vigilant to ensure that the signals you are sending are uniform and consistent.”

Connor’s book, full of short and snappy challenges, humorous and inspiring quotes, and evaluative quizzes and pointers, is published by Sourcebooks, Inc. For more on Connor, check out his Website,

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

January 2010 Newsletter Image 2Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Well, with enough peanut butter, anything is possible. Likewise, you can learn new tricks, too. Maybe it’s time to reinvent yourself and learn a few new skills. With ever-changing technology and a tightening job market, it never hurts to take a different approach.

 With that in mind, here are a few ideas to get you started:

     *Try an art class or a book group to stretch your mind. What did you want to do before a career and kids left little time for anything else? Skydiving? Scuba diving?
     *Take a class, finish that degree, get an MBA. Community and local colleges offer an astonishing breadth of possibilities. Weigh the time and cost commitments against the rewards. Will your employer help pay for you to further your education, toward another position at your company? Will a class on computer skills help you land a job when a potential employer sees it on your resume?
    *Network, network, network. Wait, let me repeat that one more time: Network. Talk to people you know at the gym, your neighbors, the folks at your house of worship. They may be familiar with what’s available.
    *Volunteer. Not-for-profits are stretched to the limits these days and spending some time each month at the animal shelter or mentoring kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs will help others, soothe your soul, and perhaps lead to other opportunities down the road.
    *Assess your skills. What are you good at? What would you like to be good at? How can you get where you want to be?
    The rewards of a little reinvention are unlimited – new friends, fresh business contacts, greater self-confidence, perhaps a promotion or another career. And, there’s always that dab of peanut butter, maybe in the form of a candy bar with some chocolate for good measure.


Are you ready to achieve superior results?

The Success Trek team is ready to talk! Sit down with us and we will listen to your issues and challenges. For more information, contact Theresa Valade at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 219-680-7720.


Free Webinar on September 17

Success Trek partner, Preventative HR offers a free Webinar on September 17th. It is on “Creating a Performance Management Plan.” To register, go to

Preventive HR is dedicated to providing its clients with tools and resources to help them efficiently and effectively manage their organizations.

Teaming with HR Made Simple, Preventive HR has created a free webinar series that will address various Human Resource topics.

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