Monthly Archives: October 2018

Never Give Up!

Those who set themselves goals can sometimes lose, but mostly get ahead further—especially those who don’t let themselves be discouraged by setbacks. I have experienced this myself.

Written by Jens Kügler

What a summer last year!–Sunshine almost every day. I always put my netbook into my backpack at noon, took my racing bike (I love the speed buzz!) and rode with up to 40 km/h to the lakes around the city, the wind in my ears, my head “washed free”—and after about an hour of riding with new, fresh ideas I continued my work with my notebook there. At the lake, under the sunny sky, with the Alp’s massifs in the distance. You can’t work a better way.

Now, in the cold season of the year, I go jogging for an hour at noon and then take a shower and start working again in my home office or for a creative change of scenery in the cosy Wifi-café next door. In autumn and winter, the nearby historic baroque palace park of Nymphenburg offers an enchanting setting for jogging. As the colourful leaves fall, the ideas grow in all their bright colors.

Why do I love my racing bike and jogging so much? It divides my working day into two clear halves. It gives me the opportunity to physically feel myself—important as a “fresh breeze”. Important as an urgent need of change in path. And for new, fresh and free thoughts. Last but not least: good for body awareness and self-confidence.

Everyone who loves his job has such a “racing bike”. In other words, something that gives him motivation boosts and loosens up his daily work, whether it’s something sporting or virtual. I’m convinced of that. But that also brings me to the subject of setbacks. They can also be directly linked to the individual motivator.

Exactly one year ago, a slipped disc forced me into hospital and under the surgical knife. Lumbar vertebrae: no strength and no feeling in my right leg anymore! The operation was successful—but until Christmas I walked on crutches. After that: rehabilitation, slow strengthening of the leg, gradual “back to training”, far away, far away from my usual performances.

Now one could have thought: I was frustrated because at first there was so little going on and I needed a feeling of insanity patience with my weakness and crutches. But the opposite was the case. I had a clear goal. In summer I wanted to cycle again as usual. Every little step forward motivated me immensely! Eventually, I spent again such a dream summer with racing bike, notebook, sunny skies, lake and mountain views!

In short: Setbacks must not force us to give up. As the saying goes: If you give up, you surrender. If you don’t give up, you’ll never be beaten. Recently I read an interview with a former top athlete who is now very successful in his new profession. He was asked if he saw a parallel between power of endurance at work and in sport. His answer: Yes, because if you set yourself big goals, you have to be prepared to go the “extra mile”, as he said. And you shall not to be held back by challenges or setbacks. Only in this way will he win in the end.

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Quit In A Most Amicable Spirit.

Is that possible: to dismiss an employee—and he says thank you? Of course not. That would be a scene for a satire program. But what works is that he leaves and says goodbye with a handshake and a reasonably well feeling—according to the circumstances.

Written by Jens Kügler

For an employee with my abilities and my quality there is currently no vacancy in this company, said the boss to me. He explained the current tasks to me in a credible way, based on the actual customer structure and order situation. As soon as this changed, he would immediately call me again. He did indeed—but by that time I had long since found a job in another company which he had predicted and recommended to me.

I left the executive office with my head held high. A colleague of mine was even referred to his new company by his former boss. Sure it can’t always work that way. But how do you sign someone off without humiliating him? How, so that the dismissed person doesn’t hold a grudge against the company, start bad word-of-mouth propaganda and dispraise the employer on social networks?

The basic rule is: the (euphemistically) so-called golden handshake must take place in a dignified environment and in a respectful manner. Everything else causes humiliation. It reaps frustration and possibly a storm of indignation among colleagues, in the industry or on the Internet. Any manager is a wrong choice in his position who does not master the respectful treatment and crisis management, even in the interpersonal area.

But let’s immediately put ourselves in the most difficult position that a dismisser can take on: the role of one who acts on the instructions of another. For example, that of a head of department who, instead of his boss, announces the dismissals. He acts only on behalf of the company. Any private opinion like “I’m on your side, my friend. You know the way they deal with us here” is absolutely not appropriate here.

The person concerned must know why the decision against him was made. Are there any operational reasons? It needs to be explained as in the example above. Is it because of dissatisfaction with the performance? Then it’s time to tell what improvement potential the dismissed employee has—maybe to give him a second chance after all. Or as an improvement hint for his future career. It is also clear that, in case of dissatisfaction, at least one warning must have preceded the notice of termination.

Very important: never let it leak or wait until “it’s all over town”! Means: The boss or department leader must ensure that the employee has not learned about his dismissal in advance from others. A bad, but frequently occurring example from professional soccer are coaches who learn about their dismissal from the newspapers. Everyone can imagine how someone feels when this happens.

The manager should prepare himself in detail for the dismissal interview. He must be able to answer all conceivable questions right off the bat. For example, how many days of holiday the dismissed person has still to take. Or whether he receives a severance pay. And if so, how much.

Despite to all preparation and all friendliness: it can happen that the dismissed person responds to the manager with anger, or even yells at him. A second person in the dismissal interview, such as a team leader or executive assistant, can calm down, support and mediate. Experience has shown that these soft skills are more mastered by women than by men.

Last but not least: observe the notice periods! Sounds banal, but must be mentioned. If you do not take this into account, you risk legal dispute. By the way: It is already perceived as humiliating when the notice of termination is given on the last possible day before the end of the notice period. According to the motto: you shall not receive another month’s salary! Unfortunately, I have experienced this, too. You can imagine what emotions this leaves behind. You won’t forget that for the rest of your life. So don’t let your employees feel like those of Mr. Trump who’ve simply heard “you are fired”!

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