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7 Ways IT Leaders Build Great Employee Morale

Every manager or business owner should strive to create an environment of high employee morale. Having employees that are happy at work is not only important because your employees are people and deserve happiness, but because low morale impacts your business in fairly significant ways. Employees who have a low feeling of job satisfaction are not as productive as happy employees. They may not be as polite as you’d like them to be as they interact with users inside and outside the IT organization.

If you are noticing a general gloom around the office, or want to avoid low employee morale before it becomes noticeable, there a few simple steps you can take that will make your employees happy to come to work. In this post, we’ll look at 7 of the best ways to improve employee morale in your department.

Buy Breakfast or Lunch Every So Often

This doesn’t need to be an everyday thing, but surprising your employees with breakfast or lunch every so often lets them know that you are thinking about them. A big part of low employee morale is when an employee feels underappreciated. Gestures such as a free breakfast or lunch every now again lets them know that you think of them as more than number on a payroll sheet or slaves to your bottom line.

These purchases also needn’t be expensive, a simple bagel in the morning or sandwich at lunch serves the same purpose. Indeed, the goal here is just to let the employee know that you are thinking of them, not to buy their loyalty.

Discuss Problems in Private

One of the most demoralizing things you can have happened to you is to be berated by your boss in front of your coworkers. Even if you think you are being tactful, calling out an employee’s poor behavior with others around to hear it is going to needlessly hit their self-esteem and ruin their day. This is especially true because there may be personal reasons that the employee is having an off day. Calling them out in public forces them to either bury these feelings deeper, and grow resentment of you in the process, or to air their problems publicly.

Even in private, you should show more compassion than simply talking down to the employee. When there is a problem, let the employee know that you are on their side and that you want to help address the problem.

Take a Personal Interest in Your Employees

Part of what makes work so dreary is that it takes you away from the things that you’d rather be doing. Your employees may have to leave their family and hobbies behind to come to work, but that doesn’t mean they have to forget about those things. By showing an interest in the things outside of work that motivate your employees, you allow them to bring a little bit of that into the workplace.

This is a fairly small gesture but can go a long way in easing the discomfort people have about having to put those things aside and come to work instead. It allows them to showcase a part of their personality and their life that they normally have to forget about at work. This is especially true of employees that are more isolated from coworkers that they may otherwise have these types of conversations with.

Spend Time with Employees Outside the Office

This doesn’t mean that you need to become their best friend. However, spending time with your employees outside of the office occasionally helps them to see you as a leader that they’ll be glad to follow rather than just that person at work that bosses them around. This time outside the office can come in a variety of ways. It could be something as casual as inviting everyone out to coffee or drinks after work one day. Perhaps if that feels too informal for you, you can have a department picnic, party, or activity day. These are great opportunities to get to know your employees outside of work and double as great team-building exercises.

Have an Open Door Policy

We talked a bit about how personal problems may have an impact on an employee’s ability to do their job effectively. While addressing the performance issues that arise from those problems behind closed doors saves the self-esteem of the employee, it is also a bit late to find out about these problems. By letting your employees know that they can come to you with personal problems that may impact their job performance, you are giving yourself a heads up on issues that may arise, creating the opportunity to help the employee and avoid those problems arising in the first place, and building employee morale by letting them know that you care about the issues that are affecting them.

Have Regular “One-On-Ones”

Often, employees do not feel comfortable coming to their boss with problems that they may have at the workplace. This is most often because the boss does not create an environment where they feel welcome to do so. By regularly taking the time to pull your employees aside and give them the opportunity to express their concerns about issues, you are creating an environment where they do not feel the need to hold in their problems and let resentment build.

Get Back to Them on Concerns

This tip builds on the last one. When an employee comes to you with a problem, they are entrusting you to advocate on their behalf. Not every problem is something that you can help them with. In fact, not every concern will even be reasonable. Even in the worst-case scenario, the employee needs to know that you made an honest attempt to understand their point of view and to resolve the issue for them. This means that if you say that you will investigate something, you need to actually do so and then follow up with the employee. This way, even if you do not actually solve their problem, they know that they were heard and respected to raise employee morale.

Learn More About Building Great Employee Morale 

Zeriva analyzes networks and recommends hardware and maintenance solutions that boost performance and saves money and time. Contact us to see how we can help you and your company save time and money on your next IT project.

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Does It Matter Where You Sit During a Meeting? It Sure Does!

Does It Matter Where You Sit During a Meeting? It Sure Does!

IT employees are small in number, but their work has a significant impact on their organization. The decisions you and your team make during meetings will affect your entire company. You can control how much say you have at your staff gatherings by simply choosing the right seat in the room.

First, you need to decide what you want your role to be at these meetings. Do you want to influence your boss, or do you want to go unnoticed? Are you looking to be vocal, or is your goal to gain standing without having to say much? You can decide to focus on one angle for all of your company meetings, or you can alternate roles from one meeting to the next.

To play your cards right, you need to understand how the seating works and how choosing the right seat can have a positive effect on your boss’s attitude towards you:

The Head of the Table

The head of the table always belongs to the boss or whoever is leading the meeting. At times, your department head might decide to stand during a meeting or sit somewhere in the middle of the table. However, it’s still not a good idea to take the seat at the head. It will make you look like someone desperate for power, and your supervisor will subconsciously view it as a challenge to their authority.

The Seat Next to Your Boss

If you want to influence a meeting and have a say on major decisions, the best place to sit is right next to the head. When you’re within someone’s reach, they automatically notice and pay attention to you. Without being too vocal, they will take your opinions into consideration.

However, this seat shouldn’t be taken too lightly either. If you mess up and say something your boss doesn’t like, that will have more meaning to your manager as well. If you choose to sit next to your boss, be sure to prepare for the responsibility that comes along with it.

Should You Sit to the Left or the Right of Your Boss?

Believe it or not, it makes a difference on which side of your supervisor you choose to sit. Joan Raymond, former teacher, principal, and superintendent, says, “One study found that teachers kind of ignore students who sit to their right, and students who sit to the left generally perform better and are called on more. The same holds true in business: Research shows more deals are made when you sit to the left of a potential client.”

Before the meeting, think about how much of the team leader’s attention you want. If you’re looking for a lot of say, sit to the left of the head. If you want your opinion to count but don’t want to overdo it, choose the seat to their right.

The Power Seat

One of the choicest spots in the room is the seat where everyone who walks into the room makes eye contact with you. The position is different in every conference room – depending on the location of the door and where the table is situated. Once people notice you at the beginning of the meeting, you will automatically be on their mind, and when you speak up, there’s a better chance of them paying attention to what you have to say.

Sitting Directly Opposite Your Boss

The contrarian in the room usually sits directly across from the team leader. It’s a perfect spot for the person who doesn’t always agree with how the group operates and wants change. That doesn’t mean that you should never sit there, but it does mean that your manager will be looking directly at you for a large portion of the meeting.

You should choose to sit at the other head of the table if you:

  • Feel that it’s a suitable time to speak up about some of your team’s methods and opinions
  • Have opposing views that you think your boss will be receptive to
  • Want to gain favor by taking the seat and being agreeable with what your manager has to say

If you’re there to make your boss feel good, you will be noticed and will have an easy time accomplishing your goal. If you’re there in opposition, be prepared to support your positions because, in all likelihood, they will be taken seriously.

Sitting in Middle of the Table

If you want to coast through a meeting without being too involved, you’re best off choosing a seat somewhere in the middle. Some people sit in the middle because they’re having a rough day, and they don’t want to say much, while others sit there because they’re more or less happy with what’s going on in the company, and they trust their team’s decisions.

The problem with the middle is that if you do decide that you want to be heard at some point, it won’t be easy. You will have to be vocal and express your thoughts clearly. Also, try to lean in, raise your hand, and make eye contact with your boss before you speak. Otherwise, whatever you say might end up being an afterthought in everyone’s mind.

Choosing Who to Sit Next To

Who you sit next to is almost as important as where you sit. Your supervisor and the others in the room will associate you with the people to your left and right. If you sit next to a rabble-rouser, it will have a negative impact on how others view you, and vice versa.

The beauty of this concept is that you can, at times, gain standing with your team by association. If you come to a meeting and you’re not in the mood of participating, sit next to the person everyone respects most, and nod and smile when they speak their mind. The others will perceive you as the popular person’s sidekick and will respect you even if you’re pretty much quiet for the duration of the meeting.

Learn More About Where You Should Sit During a Meeting

Choosing the right seat might not seem like a big deal at first, but when you think about it, it could make a difference in your career and your colleagues’ perception of you. It’s worth it for you to analyze who attends your meetings, their personalities, where they usually sit, and how you can use the seating arrangement to your advantage.

Check out our IT Help page at https://www.zeriva.com/it-tips/ for more useful tips and information for IT managers and professionals.

Zeriva analyzes networks and recommends hardware and maintenance solutions that boost performance and saves money and time. Contact us to see how we can help you and your company save time and money on your next IT project.

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Dell PowerEdge R730 and R730xd Overview

Dell PowerEdge R730 and R730xd Overview

 

The Dell PE R730 and R730xd is general purpose 2U, Dual Socket server platform.  Memory can be expanded up to 768GB.  This platform is intended for heavy workloads like those used in data warehouses, e-commerce, virtual desktop infrastructure, database applications and associated high performance computing applications.

Highest Possible Performance Delivered by:

–     The E5-2600 v3 Intel Xeon processor family

–     DDR4 Memory

–     Up to (16) 12Gb/s SAS Disk Drives

–     Dual RAID

–     Advanced Accelerators and GPU’s for heavy computing

–     (7) PCI Express (PCIe) 3.0 expansion slots

–     Management tools: iDRAC

–     User control of power and cooling

–     OpenManage for anytime mobile access

–     NextGen PERC

–     Hypervisor failover ensure uptime

–     NextGen Flash Drives ready

–     4 x 1GbE, 2 x 10+2GbE, 4 x 10GbE NDC Embedded NICs

–     Up to 1100W Dual Power Supplies

–     Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2012R, Novell SUSE, Red Hat and VMware ESX compatible

Supported Processors

Model Speed Cache QPI Max memory speed Cores/ Threads Turbo TDP
E5-2699 v3 2.3GHz 45M 9.6GT/s 2133 18/36 Turbo 145W
E5-2698 v3 2.3GHz 40M 9.6GT/s 2133 16/32 Turbo 135W
E5-2697 v3 2.6GHz 35M 9.6GT/s 2133 14/28 Turbo 145W
E5-2695 v3 2.3GHz 35M 9.6GT/s 2133 14/28 Turbo 120W
E5-2690 v3 2.6GHz 30M 9.6GT/s 2133 24-Dec Turbo 135W
E5-2683 v3 2.0GHz 35M 9.6GT/s 2133 14/28 Turbo 120W
E5-2680 v3 2.5GHz 30M 9.6GT/s 2133 24-Dec Turbo 120W
E5-2670 v3 2.3GHz 30M 9.6GT/s 2133 24-Dec Turbo 120W
E5-2660 v3 2.6GHz 25M 9.6GT/s 2133 20-Oct Turbo 105W
E5-2650 v3 2.3GHz 25M 9.6GT/s 2133 20-Oct Turbo 105W
E5-2640 v3 2.6GHz 20M 8.0GT/s 1866 16-Aug Turbo 90W
E5-2630 v3 2.4GHz 20M 8.0GT/s 1866 16-Aug Turbo 85W
E5-2620 v3 2.4GHz 15M 8.0GT/s 1866 12-Jun Turbo 85W
E5-2609 v3 1.9GHz 15M 4.0GT/s 1600 6-Jun NA 85W
E5-2603 v3 1.6GHz 15M 4.0GT/s 1600 6-Jun NA 85W
E5-2687W v3* 3.1GHz 25M 9.6GT/s 1866 20-Oct Turbo 160W
E5-2650L v3 1.8GHz 30M 9.6GT/s 2133 24-Dec Turbo 65W
E5-2630L v3 1.8GHz 20M 8.0GT/s 1866 16-Aug Turbo 55W
E5-2667 v3 3.2GHz 20M 9.6GT/s 2133 16-Aug Turbo 135W
E5-2643 v3 3.4GHz 20M 9.6GT/s 2133 12-Jun Turbo 135W
E5-2637 v3 3.5GHz 15M 9.6GT/s 2133 8-Apr Turbo 135W
E5-2623 v3 3.0GHz 10M 8.0GT/s 1866 8-Apr Turbo 105W

 

 

Memory DIMMs Supported

DIMM capacity DIMM speed DIMM type Ranks per DIMM Data width SDDC support Voltage
4 2133 RDIMM 1 x 8 Advanced ECC 1.2
8 2133 RDIMM 2 x 8 Advanced ECC 1.2
16 2133 RDIMM 2 x 4 All modes 1.2
32 2133 LRDIMM 4 x 4 All modes 1.2

Populations and Operating Frequencies

 

Type Populated per Channel Freq (MT/S) Max Ranks per Chan
RDIMM 1 2133,1866,1600, 1333 Dual or Single
2 2133,1866,1600, 1333 Dual or Single
3 1866,1600,1333 Dual or Single
LRDIMM 1 2133,1866,1600, 1333 Quad
2 2133,1866,1600, 1333 Quad
3 1866,1600,1333 Quad

Memory DIMM Population Notes

–     DIMM speeds can be mixed with the understanding that all processors will operate at the slowest DIMM’s common frequency

–     Only one DIMM type is allowed per system: RDIMM or LRDIMM

–     x4 and x8 data widths can be mixed

–     DIMMs with different capacities can be mixed

o   Largest capacity DIMM must be placed first

o   Max of two different capacity DIMMs is allowed per system

Supported GPU’s

Intel Xeon Phi™ 5110P coprocessor

Intel Xeon Phi 7120P coprocessor

Intel Xeon Phi 3120P coprocessor

NVIDIA K40

NVIDIA M20

NVIDIA K10

NVIDIA GRID™ K1

NVIDIA GRID K2

AMD S7000 FirePro

AMD S9050 FirePro

Zeriva welcomes the opportunity to work with your organization to map out a customized plan to save time and money on the server hardware you need.

*Information summarized from the Dell R730 and R730xd Technical Guide.  Zeriva is an independent reseller of IT Hardware and is not affiliated with Dell in any wa

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Cisco 3850 Family of Switches Overview

Cisco 3850 Family of Switches Overview

 

The Cisco 3850 family consists of a variety of Ethernet switches that can connect to Phones, Wireless Access Points, end user computer and workstations and devices on your network like other switches, routers and servers.

Nine 3850 switches can be stacked together and operated as a single switch with 480Gbps of bandwidth.  Optional shared power within the stack provides for maximum redundancy in the event of a power supply failure.

Key Features:

  • Integrated wireless controller capability with:

o    Up to 40G of wireless capacity per switch (48-port RJ45 models)

o    Support for up to 100 access points and 2000 wireless clients on each switching entity (switch or stack)

  • 24 and 48 10/100/1000Mbps data PoE+ and Cisco UPOE models with Energy-Efficient Ethernet (EEE)
  • 24 and 48 100Mbps/1/2.5/5/10 Gbps Cisco UPOE models with Energy-Efficient Ethernet (EEE)
  • 12- and 24-port 1 Gigabit Ethernet SFP-based models
  • 12- and 24-port 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+-based models
  • 48-port 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ model with 4 fixed 40 Gigabit Ethernet QSFP+ uplinks
  • Cisco StackWise-480 technology provides scalability and resiliency with 480 Gbps of stack throughput
  • Cisco StackPower® technology provides power stacking among stack members for power redundancy1
  • Five optional uplink modules with 4 x Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 4 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 8 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet4, or 2 x 40 Gigabit Ethernet QSFP+ports
  • Dual redundant, modular power supplies and three modular fans providing redundancy
  • Full IEEE 802.3at (PoE+) with 30W power on all copper ports in 1 Rack Unit (RU) form factor
  • Cisco UPOE with 60W power per port in 1 Rack Unit (RU) form factor
  • IEEE 802.3bz (2.5/5 G/s BASE-T) to go beyond 1 Gb/s with existing Cat5e and Cat6
  • IEEE 802.1ba AV Bridging (AVB) built-in to provide better AV experience for including improved time synchronization and QoS
  • Software support for IPv4 and IPv6 routing, multicast routing, modular Quality of Service (QoS), Flexible NetFlow (FNF), and enhanced security features
  • Support for AES-256 with the powerful MACSEC 256-bit for SFP+ and Multigigabit models and 128-bit encryption algorithm available on all models

Additional Features:

–     Virtualization, automation and critical analytics to provide information for ever changing business demands.

–     Supports full IEEE 802.3at Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+), Cisco Universal Power Over Ethernet (Cisco UPOE®), modular and field-replaceable network modules which allows you to upgrade uplink bandwidth as your needs grow, RJ-45 and fiber-based downlink interfaces, and redundant fans and power supplies that help ensure maximum uptime.

–     Single software image for both wired and wireless applications

–     Up to 40Gb/s of wireless throughput per 48 port switch scaling up as switches are added to the stack

Options:

Network modules for the Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series

 

C3850-NM-4-1G 4 x Gigabit Ethernet network module spare
C3850-NM-2-10G 4 x Gigabit Ethernet/2 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet network module spare
C3850-NM-4-10G 4 x Gigabit Ethernet/4 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet network module spare
C3850-NM-8-10G 8 x Gigabit Ethernet/8 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet network module spare
C3850-NM-2-40G 2 x 40 Gigabit Ethernet network module spare
Power supplies for the Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series
PWR-C1-350WAC 350WAC power supply spare
PWR-C1-715WAC 715WAC power supply spare
PWR-C1-1100WAC 1100WAC power supply spare
PWR-C1-440WDC 440WDC power supply spare
PWR-C3-750WAC-R 750WAC power supply spare front-to-back airflow for 48XS
PWR-C3-750WAC-F 750WAC power supply spare back-to-front airflow for 48XS
PWR-C3-750WDC-R 750WDC power supply spare front-to-back airflow for 48XS

Zeriva always supplies all Rack Kits, Stack, Power Stack, Console and Power Cables on all switches ordered.

Zeriva welcomes the opportunity to work with your organization to map out a customized plan to save time and money on the networking hardware you need.

*Information summarized from the Cisco 3850 Datasheet and 3850 Switch Hardware Installation Guide.  Zeriva is an independent reseller of IT Hardware and is not affiliated with Cisco systems in any way.

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10 Ways to Reward Your IT Employees When Raises Aren’t an Option

IT departments are the lifeblood of the companies and organization that employ them. In today’s environment, when a business’s technology isn’t managed and maintained correctly, it has a significant impact on their ability to operate.

If you manage an IT department, you understand the importance of showing your employees that you appreciate their work. It gives them the motivation to maintain high-performance levels. Unfortunately, it’s not always within your power to give your staff members an increase in salary. Sometimes because the budget doesn’t allow it, and others because IT departments are relatively small and tend to fly under upper management’s radar.

Alternative Motivation Methods

As a manager, it’s your job to improvise under such circumstances. As the head of a group of IT workers, who play such an important role in your company, it’s up to you to make sure that they feel good about what they’re doing. The following are ten forms of motivation you can use to keep your performing employees motivated when raises aren’t an option:

  1. Flexible Hours

More than ever, people are concerned with their family and personal lives. Give your personnel the option to choose which hours they work. The flexibility will give them the ability to juggle the other aspects of their daily routine that are meaningful to them.

  1. Work from Home

You can allow staff to spend at least some of their week working from home. It doesn’t even have to be full days. In many cases, allowing them to work at home and come to work late or to leave early, will help them avoid traffic, which could be a big deal for them depending on where they live.

  1. Recognition

Money isn’t everything. Your employees are human and have feelings. Showing appreciation through recognition means a lot to them. While there are many ways of recognizing exemplary performance publicly, the following are some of the more popular methods that companies use:

  • Create an employee of the month program. The winner can get a placard for their car, a plaque on the wall, or a dedicated spot in the parking lot.
  • Even without a system in place, you can give an honorable mention to all employees who perform above a point that you consider average.
  • Host a lunch for your department only and thank them for their hard work. You can do it at the company cafeteria, or if there’s room in your budget, you can take them out to eat.

These are methods you can use to take care of an individual, a group, or your department as a whole.

  1. Promotions

Even without an increase in pay, giving someone a new title makes them feel important and appreciated. You can create several titles within the same pay scale, or you can add the word “senior” or other words that indicate advancement to their current title.

  1. Additional Paid Time Off

It’s relatively common for companies to reward hard work with extra off days. It encourages workers to continue to do a good job for you. It also allow them to relax and take care of themselves. Employees can get caught up in their work to the point where they stress themselves out, which hurts their performance. Giving them some “me time” will help them function better when they get back to their work.

  1. Visibility With Executives

Bring staff members who you feel can use a boost in morale to executive meetings. Introduce them to the heads of your company and say a few words about them and what a great job they’re doing so the others in the room could applaud. You can do this with an individual employee, or you can bring in several at a time.

  1. Employee Road Map

Create a metric system that rewards personnel based on their performance. Show it to your employees so they understand where their hard work will get them. The reward could be as simple as an honorable mention, which will create competition among your staff, or you could reward them financially. Either way, they’ll know that their performance and hard work will pay off.

  1. Perks

You can offer your workers free membership to airline clubs, the local gym, or to any other associations that they would appreciate. Find out what piques their interest and invest some time into researching organizations that they might enjoy. The cost is minimal compared to the appreciation they will feel. It also gives them bragging rights and a sense of pride for the company. People like to show off their company perks to their friends and family.

  1. Stipends and Allowances

There are several reasons why companies don’t give their employees a raise:

  • They can’t afford to
  • Have some funds to allocate towards raises, but not a significant amount, and they feel like their staff won’t appreciate if they offer so little.
  • Have the money, but they don’t know if they’ll be able to sustain the salary increases in the future.

Instead of a raise, you can offer a yearly bonus. Be clear that there’s no guarantee that there will be future bonuses. Alternatively, you could offer allowances or stipend. Telling an employee that their getting a $600 raise might make you look cheap. Offering them a $50 a month transportation stipend or cell phone allowance makes you look generous.

  1. Simple Acknowledgement

Always remember that you don’t have to do anything creative to reward your employees for their work. Smile at them when you see them and tell them how much you appreciate what they’re doing for you. Talk is cheap, but it’s also very effective.

Find More Ways to Reward Your IT Employees

As a department head or a manager, part of your job is to get creative when there’s a deficiency. If there isn’t enough money in your budget to give your employees a raise, remember that there are other ways to reward them. However you do it, they will see that you appreciate them and they’ll be happier to produce for you.

For more ideas on saving time and money in your IT department, read more here.

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6 Ways Great IT leaders Get Over Their Mistakes

6 Ways Great IT leaders Get Over Their Mistakes

Employee working with headset in office callcenter

It’s Tuesday afternoon. Since yesterday, your suspicion has grown into a certainty. You’re dealing with a major mess. People are complaining about a serious problem in IT. They can’t get work done. Your staff tells you they know about the situation, but they don’t have any way to fix it. Another suspicion is rapidly growing in your mind: you screwed up. You have to fix some bad decisions. You’re thinking that everyone is going to blame you, and your career is in ruins.

Don’t despair. If you handle the crisis properly, you can not only avoid damage but end up in better shape than ever. There’s no such thing as a manager who never messes up, but managers who deal well with their mistakes are a valuable asset. Follow this six-step plan, and you’ll earn a net gain in trust.

  1. Own Your Mistakes Completely

When things are going wrong, your natural impulse is to think of ways it was someone else’s fault. No doubt other people could have done things better, but shifting the blame won’t fix the problem. Even if your mistake was only half the problem, don’t half admit it. Just admit it.

To avoid the blame-shifting impulse, imagine yourself as a higher-level manager with psychic powers, who knows everything that happened and is completely fair. Think of how that manager would assess the situation. Would someone in that situation say you contributed to the problem? Then admit it. Don’t hedge and evade.

How will people react to your admission? You might be pleasantly surprised. Admitting openly to mistakes is so rare that they won’t know what to do with the pile of anger they were ready to unleash. They’ll be relieved that you aren’t looking for a scapegoat. They’ll think that you might be prepared to approach the problem constructively.

Which, of course, you are.

  1. Guide Others Using Your Own Failures

“Oh, no! Not another learning experience!” Failure is a learning tool, but people hate to learn from their failures. Admitting a mistake lets employees and colleagues learn from your failures. They may have followed your advice too well. They may have misunderstood it. You may all have had the same blind spot.

Talk with the other people about what went wrong and why. Now that you’ve admitted your error, you don’t have to dwell on it. Deal objectively with what went wrong, and suggest or ask for ways to avoid repeating the mistake. Maybe communication was poor. A different process might have avoided the mess.

The discussion should give everyone involved a better understanding of the problem. If a similar situation arises again, they’ll know how to handle it so it doesn’t become a major problem.

  1. Learn From Your Mistakes

Naturally, your mistakes are a learning tool for you, too. “Learn from mistakes” is easy to say, but how do you do it? Once again, stepping back and looking at the issue objectively is a huge help. Put it in terms of three key questions:

  • What was I trying to do?
  • What action did I take to make it happen?
  • How did the results not match my expectations?

The problem could have come in at any of these steps. Maybe what you were attempting didn’t make sense. Maybe you chose the wrong way to do it. Or maybe things went off course and you didn’t catch the problem.

Think of a decision as simple as getting to a place and the ways it can go wrong. The trip might be a bad idea. You might take the wrong road. You might need to detour because of construction and get hopelessly lost. Identifying the mistake gets you most of the way toward identifying the fix.

  1. Tell Them How You Plan to Fix the Problem

If you’ve reached this point, you’ve made great progress. You’ve admitted the mistake and not been killed for it. You’ve identified what went wrong and talked with key people about how to avoid it in the future. Now it’s time to get down to specific actions to fix it.

Don’t be afraid to ask, “How can we get out of this mess?” We usually make mistakes in areas where we aren’t strongest, and someone else may have a better insight into the solution. At the same time, fixing your mistake is your responsibility. Whatever input you get, you have to decide on the actions that will straighten things out.

There are two aspects to this. First, there are short-term actions to minimize the impact of the error, so that business can get back on course. Then there are more permanent corrections. The latter may include some painful choices. Think carefully about them before making a proposal. Be ready to accept alternatives that could work better.

  1. Set an Example

Now you’re in really good shape. You’ve identified the problem, admitted your responsibility, and taken concrete steps to fix it. Now follow through with everything that needs doing.

You might feel frustrated that others hid behind your acceptance of responsibility. But if you handled the situation well, you’ve improved the chances that others will admit and deal with their mistakes in the future.

They’ll see that it wasn’t the end of the world when you admitted you messed up. They’ll know you don’t think you’re infallible. This will make them feel safer about acknowledging their mistakes. Dealing well with the situation helps to build a culture of trust, where people can admit they’ve made an error and deal with it openly.

  1. Disclose it Quickly

This isn’t really a separate step, but it’s part of everything we’ve talked about so far. The faster you deal with a problem you created, the less damage it will do. Don’t be recklessly hasty, but avoid procrastination. This is especially important in recognizing the existence of a problem and admitting your error played a role. Get past that part, and then you can head off consequences that will make the situation worse.

Find More Ways IT Leaders Get Over Their Mistakes

In martial arts, the first thing you learn is how to fall and not get hurt. Management isn’t that different. Follow all these steps when you make a mistake, and you’ll be back on your feet quickly. You’ll earn respect and be seen as an even stronger leader than before.

For more ideas on saving time and money in your IT department, visit Zeriva’s IT tips.

 

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10 Steps to Help IT Employees Communicate With Their Manager

 

If you’re an IT department employee and you’re having a hard time getting your manager to listen to what you have to say, it’s important to understand the dynamics of your department and your boss’s mindset.

The Nature of IT Departments

IT departments are an integral part of every business. Without them, many companies wouldn’t be able to function properly; yet, in most cases, they make up only a fraction of a company’s overall workforce. It’s typical for a company with several thousand employees to employ only a handful of people to ensure that their technology is sound.

With so much at stake and so few hands on deck, an IT department can be a stressful place to work. IT managers have it the hardest. Indeed, if anything goes wrong, the blame will ultimately fall back on them.

Getting Through to Your Boss

If you feel that you’re having a hard time getting through to your boss, you’ll have to work to earn his trust. The following ten tips will help you build your relationship with your manager and gain his respect:

 

  1. Make Sure You’re Communicating Properly

George Bernard Shaw once said: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”. The first step to building a rapport with others is to communicate properly. One of the main components of successful communication is making sure that both sides understand each other and walk away knowing what’s on the other person’s mind. If you have a conversation with your manager, and either party isn’t sure what the other was trying to say, then, in the words of Shaw, the conversation never happened.

  1. Develop a Relationship

Try to get as personal as you can with your boss without being annoying. When you ask someone how they’re doing, it will humanize them, and they will start to appreciate you as a person.

  1. Know Your Manager’s Goals

Always be on top of what your manager is working on and understand what he’s trying to accomplish. Compliment him when you like a project that he’s working on or when he implements a new policy. If you provide positive feedback about something that’s going on at the department, it will make him feel like you’re a member of the team.

  1. Be Careful With Negative Feedback

While it’s okay to disagree when you think something is wrong, tread lightly before you say something that may sound critical. You don’t want him to get the impression that you’re a disagreeable person in general; furthermore, if he proceeds without listening to your advice, be sure to work with a positive attitude, so he can see that you’re a team player who was only looking out for him.

  1. Be Upfront When Something Bad Happens

If you’ve made a mistake that he should know about, bring it to his attention in a polite, apologetic, and straightforward manner. Don’t explain that you were trying to be innovative and had you succeeded you would have been a hero, because that’s totally irrelevant. Take ownership of the problem by apologizing, and try to move on.

  1. Always Be Well Prepared, and Understand That Time Is a Rare Commodity

If you need to present something to your manager or members of your team, make sure you are very familiar with the subject matter. Be concise, and focus on the main points that you’re trying to convey. Try to avoid going off on a tangent, unless someone asks you a question that takes you off-topic. People value their time, and they appreciate a person who is clear and direct with their words. Work on your oral and written communications until you feel you can communicate them clearly in a minimal amount of time or words.

  1. Be a Game-Changer

Network with your manager and colleagues to find out what they’re working on and where they’re having difficulties. Try to bring positive, helpful ideas to the table that will help them deal with issues they’re having. Make sure not to be condescending; people don’t like pompousness, and if they feel that you think you’re better than them or that you’re undermining them, it will only work against you.

  1. Honor the Chain of Command

If you’re having an issue with your manager, deal with him directly. Going to his higher-ups could permanently damage any relationship you may have had with him. If for any reason you feel you have no choice but to speak to his boss, don’t do it behind his back. Let him know, in a very polite way, that you’re going over his head, and explain your reason for doing so. In many cases, approaching your manager in such a manner will compel him to be more attentive to what you’re trying to get across to him.

  1. If the Meeting Is Important, Arrive Early

Coming late to a meeting is a show of disrespect to the other attendees. At best, people will think that you’re irresponsible. Most likely, they’ll feel that you don’t take the issues at hand seriously, and you will lose their respect. If you come on time and look organized, you’ll blend in as another member of the team.

  1. Try to Take a Seat Next to the Team Leader

A good leader will give everyone in the room an equal amount of attention, but many people are more mindful to the people sitting in their immediate vicinity. If you can figure out how to get to sit next to the people in charge, they will notice you more and will take more heed of your input than other people’s suggestions.

Stick With It Until You Succeed

It’s not easy to build a relationship, and it’s hard to get people to respect you. Forging a bond takes a lot of time, effort, and patience. If you work diligently to improve how you conduct yourself in public and how you interact with others, people will see that you’re a good person and that you bring value to your company and peers.

Zeriva can help you bring more great ideas to the table by providing technical resources and money-saving ideas to your IT Department.  We have helped a lot of IT leaders just like you.  Contact and tell us about your next IT project so we can help you as well.

Zeriva welcomes the opportunity to work with your organization to map out a customized plan to properly dispose of your IT assets. Our team of responsive, certified engineers is accustomed to disposing of IT assets for Fortune 500 companies and offer a comprehensive array of IT solutions for growing companies. Helping you enjoy a high ROI on your assets while complying with industry regulations is our top priority, and we offer an impressive track record of success in the remarketing arena. We look forward to the opportunity to serve as your trusted ITAD partner!

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5 Steps to Improving Emotional Intelligence in IT Department’s

Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ for Emotional Quotient) is defined as the ability possessed by an individual to be cognizant, in control of, and expressive of their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. In the workplace, high emotional intelligence plays an important role in regard to both personal and professional success. Further, it is a key trait of a competent and efficient team member and leader.

Countless studies have explored the benefits of high emotional intelligence in the workplace, particularly in the growing realm of technology professions, such as IT. IT (Information Technology) professionals possess distinctive personality traits that make them effective at what they do, and at the moment, high EQ isn’t topping the list. Fortunately, that’s beginning to change. CEO’s, managers, and other leaders are putting more effort into hiring and embedding in existing employees the importance and benefits of incorporating emotional intelligence into their daily interactions at work.

For company leaders looking to improve the emotional intelligence of your IT department, here are 5 proven steps for enhancing their EQ.

5 Steps to Improving EI 

Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is emotional intelligence. It manifests itself in many ways. Specifically, when speaking about the workplace, it entails taking into account that an organization is an accumulation of many individuals with many different personalities, cultures, and lived experiences. Whether you are the head of your department or simply a member of the team, understanding how to interact with your coworkers efficiently, means understanding them on an emotional level.

Self-awareness in regards to EQ entails:

  • Understanding how you come off to people (verbally and nonverbally) can play an important role in how the recipient of your attention conducts themselves from that point forward. Taking their feeling into account before you speak will work in your favor to not only establish a stronger working relationship but increase productivity.
  • Being emotionally observant of each member of your department works to deescalate situations and build a more unified team. Specifically, being emotionally observant involves a high level of empathy and understanding, as an individual may be dealing with something outside of the office that may require a much more sensitive approach in regards to communication.
  • Understanding your own abilities and limitations work to create a higher level of productivity within your department. We all want to be superheroes and take on the world alone, but every now and again, even superheroes need a bit of help. Delegating tasks or asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of self-awareness.
  • False confidence can be costly, and by costly, I mean it can pose a significantly higher risk of wasting valuable company time, energy, and money. Accurately assessing your own confidence and capabilities requires self-awareness and a subdued ego, which can be tough, but the benefits for the organization could be monumental.

Self-Regulation

The ability to control one’s emotions and impulses is a big indicator of one’s level of emotional intelligence.

Self-regulation in regards to EQ entails:

  • Being conscious that in moments of high stress, frustration, and anger, lashing out or making a permanent decision on temporary feelings isn’t in yours, or the company’s best interest. During moments like this, it is important to step away from the situation to gather your thoughts, so you can assess the problem and make a decision that best serves your interest.
  • Being a person with integrity is a fundamental quality that assists in establishing strong bonds. Integrity encompasses trustworthiness and honesty, which are traits that make it easier to progress past a mistake.
  • Being accountable for your performance, good or bad, shows a level a maturity that promotes openness and higher self-awareness in the workplace.
  • Change in the workplace, whether it be in regards to technology or staff is inevitable. Having the ability to adapt to change is required if you hope to succeed.
  • Seeking and taking the advice of others on innovative ways to boost the efficiency of a particular process, can help make your life easier by saving you time and energy.
  • Thinking before you react to a situation is the most advised form of self-regulation. Sometimes we tend to say things without fully processing what’s being said, which often leads to misunderstandings.
  • For most people, criticism is often hard to hear and frequently ignored, as it goes against the way in which we view ourselves (abilities and performance). Realizing that the constructive criticism you are receiving from your team or higher ups in your department, is meant as a means to help you improve, can be the difference between helping you elevate to your highest potential or remaining stagnate.

Self-Motivation

Aristotle stated, “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. Being aware of the area’s in which you need improvement and striving to do just that, improve, will help you reach your goals (professional and personal).

Self-motivation in regard to EQ entails:

  • Putting yourself in position to take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself means ensuring that you are equipped with the skill set needed to thrive when your chance arises.
  • Being optimistic is an important component to thriving as it can help you focus on your goals while remaining consistent even when faced with obstacles.
  • Keeping your commitments aligns with consistency, which helps you remain on track to achieving what you set out to accomplish. Keeping your commitments is a reminder to yourself and others that you care about what you are doing, you value the time of the people you are working with, and you are reliable.

Social Environment Awareness

A high level of awareness of the world around you, and an ability to interact with people in a manner appropriate to the variables at play (i.e., interest and concerns), shows the people you are engaging with and your observers that you are in touch with your environment.

Social environment awareness in regards to EQ entails:

  • Being socially conscious of your environment means that you have a heightened awareness of the wants, needs, and emotions of those around you (co-workers, and customers).
  • Developing this skill allows you to assess from afar or up close the talents of those around you, enabling you to help your team members fine-tune or expand their skills to become more successful in the workplace.
  • Understanding the different skillsets and personalities of those around you can enable you to create a more diverse team of competent individuals that can attack projects from different angles, further increasing your probability of success.
  • Being aware of your social environment allows you to observe how the office functions regarding politics and relationships. Once you’ve adequately assessed the ins and outs of the workplace you can utilize the information to your advantage to help your ascension within your department.
  • Being aware of a high performing co-worker, and acknowledging their achievements shows them that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed and encourages them to continue to strive to be the best they can be.
  • Offering feedback and constructive criticism to those you feel need it, serves to better the person you are interacting with and the workplace as a whole.
  • When you make a mistake and you can see or you are aware that it has negatively affected someone, simply saying sorry can help remedy the situation and prevent a larger problem from building and erupting in the future.

Learning to Develop Your Social Skills

Learning tactics such as persuasion to help not only advance your career but the success of your team is important to the evolution of your department.

Social skills in regards to EQ entails:

  • Becoming a clearer communicator is one of the most essential social skills a person can possess. Being able to get your message across clearly and concisely creates efficiency and less friction within a conversion, enabling those you are conversing with to better follow your instructions.
  • Becoming a leader that inspires your team, will encourage them to work at a level that exceeds your expectations.
  • Incorporating change adds value to not just yourself, but your team will help boost the level of success within your department.
  • Developing the skill of mediation will help you efficiently deescalate disputes and develop company resolutions that work for all parties involved.
  • Developing strong bonds with your team is important because it opens lines of communication that wouldn’t be possible in traditional leader/employer relationships.
  • Understanding the overall mission of your company will help you create a game plan that assists your department in doing what it can to achieve company objectives.
  • Being considerate of others emotions, and not employing tactics to manipulate them with your own emotions is a good way to build healthier relationships within the team. It’s also important to not let others manipulate you with their emotions, as it is a sign that they lack respect for you and your role within the department.

Selecting a trusted ITAD partner is one of the most important decisions you will make as an IT Director. As outlined above, it is critical to carefully evaluate prospective partners to ensure that they have the experience, resources, and efficiency required to properly dispose of your IT assets. Additionally, the ITAD partner you choose should be sharply focused on helping you improve your ROI on your IT assets while generating disposal solutions that are environmentally-friendly.

Learn More About What to Look for in an ITAD Partner when Disposing of Surplus IT Equipment

Zeriva welcomes the opportunity to work with your organization to map out a customized plan to properly dispose of your IT assets. Our team of responsive, certified engineers is accustomed to disposing of IT assets for Fortune 500 companies and offer a comprehensive array of IT solutions for growing companies. Helping you enjoy a high ROI on your assets while complying with industry regulations is our top priority, and we offer an impressive track record of success in the remarketing arena. We look forward to the opportunity to serve as your trusted ITAD partner!

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4 Things to look for in your ITAD partner (Video)

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How to Reset a Cisco 3750G-24PS-S Switch to the Factory Default Settings

How to Reset a Cisco 3750G-24PS-S Switch to the Factory Default Settings

Step by Step instructions

  1. Make sure you have Tera Term or Hyper Term open on the computer you will use to console into the switch with.
  2. Insert the console cable into the console port on the back of the switch
  3. Hold down the mode button on the front, left bottom of the switch (and continue to hold through step 5)
  4. While continuing to hold the mode button, insert the power cable in the rear of the switch
  5. Continue to hold the mode button until the system LED light stops blinking and no LED’s are lit. At this time, release the mode button
  6. You will see on the screen that the system has booted and is ready for commands
  7. Type flash_init and press enter
  8. Type dir flash: and press enter
  9. Files on the switch, including IOS (line 2 in this example), will be listed. The IOS will have the model number of the switch as part of the name.  Be sure not to remove this file.  It will delete the operating system
  10. Type delete flash: , then highlight the name of the file you wish to remove, right click and the file name will be copied next to the colon you typed
  11. Press enter.  You will be asked if you want to delete the file.  Press Y for yes and then enter
  12. Continue the previous steps for all files except the IOS
  13. When you have successfully deleted the unwanted files, type boot and press enter
  14. The system will reboot and will now be set back to the factory default setting without any previous saved configurations on the switch

 

 

 

Zeriva welcomes the opportunity to work with your organization to map out a customized plan to properly dispose of your IT assets. Our team of responsive, certified engineers is accustomed to disposing of IT assets for Fortune 500 companies and offer a comprehensive array of IT solutions for growing companies. Helping you enjoy a high ROI on your assets while complying with industry regulations is our top priority, and we offer an impressive track record of success in the remarketing arena. We look forward to the opportunity to serve as your trusted ITAD partner!

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4 Ways You Can Save Money on Your Next IT Budget

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