How To Be a Good Manager – Listening Skills and Managing People 

Numerous qualities are the makeup of a good manager, but strong listening skills are defining when it comes to solid leadership.

At one time or another, most people have been a business employee and know what they look for from a qualified leader. Nothing proves more endearing, nor inspires more respect, than a manager with strong listening skills. Listening skills are a learned performance and, with practice, can help anyone become an accomplished manager that portrays effective leadership.

An employee always responds more productively when he feels like he is truly being “heard” by his superiors. A strong manager will perfect the art of listening and acquire techniques that show others he is truly hearing what they have to say. According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Managing People, by Arthur R. Pell, the keys to good listening skills include:

Eliminate distractions: Preceding a lengthy discussion with an employee, the manager should see that phone calls are held, papers are cleared from view, and all other distractions are removed. Receiving calls or glancing at paperwork are the two most significant offenses that display poor listening skills. If You cannot accomplish this in the manager’s office, move the discussion to a conference room or alternate location.

Appear Interested: Do not sit too comfortably. A slack posture or inattentive appearance gives the impression that the listener is only mildly interested in what the speaker has to say. When an employee is trying to make a point, they will most likely subdue further discussion if they feel the management is only tolerating their attempt. So, sit up in the chair, lean forward a bit, and proffer continued eye contact.

Remain active in the conversation: A strong listener asks questions. Inquiries should only be imposed, though, when there is a pause in the conversation.

Be an empathetic listener: Managers need to show employees that they can put themselves in that person’s shoes. Sympathetic listeners hear what others are saying and try to feel what they are feeling. Speakers will pick up on this, and the effect is gratifying and induces continued revelations. Managers who practice this technique will learn more about their employees than with any other method.

Use silence to inspire information – when an employee stops speaking, wait 5 seconds, allowing them to emphasize their point. The additional information tends to be more revealing than the practiced dialect they originally intended.

Take notes: In an employee/employer meeting, rather impromptu or scheduled, a good listener and proficient manager will take notes. Jot down keywords or phrases, keep records of quotes and figures as later these critical facts can be elusive. The follow-up to strong listening skills is as important as the initial conversation. If an employee sees that a manager remembers what they discussed, that employee will most likely be even more forthcoming in the future.

Keeping strong and open relations with employees is one of the most productive advantages a good manager can possess. In addition to becoming a proficient listener, managers with strength in this area will elicit advanced productivity while ensuring the lines between manager and employee remain clearly defined. Managing staff is complex, and learning how to be a good manager is an ongoing process. However, seasoned managers make effective leadership appear effortless.

Subsidiaries and Mergers – What Are They?

As a corporation grows and becomes more profitable, it may choose to buy up competitive businesses or a significant interest in another company’s shares and make the new acquisition a subsidiary company of the existing corporation. In this way, the buying company now controls either all or the majority of ownership in the purchased company and can therefore control the subsidiary and its future.

Subsidiary vs. Merger

Typically acquiring a firm as a subsidiary involves less of a financial investment by the corporation than if it were to buy a business and merge it with the existing operation. To merge with another company is quite distinct from creating a subsidiary, as a merger between two corporations is more like a marriage, but the union of the two must have the approval of stockholders, as they have the right to accept or disapprove the merger. Setting up a subsidiary lacks this requirement, so the head of a corporation may act with more authority in such an acquisition and go ahead without shareholders’ approval.

In addition, not all subsidiaries are in the same business sector as the acquiring corporation. Therefore, the parent company may not want the subsidiary to be so openly connected to its own operations. For example, a corporation that makes shoes might acquire a subsidiary company that manufactures socks. While the products are not entirely unrelated, they represent different areas of manufacture and retail.

Taxes

Another practical reason for large corporations (especially those that operate in the multinational arena) to create subsidiaries is the possibility of tax advantages. A subsidiary created in another country might be legible for tax breaks not available to a parent company.

Limited Liability

Subsidiaries are separate legal entities to the parent, so the parent corporation’s assets have no obligation to pay or support any debt or obligations the subsidiary may create. The focus of this advantage is that by creating a subsidiary, the parent company may undertake more financially risky ventures in its name without placing further obligations or risking the reputation of the existing corporation. Later, if and when a claim is made against a subsidiary, the parent corporation has no liability.

Another advantage inherent in acquiring or creating subsidiaries is that it is easier in the future to sell off part of the company without having to close the entire business. It also offers an opportunity to enter into new ventures and pay management of the subsidiary on a scale based upon the venture’s performance.

Workplace Safety – Pallet Racks

Pallet racks have become a must-have necessity in most business storage facilities. The reason behind this is their effectiveness and capability of utilizing storage space available. Pallet racks also make taking inventory a simple procedure. There is no doubt that pallet racks play a significant role in the achievement of a business or a company’s overall objectives.

However, despite the benefits associated with using pallet racks. They must be handled carefully. This will help in avoiding injuries to the warehouse staff or damage to property stored.

In case accidents occur in your warehouse due to poor handling of the pallet racks. This can have adverse effects on your business. You could risk facing losses and lawsuits from employees injured in your warehouse.

Here are some tips on how you can safely use pallet racks.

1. Ensure There is Placement of Sufficient Safety Measures

Before you begin using the pallet racks, it is mandatory for you to have the right safety measures in place. This includes installation of shelf pins, pallet safeguard panels and a variety of safety equipment that will ensure minimal risk.

2. Train Your Workers

Don’t just assume that everyone who works in your warehouse knows how to use pallet racks. It is best if you take the time to take your employees through comprehensive training on how to use the pallet racks. More especially those who will be interacting with them regularly.

3. Ensure the Warehouse has Sufficient Lighting and Is Clean at All Times

Unfortunately, most warehouses are usually poorly lit and quite dirty. And these two are among the leading causes of accidents in warehouses. It is the responsibility of the owner to create enough lighting in the warehouse for easy visibility. You should also ensure it is always clean.

4. Proper Installation

Accidents can easily occur if the pallet racks are not installed by a professional. Some warehouse managers do make the mistake of ordering pallet racks and installing them all by themselves to save on costs. This is quite wrong, and installation should be done by a certified engineer.

5. The Loads Placed on The Pallet Racks should be Managed

Overstuffing of pallet racks can lead to accidents. It is advisable for staff working in the warehouse to observe the weight limit of pallet racks. The limit is usually given by the manufacturer. The staff should ensure that the loads are evenly placed on the racks while retaining sufficient space in between them. The loads should also be arranged in terms of sizes. The pallet racks should be placed in areas that are free from obstruction.

6. Conduct Regular Maintenance

Buying the pallet racks shouldn’t be the end of your storage solutions. To avoid accidents, you should schedule frequent inspections with an engineer who will look for faults and come up with ways on how to remedy them. In case any of your staff notices loose connections, they should immediately report the matter.

With these tips, you can be assured of maximum safety when using pallet racks in your warehouse. And since pallet racks do differ depending on the manufacturer, you should always go through the safety measures that are listed on the rack’s user manual.

The Best Small Business Ideas for Women

I’ve always believed the best small business is the one that you own. I also believe there isn’t a business conducted by a man, that can’t be run by a woman just as well. I mean that if you want to be a mechanic, you should be. Being a woman shouldn’t enter into the equation, as long as you are trained, certified, experienced or whatever is required that would make you good at what you do and providing you love what you do, you should do it.

Having said that, I will make some recommendations as to some businesses that are more likely to appeal to women than men in general.

Now I’m basically dealing with a small business you can start at home. Part-time or full time as you choose. Let’s look at the things you like to do first. If you don’t like what you do you won’t want to do it for any length of time, so it may be a waste of your time and energy. If you truly enjoy what you do you will do a better job and you won’t burn out so easily.

How about something like gift baskets. If you have an eye for appealing arrangements of gifts and supplies such as toiletries and scents, combined with candles and knick-knacks, candies or flowers, and can put one of these together in a short time for birthday, anniversary or whatever gift, this might be your business. Supplies can be found everywhere, like second hand stores, dollar stores, and import stores. Gift Baskets can be very lucrative. I know a lady who started in her garage, and in just a few years opened her own shop and grew to six employees, all of whom were working full time making a good living. The original business expanded to include Party and Event Planning.

Not your idea of the best business for you? How about something a little more risqué. Lingerie Parties. Lingerie Parties can be held in your home, even perhaps outside on your patio or lawn in the right situation. Hosting the party will let you use many of your talents, and if necessary models could be hired to display your lingerie. There are companies that will help you find and acquire lingerie, plan your parties and teach you what you need to know to pull it off. (Pun intended)

Do you like kids? Would you consider a daycare? If you have space and patience, parents everywhere are in need of a good daycare provider. Some areas require permits and are subject to inspections by local officials, but the number of people looking for someone to care for their children during their work schedule. Often times this may require overnight daycare to accommodate their late night or early morning schedules. That is a special niche in itself.

Do you play an instrument, or Are you good at art, or maybe knitting? How about sharing your knowledge with others, give lessons. Nowadays, you can even put together DVD sets teaching your craft and sell them online as downloadables, or ship copies.

Once your business is off the ground, you will need to look into marketing it. As a woman running a business, you are not likely to have a lot of time for this and might want to look into using a professional marketing firm for your marketing needs.

These are but a few suggestions. Pretty much all of these have been proven to be money makers. The key is you can make a business out of just about anything. I highly recommend doing something you love. Chances are if you work toward success, you’ll achieve it.