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