What’s the Secret to Ageing Well?

How many amazing photographs have we seen of late of older celebrities who look stunning? Joan Collins, Sharon Stone, Jane Fonda and even Her Majesty the Queen are all great examples of high-profile females who are turning the notion of twinsets, pearls and tight perms firmly on its head by looking incredible whilst being busy and continuing to achieve great things in later life.Male celebrities too are also out pushing boundaries, whilst there are regularly items in the news of older people enjoying adventurous lives. Many are studying, working, travelling and treating later life as opportunity to change path and enjoy a great time. Many of us are happy to forgo the rocking chairs as middle age gets pushed back yet another decade.Whilst we many not be privy to the financial clout or lifestyle choices of wealthy celebrities or have the genetic advantage of good looks and bone structure there are still ways we can improve our quality of life and enjoy ageing well.- Our hair style can date us. It may be an easy option to check in with the same hairdresser every time; after all, they know us so well, won’t make any regrettable errors and are convenient. But sometimes visiting another stylist can result in them seeing us in a very different way and suggesting a change in style or colour, giving our image a complete overhaul. It’s no bad thing to sometimes be seen by a fresh pair of eyes.

Advice from experts for women includes avoiding wearing hair too long or adopting solid or sharp lines, thus supporting a softer look. For men, maintaining smart, fashionable grooming helps you look years younger and feel better about yourself.- Exercise is important at any age. While we may not aim to be as energetic as we were when young, exercise in later years is almost more important. Be alert to the risk of leading too sedentary a life and consider a regular brisk thirty-minute walk as a valuable way to get some fresh air. It costs nothing and could tie in with spending pleasant time with your partner, family or friends, chatting about your days, investing in your relationships.Investigate over-50′s classes run by many local leisure centres. There may be Pilates or yoga available to attend, which also provides opportunities to socialise regularly with others. Or incorporate some exercise and stretching into your domestic routine or consider a personal trainer.- Diet and eating healthily helps manage the ageing process. It’s sensible to avoid processed foods, sugar and excess alcohol, to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated as well as eat lots of fresh green vegetables, fruit and wholegrains. All are ways to invest in good internal and external health, so helping you to age well.- Your dress style reflects your age. Keeping up-to-date with the latest fashions and trends enables you to be stylish, smart and attractive without adopting any extreme fashion trends. Many older women prefer to cover their arms and neck areas. The artful use of scarves and accessories can achieve this whilst providing an elegant, distinctive look.Whilst older men may move away from daily uniforms or business suits and dress more casually, it can be ageing to regularly dress in track suits and trainers. Get into the habit of wearing a smart-casual look, comfortable but not scruffy.

- A younger mindset means letting go of limiting beliefs, being realistic but not saying ‘no’ or ‘I can’t’ too often. Learn to deal with any stressors in your life, pace yourself, but also look forward with enthusiasm to opportunities that come along. Remember, if you choose to say ‘I can’ or ‘I can’t’ – either way you’re correct. Outlook and perspective is the key. Have a ‘yes, why not’ mentality and remember, this is your time to try new things.- Future plans should be motivational, whilst not being too daunting or stressful. Choose to leave your comfort zone from time to time and keep life interesting and exciting. It’s good to stretch yourself a little, but not lie awake fretting about things you’ve agreed to do. You could take a course just for fun, volunteer, do some consultancy work, start a small business from home or accept a part-time job.The secret to ageing well is to enjoy life on your terms. Take good care of your health and focus on living life well!

First Line Manager: Leaders Must Manage to Lead

Leaders must be managers; but, managers do not necessarily have to be leaders. Leaders have to manager all the resources at their disposal, self, others, communication, etc. Managers also must do the same. Both are responsible for results. The manager does this by following traditional procedures and policies. The leader does the same all the while looking for better ways not so traditional. Leaders do this by first knowing traditional ways and gaining the trust of others. Leaders start with management and then move to leadership.

We have so many leadership experts telling us all the qualities that leaders must have. These traits are all valid. These experts may never have lead an organization. Most will never tie management to leadership. Leadership and management share most of these traits. These experts seem to think leaderships is on a higher plain than management.

The chief difference is that the leader finds new ways of doing; while, the manager uses the tried ways. Managers maintain the status quo; Leaders change it. The outcome, service or product, may look the same, the difference is the path the leader takes to accomplish the outcome.

Lincoln appointed Generals that managed the war in traditional ways. All failed. They managed from a command center not from the front line. Then, Lincoln chose General Grant. Grant supported General Sherman. These Generals were first of all good managers of the resources under their control. They were also on the front line.

Both Grant and Sherman knew how to manage and lead. Grant led in unconventional ways; like his raid through Mississippi to capture Vicksburg. He managed to find a way to supply Chattanooga by the “Cracker line.” Sherman made sure he could reach Atlanta by keeping the army’s supply line open; then, living off the land to capture Savannah. Also, each general taught their army to drill before they marched. They knew their men must know the drill commands before they could lead them in battle. Without the drills the men would be a gang not an army.

How does this relate to leadership? Leaders must know how to manage the people around them. Their decisions must relate to reality. The leader first gains trust by learning the status quo before moving in new directions. Leaders with this establish trust will be able to lead people to a new way of doing and thinking.

General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson led his army on a gruesome march through the mountains during the snowy winter of 1862 to the cities of Bath and Romney. Many of his commanders and solders were against this campaign. During this march Jackson endured all the hardships of his men. One story is about three men waking in the morning covered with snow. Two wake up and start complaining that the Gen Jackson does not know where he is going and he does not care about their hardships. The third man gets up shakes off the snow and mounts his horse; then, Gen. Jackson rides off. Gen. Jackson experiencing the same hardships as his men gained him their trust. When Jackson commanded “March” his men followed. The trust of his men led to one of the greatest marches in history. The march that flanked the Union army during the battle of Chancellorsville and led to a Confederate victory. Before any of these battles he taught his men how to march by drilling, drilling, drilling. In other words he had to manage them first.

Let me bring this down a bit. As a first line manager I learned existing processes in detail. This is key to finding other ways to accomplish better results. Employee’s respect that you know what they do and how they do it. To change, you compare the old way of doing to the new way from the employee’s perspective. Since, you know the old process, you can relate the benefit of the new process in ways the employee can understand. Employees tend to resist leadership if it is not founded on an understanding of what they do and how they do it. Learning their way is key to getting their trust. Also, realize any new process now becomes the status quo; and thus, is subject to change. This causes the complaint; we just learned the new process and now you are changing it again. Your response,” When you or I find a better way we will follow that way. Change is a way of life; it is not optional.”

This sounds simple, it is not. I managed three restaurants and two motels before I discovered that some employees resist you from the start. The first day at the Ramada Inn Crest, a bankrupt hotel, I fired an employee that was insubordinate. When I became the District Accounting Manager at Haleyville the first week I gave two reprimands to an employee; one for insubordination and a one for abuse of sick leave. My first day as the Business Office Manager in Dora I informed the three Customer Service Representative that being late was not an option; we will report on time. All of them were late. Before you can lead you have to teach your employees how you expect them to act. This is the management drill that starts the day you get the job. These actions allow you to lead your employees in new directions. All your employees must move in the same direction. Effective leadership and management requires standards of conduct and your courage to require everyone to adhere to them; including yourself.

Drill first; then, march; manage first; then, lead. This reminds me of a story. Farmer 1 sold his mule to farmer 2. Farmer 2 phones farmer 1 and says, “This mule is not fit for the plow. When I say gee; he haws; when I say haw he gees; you got to take this dud back.” Farmer 1 said I will be over in the morning, you must be doing something wrong. Next morning, farmer 1 said let me see what you are doing. The farmer 2 starts plowing and gives the commands and the mule does not respond. Farmer 1 said stop; he picks up a board hits the mule between his ears. He says Gee; hits him again and says Haw. So, Farmer 2 starts to plow and the mule follows the instruction as commanded. Farmer 1 tells farmer 2 the problem is you have got to get the mule’s attention first. I am not saying for you to treat your employees like that mule: but, somehow you have to get their attention. Your employees need to know they are moving forward to accomplish the organization’s goals.

I know a very concrete example of leadership philosophy gone wrong. The Jasper District got a new District Manager, J. Brown. This person came from the corporate headquarters. This person supervised the janitors and had no field experience. One of the first programs instituted under this new manager was a team building class. The trainers came from the corporate headquarters. All of the managers in the district were required to attend. We went through a high level class on leadership and teamwork. At the end of the program the new manager asked for our thoughts on the program. Barry, a line crew foreman, said he thought it was a bunch of “hogwash” we have been working together for years and know how to work together.

Hogwash? When my turn come I said, “You should defer to experience. We have been working in the district for years and we will help you.” The District Manager came to my office after being moved to another position and asked me how could I have been successful? I said you could have deferred to your managers experience. This District Manager wanted to lead but did not know how to manage the districts most important resource, the managers.

I have read numerous book on leadership and management. One book that combines the two is Craig R. Hickman’s 1990 book, Mind of a Manager Soul of a Leader.” In his preface he makes a statement that is the most important reason to read this book. Craig states, “roughly rate yourself as more of a manager or more of a leader with respect to the issue in question. You may be surprised to find that, sometimes you manage, sometimes you lead, and sometimes you do a bit of both. In fact, as you read each chapter, keep in mind that most people operate with a combination of managerial and leadership skills. Rarely does one individual always manage or always lead.” Wow, as a first line manager what a reason for me to read his book. My role as a manager is to carry out our company’s mission; but, as a leader I know I must be challenged to find the best ways to do it. This means change.

A rider who mounts a horse and spurs it before taking the reins in his hand does not know the direction the horse will take. The rider must take the reins in hand first to provide direction. Also, it also helps to know the character of the horse. For instance, if you are going into battle it would be good to know if the horse is gun shy.

Point is, leaders must know where they want to go, know the resources of their organization, know how to manage these resources, before they can lead the organization to success.

I hope I have my case: Leaders must manage to lead.

Some books I enjoyed by and about leaders:

Mind of a Manager Soul of a Leader by Craig R. Hickman

Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman

Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence by Gen. Heros Von Borcke

The Long Roll a novel by Mary Johnston

A Southern Women’s Story by Phoebe Yates Pember

Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer by Gen. Sorrel G. Moxley

Reminiscences of the Civil War by Gen. John B. Gordon

A diary from Dixie by Mary Chestnut

The Importance of Employee Management Software in a Modern Office

Former chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corporation, Anne Mulcahy, once said,

“Employees are a company’s greatest asset- they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.”

If you are an organization that uses the Internet for everyday business practices, then there should nothing stopping you from going one step further and applying technology provided on the Internet to employee management.

Under piles of workloads, appointments, and meetings, it often becomes understandably difficult for a manager to give employees the time and attention, encouragement and stimulus that they deserve.
Making use of a company’s greatest assets – its human resources – to their fullest potential sometimes means adopting technology that efficiently tackles time constraints, management challenges, a employee dissatisfaction.

Has it Ever Worked? Yes!

Ever wondered what goes into making candy? The answer should be a large number of very satisfied workers. Or at least that’s what the Jelly Belly Candy Company of California believe.

The family-owned company takes its employee performance and job satisfaction very seriously.

They recently decided to make the switch from its antiquated talent management process to a far more modern and automated system that uses an employee management software to provide accurate performance appraisals.

The result?

The new automated employee management system has allowed for a more standardized, organized, and formal evaluation process at the Jelly Belly Candy Company.

Greater accessibility between employees and managers, better training programs, and more efficient performance appraisals have all allowed the company to reach its business objectives without compromising on employee satisfaction.

The Different Tools of an Employee Management Software

1. Maintain a database for all your former and current employees

Complete, searchable, and secure records that includes information such as the employee’s personal details, bank details, emergency contacts, and even a record of his/her sick leaves.

2. Reduce the paperwork

An efficient employee management software will allow employees to request time off, submit timesheets or documents and allows employees to audit or approve submissions or requests.
This negates the need to work with HR or submit unnecessary pieces of paper.

3. Keeps track of time and attendance

Employees and managers have an instant record of absenteeism and the number of hours put into work everyday. This allows employees to be more responsible and stay on top of their punctuality and absenteeism rates before it becomes in issue.

4. Total Rewards

Some employee management software apps allow managers to provide their employees with rewards (financial or non-financial) for good performance.

Employees can access their total reward statement through the software, and this often becomes a powerful way of keep individuals motivated and driven.

5. Expense Management

An incredibly useful feature of most employee management software is that it allows staff to scan or photograph and upload receipts onto a database, therefore allowing managers and employees to keep a permanent account of all expenses.

6. Payroll

A simple app can process payroll on individuals online based on the number of hours they have put in with just a click of a button.

7. Asset Management

When an employee leaves the company, managers can keep track and monitor the return of any equipment that was provided to the employee by the organization.

8. Shift Planning

In an organization that depends on perfect timesheets for its smooth functioning, a tool that schedules the staff, eliminates shift conflicts, and notify employees of work shifts automatically can prove to be extremely convenient.

9. Track progress of the company

Information is constantly being constantly being collected on the employee management software, making it easy to gauge the company’s progress.
Instead of having to spend time putting together reports to see how the company is doing, a quick look at the information on the software should allow managers to constantly and accurately track the company’s progress.

The Benefits: Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

1. Providing constructive feedback

Neither managers nor employees look forward to performance reviews, often a once-a-year event that makes an employee feel like a school kid receiving a report card.

Surveys have shown that employees dread annual performance reviews and are therefore less likely to respond in a positive manner to the feedback that is given.

An employee management software allows managers can control how frequently and in what format they would like to provide feedback to their employees.

Performance appraisal reports can be replaced with configurable dashboards and messaging systems, resulting in feedback that is constructive, efficient, and perhaps flows better with the rest of the company culture.

2. Setting goals and motivating employees

An employee management software makes it easy to remind employees of their goals and drive them towards developing skills and meeting deadlines.

This structure also allows employees to work more independently instead of being micromanaged by a manager or HR professional.

3. Better accessibility and communication

Time constraints, clashing schedules, and increasing workload makes it difficult for employees and managers to communicate.

This can foster resentment and misunderstandings, with managers sometimes being too harsh in their judgement of employees and employees sometimes feeling like they have been judged unfairly.

Employee management software avoid help companies avoid such issues, and can help managers clearly communicate their expectations from an employee.

4. Better employee-manager relationships

Employee management software takes away some of the pressure, anxiety and stress that is often observed between managers and employees.

It allows for an environment that encourages low stress communication and help employees and managers work together towards meeting organizational goals.

To summarize, an employee management software provides an organization with a plethora of tools for better management, while simultaneously focusing on employee satisfaction and engagement.
If used correctly and to its fullest potential, employee management software provides a company with an automated, efficient management system and a healthier work environment.