Thursday, November 12, 2015

Reasonable Suspicion Training | DOT or Non-DOT Supervisor Training in Reasonable Suspicion

Most supervisors have misinformation about alcoholism and drug addiction.  This misinformation gets in the way of effectively responding to troubled employees, who can easily explain away and postpone confrontation as a result of their increasingly, well-practiced defensive mechanisms. Without training and a set of guiding principles for managing troubled employees with alcohol and drug problems, supervisors are unwittingly outmatched.  Information about the disease concept of alcoholism and drug addiction; impact workplace substance abuse; common myths and misconceptions; about tolerance and cross tolerance; understanding loss of control, denial, avoiding armchair diagnosing, stopping enabling.  Also included are pictures of licit and illicit drugs from major categories, signs and symptoms, and principles of constructive confrontation. This program is recommended for Reasonable Suspicion Training of Supervisors.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

No Such Thing as a "Functional Alcoholic"

There is no such thing as functional alcoholism, just as there is no such thing as functional cancer. Both are chronic potentially fatal illnesses that grow worse over time. The term functional alcoholism allows the enabler (that's you if you ever use this term) to continue the advantages of the relationship they have with the alcoholic, even while their role as an enabler grows worse. Functional alcoholism assuages your guilt for doing nothing but help the alcoholic get worse. The defense mechanism is akin to “minimizing." Functional alcoholism means “his or her drinking problem doesn’t bother me.” Those labeled as functional alcoholics by others often demonstrate middle or late stage alcoholism characteristics including blackouts (memory loss while drinking), DUI arrests, and dysfunction within their homes, including relationship problems with the spouse and children. You don't hear about or see evidence of these things in your workplace relationship because evidence of acute, chronic alcoholism shows up there last. The most enabling statement--the real killer--is helping alcoholics to the grave by calling them functional. Translation: The drinking problem doesn't bother me. This video explains more.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Why do supervisors avoid confronting employees about their performance issues?

The most common reason for avoiding confrontation is fear. Overcoming this fear is accomplished by understanding how to use an effective approach. Being firm and direct, and not sugar coating the message is important, but this can be accomplished in a way that eliminates heavy-handedness and engenders cooperation. For example, “Bill, I received feedback about your customer presentation yesterday, and I want to share it with you.” “Bill, some customers felt your presentation lacked depth in its details, leaving them feeling more confused. Were you aware of these concerns?” “Bill, I want to work with you to improve your marketing presentation, how would you suggest we go about making such improvements?” Notice in these examples how the supervisor elicits a “partnering” approach to solving problems. The concerns of the supervisor are concrete, and the approach is likely to elicit better cooperation in solving the performance issues versus harming the relationship by making the employee feel scolded.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Teach Employees to Do Self-Evaluation

Here's what to educate your employees to do...

Explain t employees the art of self-criticism. After all, there’s nothing wrong with self-criticism. An employee can always improve. But don’t confuse self-criticism with self-punishment. Engage in self-criticism that elevates your skills and abilities with a forward-looking approach. The gist: Start by reviewing the successful elements of your recent project. Next, divide your assessment into meaningful parameters that you will critique. If your job was to prepare an annual report on widgets for your employer, consider quality, timeliness, use of resources, format appearance, or even self-imposed stress, if you suffer from procrastination, etc. You can divide any project into similar parameters. Rate each one on a scale of 1 to 7 to judge degree of accomplishment. Identify areas for improvement, and review your critique just before your next assignment. Now, attempt to beat your score as you begin working on the new project. 

You can get a subscription to Frontline Supervisor EAP Newsletter which will teach your supervisors how to manage troubled employees and improve their productivity while also having positive relationships with them. Frontline Supervisor is the only newsletter in the world designed to help supervisor help their most at-risk employees using the designated employee assistance program properly-- Go here to get a free trial.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

When Employers Come Calling After Work Hours

Employees who receive electronic correspondence from work after hours become angry more often than not, and that can interfere with their personal lives a new study from a management researchers at the University of Texas Arlington shows. The study showed that employees become angry when contacted via electronic messages after work. The study--The Effects of Electronic Communication during Nonwork Time on Emotions and Work-Nonwork Conflict-- surveyed 341 working adults during a seven day period to track their feelings when they opened a work email away from the office. " People reported anger when receiving after hours communications, but those who did not allow it to interfere with etheir lives (the integrators) were happier and healthier. Those did not have integration capability and more disrupted lives. Many training recommendations are included in the study. Read ore:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DOT DVD for Supervisors to Train for Workplace Substance Abuse

The one thing that disturbs me most about substance abuse training for supervisors especially with most of the DOT DVD program I see, is that there is too much about drugs other than alcohol being discussed. We all know that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are really what you will typically discover when overseeing workers. But this substance  - beverage alcohol -- does not get a lot of attention. Or, at least it is very minimal. The YouTube 

This program will lead you to a good substance abuse awareness program that does a fantastic job on alcohol awareness. It may even get you squirming in your seat if it cause you to self-diagnose! To see the entire TWO PROGRAM - here

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Most Important Discussion You Can Have With a New Hire

Congratulations, you had 19,234 applications for the new account executive. What are you going to do next? The answer is not Disney World. To start this relationship off right, the first conversation you should have with the new employee is one that most managers do not. That discussion is, a very detailed and in depth discussion about “Why we picked you.” It sounds obvious, but this discussion would go a long way toward establishing a future relationship of clear expectations that match a vision you have for your employee contribution to the organization. It makes that vision more likely to come to fruition. Most employers assume the employee who is hired knows the answer to this question, but they don’t, not really. Your discussion should be more than, “You were the best pick. You stood out.” Or “We liked your experience and your energy.” Go deeper. Tell the employee your hopes and dreams for the position. Paint the vision and describe the mountain top you hope to have your employee ascend with you. This vision becomes an anchor your employee will not forget. Want more highly nuanced tips and advise for supervisors so they don't flub up and get your company sued out of existence for improper supervision practices? We're now in our 21st year of continuous print--the oldest, most widely read supervisor tips newsletter on the plane.. and for good reason. Subscribe to Frontline Supervisor Newsletter or get a free trial right here.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

What's the Most Important Next Step After Disciplining an Employee?

What to Do When You Have Been Disciplined at Work
The first step you may never have considered. It is to help employees respond appropriately to the displinary matter and use the crisis as a way to advance their career. We all have our bad days and performance difficulties from time to time. But too many of either can lead to consequences that put your job in jeopardy. Nearly all employers have a process for addressing employee problems. To manage performance, disciplinary measures (or adverse actions) exist in nearly all organizations. When discipline affects you, it’s important to know what it means and how to respond constructively to it. Discipline is not punishment. The goal of discipline is to deter a repeat of the performance problem (quality of work, attendance, availability, conduct, or attitude problem). Some offenses, such as theft or violence, are grounds for immediate termination in many companies, with no discipline or second chances—and no available recourse. This tip sheet will help your employees know exactly what to do.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Improving Employee Communication: Yes, You May Need to Teach Them How. Don't Blame Employees, It's What We Bargained for With Our Modern Society.

Employees who fail on the job often do so because they cannot communicate well. Is there anything you can do. Many employees fail somewhere along the way...and I do mean being acquire good communication skills. You have choices: 1) Tolerate it. 2) Accept and adapt 3) Help them change and improve communication. And, one more.... 4) fire them. Which one sounds better to you? Especially if you have an otherwise skilled individual with good production value, you should accept your lot in life, and decide to teach them how to better communicate. So, you are right if you chose 3): "help your employee change and improve the communication." This is indeed, the most cost-benefiting business solution -- the proper business resource management model. You see, your employees are, not cogs in a wheel but valuable, necessary, precious tools for productivity. If you have a broken printing press, you'd fix it. You would not buy another printing press for big bucks. The same model applies with employees. The ability to communicate successfully is the most important of all the traits so invest in it--not a lot, but do invest. There is a ton of good stuff out there. Without education and training employees in effective workplace communication, sorry, but failure is more likely. A big part of successful communication is the ability to listen to others and understand their points of view, compromising as necessary to reach goals. So, here is a fantastic video, dvd, or my favorite--web course that will make a huge tent in your employees ability to communicate well. There are lots of options, but the basic powerpoint to help increase effective employee communication is only $297.00

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

You're No Psychiatrist, But...........

You won’t be able to intervene with every issue and stressful problem employees throw at you. And you're not a shrink, of course, but there are broad categories of stress worth knowing about. This can help you stay attuned to relationship and workplace dynamics with which interventions could reduce the impact of stress. Stress research with employees, of which there is a lot, usually focuses on 1) conflicts with supervisors, 2) complaints about the work culture and factors associated with it, and 3) dissatisfaction with making too minimal a contribution, not feeling like one belongs, is included, or fits in. This includes a feeling of not being valued for one’s contributions to the achievements of the work unit. Keep these categories in mind in conversations with employees. If you do, especially when dealing with normal workplace conflict, you will see opportunities to make lives better for your employees as a good supervisor. You will be able to take action, and this can reduce turnover if you jump on problems quickly and resolve them.

Preventing Workplace Violence (It's More Than Look Out for These Signs and Symptoms)

Conducting a violence in the workplace training program in your company is more than offering a presentation on the signs and symptoms of an employee who might go postal.

Workplace violence may have many antecedents, and signs and symptoms, although important, are really too little, too late to stand alone as a prevention strategy. While training employees how to lock a door or escape through the lunchroom alley door is worthwhile and could save a life, there is a lot more to preventing workplace violence than hiding in place.

To put on an effective and comprehensive workplace violence prevention program, consider the following topics, and if you would like to see videos for each of these topic as part of the larger more meaningful strategy, visit this free preview library at

- Violence in the Workplace Prevention General Discussion
- Mastering the Respectful Workplace
- Avoiding Workplace Harassment
- Facing Bullying at Work--What to Do.
- Improving Day to Day Workplace Communication
- Employee Conflict Resolution: Simple Steps and Strategies
- Improving Your Assertiveness Skills
- Supervisor Assertiveness Training
- Effective Performance Evaluation of Employees that Improve Relationship with Supervisors
- How to Respond to a Disappointing Performance Review
- Valuing Diversity at Work
- Anger Management: Tips for Employees
- EAP Orientation: The EAP Can Help (for employees under stress and frustrated)
- Manager's Role in Promoting a Respectful Workplace
- Supervisor's Role in Helping to Prevent Workplace Violence
- Supervisor Training: Using the EAP in Supervision to Manage Difficult Employees

Can you see how these topics all contribute to reducing risk of workplace violence? To see any of them as videos, go to's all videos preview page.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Insights on Coaching Your Employees

I hope you have an understanding of the value of coaching your employees. The truth is that a competitive pay and benefits package gets the right employees in your door, hired, and sitting in the chair.  Good training prepares them to react properly to recurring problems.  Neither, however, is effective in motivating employees or developing their individual talents. That's where your coaching skills come in. Coaching is not hard to learn, but it is critical in helping your employees "get to the next level." At many companies, the role of management is seen strictly as administrative and supervisory.  A largely procedural, one-size-fits-all approach is applied in monitoring employees and ensuring quality control.  Because supervision involves only the negative — what employees are NOT doing — it is motivational only to the degree that employees are afraid of losing their jobs. Coaching differs from the evaluative and reactive nature of supervision I just mentioned by focusing on employee guidance and development. Coaching is both proactive and positive, and involves motivators and tailoring incentives toward them...and a few more. You can purchase an awesome one page tip sheet on coaching employees here, along with a few other supervisor training topics.

Proactive Management: What Management Wants from You

Are you a proactive manager? If not, I can tell you that management wants you to be exactly that. They may not know how to describe what you should be doing, but trust me this it - proactive management. Proactive means “anticipatory.” Management wants your energies and resources used to think ahead, anticipate problems and issues, and do less “reacting” to problems your work unit experiences. Here’s the key: When managing proactively, you strategize and target problems that have not happened yet in an effort to prevent them. You cannot just “think” proactively. Instead, you target the risk with interventions to reduce or eliminate them. The EAP is not an expert on your specific functions, but is experienced at coaching, analyzing, and examining the mandate you’ve been given. That assistance can help you keep on track and help ensure that you follow through on management’s directive. For more insight, consider the only book dedicated to this topic, Proactive Personality and Behavior for Individual and Organizational Productivity (New Horizons in Management series) by Andrew J. DuBrin. - for a supervisor training package -- the last one you'll ever buy -- go here.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Don't Participate In Social Undermining of Your Employee

Not every supervisor will enjoy the personality style of each employee. Don't expect anything less, and keep in mind this one tempting pitfall when this happens to you: Be cautious and avoid something called “social undermining.” This refers to any behavior or attitude toward your employee with the goal of sabotaging and curtailing that person from advancing, achieving, or being recognized for what he or she accomplishes. Social undermining is not necessarily bullying — it may be completely covert. Hindering success is the distinguishing feature of the behavior. Objectively assess your attitude. You may discover certain elements of your employee’s work style or personality that create anxiety for you. This may be attributed to feelings such as envy, jealousy, fear, and perhaps disappointment in your own achievements. These sorts of issues are usually quickly overcome with short-term counseling, coaching, or just venting with a friend...but do it.Get a free trial to Frontline Supervisor Newsletter to see this can advancing your skills in managing others FAST.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Don't Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve in Front of Employees

You might ask if supervisors always are supposed to be positive, or can they show their true selves—the discouragement and pessimism—if that’s the way they feel as a result of workplace or organizational circumstances. Don't be a supervisor if you wear your heart on your sleeve. Any general article discussing required skills, duties, and responsibilities of the supervisor will likely include praising, inspiring, team-building, and morale-boosting. Nothing should preclude you from being honest about the way you feel, but behaving in a manner inconsistent with these responsibilities undermines a positive work environment and can negatively affect productivity. Your employees deserve a positive leader even in the face of adversity. So as a leader you should not show pessimism and hopelessness. Leaders may not feel positive but they should always behave in ways that best serve their employees. You can see a video on building morale at this page in the website.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Don't Bring a Mental Health Counselor to a Termination Interview

Please don't do it. If you're terminating an employee and are worried about his possible emotional reaction at the termination meeting, don't ask a mental health counselor to be there just in case. It's about the dumbest thing you can do. For one thing, it's unethical. An uninvited solicitation of a person to become a client is what this adds up to, and this violates client self-determination principles. A mental health counselor is not a fire extinguisher. Fear of an employee's emotional reaction in a termination interview is not uncommon, but to assume it will happen? Why? What are you trying to prevent? No mental health counselor will be able to intervene at that moment. Experience shows that such fears by managers are usually not realized. If your company is smart enough to have real, live, warm-body type EAP counselor working or on contract with your organization, definitely pass the number on to the employee. (Also, managers may also find it helpful to consult with the EAP before meeting with an employee in order to help allay fears and formulate a more effective dismissal meeting.) This all falls under the heading of using the EAP in supervision. The rationale? You can't manage personal problems employees and must incorporate EAP Theory in management practices to reduce behavioral risk in your organization. You can get monthly guidance from an expert on better ways to interface with your employees and help their personal problems not interfere with productivity by getting a free trial to Frontline Supervisor newsletter here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ending Personality Conflicts on the Job

If you have reached the end of your rope, intervene with personality conflicts by considering the following: See personality conflicts as inappropriate behavior that employees are not being paid to exhibit. Recognize that employees who experience ongoing conflict do not feel an urgent need to stop it. Most have been given implicit permission to continue by not being confronted about it.Management controls the employment relationship, and therefore can intervene with personality conflicts that disrupt the workplace by using disciplinary tools. "Personality conflict" is a term used to excuse bad behavior. The term helps those exposed to it believe nothing can be done about it. Some personality conflicts are severe enough to establish a “hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment.” This makes management legally responsible for stopping it. Make no more than one attempt to mediate. Commit to using disciplinary action if the behavior does not stop. Most supervisor attempts at mediation fail because such meetings omit this message and legitimatize the behavior by implying it is management's problem. This conflict resolution powerpoint/DVD is a great place to start

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Supervisor? Your First Mistake May Be Micromanaging

How can you know if you are a micromanager before you find out hard way? Micromanaging means “overseeing” the details of work assignments given to your employees, usually doing so in a meddlesome manner. That's a pretty simple definition. Although micromanaging affects employee morale, its disruption to the professional development of employees is perhaps its greatest harm. The goal of the micromanaging supervisor is to have work done correctly and productively, yet the opposite usually occurs because everything must pass through the micromanager. The other consequence of micromanaging is the undermining of employee initiative. Why take initiative when the penalty is aggravation? Most micromanaging supervisors have difficulty with time management and feel uncomfortable with the free time produced by effective delegation. They often don’t understand the difference between delegation and simple assignment of tasks. Experiment with letting go. Read about delegation and its powerful use in supervision.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Is It Possible to Teach Leadership Skills to Employees?

Tricky question, but you have a lot to gain by trying answer it. Leadership of course is not supervision, but the two definitely overlap. Some people are born leaders. You've seen these charismatic folks from time time. But any employee can learn leadership skills, and you have a lot to gain if you test the waters to see which one of your employees grasps these concepts easily. Leadership skills vary widely, so try to fit experiences to the right positions. Lower-level employees don’t need to learn financial spreadsheet analysis, of course, but organizing a work team and then encouraging and leading it might be ideal for them. Leadership skills empower employees to be more effective on the job and in their personal lives. Learning such skills grows a mindset as much as it does the skills. The payoffs are employees who are proactive, forward-thinking, and solution-focused. Develop employees by helping them choose work goals, stay on task, mark their own progress, and pursue their goals to completion. Engage them with feedback, both positive and negative. Help them celebrate accomplishments and share the credit with others who make contributions. Teach employees, even lower-level employees who often aren’t made aware of their specific and important contributions to a large organizational mission, to have a vision of what they can accomplish in their unique roles. You never know when one of them may suddenly need to move the ladder to a higher position. We recommend reading “Millennials into Leadership (2011).”

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Managing Medically Influenced Behavioral Problems on the Job

Major depression affects 15-20 percent of the population. A research report from Stony Brook University in November received widespread attention because its author supported further investigation into the possibility that major depression could be the result of “some parasitic, bacterial, or viral infection” not yet identified. Infectious was mischaracterized as contagious in other media. The two do not necessarily equate. Not long ago, stomach ulcers were determined to be caused by H. pylori bacteria, not stress. The idea is similar. With regard to the workplace, many studies have shown that employee morale can be affected by the attitudes and behaviors of coworkers. In this sense, depression’s effects can be “contagious” if behavioral issues of those affected by it influence others and negatively impact morale or productivity. Rely on a contracted EAP professional or if you are smart enough to have an EAP firm on retainer, use them, when you are concerned about an employee’s behavior. Do not attempt to decide whether an employee is or is not depressed. It will lead to a discussion. That discussion will lead to "assurances" from your employee everything is just fine. That will lead to a temporary cure as a result of increased effort to control symptoms, and that will lead to relapse...or worse. There is such a thing as behavioral-medical problems that affect performance. 12% of employees are affected by such problems, but you have no ability to manage this "strata" of employee behavior. You must rely upon pros. To see our supervisor courses go to