ProofHub Articles

A selection of ProofHub's best articles written on leadership, productivity, management, work culture, team-building, motivation, self-improvement, and more.

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4 Ways in Which you are Killing Team Motivation (And How to Fix Them!)

4 Ways in Which you are Killing Team Motivation (And How to Fix Them!)

“People don’t change jobs, they change bosses”, this is actually true when it comes to the real world. You cannot overburden, pressurize, and tame your employees to make them deliver high productivity. Even if this strategy becomes successful, the former statement goes true. Moreover, in the world of millennials, it is not possible for you to boss them around just because you pay them salary.

Simplify the way you manage your projects and teams

They would simply walk off your office telling you ,”you pay me but that doesn’t mean you own me”. Thus, building a team can be a real challenge in today’s world, especially when you are focused on simply generating profits and not motivating your team.

Motivating your employees is the key ingredient behind creating a highly productive team. You will have to value your employees and motivate them at every little step. If they don’t feel their career and growth is being valued, they won’t give you another chance.  

This is a common scenario in most organizations and the managers don’t even realize it till the situation goes worse. They continue to ignore the talent, demands and even the most basic requirements of their team members until they discover that the employees start quitting.

How you are killing your team’s motivation –

The following points will give you a brief idea about how you might be killing your team’s motivation without even knowing and what you can do to fix it –

1. Giving Inadequate Rewards

 

Let’s take a situation. You are an employee who reaches office in time, performs all tasks, meet the deadlines, delivers projects on time and is able to maintain a good attendance record. Now, at the end of the year, all you would expect from your company is to provide you a decent salary hike. Isn’t it? That’s what makes every employee happy and motivates him to continue working with the same organization. For instance: At the year end, your company gives you only an increase of 5% in salary and they aren’t even open to negotiations. Would this be a great motivating factor for you? Or, you would simply upload your resume on job searching sites?

I hope the answer has already come up in your mind.

Now put your team members in your place in the above scenario. Do you still think they have a reason to survive back in your team?

Inadequate rewards is the biggest demotivating factor for an employee who has been working with full sincerity. When companies follow such cheap tactics, most of the employees simply quit.

How to Fix It?

The answer is simple. Give them a salary reward which they really deserve and which they are worth for. This will be a good enough reason to hold them back.

2. Zero Focus on Personal Development

 

Let’s take another situation. Your boss talks to you only in terms of projects, finances, profits etc. He never spares a single moment for you to focus on your personal development. Also, your company doesn’t invest in training sessions or extracurricular activities. For how long would you be able to survive in such an environment?

Before you reach to a conclusion just read this, “Google allows its employees to spend 20% of their time on their personal projects”. And not just Google, there are many startups as well who encourage employees to pursue their personal interests at workplace. Still you think surviving at a place where your manager isn’t bothered about your talents and goals would be worth it?

It is a sheer motivation killer. Again coming to the point of millennial generation, they crave for new stuff every now and then. If you don’t give them that space, you are actually killing them.

How to Fix It?

Adventure camps, fun training, or simply giving them some free time to invest in themselves. As a manager, it is your very duty to interact with your team members to know them beyond their roles in office. Encourage personal development workshops and make sure everyone participates in it.

3. Poor Collaboration and Communication

 

An ideal team is the one in which every member has an equal say and that is valued too. Let’s get you into another situation. You joined a company as a fresher and took up your role with great responsibility and excitement. Since you are in the learning mode now, you get every information through mails or from your seniors. This would work fine for the next couple of months. But soon you would start feeling the dominance prevailing over you. You would want to get involved in decision making, client handling etc.

In this scenario, if your team lead or manager turns a blind eye to your ideas and suggestions,you would definitely  start feeling suffocated.

Now, if you don’t create opportunities to collaborate and communicate with your team they are bound to feel suffocated. This is again demotivating your employees and giving them a reason to reconsider working with you.

How to Fix It?

Effective team collaboration is the way to build highly motivated and productive teams. Use a online collaboration tool like ProofHub, which serves as a platform for all your team members where they can track project progress, discuss ideas, involve in chats, and work on the same page with their coworkers.

Looking for something to make your team collaboration and communication more effective?

4. Not Appreciating their Achievements

 

Another big motivation killer for your employees is your ignorant attitude towards their achievements. For instance you did pretty well in a particular quarter and achieved all the targets. Now imagine your boss telling you to do better next time without even acknowledging your achievement. It’s almost like killing you right away. Is it?

But this is what actually happens with most of the professionals out there. Forget about giving a bonus or celebrating their achievements. Managers don’t even congratulate or send out an email to such high-performing employees. As human beings, we always look for appreciation for our efforts and achievements. And if it’s missing in a such a competitive scenario then it can be really demotivating for anyone.

How to Fix It?

Don’t forget to make noise when your employees achieve their targets. Make celebrations and feasts a part of your company’s culture. Let everyone working their feel valued and appreciated. In fact, this is a secret to retain employees. If you value your employees they are less likely to leave you even if you pay them less.

The above-mentioned are some of the most prominent practices that kill the productivity of a team. Empowering your employees, appreciating them and effectively collaboration with them will always keep problems at bay. This would eventually help you build highly-motivated workforce at your workplace.

Want to become a leader who gets things done?

The real reasons why happiness at work is so important from Vartika Kashyap

 

If you liked this post, you are going to love these as well —

  1. Importance of team collaboration at workplace

  2. 7 Meeting Conducts that Will bring annoyance in your team

  3. Team Building Activities to Develop Positivity at Workplace

Importance of Team Collaboration at Workplace

Importance of Team Collaboration at Workplace

The basic mantra of today’s business is “we have to collaborate”. Collaboration in the workplace is a sign of effective team as it harnesses the best out of two or more individuals together. Efficiency is an essential part of a team and an important aspect of the workplace. Workplace collaboration will keep everyone safe from extra load of work as the work gets distributed evenly. 

Don’t let poor team collaboration become a barrier in your success. Start using ProofHub

When you have team collaboration you will always see positive results as the biggest fears of checking whether the teams are able to perform together will be eliminated. Working in teams makes employees more responsible and it also raises their motivation level.  

Why Should Teams Collaborate?

Collaboration generates a circle of knowledge and lets each team members to understand their role. There are smart owners who look for encouraging their staff always to work with each other. There are several other reasons. Let’s see:

1. Learn from each other

Team members working in collaboration with each other will always have an opportunity to learn from each other’s successes and failures. They will have an organizational approach towards learning things. The company will not deviate from its goals whether long term or short term as the tasks will be assigned to those who will be able to reach the set targets.

2. Better Problem Solving

Workplace collaboration means bringing varied talents together, making a pool of different skills and knowledge. When more competent and experienced people are brought together, teams will undergo better problem-solving approach.

3. You will know the Bigger Picture

Different people working in collaboration with a team from different backgrounds will give you more chance to grasp the differences that they have. They will definitely complement each other in various areas and you can use it for your business. If the result goes against your expectations, you will still have the fruits of having a partnership that will still let you achieve a great deal.

4. Break down barriers

Successful companies always put their team members in collaboration. Team members of the single department are not just in collaboration but it extends across all departments in an organization. As everybody will contribute towards certain goals in a company it will provide a great feedback loop that can be used for projects. Everyone in the team will be able to express their opinion to better deliver the company goals.

5. Online Collaboration Tools

The power of social media can not compete with other ways of bringing teams together. There are many cloud based collaboration tools like ProofHub that can bring teams together. Online tools are making it easier for coworkers to connect and collaborate and remain in sync with each other.

A few other important aspects that collaboration brings to the table include:

  • Brainstorming- Collaboration allows team members to come together on a common platform and a common goal by brainstorming to provide various solutions.
  • Equal Partaking- Collaboration gives team members equal opportunities to participate and communicate their ideas.

6. Better Participation 

When working on projects together, each team member should show equal participation. Each member of a team should provide better input, brainstorm unique ideas and find solutions to the various project problems from time to time. Effective team collaboration makes all this extremely easy. Plus, it solves all the obstacles that may stand in the way of achieving the final project goal.

7. Faster Production 

“Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi

The point is—when an uninitiated group of individuals comes together to work on a common goal, it takes longer to start and complete. However, the whole scenario changes when a well-coordinated and collaborative group of individuals work together. The whole process speeds up and the final outcome is much better than what everyone else expected from the team. 

Don’t let poor team collaboration become a barrier in your success. Start using ProofHub

So, how are you connecting with your team? Is it difficult to connect with your team? It is not that challenging to bring workplace collaboration and to make sure that everyone gets the latest updates. Here are a few tips for stronger team collaboration:

Tips for improving team collaboration

1. Evaluate why it isn’t working

Figure out the problem first. Find out why is your current collaboration strategy failing. Is it about trust, chemistry, competitiveness or something else—just evaluate the current situation and build a strategy for the future accordingly. If you don’t have a clue about where to start, here’s what you can do: survey team members and ask them for their opinions and perceptions. After that, step back and observe the team in action as their leader, come to your own conclusion, and craft your strategy. 

2. Aggregate and adapt

A collaborative project manager will bring ideas to the table by collecting ideas, suggestions, and goals of their teams. This helps project managers to aggregate skill sets of the whole team. A collaboration will bring successful results by remaining adaptive and flexible.

3. Listen first

When working in a team different ideas needs to collaborate into workable solutions and that depends on effective collaboration. Finding the root of any new suggestion will require attentive listening to everyone before coming to an outcome. The active collaboration includes providing feedback to have a discussion in real time. It also involves quick respond to team members who want to be heard and valued.

4. Use To-Do Apps like ProofHub

Working and solving an exercise in collaboration with others can be done in a better way with the help of a project management tools like ProofHub. A team collaboration tool will provide you so many options for everyone to do manage tasks their own way.

5. Be transparent

The most effective collaborators are not much worried about the titles and roles. They are more focused on finding the solutions regardless of who is finding it. Also, the effective collaborators share information across the board that increases a sense of workplace community.

6. Energize

An energized, motivated team is the strongest asset of a project. An effective collaborator teams will make sure that everyone works smart and hard. It will bring energy into a conversation by helping team members feel valued. The teams should be always appreciated for a job well done. Team collaboration will also talk about issues that will bring team motivations about what need’s to be done.

7. Team building activities

Teams can collaborate in  a better way if they are involved in team building activities. Team building activities will bring positive impact on office culture as it will improve communication, motivate employees, increase productivity, and help employees to get to know each other better.

8. Give credit where needed 

Another key trait of effective collaboration in the workplace is constant recognition and appreciation. And we’re not just talking about annual appraisals or weekly performance emails. As a manager or someone with authority, you can make appreciation an integral part of your team’s everyday interaction. If someone is doing a good job or if someone has delivered their assigned task before the desired due date, just recognize and appreciate them and their work via team meetings and group discussions.

9. Keep an open mind 

Keeping an open mind is not just about encouraging everyone in the team to come up with innovative ideas. There’s something more important—listening to other’s ideas. Create a collaborative work environment where employees keep an open mind about sharing and listening to each other’s ideas, suggestions, criticisms, and concerns. This, in turn, will ensure quicker problem-solving, better teamwork, enhanced trust, and most importantly greater team productivity.

10. Revitalize and infuse inspiration from time to time 

Most managers make the mistake of believing that their staff is working optimally. To be an effective and collaborative manager, it is important that you ensure to infuse inspiration and vigor into the workspace and your team from time to time. Also, when it comes to offering criticism, do it in a kind way—try to critique the mistakes rather than the employee. Of course, there will be issues (big and small) that will need to be addressed, but all of that can be done in a way that encourages and motivates the team, not the opposite.

Conclusion

Growing companies need to understand the value of collaboration to look for ways to encourage it within their teams. Bring a collaborative spirit amongst your teams and turn your workforce productive.

Focus more on work and less on management. Start using ProofHub

11 tips for building a productive and healthy work culture from Vartika Kashyap

How Team Building Activities Will Bring Positive Impact on Office Culture

How Team Building Activities Will Bring Positive Impact on Office Culture

“Individually we are one drop but together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro

As they say, “Teamwork is less me and more we”. The team that works together will reap the rewards of higher productivity and better work experience. Team building plays an important role in building successful company culture. It is an exciting way to change how your employees work together. You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to develop a great company culture. We all need a positive work culture as we are daily involved in a busy world and have a lot of duties to perform. So, prioritizing team culture is a must for amazing results.

Don’t let poor project management become a barrier in your success. Switch to ProofHub.

Here at ProofHub, we have a strong company culture as on a regular basis we bring forward several team building activities to develop positivity at a workplace. It works well for our whole team and we direct a lot of positive energy into doing well at our jobs.

Unfortunately, there are many organizations that are not involved in team building activities and hence, do not have great work culture which is like a pain for the employees.

Today’s office culture deserves a lot of attention.

There are many organization who are aware of the need but still are not able to manage the things apart from doing what needs to be done. So, what leads us to write this article is to motivate every organization to enjoy the fruits of team building activities by highlighting the benefits that team building will bring on office culture:

 

1. Strengthen relationships and collaboration

Strong positive relationships between employees and managers will manage many conflicts and transform a workforce by improving loyalty, productivity, and engagement. With strong relationships comes better communication. It will help team members to think differently from a “me” mentality to “we”. If the teams are constantly involved in team building activities, it will lead to a common good in a way to strengthen those relationships. These types of positive activities will also unite the group and foster friendship at work.

2. Fun

Team building activities will create bonds that are useful and will create the most effective teamwork. Our much of the time of the day is spent working at home and if we will have fun at work it will encourage us to work harder. Activities that involve the participation of all teams is fun for all. It will decide the kind of work environment and create positive morale for all employees.

3. Merges Complementary Strengths

Working in a team will expose the talent of teammates. Every employee will have different strengths like creative thinking, better ideas for planning, better managing things, and much more. During the activities, employees can share their abilities with the team. As the team members rely on each other to bring individual talents to the table and team will work well together. By indulging in activities, you will learn how to combine the strengths and become a stronger team.

4. Promotes healthy risk taking

Working together in a team will promote healthy risk taking. In case a project fails when working solo, the employee will have to take the whole blame. But working with other will distribute the responsibility for a failed assignment. Though you may not get the full credit for a successful team project but you will more conveniently take more risks. And a team can work together well if they have a mutual understanding. Team building activities will make the understanding stronger and develop a full support for the entire group. It is a bonding experience to share success as a team. Working in a team will also promote the freedom to think outside the box.

5. Improves Creativity

What keeps you unique from the rest? Definitely your creative mind. Creativity can significantly boost company’s bottom line and bring out amazing ideas for the organization. Employees should be motivated to get away from their regular jobs and come up with new ideas. How team building improves creativity? Through activities different from the daily activities, employees will get a new environment to perform tasks that are not a part of their daily work. It will also make it clear to employees that their creativity is of value to the company. Regular activities will be a good idea for building games and activities and see which are fit to engage in what projects.

Don’t let poor project management become a barrier in your success. Switch to ProofHub.

6. Improves employee performance and productivity

Team building will not only promote creativity and fun but also help in increasing productivity and employee performance. It is a change from the regular working schedule and definitely for enhancing productivity at workplace. There should be activities that will put stress on building a winning culture by assessing the working environment. Managers of the company can make a big change in the organization to take benefit from team members that are more productive. Thus, it is important to focus on team building activities to track the working progress of an organization, to increase productivity and see everything is going well.

7. Resolving conflicts

There are many conflicts in a business and amongst teams working together or between team and managers. These conflicts may lead to unnecessary clashes. So, activities that will bring teams together in a fun and simple way will play an important role in solving conflicts between team members. Introducing team building activities into working life is a great idea to build rapport with one another in office. Team members will know each on a personal level and they can share interesting bits of information with each other.

8. Increasing teamwork

Team building activities are important for both new and intact teams. To make your teams get on harmoniously you can improve their working relationship through team building activities. It will help in establishing a strong bond with each other. Among new teams, these activities are more flexible and will create a bond between them. There will be more participation in projects, as many individuals will realize that taking a collaborative approach to ideas or tasks in the office is imperative when working towards the same goals. An effective team will work in tune with each other instead of working independently.

So you see, the entire company will benefit from team building events to get to know each other and make it easy to communicate about workplace issues. Thus, working with professionals who specialize in team building events is a good idea. Create more impressive results in a workplace by creating and nurturing a positive team culture in 2017.

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7 Awesome fun team building activities from Vartika Kashyap

7 Meeting Conducts that Will bring annoyance in your team

7 Meeting Conducts that Will bring annoyance in your team

How many of you get frustrated during meetings as it doesn’t live up to the potential? I believe many hands to be raised on this.

A colleague controlling the conversation. Someone struggling with the projector. And everyone staring at their watches.

Simplify the way you manage your projects and teams.

Though meetings are a necessary part of everyone’s job and it should be conducted within a team and with management. Some meetings are productive and some leave the team members more confused. And you may come across certain type of people whose behavior will annoy you the most and is so distracting that it often ruins the productivity of meetings.

What are those blunt but innocent behaviors?

Here is an insight on the innocent behaviors of people that bring annoyance in teams during the meeting:

1. Someone who undermines everything others do

The person who lacks self-confidence is usually found stimulating everyone and everything. This kind of person will never appreciate others efforts and will make fun of everything. So, to avoid this, it becomes important to boost your co-worker’s self-confidence by talking about his efforts with everyone. Boost them and when the person tries to make fun of something ask them to present their own alternative ideas.

2. The person who says nothing and only nods

There are some people who don’t say a word during the meeting and just nods with the flow on what is being said. They do not present their ideas and do no brainstorming and even their presence is not felt by others. This happens primarily because they have this fear that everyone will burst out laughing if they start talking. In reality, everyone should participate and say during the meeting whether it’s of no use to anyone but it will show their participation in teamwork. There’s no point that the person attends the meeting and are not contributing.

3. You do not tell anyone what is the meeting about

Every meeting should have a clear purpose so that the outcome is more effective. If the team doesn’t know what the purpose of the meeting and what the desired action is, it’s going to be really hard for them to bring the idea up. So, whenever you call a meeting be sure that each team member knows what the meeting is about so that they come prepared mentally of what is going to be discussed there.

4. Give Everyone a Chance to Talk

 

Sometimes in a hurry of going back to desks for work and to save the precious time, it is tried that everyone else just listens and only one person will talk during the meeting. There is no chance given for everyone who wants to or needs to talk. It is required that everyone is given a chance to make sure everyone’s concerns and objections are addressed, and they get a chance to bring their ideas up.

5. Too many people for meeting

If there are too many people in the room, meetings will surely get out of control. They won’t be able to give much attention and take responsibility for what is being discussed in the meeting. But there is a benefit of too many people in the meeting as there will be a diversity of opinion. So try to keep the number of people to average, calling just those who are connected with the topic.

6. Not taking notes

 

Some people just attend the meeting, sit staring at the speaker and are least bothered about making notes. What is the use of coming to meeting them? There would be some important points that you need to discuss later or fix it in your work, but when you do not make notes there are chances you would forget considering it later. You can even capture your thoughts to words and see how interesting the meeting will become when you start making notes.

7. No follow-up of meetings

 

If the things discussed in the meetings are not implemented, the result of the meetings won’t be fruitful. Often the teams have an implementation problem. Though there are brilliant ideas discussed in meetings those ideas never make it out of the board room. So, better is to end each meeting by properly defining the action steps that needs to be taken and who is responsible for them.

Are you one of those showing the above meeting conducts? Just think how productive and interesting the meetings will be all these behaviors are eliminated from the meetings.

Don’t let poor project management become a barrier in your success.

How to Choose the Right Music to Increase Your Productivity?

How to Choose the Right Music to Increase Your Productivity?

It’s human nature to get distracted by little things around us. I can relate to it pretty well because I get very easily distracted from my work. Millions of things are going around in the office and I am usually susceptible to fall prey to them.

This post will shed light on how to use music to increase productivity:

Distractions at work

Someone talking on the phone call. A group of people gossiping around. People cursing the boss for being rude. Frustrated co-workers and interruptions from other noises. Self-distracting thoughts like being angry with the boss, co-worker or significant other.

“A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind”. People spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy.

It actually becomes a little difficult to avoid these distractions and stay productive all day long. So, to avoid these uncontrollable distractions, I wear my earplugs that permit me to get more immersed into my tasks and create a bubble that weakens these distractions.

Music is the weapon to ward off these distractions

I like listening to music when I find myself losing focus at work but at the same time wearing ear earphones does not mean I am isolating myself and not being a team player. It’s just that I want to keep a distance from constant noises that destroys my focus and deal with the daily office grind, thus boosting my productivity.

Music is becoming an important part of the modern place workplace and the workers are also able to work more calmly, at times more energetically (depending on the type of music) and more attentive.

What to listen?

But the question worth asking is after all among the various types of music which ones are the best for you and which of them can even create more distractions that are difficult to pull away from.

Listening to sound of nature, sounds of water, mountain stream sound or white noise can enhance cognitive functioning, increase the ability to concentrate, more abstract thinking and increasing overall worker satisfaction.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute discovered that adding a natural element could boost moods and focus at work. For instance, singer-songwriter music demands a large amount of attention as it relies on its lyrics.

Music styles

There are a few music style that will go well with your type of work. Here’s a list:

Classical music

This music style is for those who work on numbers or attention to minute details like solving a mathematics problem. It is also the second best genre for accurate results and spell check.

Pop music

So, if your work mainly involves data entry or meeting deadlines, listen to pop music. For spell check and fastest overall performance of getting work done, pop music is found to be the best music genre.

Dance music

If your work involves proofreading and problem solving, dance music is the best for you for fastest performance across a range of work tasks. It will help in increased proof-reading speed by 20pc and will help in completing abstract reasoning tasks more quickly.

Instrumental music

If you do not want lyrics to disturb you, listen to instrumental music. It will far less distracting and will allow your mind to drift and pay no attention to vocal melodies as they can be so effective in getting in the way of productivity when you are working.

 

How does it benefit?

Now as you know the kind of music you would listen to according to your kind of work, let’s have a brief on how listening to music can have a beneficial effect on workplace performance.

Listening to music releases a sense of joy with the release of a chemical called dopamine, which is typically also released when a person gets to eat their favorite piece of food and when a person experiences a first kiss with a new partner. The same feeling also occurs when one listens to music which makes them turn happy.

Effect on workplace productivity

This is how it will affect your workplace productivity:

Bored? Music Will Ease Your Boredom

Sometimes it becomes really difficult to avoid office boredom that kills your productivity brutally. But when you have got music plugged into your ears or background music, the mind will be fed something interesting apart from work. This helps to reduce boredom and you will be able to tackle tasks more properly.

Repetitive tasks? Music Will Bring Back Your Focus

When your daily tasks seem to clearly define and are repetitive like answering emails etc. music should be definitely at hand. Music has been found quite effective in bringing productive output. In a study, it was explored how assembly workers engaged in repetitive tasks displayed signs of increased happiness while listening to music

Zero creativity? Music Will Inspires You

It is the time of the day when your brain goes on “do not disturb” mode. No creative ideas striking off your mind. Those who have found themselves going through this would realize how frustrating their experience would have been. Music will be an inspiration when you would try to come up with a solution to a difficult problem.

Tired brain? Music Will Make You Stress-free

No matter how much you love your job, how much you love working, there is always a possibility of running into stress at a time. So, better not to fall into the pit of stress that will result in negative effects on your work. Listening to music can be a great way to reduce stress and turn the most hectic days to easy going days.

What do you think of music at work? Every human emotion that could be possibly surrounding us is encompassed in music. You are the only one who can bring in accountability to your own self and your work.

The secret recipe for building a successful brand

The secret recipe for building a successful brand

Brand building is the go-to mantra in today’s marketing. No matter it is a small coffee shop or a conglomerate, business leaders are leaving no stone unturned to create a brand out of their name. But like they say, it’s easier said than done.

There is an immense struggle in creating a brand for your business, forget about making it stand out from the crowd. Being in the marketing niche for more than five years now, I’ve managed to gather bits and pieces of knowledge regarding how you can make a successful brand out of your business. And, this is exactly what we are going to talk about here.

The Secret Recipe

Let us take a look at the secret recipe that can help you create a scrumptious feast of your business, which the customers can enjoy to the fullest. Here it goes:

A few tablespoons of rules

 

The millennial generation is powered by the ideology of moving fast and breaking things. And, there’s nothing wrong about it as long as your business continues to grow.

But, even when moving fast you need to lay down some ground rules. These rules are important to build the foundation of your brand. Think of these as your brand’s face, which you want to present in front of the customers. It could be anything – from standing up for a cause or an ideology, or simply a trendsetter idea that you think is reflected in your business’ product or service!

A pan full of communication

 

Brand building has turned out to be the advanced form of marketing. With the rise of the internet and social media, today’s customer has become smarter and more aware than ever.

Customers today ask lot more questions than they ever used to do. And, if you are not able to give them the answer they are looking for, it is hard for you to make them stay with your brand. All this makes communication an integral part of brand building. As a business owner, you must invest smartly in resources that can interact with customers, run social media campaigns to keep your customer audience engaged, and make your presence felt in the market.

A pinch of risk

A wise man once said, even Spiderman has to take a risk – you are a mere businessman! In today’s breakneck competition, thinking out of the box is the only thing that can make your business stand out from the crowd. And, this cannot happen unless you break the status quo and take risks. You have to bring that X-factor, something that’s unique and leaves an instant impact on the users.

This is the reason why one of the most important ingredients in the recipe of the successful brand building is a pinch full of risk.

Garnish it with relationship building

 

Just like any other recipe, the secret recipe to creating a successful brand cannot be complete unless it is garnished with the powder of relationship building.

In marketing, it is a popular saying that your customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. This is exactly what relationship building is all about. As a business, you need to connect with your customers. Show them that you are here to solve a problem in their life. Give them a reason to choose your business, and not going with your competitor. Don’t just sell – start a relationship, and nurture it with exemplary customer service.

No matter how good your recipe is, it won’t taste good unless you are able to bring a right balance of ingredients to it. The same holds true for brand building as well. Unless you are able to strike the right balance between the ingredients mentioned above, you won’t be able to have the brand which can be served in front of the audience.

9 rules that make happy employees go mad at work

9 rules that make happy employees go mad at work

We all have those days at work, when we are pinpointed for the little things, and that hurts our emotions and freedom.

Are you captivated by those meaningless office rules and policies? Do not fall silent, cork up your feelings. It is not that these rules are a bad thing, a company surely needs to set those rules to maintain the discipline in office and for better work outcome, but nobody likes those dumb rules, which have nothing to do with work like limited breaks and lunch time, leaves and many more are discussed below.

What is the point in making the employee work disheartedly, when you are always talking about making office a happier place for employees? The small restrictions at work are the quickest ways to reduce productivity, and it lowers the morale of the team making them feel like being treated as children who don’t know anything. And, ultimately what it all does is inflame bitterness towards management.

Though rules and policies give a power of control to management, but it also crushes creativity, passion, and enthusiasm of employees to work when employed unnecessarily. If the employee is not happy with policies under which he or she has to work, there wouldn’t be any positive outcome from the employee side. And, it certainly increases the chances of sending the good employees packing.

Want to know what those rules can be?

Here is a list of 9 rules that are the most responsible for driving employees at office mad.

Take a look and see if you can relate to any of them:

1. Disciplinarian Attendance Policies

If you are hiring employees, it is on certain basis that they are being hired and you do trust them. In some workplaces, employees are not allowed to come and go according to their convenience. In such cases, the boss happens to send a message, “We don’t trust you.” If you are hiring salaried employees you probably should trust that if they leave early one day they would stay late another day or someday in the following week. They shouldn’t be enquired every time they have to leave early or any such case. If the thing is repeatedly happening and someone is not showing up, they then need to be cut loose.

2. Restrictions on breaks and lunch times

 

Your every professional is being paid a regular salary for the results they are bringing for the growth of the company. But if you keep your employees under ridiculous restrictions of exceeding lunch time by a few minutes or taking a long break, they will feel underappreciated, especially when many often they are compensating the same time in the evening or work overtime.

3. Strict Dress Code Policies

 

These days everybody is quite sensible in dressing up appropriately for work. Hiring professionals doesn’t mean you have to force some strict dress code policies for them like those tucked in shirts, professional shoe, formal trousers and all. In case someone wears objectionable and insensible attire, they can be addressed for the same, but the employees shouldn’t be bound to any strict policies related to dress code.

4. Draconian Bathroom Breaks Rule

Really? How cruel is it to ask employees to take less bathroom breaks. Why should anyone stop a human from using the facilities? No matter how many times they need to take the trip, it is really undervalued to stop the employees. This is something very ridiculous and degrading, and a well-managed company would never make such stupid restrictions.

5. Banning Mobile Phone Use

It’s ok to ask employees for being considerate in using their cell phones, but forbidding them certainly is a hell lot of thing. This is next to impossible and it says too much about the company’s work culture. Though phone distracts the professionals from their work, so its usage should be minimized but certainly not diminished as it is equal to killing away their social lives. Completely banning cell phones will show a lack of trust in employees and will leave them frustrated and effortless to work for a company that doesn’t think them capable enough to work responsibly.

6. Leaves and time off

In a full-time employment, the employees are paid for the work they do and not on how much time they sit at their desks. A lot of companies often give warnings to employees who fail to show up on time to the office, but they do not care about those extra minutes they sit for after the normal office hours. This is quite discouraging for employees and should be avoided. At least a few minutes of flexibility in time should be provided for employees. Moreover, the strict documentation for leaves and late time off are really frustrating for employees and it leaves them taking a bigger decision as a solution to this frustration.

7. Opposing Self-Expression

There are some companies putting senseless restrictions on people as to what they can have on their desks and what not. As the employees spend the whole of their day in their office at their desk, they should be allowed to keep things that keep them happy and joyful. Things like photos, plants etc., should be allowed and this will make them smile and bring more creative ideas at work.

8. Not letting employees use the Internet

In today’s world, how awful it is to live without the internet and there are companies that block certain sites such as Facebook and other social media. It is quite appropriate to block unprofessional sites, but companies go extreme and block other useful sites that are necessary for online search content related to work.

9. Pay structures

It is actually a thing of the past to have inflexible salaries. In order to show appreciation to employees work, HR and managers should revise the pay scale of employees. This will always keep the employees trying hard to figure out new ideas and work in a better way for the company. Any percent increase in salary of the employee would be a great surprise for them and also a big motivation.

So, to keep the employees motivated for work, a progressive manager needs to prevent such silly rules. Putting silly restrictions will bring no better results for the company, but only spoil the overall productivity. All you really need to do to keep great employees intact is stop setting useless company rules, AND most importantly Treat them like professionals!

How Great Leaders Transform Employees Into Problem Solvers?

How Great Leaders Transform Employees Into Problem Solvers?

When we look at the great leaders, the one thing that’s common in all of them is their ability to tackle even the most complex situations with ease. They are able to maintain their calm even in the toughest situations, solve the problems and most importantly get things done.

The skill lies not just in problem solving, but to create a team of problem solvers. That’s the biggest attribute of the personality of a great leader – they don’t create an army of followers, but they create a team of more leaders. And, these leaders are adept at problem solving. But, how do they do it, that’s the question.

Great leaders techniques to create a team of problem solvers?

Let us take a few leafs from the textbook of different leaders, and see how to create a team of problem solvers –

1. By putting them in difficult situations

 

Problems come unannounced. If you as a leader keep waiting for the moment when the problem will arise and then work towards its solution, then it will be too late. You have to stay prepared all the time. How do you prepare for it? By constantly looking for problems.

This is the kind of attitude great leaders inculcate in their team. Rather than holding their horses till the last moment, these leaders put them into situations where their emotional intelligence is tested. That’s the first step of problem solving.

When you are put in situations where your mental prowess is tested, you mind automatically starts being more active. It is always in that active mode, rather than procrastinating which is usually the case when we start to lead a stable life. Take this example for instance, a person living in the wild will be more prepared for a tiger’s attack, then a person who lives a 9-5 job and stays in city. Isn’t it so?

2. By removing hierarchical silos

A problem is a problem. It does not know any hierarchical barriers. A great leader knows this fact. This is the reason they promote an open culture in the team. What does this open culture mean?

Well, it simply means that there are no hierarchical barriers. A team member facing some problem could go ahead and seek assistance from their senior, without hesitating. Also, if he or she has a solution to the problem that any senior in the team is facing, they are free enough to go and share their views on how that can be solved. This is the first step in building trust within the team.

A single person cannot have solution for all the problems. Great leaders embrace this fact. They know that they cannot do everything on their own. They value the capabilities of their team. They believe that success is a team effort, and not an individual one. By keeping the hierarchical barriers down, they actually give equal opportunities to everyone in the team to show their capabilities and become the future leaders – the problem solvers!

3. By promoting conflicts in thoughts

Solving a problem where each person in the team has a unanimity is quite easy. The real challenge in problem solving arises when you have different opinions between different team members. This is the real test of problem solving skills, because it puts him or her in an unfamiliar territory.

When you have to deal with conflicts in thoughts within the team, you are made to think in a way which you would have never thought of. An emotionally intelligent person looks at it as opportunity to learn something. And, this is the hallmark of a great leader and a great problem solver.

A great leader always promotes conflicts in thoughts within the team. This is how innovation comes. This is how team members always on their heals, no matter how proficient they are. Because they know they have to foolproof their or else there will be someone to challenge their prowess. How they do it? Simply by putting people with opposite thinking and working style together to work on the same tasks.

Great leaders know that each human mind has equal capabilities, all it needs is the right moulding. And, this is the reason why treat each team member equally, provide them with equal opportunities, and appreciate and condemn them equally – they are not biased.

By promoting a sense of equality and by giving every individual equal opportunities to grow they sow seeds for great problems solvers for the future. And, this is what makes them even greater!

Use These 5 Brainstorming Techniques to Produce Powerful Ideas!

Use These 5 Brainstorming Techniques to Produce Powerful Ideas!

For decades, people have used brainstorming to generate ideas and to come up with innovative solutions to their problems. Now, some like to go solo whereas some believe in the power of a group. That is why, from the last few years, brainstorming sessions have become a part of the norm in every organization. We, at ProofHub, love to brainstorm and collaborate. At our workplace, you can easily spot various teams such as content marketing or web developing teams engrossed in brainstorming sessions to create, perform and deliver better every day. We totally love these beautiful words of Tom Kelly.

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“Regular brainstorming is as critical to an organisation as regular exercise is to your health. It creates a responsive, innovative culture.”

What is Brainstorming?

Brainstorming is a process of toiling and generating new ideas alone or by holding intensive group discussions between team members in a team. Here, every team member is allowed to share their thoughts or ideas, however brilliant or outlandish it may be.

In brainstorming sessions, bigger the team, the better it is. After all, the main purpose of conducting such thought-provoking discussions is to gather as many ideas as possible. As it is said, brainstorming is the nexus of new ideas. So, even an accidental suggestion can be a great addition that can take the idea to a whole new level.

Here are the five brainstorming techniques help you deliver excellence.

1. Associative Brainstorming

 

This exercise can be done solo or by a number of people where they sit down at a quiet place with a pen and a paper. Now, you just need an idea, probably a single word that summarizes the idea in a nutshell. Start writing other words that come up in your mind associated with that idea or a word. It works best when you let your mind run free and make an effort to come up with as many words as possible. With this technique, you tend to trigger your mind with other related words that further triggers new words. This allows your brain to connect the dots and conceive a number of new ideas. You can easily choose the duration of exercise anything from 10 minutes to an hour.

2. Brainwriting

This is a group exercise where a number of team members sit down to work on an idea. This is polymorphic in nature i.e the idea can take different forms as it progresses. In this activity, a team leader shares the topic and the team members are required to write three ideas on a piece of paper and pass it to the other member. Now, likewise, he will jot down three ideas in coherence with the previous ideas and pass it on. Similarly, this will be repeated till the last person is not done with his inputs.

After the activity is performed, sit down and go through all the ideas. You may need to scrap some of them as well. Some might trigger better ideas as well. With little more brainstorming, you can transform the average ideas to incredible ones.

3. Freestorming

Freestorming is usually thinking and writing about anything and everything that comes to your mind whenever you think of an idea. You just need to find a quiet place and allow yourself to completely immerse in freestorming. Just note down all the things – relevant or irrelevant, good or bad in your notebook or a computer. This is a powerful brainstorming technique that lets you put down all the ‘real and raw’ ideas and then take a deep dive into an ocean of possibilities where many hidden ideas are waiting to be discovered.

 

4. Virtual Brainstorming

Virtual brainstorming is often referred as online brainstorming and knows as best brainstorming techniques. Today, when most of the teams are geographically scattered, more and more people are opting for this contemporary way of brainstorming. All you need is an internet connection and you are all set to brainstorm!

With the help of online collaboration tools, all the team members are virtually present at one centralized platform where they can initiate discussions. This advancement in technology has helped us to overcome the constraints of time and space. ProofHub – an online collaboration tool helps you get everyone associated with a project under one virtual roof. It helps you seamlessly communicate and collaborate with all the team members. You can start important brainstorming sessions in discussions and can jot down the important pointers in the notes section.

 

5. Rolestorming

This probably is one of the most fun and engaging way of brainstorming developed recently. Here, you don’t think like yourself rather you try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Interestingly, it allows you to think that how you would think if you were somebody else. Your boss? Or maybe your mentor?

You can give it a spin-off by thinking like Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs or maybe Barack Obama. Now, with this activity, you can shed all your inhibitions and limitations aside and allow yourself to think like the stalwarts. They say “Fake it till you make it”. In fact, this is a great way to develop new ideas without losing your authenticity and at the same time stepping into the world of the Greats.

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Bonus tip: Try some music at the background while brainstorming. However, this may not work for everyone as different music genres evoke different feelings in different people. You can give Pop, Rock, or Jazz a try and see if they contribute to better your brainstorming experience or not.

We hope that you like this article. And don’t forget to drop a comment below and let us know which one is your favorite brainstorming technique. Till then happy brainstorming! 😉

Team Meeting Ideas To Inspire Your Team

Team Meeting Ideas To Inspire Your Team

How often do you see people leaping for joy when they hear that they need to attend a meeting after an hour? Do you also think meetings are overrated?

If yes, you are not the only one. According to a survey conducted by Steven Rogelberg of the University of North Carolina, 71% of the managers find team meetings unproductive and time-wasting. These meetings not only disrupt workflow but often end up wasting time – usually that of many people. This is why no one likes meetings for the sake of meetings.

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Most of the times, people involved in a meeting aren’t aware of the main agenda and walk out the meeting room – often confused and at times clueless. These 
meetings fail to create an impact on the employees and don’t inspire them to take actionable steps towards the end result.

Team meetings with ideas can inspire a lot of creativity, collaboration and productivity provided they are quick, engaging and well-led. To make sure your team meetings are highly actionable, we have made a list of ‘tried and tested’ team meeting ideas in this article.

Let’s take a look at these team meeting ideas:

1. Assign pre-work

Assigning pre-work is a very effective team meeting ideas that will encourage employees to prepare for the meetings in advance. In fact, it engages employees without even initiating the meeting. Assigning pre-work to the employees increases the level of curiosity among them. It makes them look forward to the meeting instead of expecting a yet another dreaded meeting. It’s always better to come prepared or at least with a fair idea about what the meeting is going to be about.

Pre-work can be simple: asking them to provide key solutions, suggestions, or examples before the meeting. This can be aggregated and used live in the meeting that will make the meeting richer and more effective.

2. Stick to the agenda

When you think of all the hours spent in meetings and the time-value of those attending them; unproductive meetings can be frustrating. This is why it is necessary to have a clear agenda and most importantly stick to it.

Before a meeting, you can decide on some points that need to be discussed, finalized and analyzed. As soon as they are ticked off the list, have a final word on it and end the meeting. You can discuss things having secondary priority in the follow-ups.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, follows a similar strategy where she asks people to send materials (pre-work) in advance. Secondly, she prefers to have a clear understanding of the agenda to make it more actionable.

3. Adopt an ‘Everyone Plays’ mentality

Most meetings fail to create an impact because they fail to get everyone involved in them. In a meeting, there would be only one or two employees hogging all the limelight. Effective managers adopt an ‘Everyone Plays’ mentality where they make a room for everyone to contribute in meetings to make them more actionable.

You can start with assigning roles, topics or updates that every participant can share with the group. With this, every participant in a meeting is likely to be more attentive and they also feel more empowered for the new responsibility. This what makes a meeting effective where every participant’s views, ideas, and opinions are valued and taken into consideration before taking the final call.

4. Invite fewer people

To make meetings more effective, it is advisable to cut down your meeting attendees. Make sure only those employees are invited to a meeting whose presence matters and those who are adding value to a meeting regardless of their designation. For example, if the meeting is to find a solution to a problem, invite the people who will be a good source of information for the solution.

Adding unnecessary people will do more harm than good. And it will also waste their time which otherwise could have been invested in doing something productive for the organization.

Tip: Keep your meetings between 4-7 people. Thus, only invite those who are expected to make an important contribution to the meeting.

5. Open with a bang

Before starting and jumping straight to the agenda and objectives, catch your team’s attention. You can do so by asking a thought-provoking question, state an interesting statistic, quote someone or tell a story. This will help you activate the thinking part of the brain of the listeners and will lead to effective engagement from their side.

Just make sure your opening dialogue is related to the ‘why’ or the bottom line of the meeting and address ‘what’s in for them’. Opening the meeting with a bang will not only get you more listeners and engagement but will push their creative sides to contribute to the meetings.

6. Start with the end in mind

To make sure your meeting is actionable, start with the end in your mind. Always make sure the objective for coming together is 100% clear to everyone present in the meeting room.

Ask questions like “We have gathered to discuss solutions for….” or “At the end of this discussion we will decide… “. Having a clear vision and the purpose behind the meetings help to generate better ideas and actionable steps.

Tip: Starting with single objective increases the likelihood of achieving it more often.

7. Decide who will do what by when

One of the best ways to inspire action is to assign tasks to the team members. Decide who will be handling what and within what time a task will be accomplished. This makes team members accountable for their work. Moreover, healthy work pressure can contribute in boosting workplace productivity making them more focused and task oriented.

Setting up time limits for every task provides an estimated ‘project completion time’. This can help the team members to have a better understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and timelines.

Thus, by applying the ‘who will do what by when’ approach you can fast-track your project completion time with effective time management.

8. Ban gadgets

Many employees feel that meetings keep them away from completing their own work. And they admit doing other ‘work’ in the meetings. The reality is that if you allow your team members to bring their laptops, smartphones or ipads to the meetings, there is a likelihood of them being distracted by them. They end up spending most of the time checking the emails, surfing the internet or just playing with them.

Make your meeting room a ‘No Gadget Zone’. Just ask team members to bring a pen and a notepad to jot down pointers or other important stuff. With zero distractions, they will be able to come up with the best ideas, suggestions or solutions for a problem.

9. Start and end on time

No one likes a meeting to be pushed for next 30 minutes – whatever be the reason. This decreases their morale and the thought of spending another 30 minutes in the dreaded meeting room can further demotivate them.

It is always better to start and end meetings on time. This makes them feel that their time and presence is respected and valued in a meeting. When you start and end meetings on time consistently, employees look forward to give their contribution in them.

10. Incorporate fun with learning

The best way to make anybody work is by making them enjoy it. Many employees fear meetings as they are time-wasting and often inconsequential. But if the meetings are quick, to the point and well-led, they can produce some great ideas and contribute in some serious collaboration among team members.

When the meetings involve both learning and fun they can generate a lot of action, collaboration, and camaraderie in an organization. This will contribute to boosting overall productivity at workplace. Inspire employees to think out of the box with these amazing brainstorming techniques.

Team meetings have got a bad reputation in the workplace for not being productive enough and for wasting the time of multiple people at once. However, if the team meetings aren’t bearing any fruit, then it is better to spice them up and give them a complete makeover.

To make the meetings highly actionable start introducing new ways and techniques to them. Giving them a complete new avatar will enthuse new energy among employees to look forward to contributing to them and will inspire them to take more action.

If you employ the above-discussed strategies we are sure your meetings would be highly actionable. We would love to know the strategies you guys employ to make meetings more actionable. Drop a comment below to share the tips.