Take Me to Your Leader… Oh Wait, That’s Me! 9 Steps to Building Your Dream Team

Take Me to Your Leader… Oh Wait, That’s Me! 9 Steps to Building Your Dream Team

You can buy your team pizza and bring in large lattes from Starbucks to distribute, but unless you are an effective leader and manager these little niceties are a waste of your time and dollars.  This will not make them a better support staff for your business.  This unique and interesting group of individuals who make up your team needs to support each other and, even if they don’t always like each other, have a mutual respect with common goals…goals that you as their manager should have ingrained into them since the day they joined your company.

It is necessary to learn the right managerial techniques that are going to motivate your employees.  If you are their leader and haven’t really done enough to make this a nice cohesive unit, a well oiled machine, it’s not too late to implement changes that will morph your good company into a great company, or a mediocre staff into the best dream team ever!  Here are some tips to help:

Don’t assume that everybody is motivated by the same thing. 
For some it is simply money alone, but for many they are looking for a sense of purpose, or finding that niche to use their skill set.  Hone in on this for each individual while also making your expectations clear.

Respect the differences of your staff.  If you have hired a diverse group of individuals, realize that they can get along with each other without being best buddies.  Celebrate their unique attributes and what each person individually brings to the table.  Your managerial style may differ from person to person, and that’s okay as long as you are happy with their performance.

Expect the same high caliber of work from each person.  Regardless of how they work or what they do, quality should never be compromised.  You can be a flexible manager but it does not mean that your expectations should ever be limited.

Always keep lines of communication open with your team.  If each team member plays by a separate set of rules, a weekly meeting to assess goals and make sure everybody is on the same page when it comes to achieving these goals may be in order.

Make sure to respect boundaries and that those who make up your team are respecting your boundaries as well.  It’s okay to also be friends with the people who work for you, but you are still their leader.  It needs to be understood that business is business, and you as the manager may need to at times correct or criticize.

Training from outside sources may be necessary at times.  Recognize when someone else is better than you (or another team member) to accomplish this task with given staff members.

Employ only those who you think will be a good fit.  Follow your gut.  If instinct tells you that this super qualified and intelligent person just isn’t the right one for your team, don’t hire them only to be sorry later.  Trust your inner voice.

Ask for feedback.  It’s difficult knowing if your efforts are working, if you are really getting through to your team.  Communicate with them.  Ask questions.   Is this working for you?   Do you have a problem with how I handled this situation?  You are their leader, and while it is true you do not need their approval, they will only respect you more if they believe their opinions and their voices are important.

Motivate with passion.   Simply put, if your team sees how much you love your job, how important your business is to you as you pour your soul into it, there will be a trickle down effect. Make them part of the excitement.  The business is excelling because they play an important role in it.  Remind them of this…often!

Being a good leader takes practice and perseverance.  Don’t give up on yourself, and don’t give up on the wonderfully eclectic group of individuals who only need your loving guidance and patience to share your dream.   Eventually, with hard work, not only will you be achieving your goals, but you will have the dream team you deserve.

“It’s Not You; It’s Me….”  Losing another employee?   Yeah, it’s you.

They come into your office nervous, stammering, and uncomfortable.  Some of them have letters of resignation promising two weeks, others are carrying their family photographs and juggling their plants in copy machine boxes, ready to make a rocket fire exit.  In this land of opportunity employees moving on and moving out are quite common, but if you have a revolving door of unhappy staff, don’t ask yourself, “Did I hire the wrong person?”   Ask yourself, “Am I being the wrong person?”  Chances are, it’s not them…it’s you.

As the boss, the CEO, the manager, the president, whatever Big Cheese title is your claim to fame, it can be difficult (if not downright impossible) to understand what it is about your personality or management style that has the associates posting resumes on the internet (on your dime) and devising their escape plan.  Let’s start with the obvious and see if any of these traits define you:

BELITTLING:  Does your criticism go beyond making helpful suggestions?  If you are rolling your eyes, sighing, folding your arms, and talking to your staff like you would a two year old, belittling behavior like this can suck the life and enthusiasm out of even the strongest personality.  Practice on your dog if you have to, but learn how to communicate in a positive light.  A little rehearsal can go a long way in maintaining healthy, respectful relationships within your office.

MICRO MANAGING: This overused term needs no explanation.  Unless your employees are coming to you for assistance or asking for a bit of direction, back off and let them do their jobs.

BULLYING: You walk into a room and the conversation about the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy comes to a screeching halt.  The employees scatter like cockroaches because you are wearing a stern frown…  their chitchat and non-work-related jibber jabber is nonproductive and certainly they must have work to do.   Lighten up!  You hired people, not robots, and a little down time is good for the soul.  Try joining a conversation on occasion and see if this approach changes how they look at you.

IGNORING:   Woah….you can’t micromanage and you can’t ignore?  GEEEEZ who knew it would be so tough?  It’s a fine line between letting your team work without breathing down their necks, and being a manager that knows they value feedback as well.  Think of yourself as the art teacher who peeks over the shoulder of the budding artist student only to murmur, “Nice job.   I like how you’ve blended this together” and then moves on.

An office is a family.  In fact, your team is spending much more time with the office family then at their homes.   Give them a reason to stay, and a reason to want to come back tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.   It is inevitable that there will be some who will leave to pursue other dreams and they must move on, and that’s okay; but if the revolving door continues, it isn’t them….it’s you.

Are You Consuming Your Career, or is Your Career Consuming You?

Are You Consuming Your Career, or is Your Career Consuming You?

If you are wondering with a snicker if there is a difference in the two, then congratulations! You are most likely in Group 1 and wake up whistling when you start working, have a goofy nonstop grin on your face, and dream about what the next day is going to bring. If you are in Group 2, you hesitantly clicked on this blog post because you are afraid to read — you are in so deep that you wonder if you will ever pull yourself out, drowning in the black sea of paperwork, unanswered emails, voice mails you don’t want to listen to, and ultimate despair. Yeah, a little melodramatic, but sadly it’s also a fact.

GET OUT OF THE QUAGMIRE! Did you choose to be an entrepreneur or pick your present career path so you could be swallowed up by all that you encompass? Nope, didn’t think so. dfdfdsfThen it’s time to effect some serious change. If you want to avoid the ulcer that’s undoubtedly going to be part of your future (and really want to click your voice mail button without cringing), these three simple steps are imperative.

  1. Make a list of everything you do. (Okay, the major things you do.)   
  2. Arrange the items in your list in order of priority.
  3. Highlight the items on this list that you absolutely despise doing.

All right, here comes the easy part. Look at your highlighted items. If these are tedious tasks that bog you down, things that are just too time consuming and keep you away from the things you love to do, then why are you doing them? Yes, they need to be done. But why are you doing them? There are actually people out there who like to file… who like bookkeeping… who enjoy some of the techy stuff you abhor. Perhaps, you are at the early point in your career where you aren’t quite an entrepreneur, but rather a wantrepreneur — but you’ll get there.

Swallow your pride and get help! You don’t have to do it alone. You tell yourself that until you get to where you want to be, you can’t afford to pay for the help; the truth of the matter is that you can’t afford not to. A virtual assistant can get you on track and keep you there, and you only pay for the hours you need. The right CRM program can help you streamline your contacts so you can concentrate on building your client base while still providing excellent customer service to your existing clients.

Work smarter, not harder as the cliche goes. Being a business owner, manager or entrepreneur doesn’t mean settling for a life of drudgery in the paperwork trenches. Let it go. Get back to doing what you love so you can once again consume your career… and not let your career consume you.

Things Are Perfect, Well Sort of….So Why Are You Job Hunting Again?

Uh-oh, there you go again… the two columns with “pros” on one side and “cons” on the other.  Before you get overly absorbed into that page of truth and tell all, perhaps it’s also time to make a different and separate list for your own self-discovery.  If it makes you feel better, go on and finish the other one first, the one you are comfortable with and could do in your sleep.  Hmmmm pros… “great team to work with, awesome benefits, pay is pretty good…” and of course the typical con side, “too much stress, little free time, not enough autonomy.”   Sound familiar?   It should.  Job after job after job it’s always the same things that you love, the same things that you hate.  The pen comes out about every two years to do the whole pros/cons thing…or maybe it’s done on the computer or Ipad (because it is, after all, 2016).

Now let’s work on your self-discovery list.  Rest assured, this will not be as easy.  Forget the columns, the numbered lists and bullet points.  These are quickie questions that won’t require any tabulations.  You already know what thrills and what kills with every place you have ever been employed.  Ask yourself these simple questions and see if you can figure YOU out.

  • Is it boredom that sets you on a quest for a new venture?
  • Are you craving more excitement that you’re not getting currently?
  • Do you get in a rut easily?
  • Do you find yourself always thinking that you could do a better job managing the company or other employees?
  • Are you the go-to person for just about everything?
  • Do you find solutions, not just for your projects but also for coworkers?
  • Does the manager come to you for advice or when something is needed quickly?
  • Do you feel a type of annoyance that you can’t really explain when you’re ready to leave for work?  Kind of an “I was meant for more than this” type of mentality?

If you answered YES to many or most of these questions, the problem isn’t the job.  The problem isn’t even you!  The real issue that you probably haven’t even tapped into is that you are an entrepreneur trapped in a worker-bee’s body.   That you are an amazing employee who gets the job done and is sought after by team members who need your help (and managers who can’t live without you) is a sign that you were destined for more.

Maybe instead of dusting off the resume you should dust yourself off instead.  What are your goals and dreams?  What lights a fire in your soul?   Forget the job search.  You know whatever job you go for you will get it anyway, and eventually you’ll be looking again.  Quit waiting for the perfect opportunity.  Create the perfect opportunity.  Continue the present course while you learn as much as you can.  Put a solid foundation in place.  Need more education?   Get it!  Things are perfect… you are perfect.  You just aren’t there yet.  Figure out what you need to do to get there and go!  You are a force to be reckoned with, so make sure you enjoy the voyage along the way.



The My Clone team is your Solution to getting out of overwhelm and stop working below your pay grade. Interested in learning more about how you can increase productivity and your hourly wage please contact us and schedule 30 minutes to chat about your business pains and how we can help you eliminate them.  Schedule your appointment right now by clicking here.

TO THE BOSS: 12 Daunting Statements That Your Employees Are Afraid to Say to Your Face

Being the boss has its perks. Usually you have a good parking space, you can set hour own hours (which basically means that although you are ALWAYS working no one is tracking how long your lunch is, etc.), and you have a position of authority and purpose. Before you go feeling too smug and comfy, grab yourself a cup of coffee, kick back, and prepare yourself… You are the boss, and there are things you need to know. This isn’t about time management and sales goals for the upcoming year. NOPE — this one is about you. If you are sharp, you are cognizant of the invisible wall which separates you from the rest of the staff. There are jokes you won’t be in on, certain things that you won’t understand, and a lot of words which will be left unsaid. It is time for you to hear those words. This is not a comprehensive list, and not all will apply to you. If the shoe doesn’t fit, pat yourself on the back and move on. Check yourself as you read these, and try not to be oversensitive to the ones that do apply.
1) “Your breath smells…and you have body odor”. YIKES. We can’t say this one easily to a co-worker (maybe we can hint and hand them a breath mint), but it definitely won’t be shared with the boss. Did you have sushi and catfish for lunch? Did you catch a whiff of yourself as you’ve been stressed out, nervous and sweating up a storm? If you smell it guaranteed they do too. You’ve got a big desk… keep a tooth brush, mouthwash and other personal toiletries on hand for just such unpleasant stinky occasions.
2) “Your sarcasm offends. It isn’t funny and comes across as rude”. Everybody laughs when Rick is sarcastic so what gives? Well… Rick is just one of the gang and his delivery is different. And you’re the boss! When you do it the message delivered is one of judgment and disdain. Oh sure, it’s not fair, but unfortunately it goes with your title. (And life isn’t fair, so get over it.)
3) “You bully the weak.” Like a dog that smells fear, this is you. The ones who cower a little bit and act afraid, those are the ones you pick on the most. It’s a complete turnoff and when it happens it gives the rest of the team hours of gossip. Maybe you don’t respect these soft spoken souls quite as much because they don’t stand up for themselves? Whatever the reason, figure out what your problem with them is and stop the intimidation. It just isn’t cool.
4) “You don’t listen.” Well, you pretend to, but you really don’t. You ask for input at staff meetings, want people to contribute ideas. When they do you end up using your own anyhow, so why bother? Your “open door policy” is a joke. Your door may be open but your mind isn’t. Sometimes you don’t even make eye contact. You’ve been caught playing with your cell phone while you should have been listening wholeheartedly. How insulting! What would you do if one of your staff did that to you? Your whole demeanor is standoffish and closed.
5) “Nobody wants to hear about your home renovations, your upcoming trips, or the cars you are contemplating buying.” You don’t pay your staff that well. Some are barely squeaking by after paying their student loans and other obligations. It’s nice that you want to share personal things with your team, but think how it sounds to the guy who is broke already on payday having to listen about your frustration with the drywaller and lawn service at your summer cottage. Nobody begrudges you the finer things… you’ve worked your butt off and you deserve them, but remember your audience. Don’t find yourself wondering out loud whether you should fire the new cleaning girl at your home, when they are trying to figure out if their budget will allow replacing the broken vacuum in theirs.
6) “You need to dress better”. You have an Employee Handbook with a strict dress code and you look like you rolled out of bed fully dressed every morning. Raise the bar and set the example.
7) “Get a life!” Maybe you don’t have anything to do Friday night, but the rest of the staff is ready to bust out of there. You may have sold your soul when you became an entrepreneur but you can’t expect the same of your team. Hard work, professionalism and attaining goals can and should be expected, but requesting that others burn the midnight hour or work weekends just because you are is an unrealistic request.
8) “You play favorites”. There is probably a reason for this. Your favorites are probably hard workers and get the job done. No need to apologize for liking one person better than the next, we all do it, just make sure you have a level playing field and all have the same opportunities.
9) “This place is a pig sty”. Is it possible to give your staff a nicer work environment? They spend many hours there, more awake hours than at home, so show your appreciation. Some new carpet, fresh paint and art work can turn gloom to glam. Get rid of the paper mess and stop hoarding. It sucks the life out of your team having to see it every day.
10) “Just let us do our jobs”. Do you hover? Interject your opinion often throughout the day? As the boss you have the right to, of course, but let the staff see that you trust them enough to just let them work. Pay attention at how the atmosphere changes. It will amaze you.
11) “We get paid the same whether we are doing something stupid or something that needs to be done”. Are you the King of Busy Work? It won’t take your team long to realize that your desire for complete and continuous control has a trickle-down effect. Constant updates, creating lists and sub-lists… employees will humor you and get these pesky little things done, but at a cost: leaving the important work unfinished, feeling frustrated and annoyed, and developing increased disdain for you each time you think up a new meaningless task just because you can.
12) “We just don’t like you”. This one stings a bit, but rather than letting your feelings get hurt ask yourself what you can do differently… or if you are brave, ask for honest feedback. You are the boss, not a buddy, but understandably you still want the team to like you. What behaviors or personality traits are you portraying? Bluntly stated, are you typically a pompous ass because you can be? Think of what you are like within your friendships (assuming you have relationships outside of the office) and how you act. You are probably not overbearing, rude, aggressive, or dismissive of what friends have to say. While you don’t have to be buddies with your team mates, strive to treat them with the same level of kindness and respect you use within your personal relationships.

The invisible wall will likely always exist because you are the boss, and that’s okay. The reason the Dilbert cartoons are so popular and funny is because we have all worked for the Pointy-haired boss and can relate. If you read the above statements and none of them seemed to apply to you, congratulations! Your employee turnover is probably low and you have figured out the key to successful management of your staff. Not quite sure? Maybe you could post this in the break room with a highlighter and ask staff to have at it. Encourage comments and add-ins at the bottom for items not on this list. If you’re not feeling that brave, at the very least reread this and see if there are changes you could make to improve staff retention and make the office environment a better place.


The My Clone team is your Solution to getting out of overwhelm and stop working below your pay grade. Interested in learning more about how you can increase productivity and your hourly wage please contact us and schedule 30 minutes to chat about your business pains and how we can help you eliminate them. Schedule your appointment right now by clicking here. 

From A to Z… 26 Ways to Shred the Competition

Just getting by isn’t enough in today’s business world.  If you plan on succeeding, you need to come prepared for battle.  You chose this, so grab your sword and shield.  Entrepreneurship isn’t for wusses…  Looking for ways to shred the competition?   Here are 26 tips and tricks from A to Z to give you the winning edge:

Amaze your customers.   Keep them wondering how they ever managed without you.
Bring something new to the table all the time.
Call clients just to check in.  They will like the personal attention.
Don’t avoid phone calls.
Examine how you are doing things.  Is it still practical?
Finish up projects.  Don’t leave assignments hanging.
Get organized.  It will benefit EVERYBODY, including you.
Help your customers strategize so they can be successful.
Impress with outstanding customer service.
Join networking clubs to gain new insights.
Keep trying to better yourself.
Learn and grow from your mistakes.
Make sure you always show your appreciation.
Never lose your drive…your clients will sense it.
Open your eyes to better ways of serving.
Prepare, Plan and avoid Procrastination
Quit making excuses if something goes wrong.
Remember why you became your own boss.  FOCUS!
Stay the course.  Hard work and perseverance will pay off.
Talk to your clients often and make sure you’re still on track.
Understand that not everybody will like you, and that’s okay.
Value your employees… they will help you succeed.
Work on keeping relationships strong.
X-ray vision and a crystal ball would help!  Ask clients for clarification.
Yearn to always keep that spark.
Zero in on your clients’ needs always.

There are many ways to exceed expectations, and the A to Z list above includes just a few examples.  Be the best at what you do, and above all focus on extreme customer service.  Remember when your mom used to say to treat people the way you would want to be treated?   Really that’s the bottom line.  Competence, diligence, hard work, integrity… the traits you possess that enabled you to be a successful entrepreneur, and why you can easily shred the competition today.


The My Clone team is your Solution to getting out of overwhelm and stop working below your pay grade. Interested in learning more about how you can increase productivity and your hourly wage please contact us and schedule 30 minutes to chat about your business pains and how we can help you eliminate them.  Schedule your appointment right now by clicking here.