“The Perfect Employee” Exercise
What it can improve: Coaching ability, productivity, and empathy
What to do: Imagine that, thanks to modern artificial intelligence technology, you now have the ability to build the perfect employee! Which traits and skills would this perfect employee possess? Create a list of the top 10 competencies you would build into this new creation.
The only glitch with this new AI-built employee is that he or she needs to be continually upgraded, like a computer. For each trait that you list in your top 10, write down two methods you could use to upgrade your perfect employee’s abilities.
My perfect employee...
- Is efficient and manages his or her time productively.
To upgrade this skill:
- Implement the use of to-do lists. Organize tasks according to priority, and set a deadline that’s a few days ahead of the real deadline to allow for trouble-shooting.
- Encourage employees to take advantage of their optimum productivity time. An employee who is a "morning person" may be better off scheduling major tasks in the morning, when he or she is most alert. Less mentally-demanding tasks can be left for the afternoon.
“The Pros and Cons” Exercise
What it can improve: Risk-taking, decision-making, problem-solving
What to do: When you need to make an important decision, risky decision, or solve a complex problem, creating a visual representation of all your possible options can be very helpful, even when you don’t have a great deal of time in which to make a choice. The idea of creating a list of pros and cons may seem simplistic, but writing them out can really clarify things.
Think about a major decision you need to make and then grab a piece of paper. Divide it into two columns labeled "Pros" and "Cons." Give each pro and con a score from 1 to 10: if it has little impact on the outcome of the decision, give it a low score; if it has a major impact on the outcome of your decision, give it a high score. Here’s an example:
Decision to be made: Should we spend extra money this year for a new marketing campaign?
We did one two years ago and it really helped (score: 10)
It could boost sales (score: 9)
It will make people more aware of our brand (score: 8)
Total score for pros: 27
It will require a lot of time and resources to come up with a campaign idea, whether we do it in-house or hire someone to do it. (score: 9)
If we spend money on this campaign, we won’t have enough money for... (score: 10)
Total score for cons: 19
When you’re done with your list, add up your scores. Review the list and choose the most viable option.
“Perfectionism Myth” Exercise
What it can improve: Empathy, productivity, employee relations
What to do: Behind an overly-perfectionistic attitude is likely to be a very limiting belief system about how others should and should not behave. When these beliefs form the basis of our behaviors, we are more likely to be inflexible, unsympathetic, and less understanding in our treatment of others. The statements below are examples of perfectionism myths that managers may have. Add additional 5 perfectionism myths that you’ve unknowingly adopted regarding your employees.
Myth 1: An employee who considers himself or herself a professional should not make mistakes in his/her work.
Myth 2: Tasks that I delegate to others have to be done my way.
Myth 3: If I don’t give employees a hard time when they fail, they will never have the incentive to do better.
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