Monday, February 29, 2016

Digital Mentors: Top 13 Blogs Every Manager Should Read

Woman reading a blog
Blogs are an awesome way to sharpen your professional skills -  follow these 13 awesome blogs and you'll improve faster than ever!

Being an effective manager requires constant attention to improving your skills and learning new ways to become more effective and motivate your team to become more effective as well. 

One of the easiest ways to improve your management skills is to follow blogs and other online publications that show the tactics used by management and leadership experts so that you can apply them in your own life.

In this article we will cover the top 13 essential blogs every manager should follow to continue improving their management skills.

1: Seth’s Blog  

Seth Godin is a highly regarded entrepreneur, bestselling author and marketer who shares invaluable management and leadership tips as well as musings on the philosophy of running a business.

2:  Great Leadership 

Great Leadership is a blog run by Dan McCarthy. His blog shares invaluable leadership and management tips from a leadership veteran and highly regarded business consultant.

3: Coaching Tip: The Leadership Blog 

Coaching Tip is run by John G. Agno, a longtime leadership coach who helps managers become more aware of their actions and how they can adjust their own behavior to better manage their teams.

4: Lead Change Group 

Lead Change Group provides bite-size chunks of wisdom that are easy to apply in your life. Their topics range from leveraging technology in the workplace to time management and scheduling software, to making the workplace more fun and creating a better culture.

5: John Maxwell on Leadership 

This blog provides leadership advice and strategies from an absolute legend in leadership and management. Definitely worth a look if you are looking for ideas and advice that are super easy to understand and implement, but extremely powerful and effective.

6: Chris Brady’s Leadership Blog 

Bestselling author Chris Brady provides easy to understand, actionable and often times humorous advice on leadership and managing your team better.


Jurgen Appelo is focused on helping creative companies to survive and thrive in the 21st century by using a more relaxed, fun approach to improving your management skills.

8: Terry St. Marie’s Blog 

Terry takes a very human approach to management and focuses heavily on your relationships with your employees, making them want to follow your lead and making it easier for you to manage them by improving yourself first.

9: Ask A Manager 

Ask A Manager takes a unique question and answer approach to management and leadership blogging. The blog takes questions from real world managers in business and writes a post explaining how to solve that specific problem, and why that is the  best action to take.

10: The Chief Happiness Officer 

Chief Happiness Officer offers a positive outlook on how managers can create a happier team environment that is more enjoyable for everyone, including the managers.

11: Sanders Says 

Bestselling author Tim Sanders’ blog is 50% motivational writing, 50% hardcore management and leadership wisdom. When his blog posts aren’t getting you motivated to improve your management, he is providing you with hard facts and statistics that back up his advice on management and leadership.

12: Work Matters 

Bob Sutton’s blog shows you how you can hold your team to a higher standard without becoming and overbearing boss. How you can produce higher quality results while still maintaining a healthy team dynamic.

13: Life Optimizer 

Last but certainly not least, Life Optimizer takes a holistic view of your management practices along with the habits of your everyday life - giving you ways that you can optimize your personal and professional lives at the same time.

Want more ideas on how you can be a better manager, manage your time better and become more effective in your work? We hope you’ll come back here to the Your Next Seven Blog again soon!

While you’re at it, why not check out Your Next Seven’s employee shift scheduling software? It comes with a 30-day risk free trial, and we’re sure you’ll love it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

5 Ways to Make Your Employees and Managers More Productive

Productive office and employees

If you sometimes feel that your managers and employees are not as productive as they could be, you are not alone.

Many business owners struggle to make the best use of their team - but very few recognize that they can improve their team’s productivity very quickly and easily. In fact, more often than not the business owners themselves are the reason employees are not reaching their full potential!

In this post we will briefly present 5 ways that you can motivate and empower your team to become more productive.

1: Empower employees and managers

Many times business owners accidentally end up micro-managing everyone and requiring that managers and employees alike run every decision by them before taking action.

This creates a severe information and productivity bottleneck where your employees cannot do their jobs effectively because they are not being given one of the most important tools for their job - the ability to take action.

Remove yourself from the work flow as much as possible, and let your team do their job. Some bigger decisions will need to be approved by you, but by removing yourself from the process for minor tasks and decisions your team will be able to act more quickly and effectively in every aspect of their job.

Additionally, this will free up a lot of your own time and remove a great deal of stress from your job.

2: Effectively communicate current priorities

If your team does not clearly understand what your main goals are, they will be unable to effectively prioritize their tasks to contribute to those main goals.

Make sure that you frequently communicate what your goals are in the coming weeks, months or even years and show them how they can contribute to achieving those goals.

3: Respect your employees and managers time

The most obvious way to prevent your employees and managers from doing their jobs effectively is by using their time inefficiently.

Use modern software like Your Next Seven to save your managers time when scheduling employee shifts and notifying employees of their shift schedules. Scheduling software like Your Next Seven also saves your employees time by making it easy for them to get their schedule, request time off or pick up additional shifts.

Using scheduling software also gives you and your managers a better big-picture view of your scheduling and identify ways to improve scheduling and time management across your team as a whole.

4: Reduce the number of team meetings

Although the intent of having a team meeting may be good, more often than not these meetings are totally unproductive.

Instead of having several meetings throughout the week to address many minor issues, schedule one meeting per week at a consistent time and focus on making that meeting really actionable. Focus on the main issues the team is dealing with, and use this time to reiterate current goals.

Reducing the number of pointless meetings held allows employees to use their shift times more efficiently and get more done, and helps employees feel that you are respecting their time. Keeping meetings to a minimum also helps to convey a very clear and concise message of what your current goals are and what action needs to be taken in order to achieve them within a set period of time.

5: Reduce employee stress and anxiety

If your employees and managers are stressed out in the workplace, it won’t matter how well you implement the previous steps. Stress and anxiety are productivity’s worst enemy.

Many things can contribute to stress in the workplace. Things like rampant gossip among employees, loud and obnoxious coworkers, or just lack of information from management can cause employees to feel stressed out and weary at work.

Try to promote a relaxed and friendly, yet professional, culture in your business. Share information with employees and make sure they feel informed about current events and the direction of the company. Take steps to discourage and prevent gossip in the workplace and other harmful habits.

By reducing the stress your employees feel at work, they will enjoy working more and be more motivated to do a good job. Removing workplace stress also allows employees to really focus on their work, rather than on the things that are stressing them out.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The 7 Deadly Sins of Time Management (And How to Avoid Them)

How to manage time more effectively

Time management is an essential skill for any manager or leader in business. Effective time management can mean the difference between a highly successful day and a totally unproductive one.

The best place to start when you are improving your time management skills is to look at common mistakes and consider how you can avoid making them yourself. In this post we will be reviewing the 7 most common time management blunders that managers make, and how you can guard against them.

1: Poor task prioritization

The ability to assess and prioritize tasks is extremely important in management. At any given time you probably have a hundred different tasks and other things to worry about, which makes it easy for the most important things to slip through the cracks.

Learning to analyze a situation and prioritize tasks according to their importance and urgency will allow you to become a much more effective manager, especially in high-stress situations.

2: Using outdated scheduling and time management tools

With the abundance of time management tools and software available, there is really little excuse for using outdated methods like spreadsheets and paper schedules.

Even when it comes to things like scheduling software, there are many outdated and ineffective solutions out there. Make sure that you have a good online scheduling software solution that is easy to use both for yourself and for your employees. Online scheduling software like Your Next Seven makes it easy to manage your time as well as the time of your employees more quickly and efficiently than other methods.

3: Underestimating the time required for tasks

Even if you have the utmost confidence in your employees and your own abilities, you cannot afford to let that confidence distort your judgement of how long tasks should take.

If you underestimate the time required for a given task, other tasks will suffer because the time spent on the first task will crowd out the others. Additionally, you and your employees may end up feeling overworked because of your unreasonable expectations.

Take time to really consider how long a task will reasonably take before you schedule it. It is also good practice to include a bit of buffer time just in case that task takes longer than expected.

4: Allowing distractions

Distractions encourage procrastination and lack of focus.

If you find that certain things, be it email, social media, or just chatting with coworkers tends to drop productivity, do your best to either remove the distractions altogether or allocate time specifically for those activities.

Many people dedicate a specific time to check email during the day, and disable notifications for the rest of the day. Identify which distractions are causing you to waste or mismanage your time, and eliminate them.

5: Allowing physical clutter in your workspace

Having a cluttered and disorganized workspace tends to make it much harder to focus on current tasks.

On the other hand, a clean and well organized desk or office will contribute to a more relaxed, focused mindset at work which will help you organize your tasks better. Keeping office clutter to a minimum makes it easier to find things you need and tends to improve focus, allowing you to accomplish tasks more quickly and efficiently.

6: Being an excessive DIY-er at work

As a manager, your job is to manage employees who are accomplishing the bulk of the tasks - it is not your job to accomplish all of those tasks yourself.

If you tend to be a bit of a control-freak, you are probably wasting vast amounts of time by not delegating properly. You can only accomplish so much, and taking on too many tasks at once will not allow you to give proper attention to any one task.

Rather than attempting to take control of everything that happens around you, delegate tasks to those who are qualified and provide constructive advice or training as needed. This will allow you to focus more on managing your team than on doing their tasks for them.

7: Multitasking

Multitasking may feel productive, but it rarely is.

More often than not, that feeling you get of being productive when you multitask is just the feeling of being busy. You probably are not really getting very much meaningful work done, you are just doing a lot of small things at once.

Instead of just trying to do a lot of things quickly, focus on doing important things at the right time.

Which of these 7 time management since have you committed? How did you fix it? Let us know in the comments below!