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Give Your Employees a Constructive Feedback

Feedback in the workplace is an essential part of employee training and maintenance at most jobs. Unfortunately, due to the negative associations, most people have problems with receiving feedback and criticism from their superiors. The reception of feedback at work can be an extremely stressful experience. From a supervisor’s perspective, delivering feedback can be equally stressful when you know the person you are about to speak to and the supervisor would rather be anywhere else in the building at that moment.

However, giving feedback doesn’t have to be like giving an injection to a struggling child. With the right approach, giving your employees constructive feedback can be a polite, helpful, and even pleasant experience for both parties. Here are some tips for providing constructive feedback in an effective and non-threatening manner as a supervisor.

Start with positive feedback

This is perhaps the most important point to keep in mind when it comes to giving feedback that is intended to be constructive. You know that your employee will already be dreading meeting with you when you call him or her into your office. As a result, it can really help to put your employee at ease if you start by giving him or her information about things that he or she has been doing right instead of wrong.

Everyone likes hearing about things they are doing well, and most people don’t hear about such things nearly enough. You can set the meeting off on a positive tone that carries through well into any complaints or suggestions you offer later on if you make it a point to start out by praising the employee for things you would like him or her to keep doing on the job.

Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought.

Margaret Chase Smith

Get to the point quickly

This is essential to remember when giving constructive feedback. When you’ve got to say something negative or tell someone who works under you to change the way they’ve been doing things, you’ve got to say it as quickly as possible. This is because the person will probably be able to sense that negative information is coming his or her way long before you actually come out with it.

The longer you hesitate and hem and haw and beat around the bushes, the more anxious the receiver of the feedback will get, and that stress will not make the meeting go any better. In fact, the employee might become so stressed waiting for the feedback that he or she doesn’t even hear the feedback when you deliver it. If you’ve got bad news, get it over with quickly so you can start talking about how to make it better.

Show how to make things better

As stated above, the point of delivering the bad news should be to allow you to show how you can make things better. This doesn’t mean you need to hold the employee’s hand and guide him or her toward a solution, but it does mean that there isn’t much of a point in giving feedback about things that are going wrong if you don’t show how to make them right.

Guidelines for Working During Maternity Leave

Many new moms imagine maternity leave as a relaxing time to bond with their new baby. You might picture spending your maternity leave taking long walks with your baby, gazing into his precious eyes and reading your favorite children’s books over and over as he drifts off to sleep.

However, many moms face the reality of feeling pressured to work during their maternity leave. Conversely, some moms are disappointed that their office does not remain in contact with them during their time away. Each mom has different expectations when it comes to maternity leave. It is important to discuss both your needs and your employer’s needs long before the baby arrives.

Pre-planning and clear communication are the keys to a successful maternity leave. Several months before your due date, request a meeting with your supervisor. During this meeting, discuss the details of your upcoming maternity leave. How long will you be away from the office? Are you willing to accept phone calls or e-mails? Who will cover your normal duties during your leave? What paperwork needs to be completed? Does your supervisor have any concerns regarding your absence? Acquiring clear answers to these questions will align your plans with your employer’s expectations regarding your maternity leave.

Every time a woman leaves the workforce because she can’t find or afford childcare, or she can’t work out a flexible arrangement with her boss, or she has no paid maternity leave, her family’s income falls down a notch. Simultaneously, national productivity numbers decline.
Madeleine M. Kunin

As you approach your last day of work, compose an e-mail to send to your supervisor outlining your plan for maternity leave. Once your supervisor approves the plan, forward the e-mail to each of your colleagues. The e-mail should clearly state the start and end date of your maternity leave. It should also give guidelines for communicating with you during this time. For instance, you could state that you are unavailable by phone, but you will be checking your e-mail around 10:00am each Tuesday and Thursday to deal with any pressing issues.

Your e-mail should also give information regarding the contact person for your projects while you are away.

Once you, your supervisor and your colleagues all understand your maternity leave plan, you are free to relax and enjoy the most important thing: your new baby! Be polite, but consistent about your communication guidelines, and be sure to keep up with your end of the communication plan.

Work projects will be there when you return to your job, but you only get to spend the newborn days with your baby once. By planning carefully and practicing open communication, you can enjoy your maternity leave without alienating your workplace.

A Mother and a Businesswoman: How Does It Fit Together?

Being both a mother and a businesswoman is no easy task. The priorities of parenthood and getting ahead in a career constantly vie for attention. The following are some keys to success in your dual roles as a parent and a breadwinner:

Have a backup plan for childcare

Make a list of all the contingencies that might create a childcare emergency. Your list might include working late, business meetings and a child home sick from school. Then make a list of possible solutions such as help from grandparents, a spouse or a childcare service.

If you are interviewing for a position and your prospective employer already knows that you have small children, it often helps to communicate your emergency childcare plan in advance. For example, you might specify what arrangements you have for days when you must work late or go on a business trip. If, however, your interviewer doesn’t know that you are a working mom and the position fits around your parenting schedule, you may encounter less prejudice if you simply don’t mention it.

If you need to leave the workforce following the birth or adoption of a child, use part-time or contract work to avoid gaps in your resume.

Even if you only work a couple of hours a week from home while your child naps, it looks better on a resume than no employment at all. How can you find this part-time or contract work? First look to past employers. Since you already know their systems and customers, perhaps you could take on a single project, contract or client, depending on the nature of your work. Second, look for opportunities in your community or freelance work. You might even consider teaching a college course in your field. Even some volunteer work looks better on a resume than a gap.

You can be a good mother and still follow your dreams. You totally can if you desire.

Keep your skills current

In today’s service-based economy, employee skills are a prime asset in business. Rather than simply logging time at work, look for ways to increase your skills. If your employer offers certification courses relevant to your career goals, such as Six Sigma training or certification in a new programming language, take the course. Even if you need to pay a babysitter for a few weeks, the investment will pay off handsomely.

Don’t let organization slide

If you’re a full-time homemaker, it’s not too difficult to schedule an all-day organizational marathon to get your household back under control. Working moms usually don’t have the luxury of big chunks of time. Instead, do a little at a time. To see a model of this concept, watch a local fast-food restaurant in action. First, all necessary items are in their proper place and handy. No fast food worker has to climb a step-stool to reach the paper cup for your milkshake. Second, workers use bits of downtime to take quick wipes at the tabletops, keeping things spotless. Third, everyone helps. Working moms cannot do it all, so children and husbands must have tasks for which they are responsible. Fourth, there is a close-down procedure at the end of the evening. Your nightly close-down procedure might include making sure that lunch bags are packed, permission slips are signed, clothes are laid out, and the house is tidy.

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