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.