Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hold Your Tongue Around Recovering Injured Workers on Light Duty

Never assume an employee under your supervision who is recovering from an injury is faking his or her need for light duty. In fact, better not to even think it. Many injured people in their initial recovery period may demonstrate few signs of distress others can see. The injured worker may even have little or no pain. Your frustration at performing laborious tasks for your employee or even comments you make to coworkers may prompt you to question the legitimacy of light duty or for them to taunt or hassle the injured worker into performing essential duties that are temporarily prohibited. This can lead to re-injury. Recovering workers are vulnerable to these peer confrontations, even if non-verbally communicated by huffs and puffs, sighs, and side comments. Risk of another injury is high, together with an even longer recovery period and the costs associated with them.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Is Your Boss Is Telling You to Motivate Your Employees More?

If you are getting complaints from the boss about not motivating your staff, don't shout down the hallway that it is not your job. It's a myth that people can't motivate others. You have to do more than explain what you want them to do and what's at stake. It simply will not inspire them. There is more to motivating employees than telling them what to do and why it matters. You also need to arouse their passion about work. That requires an awareness of their “hot buttons”—a keen understanding of what they value most. Examples include recognition, money, flexibility, job security, or freedom and independence. The only way you can identify what drives someone is to listen and learn. Chat with each of your employees to find out about their goals, aspirations, and special skills and talents that they want to apply more fully to their jobs. Be sure to ask what causes them to feel motivated. They will tell you. In the meantime, assume that enjoying personal growth in one’s work, earning sincere praise, and doing meaningful work are three core motivators for just about everyone. This supervisory training course that can be used to train all supervisors can help you I think.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Documentation of Performance: Think "Who", What", "When", "How"

Have you written documentation that looks like this and have it tossed in the trash?" "The employee ignores me and does not respect me as a supervisor." Whether you realize it or not, documentation is useless for its intended purpose. Most people who read your documentation would know you're frustrated, but would have to ask questions to understand what you are referring to with this employee. There's your clue! The need to ask "how," "what," or "when" points to the limitations of your documentation.  To make it more useful, think in terms of your five senses.  In this case, what do you see or hear that demonstrates disrespect?  Phrases like "does not respect" and "ignore" describe behaviors you've witnessed, so these should be included in your documentation.  More effective documentation might read: "The employee demonstrates disrespect by gesturing with her hand that she will not listen to what I am saying, and she turns and walks away when I am speaking to her."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Anger Management Ideas for Supervisors

So you blow up at your employees a lot, hmm. You're easily irritated, and they are calling you a mountain troll. Need a cure? You're first step is to admit you need help. After that, your next step is to ask if you are alcoholic. Don't look so shocked. Alcoholism is highly augmenting--no, not when you are drinking. I mean when you are in withdrawal. If you meet the criteria for the diagnosis of alcoholism, start there. Get treatment, recover, become sober..and then come back here......So admitting there is a problem means that you half way home. Anger is a powerful emotion that often requires more than a simple decision to manage it.  A programmatic approach is sometimes needed to make a permanent change.  One well-known technique for managing anger requires, first, that you keep a journal and make a notation immediately after an anger incident by recording the first symptom of anger experienced.  Second, write down exactly what triggered the anger.  Third, record how you responded.  Fourth, identify what you did well in the anger management situation, and fifth, make a notation about what you can do differently the next time a similar incident occurs.  Its likely that youll see noticeable changes in the way you manage anger after approximately seven to eight journal entries.  Remember you may have to get counseling for this problem, but don't panic it should only be short term--a few sessions or so. The above plan however will give almost all people some results right away. Subscribe to Supervisor Tips

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Addicts Can Hold Their "Breath" for Only So Long

Employees with addiction problems are well-practiced at explaining job performance shortcomings and will usually increase the quality of their performance after a period of absenteeism or some negative experience on the job. This includes you confronting them about their behavior, conduct, attendance, or quality of work issues. This is not manipulation. Instead, you're seeing short-term willpower in effect. It won't last. What's happening? Your employee has acquired a temporary sense of urgency strong enough to place brief controls on the frequency and amount of consumption of alcohol. Improved behavior is the result. Note: Never assume that a pattern of behavior represents a certain diagnosis like addiction. It is extremely difficult to diagnose a medical condition by looking at just behaviors and patterns. Employees with schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorders, delusional disorders, etc. can act in odd ways causing you to think they have drug or alcohol problems, or that they are under the influence of a psychoactive drug. Just focus on performance and good documentation. Then team with your HR department to decide on your next move.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How Long Must You Wait to See Improvement?

How long should you wait for an employee to turn around and begin to show solid gains in improved performance after you've held a corrective interview? This is a tough question, but the answer is crucial because you can save a life, possibly, if you act with a cool head. A life!? Yes. Some employees have personal problems and they refuse to get help for them. But once you are "tired" of the problems, you become a runaway train for leveraging an employees into treatment, who will turn around. Although many supervisors would report knowing exactly how they would handle such a scenario--fire the bump-- in practice most supervisors deliberate too long and feel ambivalent. They stall. Such a decision may require making a judgment that weighs the urgency needed for change, the expectations of management, or the attitude demonstrated by your employee toward resolving his or problems affecting performance. Although waiting longer sends an unintended message of indifference, and enables your employee to grow worse, it is likely that a personal problem remains untreated and resolved if you are still seeing performance related issues. Be careful of your emotional reaction to your employee so you can effectively decide  what to do. Want some fun? Tell the employee: "My decision is to fire you today, right now, at this hour, and you can pick up your check at the front desk when you leave. However, would you like to hear my proposal in lieu of this decision?" There is no employee you have ever met in your career who will not say, "What?" as their next utterance to this question.. After the employee says "What?", say this: I am willing to hold this decision in abeyance under several conditions: 1) That you go to a professional counselor who can do an assessment. (Tip: Get an employee assistance professional to assist you. If you do not have an EAP, hire a professional t do an assessment via the list of experts available from the EAP Association). The assessment must include verification of attendance and follow through with recommendations. The counselor must phone me to verify. You must maintain a signed consent for the release of confidential information so the professional can contact me and maintain in contact with me for the purposes just stated. I don't require any other information." This employee is getting help, and you have salvaged your employees, possibly your best worker.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Use Performance Reviews to Grow Employee Motivation

Performance reviews and performance management systems are powerful productivity processes that can help drive an organization’s achievements through the roof. But when not used to their full potential, performance reviews can instead become a burden to both supervisor and employees. At the very least, use employee reviews as springboards for discussions with your employees about their goals and aspirations. Discover the degree of inspiration your employees possess to do their best work, and learn how to increase it. Chances are that you will discover something you did not know about your employees’ needs that, if met, would better serve the organization’s mission and goals. Also, be sure to let your employees hear from you firsthand the importance of what they are doing and how it fits with the organization’s mission. All employees look and hope for pay increases, but hearing that they personally are valued by you and the organization fulfills a level of need that the paycheck won’t reach. And the research on employee job satisfaction proves it is true. Enjoy the inaugural issue of Supervisor Tips Newsletter by clicking here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Too Much Trepidation with Taking Disciplinary Actions?

Do you sometimes feel resistant to taking necessary disciplinary actions with employees. You're not alone. If you ignore your company's disciplinary tools (yes, "tools" because disciplinary action is not punishment) you'll tolerate many employee problems too long. Why the resistance? And how do you get past it? Disciplinary actions must be carefully considered and clearly warranted before being administered, of course. Doing whatever is reasonable to help an employee improve performance should precede such measures. But they are not punishment. By setting up mental roadblocks like this one, supervisors undermine their efforts to maximize productivity. Improper documentation, failure to follow proper procedures, or being unable to demonstrate a good-faith effort to help the employee improve are examples of such roadblocks. Getting advice from internal experts, such as human resource representatives is indispensable for supervisors attempting to confront employees with significant problems. Don't go it alone if you feel some trepidation.  Proper use of the consultative function from your HR department or even employee assistance program can frequently eliminate the need for discipline altogether because a new idea may emerge in your discussions. Your emotional involvement with the employee, particularly strong feelings of anger, betrayal, and resentment are other common problems you may possibly face in supervision. Seek to separate yourself from emotional involvement and your supervisory role; failure to do so frequently contributes to the likelihood of missteps with supervisors and the increase of risk to the employer. Have you seen the new supervisor tips newsletter?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The One Minute Intervention to Help Your Troubled Employee

If you have an employee who for the first time demonstrates a behavior associated with sexual harassment, a firm management response often prevents a second offense by the employee. But if the employee has difficulty with the control of impulsive behavior or a long history of personal issues that contribute to this inappropriate behavior, something more may be needed. We're talking professional help. I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking, fire the bum. I’m grinning because you won’t do it if this employee is one you value. True, unfortunately, if you will eventually become sick and tired of this employee enough to actually let him or her go. But you reach the SATOBSAD (Sick and Tire of Being Sick and Tired) don’t do it--at least not yet. Instead, get a grip and try this sure-fire intervention that puts the problem squarely on the employee's shoulders. You get to step back in full control and let nature takes its course. Simply tell the employee that today is his last day at work unless he wants to get an assessment with a professional person you know (someone you’ve contracted with as a professional employee assistance counselor). It's totally up to the employee. He or she gets the red carpet treatment if they say yes. That means..holding the job action in abeyance if the employee decides 1) he needs help 2) goes to the assessment 3) cooperates with getting help. If not, the action will not be held in abeyance. The action is based on job performance problems. Remember, your employee may need professional help, but you don’t have to make that determination at all. In other words, you are accommodating based upon his or her request so the employee can get help for a personal problem he or she thinks exists, not you. You are not diagnosing. It is the only way the employee can keep their jobto decide here and now that he or she has a personal problem for which he or she would like to be accommodated. If no problem exists, then the employee can be dismissed. There is no other option. Very few employees will voluntarily be fired in this situation.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Why Teach Supervisors about Substance Abuse and Addiction?

I knew some one ask me this question, "If supervisors are not supposed to diagnose alcohol- or drug-addicted employees, why are signs and symptoms of an employee with a possible alcohol or other drug problem, like alcohol on the breath a good thing to give to supervisor training?" Folks, you know that addiction is the most misunderstood health problem in world history. This means that it you don't give supervisors accurate information about addiction, they will remain in total ignorance about the problem and vulnerable to manipulation by drug using or alcoholic employees. Yes, it is a good thing to provided supervisors with common performance-related signs and symptoms too. In fact, it is critical to have a comprehensive list. However, the a really strong grounding in signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction must also be provided so supervisors are dispelled of their own myths and misconceptions. It is these myths and misconceptions, along with codependency and enabling that keeps addicted persons ill in society. Interrupting this pattern is a what accurate information about substance abuse is all about. Take a look at the drug and alcohol education center to learn more. Some performance symptoms may be more common among employees with alcohol or other drug problems, like absenteeism. But these are not diagnostic of alcoholism. Alcohol on the breath may be a performance issue upon which to base a supervisor referral, but it alone has little diagnostic value as well. Training supervisors helps them avoid natural inclinations to focus on images, myths, or stereotypes of addicted persons and then completely avoid confronting a troubled employee. Still information that tackles the myths prepares managers to do the most good when they meet up with both an under-performer who also happens to be an alcoholic or drug dependent person.

Monday, June 11, 2012

And that's a Direct Order!

The best managers sell their ideas by communicating a clear objective and inviting input, rather than simply handing down orders. So what's the secret? You can have your ideas implemented more successfully, while gaining more support and ownership among those you supervise, if you follow these steps: 1) rather than focusing on control of a project or plan, focus on exciting subordinates with a vision of what you would like to accomplish; 2) get employees involved in the implementation by communicating a clear objective; 3) invite input and provide a forum or means to register this input; 4) promise to review and consider input; 5) divide a project into stages and delegate responsibility for the completion of certain steps; 6) recognize people for their effort along the way and spread credit for success; 7) whenever possible, seek to create a fun work environment; 8) maintain a two-way communication process. Want more tips like this one? Try FrontLine Supervisor Newsletter

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Forget About Employee Burnout, At Least In One Respect..

There are job performance issues associated with burnout, but using them to determine if your employee faces burnout is not a good idea. This is because these behavioral signs and symptoms are mostly secondary to the mental health issues of burnout underlying them. Also, other problems may contribute to what appear to be burnout symptoms. Avoid this diagnostic examination and pondering because you will make more efficient referrals to the EAP. For example, one symptom of burnout may be dread at getting up in the morning to go to work. You can’t document “dread,” but you can document tardiness. Another symptom of burnout may be resentment toward other employees who love their jobs and are bright-eyed about their careers. You can’t document resentment, but you can document conflict. It is hard to document “lack of motivation,” but it is easy to document incomplete assignments, lack of initiative, or work delays. I am afraid when you search the most effective supervisor training programs, that you will not find this level of insight because the folks who write most of these courses are too far removed from the trenches, the inter-psychic issues of employees, and the hard knocks it takes to deal with the relational issues. However, you will find this material here. Supervisor Training for Management

Monday, May 21, 2012

Feedback Works Both Ways

Employees blossom with positive feedback from bosses, but this works both ways. Don’t hesitate to give your boss positive feedback when things go right. You’ll nourish a more effective and rewarding relationship and contribute to your own job satisfaction by reinforcing what works. Bosses have a powerful effect on employee happiness, so help them out by keeping the communication flowing. Don’t underestimate your role in nurturing a powerful and constructive relationship with your boss. The secret is reciprocity and mutual respect. You may be subordinate in the hierarchy, but what you say and think matter.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Handling Delicate Conversations

Discussing with a coworker the need to correct a personal habit or stop an annoying behavior is an age-old dreaded experience. If you have procrastinated with such a chore, chances are you’ve grown more irritable and frustrated, but is your job satisfaction and productivity also slipping? If so, it’s a good sign to delay no more. Realize that the reaction you imagine getting when you broach the subject is almost always overblown. Thankfulness is a much more likely response from your coworker than shock and horror, so go for a polite style. To proceed, request a private meeting and say you would like to offer some feedback that is difficult to share and that it is personal. This is a buffering introduction to help your coworker be receptive. Share your concern in a direct but calm manner. Always add how the behavior affects your productivity or work environment. Smart move: Affirm the value you and others maintain for your coworker. This won't undermine your goal, and it will add to your coworker’s motivation to change.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Helping Your Employees "Team Up" with You

Help your employees be proactive in coming to you with issues that down the road will cause disintegration of the relationship you have with them. Here are some tips that might fix a bump in the road before it becomes a pothole.

Tell employees to keep track of their successes. Like most people, supervisors can’t remember everything. So ask you employees to give you a list of accomplishments about a month before it is time to evaluate them. This improves the chances the you--thesupervisor will give the employee credit for the work work and the employee will not feel resentment for successes overlooked.

Tell your employees not to be a stranger to you as the supervisor. Tell them to be proactive, to stay out in front, and make a point to involve themselves in work while discovering what you as a supervisor wants most.

3. Tell employees to ask you for positive feedback. You can't baby your employees. Sure, you should try to give them positive feedback and plenty of it, but is also ok for them to say, "Hey, what did you think of the way I handled that crisis yesterday with the Johnson account. So, teach them to come and ask for feedback.  Sure, tell your employees, "It not going to be easy for you to ask me what I think of your work. Tell your employees not to treat you like a parent, expecting them or have them understand their needs through intuition. Use negative feedback to work toward a higher standard. Ongoing difficulties may signal a need for assistance from the EAP, and should training your employees to go get it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stress Management Tip: Better Problem Solving

Sometimes stress management isn’t about relaxation, better eating, getting a massage, or practicing yoga. The best stress management strategy might be a better way to solve a stressful problem. Here’s a problem-solving formula to apply to the root of a problem you face that causes stress: 1) Define the problem; 2) Think of as many ways to intervene as possible; 3) Select the most practical solution; 4) Write goals to achieve; 5) Write objectives under each goal; 6) Select deadlines for #4 and #5; 7) Commit to success (say “no” to distractions and procrastination); and 8) Begin.

When You Don't Mind Giving a Raise

Not all requests for raises are inappropriate, but as part of your supervisory skills training, you may want to add this brief presentation to your bag of tricks. You will need it in the future. You may think the employee deserves the raise he or she is asking for, but regardless, teach the employee to be professional by putting the request in writing using a format that you can take to top management. They will want you to justify it. Make the employee do the work. So, a written request for a grade increase or promotion is more effective than an oral request. Oral requests are easily postponed, forgotten, and argued against. That's the rationale, so tell the employee this. They also put the burden on the manager to “sell" the whole idea to the next level of management. Tell your employee to do the following. Try this proposal outline: 1) statement of original duties and responsibilities for the position; 2) statement of present duties and responsibilities for the position; and 3) identify each new duty and how it demonstrates increased responsibility, not workload. By the way, this is called completed staff work and you can learn about that too. A newsletter to help you learn more skills is FrontLine Supervisor Newsletter. It's now in it's 17th year.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Stating Opinions Diplomatically

Whenever you volunteer your opinions or concerns, are you speaking respectfully and tactfully to your coworkers or teammates? Do so and others are more likely to appreciate your tone and heed your views. If you sound preachy or tell people what they should do, your ideas, even if they are stellar, will face a harder sell. 

To state your opinions diplomatically and improve receptivity to your ideas, establish a give-and-take conversational style when you speak with your team. Rather than spout your ideas, ask questions so that others do most of the talking.Listen attentively and show interest in how others arrived at their conclusions. Try it. 

These are powerful engagement skills, and your peers are likely to ask what you think or believe. And along with this approach comes more attentiveness to what you say. Add a quick overview of your evidence to support your opinions when offering your input. Example: “Based on three instances in which we lost a potential customer, I’m concerned that our sales pitch isn't working very well.” The study of how to be effective and productive in business group discussions is called “group discussion dynamics.” It is a highly researched and studied topic. Lessons learned are available to help you improve your productivity and achieve more for your employer. Learn more about it to advance your career.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Discipline for Sexual Harassment Not Good Enough to Reduce Risk

If you are not referring employees to your company EAP after they have been reprimanded for sexual harassment, you don't have an expert to help you prevent a future occurrence of sexual harassment. So, good luck if you did not fire the employee or it was not serious enough. The disciplinary action may not stop an employee with a sexual addiction. You have no deterrence.

A firm management response often prevents a second offense of sexual harassment by an employee. But if an employee has difficulty with the control of impulsive behavior or a long history of personal issues that contribute to inappropriate behavior, something more may be needed. EAPs help employees examine any contributing factors to sexual harassment behavior. Sometimes the only factors are problematic social skills. In other situations, more complex issues may contribute to an employee’s inability to control behavior. For one employee, education and awareness may be the intervention of choice. For another, professional counseling or intensive treatment may be needed for a variety of treatable health issues that can lead to behavior problems in the workplace. EAPs discover that many employees are willing to accept such help with an incalculable cost-benefit to the organization.