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Does Delegating Make You Anxious? You’re Not Alone

By Brenda Smyth

   Delegating is hard for many of us. We wait until we’re overwhelmed … and then we “dump” the mundane things that take the least explanation … or things that are already late. And in our haste, we give them to the nearest body, rather than stopping to really consider who has the right skills and experience—who needs a challenge. And then the fun starts. We worry. We hover. Or, some of us are too busy to hover, so we don’t check in at all, just hoping for the best.
   In a recent time management study, close to half of the 332 companies surveyed were concerned about their employees’ delegation skills. At the same time, only 28% of those companies offered any training on the topic.
It’s a simple handoff really. What makes it complicated?
Here’s a list of psychological barriers that keep managers from delegating:
1. I can do it better. Maybe you can. You’re the boss for a reason, after all. But, like motorcyclists who pop wheelies on the freeway, now is not a good time to show off. You have other more urgent projects that require your attention.Stress Meter
2. Lack of patience/time. You’re swamped, too busy to explain the nuances of the project to your employees. Take the time—scratch that, make time—to train your staff: It’s a long-term investment that pays seriously worthwhile dividends in the future. The more your team knows, and the more you learn to depend on them, the better, healthier and more productive the overall relationship.
3. Lack of confidence in your subordinates. You don’t trust your employees’ abilities, so you don’t assign them complex projects. It’s a vicious cycle—they’ll never have the ability if you don’t provide them with the opportunity to learn.
4. Insecurity. New managers often can’t resist the temptation to go back and micromanage their replacement. Give it up. Your old job isn’t part of your current purview.
5. Anxiety. Tackling all comers, you think, is a great way to prove yourself to upper management. On the contrary … delegating tasks is a great sign of maturity and confidence.
6. Fear of rejection. You worry underlings might resent you for slapping them with an extra assignment. If they’re worth keeping around, they should be eager to take on added responsibility and increase their visibility. In all likelihood, they’ll thank you for demonstrating confidence in their aptitude.
7. Feelings of inadequacy. What if, you wonder, the person to whom I assign the project outshines me?
8. Inflexibility. Old habits are hard to break. If you’ve done a particular job for a long time, you may not even consider the alternative of passing it on to someone else.
9. Occupational hobbies. “Pet” projects are a great way for managers to get sidetracked. They’re also a great way to throw away your limited time and energy.
Delegating is a must if you’re in management. Not only does it help employees develop new skills and confidence, but it frees up your time.
Will you be more comfortable doing it yourself? Probably. Can you do it faster? Undoubtedly. But with time, patience and good communication, employees will rise to the occasion.

Eat For Your Brain  

By Paula Spencer Scott

   What you eat is probably the No. 1 risk factor for Alzheimer's that you can easily affect.  We asked several doctors/experts to pick their 10 favorite nutritional weapons against cognitive mediocrity and decay.

  1. Extra-virgin olive oil.  Color doesn't matter, but look for one with a grassy and peppery, never greasy, taste.  Skip canola, corn, vegetable, grape seed and peanut oils.
  2. Avocado.  Since they have the highest total fat-protecting capacity of any fruit or veggie, eat half an avocado or more per day, in salads, eggs and even smoothies.
  3. Blueberries.  Their protective compounds, called anthocyanins, can cross the blood-brain barrier, directly reaching the brain's memory center.  Frozen is A-OK!Dark Chocolate
  4. Dark chocolate.  Get your protective flavanols in bars with more than 80% cacao content that haven't been "processed by   alkali" (Dutch processing).
  5. Eggs.  Four words; "Eat the yolks, folks!"
  6. Grass-fed beef.  Meat delivers essential minerals, vitamins and omega-3 fats the brain needs - but most cows not pasture-raised are fed too many antibiotics and crud.
  7. Dark leafy greens.  Eat one "fatty salad" a day: organic dark leafy greens (kale, arugula, spinach) doused with extra-virgin olive oil.
  8. Broccoli.  The whole cruciferous family (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, arugula, bok choy, kale) contains sulforaphane, a compound that helps mop up damaging oxidative stress.
  9. Wild salmon.  It's low in mercury, high in protective EPA and DHA omega-3 fats.
  10. Almonds.  Ideally, eat them raw or "dry" roasted, not oil-roasted.

Could You Be a Better Boss?

   Every year Gallup Polls show that roughly 50%-60% of all employed Americans are completely satisfied with their bosses. These same polls show that just 30% of all employees are actively engaged at work. Managers, you have a job to do! But first, a little self-evaluation.
   As the boss, you know there are a lot of things you can’t change about the work that needs to be done — demanding customers, tight schedules, evolving projects, etc. And you absolutely can’t please everyone all of the time. But it’s a fact that unengaged workers don’t produce. It’s also a fact that competition for great employees is tight, and usually when an employee leaves a company, it’s because of his or her manager.
What are the traits of a good manager? The qualities of a bad boss? Are you making some mistakes that could drive employees away?
Do you communicate well and regularly? Employees want clear directions. They need to know what’s going on and what’s expected of them. Without this, employees don’t understand individual, team or company goals. They lack  direction and won’t get to experience success (since they don’t know what it looks like).
Do you make decisions promptly? Get input. Consider options and assess. Then, make a decision.
Do you micromanage? Trust the employees you’ve chosen. Give employees some freedom to solve problems and make choices. Without this ability, you’re the bottleneck that slows progress and eventually your team becomes     unable to make decisions independently.
Do you walk the walk? If work hours are from 8:30 to 5, be there. Your team needs to see your commitment and willingness to get in the trenches. And do get in the trenches to experience things from your employees’ perspective.Time to Listen
Do you play favorites? All employees should see fair treatment based on their work accomplishments. Your         personality likes and dislikes shouldn’t be a factor.
Do you flaunt your success? Don’t put your extravagant vacation, your brand-new car, or your $300 shoes on       display. Your team has a lot to do with your success, and if your earnings are significantly higher than theirs, displaying these splurges might cause resentment.
Do you make an effort to connect personally? Take time from your busy day to get to know your employees — both on a personal level and to find out how things are going on projects, answer questions, etc.  Different generations of workers may require different approaches.
Are you negative? Do you allow negative behavior? Employees want bosses who take the high road, who don’t gossip. Set the example for the culture you want.
Do you show appreciation or recognition? Let employees know when they do something well — as often as       possible.
Do you follow through? An employee delivers a completed project, an idea, a suggestion, and then nothing happens. Show respect and credibility by following up with the employee and following through as promised.
Do you listen well? Stop what you’re doing and really practice good       listening techniques. Ask questions to help fully understand what your    employees are saying. If the timing for the conversation is bad, suggest   another time to talk.
Do you procrastinate? Progress takes good self-management and           organization skills. Your procrastination can lead to tight deadlines, long days, and frustrated employees.
Do you train well? Spend time onboarding new employees and bringing existing employees up to speed on new procedures and projects. This will clear the way to better understanding and outcomes.
Do you give feedback? Constructive feedback is vital to employee growth.
If you find yourself lacking in a couple areas, change your management style. Being the boss is a challenge. Being a GREAT boss takes consistent self-evaluation and fine-tuning. In the wake of an extended period of layoffs, trust is low among employees, and a manager’s job difficult. Employees just want the truth. Keep your team happier, make them more productive, and  encourage them to stick around longer. Review and strengthen your management skills. You’ll attract great employees and, ultimately, make your job easier.

ON TREND: 9 TOP VOLUNTARY BENEFITS FOR 2018

By Nick Park

   A historically low unemployment rate is igniting fierce competition for talent across the county.  Employers are offering good pay and even better health and welfare benefits to attract and retain the best talent.  But an increasingly diverse workforce that spans multiple generations, from baby boomers to Generation Z, means that employers need to offer a range of voluntary benefits that appeal to many different types of employees.
   Here are the top voluntary benefits trends that will continue to take hold in 2018.
Long term care  Changes in Medicaid and Medicare, along with the rising cost of health care, mean that voluntary long-term care benefits are seeing a resurgence.  Long-term care coverage helps to pay for care of people with chronic illness, disabilities and other conditions over an extended period of time.  The coverage helps prevent raid    depletion of life savings and lessens the pressure on family members to provide care.
Student loan assistance benefits  Student loan debt repayment assistance is a huge topic for millenials saddled with  student loan debt.  It's one of the leading financial wellness opportunities for attracting and retaining top talent.  Yet only 4% of all employers offer any kind of student loan benefit.  2018 will see an increase in employers offering this unique voluntary benefit, and in new players that provide tuition reimbursement programs entering the market.
Personal financial planning  Financial wellness has become a pressing issue for employees, which means it should also concern employers.  One-third of employees say financial issues are a distraction at work.  Personal financial planning is an appealing voluntary benefit that can serve multiple generations: Gen Z and millennials who are trying to pay down student loan and credit card debt, and trying to plan for buying a house or starting a family, and Gen X and baby boomers who are trying to pay for their kids' college education or planning to retire.
Identity theft  It seems like there's another data breach that affects consumers every week, which is why identity theft protection voluntary benefits are gaining popularity.  Monitoring and services that employees can use to notify banks, freeze accounts and navigate the waters of identity theft not only provide peace of mind, they can also contribute to productivity.  Employees could spend tens of hours uncovering stolen data and taking measures to protect themselves from further damage.  Demand for this voluntary benefit will increase right along with the growing number of data breaches.
Supplemental health care options  Having a heart attach, landing in the hospital for a week because of pneumonia, or a child's broken bone that requires surgery can trigger high out-of-pocket expenses.  Supplemental voluntary health care options, such as medical bridge/hospital confinement, accident or critical illness insurance provide direct         payments to employees who are hospitalized, have an accident, or become critically ill.  Payments can be used for insurance deductibles, unexpected expenses not covered by health insurance, medical equipment, home health care and even non-medical expenses.   These voluntary benefits are popular with older employees, those with kids, or even employees planning to have a baby.
Voluntary pet insurance  Americans spend nearly $70 billion on their pets, with nearly a quarter of that amount devoted to veterinary care.  But only 1-2% of the nation's 90 million dogs and 94 million cats are insured.  Providing insurance  coverage that protects Fido and Whiskers against accidents and illness is a growing trend in veterinary medicine, and with basic voluntary plans that start around $20, we'll see more carriers enter the market in 2018.Fitness Wearable
Pre-paid legal  Sooner or later, most people need the services of an attorney.  Pre-paid legal plans provide convenient, affordable and reliable legal consultation with a licensed attorney.  Through pre-paid legal plans, employees can     create wills and trusts or have access to an attorney to discuss common legal issues, such as document and contract reviews, landlord-tenant disputes and traffic violations.  The voluntary benefit could be useful for a wide range of       employees, and could help to reduce stress of your workforce.
Discount purchase programs for fitness wearables  As long as 10,000 step challenges     remain a big part of health and wellness programs, so will the wearables that help         employees track their physical activity.  Providing discount programs for fitness trackers and smart watches encourages employees to get moving and participate in health and wellness programs.  It also removes some of the financial impediments to participating in worksite fitness.  Employers can work directly with manufacturers to get discounted rates or work with an employee discount provider to offer a number of products.
Educational training and access  Thanks to technology, many industries are changing faster than employees can keep up.  Providing professional development, education and training opportunities is good for both the employer and employees.  Traditional             accredited education benefits, such as tuition reimbursement, remain popular.  And now, there are more and more non-traditional/non-accredited education benefits on topics such as coding, blockchain, advanced management and project management training.
   Implementing some of these voluntary benefits can help to set apart your company from competitors in 2018 and  assist you in building a diverse workforce.


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