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Shining a Spotlight on Your Training Team

Image for Spotlight on Your Training Team PostThose in a learning and development capacity play an important role in the success of their organization and they see the results every day. Sometimes a boost of internal or external recognition can add momentum to the team’s efforts, and can provide individuals the inspiration needed to keep achieving.

In her article, Using Recognition to Inspire Your Training Team, Sue Plaster, M.ED. provides a wealth of advice on gaining more recognition for your team’s achievements and contributions as well as those of your team members. She offers factors to be considered for gaining additional recognition and provides insight on exploring award and recognition opportunities through a variety of outlets.

Read Using Recognition to Inspire Your Training Team and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. What steps do you take to inspire your training team and put them in the spotlight? 

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How Can You Avoid Burnout?

27th March 2015 Posted in Blog, Leadership, Management 0 Comments

Image for How Can You Avoid Burnout PostEveryone is prone to experiencing professional burnout in their daily lives no matter what profession they have: tech writer, corporate trainer, freelance writer, website marketing specialist, butcher, baker, candlestick maker, etc. The problem is, they don’t know how to deal with it until their health, happiness, relationships and even their job performance has suffered.

In her article, Dealing with Professional Burnout, Whitney Potsus discusses the signs of professional burnout as well as how to deal with this problem. She includes some questions that you can ask yourself or ask your employees if you suspect burnout may be an issue. She also offers some suggestions for avoiding and overcoming burnout.

Read Dealing with Professional Burnout and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Have you experienced professional burnout, either in yourself or with an employee? How did you deal with it?

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Leadership Development Planning Done Right

10th February 2015 Posted in Blog, Leadership, Training & Development 0 Comments

Every good leader or manager needs a development plan in place to help their employees be successful in their organization and provide better opportunities for each and every employee to grow and contribute to the organization.

In her article, An Individual Leadership Development Plan: Where Training Can Help, Sue Plaster, M.Ed., looks at how support and facilitation from training and development can make a difference in preparing managers for development planning. First, she looks at the six key elements of development planning, then she gives examples of how training and development professionals can assist managers in the process. She then goes into some detail about the first – and biggest – element: Preparation and Gap Analysis. Finally, she provides helpful guidance on getting underway and putting the plan into action.

Read An Individual Leadership Development Plan<: Where Training Can Help and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Is leadership development lacking in your organization? How do you work with your employees on development planning? 

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Planning for the Future Workforce

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Engaging in succession planning is an important part of planning for the future workforce. Having a succession plan in place is an advantage for every leader in any organization to ensure a successful workforce in the future with good leadership, strategies, and plans in place to continue the success of the business in meeting the needs of its customers.

In her article,  Planning for Our Future Workforce: Teaching Leaders to Prepare for Succession,  Sue Plaster, M.Ed., discusses how educators can work with today’s leaders to do action-oriented succession planning, through dialogue with one another, while reaching a degree of consensus in their plans. She also provides some tips in terms of what to focus on during succession planning and management activities. You will also learn about development planning and the role of training.

Read Planning for Our Future Workforce: Teaching Leaders to Prepare for Succession and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Have you engaged in—or trained leaders in—succession planning?

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Are You Suffering from Burnout?

9th October 2014 Posted in Blog, Leadership, Management 0 Comments

writing-deadlines-92296_8905-230x166Dealing with professional burnout is very difficult and everyone might experience it in their daily lives, either in themselves or in others in their profession. It can affect  your health, happiness, relationships and even your job performance. But the problem is that it’s very hard to detect it until the damage has been done.

In her article, Dealing With Professional Burnout, Whitney Potsus talks about the warning signs of professional burnout – in yourself or in an employee you manage. She provides a quiz right up front to tell if burnout is the problem, along with ways to help yourself or with the help of others. It even includes a short quiz you can use to see if you have professional burnout.

Read Dealing with Professional Burnout and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Have you had to deal with burnout on the job in the past, either with yourself or with an employee? What did you do to overcome it?

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Management Styles: Different Strokes for Different Folks

18th April 2014 Posted in Blog, Leadership, Management 0 Comments

Image for Wearer of Many Hats: One Management Style Does Not Fit All

Many managers – especially those new to management – stick to one style of leadership that feels natural to them. But all managers know that keeping workers motivated can be challenging at best. The problem arises when a manager doesn’t consider that different people have different triggers for what motivates them.

In his article, Wearer of Many Hats: One Management Style Does Not Fit All, Jeffrey Young looks at why it’s so important to consider both individuals and the situation at hand as uniquely different, requiring different approaches to get the job done.

Read: Wearer of Many Hats: One Management Style Does Not Fit All and then leave a comment below with your thoughts. As a manager, how have you varied approach to fit the situation? When it comes to motivation, which personality types do you find most challenging?

Related Topic: Managing Conflict

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Society for Technical Communication Summit 2012

Chicago - Location of 2012 STC Summit

Registration is now open for the STC (Society for Technical Communication) Summit for 2012. Most technical writers believe it’s the place to be to share ideas, learn about the current industry trends, and network with other writers and companies.


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Promoting, Safeguarding, and Selling Your Writing Team’s Value

6th March 2012 Posted in Blog, Industry Articles, Leadership, Management 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This was the feature article in this month’s TechCom Manager newsletter, reprinted here with permission. Click the previous link to subscribe to the newsletter.

by Kerri Barber

Kerri Barber - Promoting Your Writing Team's Value

Typically, a technical-writing department is staffed by some of the most highly competent writers available. As a manager, you know the value your staff brings to the organization. You take pride in being valued contributors with an innate ability to get to the nitty-gritty details of complex product information and service offerings–all while saving time and operating costs. You know that your team helps make your business run efficiently and effectively. But can you prove all this?

Unless you are continually touting the value your team brings to an organization, you are likely to find yourself repeatedly left out of decision-making aspects of project management. It doesn’t take a tough economy to create the right environment for your staff to become victims to layoffs or outsourcing. As a manger, your role is to develop an internal marketing plan that helps protect your team and promotes your team’s value within the organization.


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Measuring Technical Writer Productivity

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, the images, charts, and tables were hosted on another site, which no longer exists, and over which we have no control. However, the link to download the spreadsheet (the click here link just before the PRODUCTIVITY IS RELATIVE heading) still works. The entire article, including images and tables, was available for STC members and once was publicly available in PDF format but is no longer available either.

by: Pam Swanwick and Juliet Wells Leckenby

Every manager struggles to balance writer workload and project capacity. A simple spreadsheet-based system can help you objectively evaluate assigned tasks, task time and complexity, special projects, and even writer experience levels to more accurately assess individual workload and capacity. The result is a simple but useful representational graph.

In addition to measuring current team capacity and productivity, this method also provides objective metrics to better estimate future project capacity and to support performance evaluations for individual writers.


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3 Ways to Motivate Your Team and Increase Productivity

3rd February 2011 Posted in Blog, Leadership, Management 1 Comment
Image for Motivating a Team

The difference between a new team member and a seasoned team member is easy to see. One has energy and one does not.

Why is this? For many teams, it’s not a matter of the job situation, but rather it’s a lack of motivation. This is no one’s fault necessarily. Motivation is something that waxes and wanes, though you want to find ways to keep it high if you want productivity and creativity to be consistent.

1. Answering the Why

Though it might seem as though people should do the work they do because they should, this isn’t as simple as it sounds. Your team members might have days when they feel what they do isn’t important or that it doesn’t make a difference. You need to show them that it does.

When you can show your team that the things they do add up to real-life impact, they will see that their continued energy and motivation is for a good cause.

2. Recognition for a Job Well Done

Rewards and other forms of recognition are also going to help your team see that you are noticing their hard work and that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. It might be a good idea to offer rewards after particularly hard projects, as well as recognition in team email or meetings when it is deserved.

Pointing out that one person did a particularly good job often has the effect of causing others to try to meet that standard as well.

3. Work as a True Team

Though it might seem easier to just assign tasks to your team and allow them to go about their day self-motivating, it’s actually a better idea to encourage your team to work together. When the team is interacting, they can creatively problem solve as well as spend their time finding ways to work as efficiently as possible. The team will work harder because they know they’re not the only person that matters. They have a team depending on them too.

Productivity has almost become a buzzword these days, but it still should be a priority. With the proper motivation in your office, you can increase the speed of the work to be done and have a team that’s willing to do it, even when they don’t want to.

If you manage a team, what techniques do you find particularly helpful in motivating them? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.

Related topics

Fundamentals of Leadership: Communicating a Vision
Making the Transition from Technical Writer to Manager
Wearer of Many Hats: One Management Style Does Not Fit All

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