Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Supervisor Bullying in the Workplace Is Not a Passing Faddish Complaint of Disgruntled Workers with Poor Performance

Many managers and supervisors don’t believe they are a bullying supervisor, but often their employees disagree. It is much easier to practice bullying behaviors than many supervisor realize.

In fact, many managers are surprised to learn than their employees view them as bullies. One idea that these leaders possess is that bullying in the workplace as a problem is more or less a fad, egged on by the media. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

These supervisor remain at risk for large problems associated with their leadership styles. And the cost of employee complaints are enormous when you begin calculating direct and indirect costs. From turnover and absenteeism and from a disturbed home life or time-consuming processing of stress with coworkers, bullying by managers has many dominos of cost.

Complaining about workplace bullying is not a strategy employed by workers as a manipulative means to keep supervisors at bay or a way to prevent them from being confronted for their sub-par job performance. (Well, I would say, that in the 35 years of interacting with employees and businesses while in the trenches of employee assistance programming, I have never seen this happen.)

In the past, this same argument (e.g., this is just a fad and a unfounded or exaggerated complaint by disgruntled workers) has been used to minimize the impact of sexual harassment in the workplace. Today, sexual harassment is illegal. And only the most naïve manager would utter such a thing in mixed company!

Research has now documented sexual harassment's true cost. Bullying in the workplace is rapidly receiving the same level of recognition, also supported by research. See the citation on abusive supervision at

Bullying can often be identified by simple questions. Do you ridicule employees? Have you put employees down in front of others? Have you accused them of incompetence, kept them away from “the good assignments,” not given them credit for their work, yelled at them, or invaded their privacy by asking probing personal questions?

Many of these behaviors were once considered natural elements of the traditional workplace, but not today. Talk to the EAP about making changes. Most employees who complain to supervisors about bullying say they do not see substantive changes from their tormentors. This implies that changing these behaviors can be tough. Still, you could remain at risk for employment or legal claims if your tactics don’t shift.

The program entitled 14 Vital Skills for Supervisors is an international sold 90 minute program for any supervisor or manager needing improved skills in engaging employees. It is not like any other program. It actually come with FOUR formats DVD, Video, Web Course, and PowerPoint (each format with sound) and is purchased by HR managers looking for the ideal product/program to bring their supervisors to the next level of awareness, sensitivity, and proactive behavior that drives higher moral and improved productivity. See the entire supervisor training program in a preview of all skills -- here.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Helping Supervisors Notice the Risks Around Them

Only 41% of managers make a conscious effort to pay attention to their employees' well-being, according
to a recent study conducted by 15Five, a management consulting firm.

The survey was not talking about failure at being an armchair diagnostician. Rather, the survey was examining how supervisors do or do not pay attention to the signs and symptoms that should at least trigger a discussion or inquiry, and then a possible referral to help.

Personally, I am not surprised by the findings.

The pattern of detachment observed in this study is due, in my opinion, to the decrease in high touch, live-body, genuine, core technology EAPs that move within an organization offering consulting, training, promotion, counseling/assessment, and on-demand resources that produce engagement. Such organizations “think EAP.”

Only these sorts of programs (as originally conceived by the founders of the profession) are bold enough and integrated enough to reach managers with the right education, training, and consultation that can influence leadership to be proactive and manage troubled employees effectively. Anything less fails to identify and mitigate behavioral risk in the organization.

Helplines and hotlines and 800# for self-referrals run by insurance companies are nice, but they do not penetrate the risk pool of serious personnel problems--the type associated with tragedies like workplace violence. These require formal referrals and well-matched progressive discipline mechanisms. Self-referral alone won't cut it.

On a side note, consider this: Is there a link between fewer internal and EAPs as described above, and the increase in workplace shootings over the past 25 years?

Driving the study by 15Five is a nearly worldwide concern about stress, burnout, and work-life balance.

Anticipate hearing a new buzzword in the future: "work life synergy.”

This lexicon underscores the importance of stress management in our new age of 24/7 digital access to work, remote positions, working from home, and in many cases, the near impossible task of detaching from our daily workplace responsibilities. Work-life synergy is about managing stress despite the morphing of work time and personal time.

To help supervisors focus on “identifying” signs and symptoms of trouble employees, do effective supervisor training, distribute a supervisor newsletter that's actionable, like the one we’ve published for 27 years, and promote frequently your availability as an EAP or EA professional to consult on employee issues.

When promoting to management, understand that frequency is everything. Expect to have 8 or 9 touches with your supervisory staff before you see a regular flow of requests from supervisors for help. Then, do not let up.

Find reasons to connect with supervisors monthly. There is absolutely no easier way to do it than using Frontline Supervisor EAP newsletter. It see the notes section on page two. Use it each month to connect, share news, and offer tidbits and advice on using the EAP in supervision to supervisors. Use this form to get a subscription or a trial to Frontline Supervisor. Or consider this unique package of supervisor skills training for new supervisors and first time supervisors. Here a short video introduction of a New Supervisor Training program in Powerpoint or another format.

Monday, August 26, 2019

How Do I Keep My Employees from Thinking I am Mountain Troll with A Club?

Did you saw that Harry Potter movie with the mountain troll busting up the bathroom with a spiked club while chasing after Harry and his friends? Many supervisors are successful at making themselves into a monster--some almost this grotesque--and more feared than respected.

Although no one can promise that you won't be seen as a supervisor who wants to throw subordinates into a gingerbread oven, I will give you a few hot tips. Be sure to forward this Web URL to your friends. Some may need the help.

You can access our supervisor training here at, or take a look at all 14 skills of the "Oh So Easy! Supervisor Skills Training Program" we offer at - definitely sign up for free tips and free handouts at here.

Probably the most important thing you can do as supervisor or manager do is to establish communication habits that you use daily with employees that help you improve your interactions and grow your reputation with them. You must use self-awareness and have a goal in mind to be seen in a certain light.

Are you "simply trying to be liked?" Yes. Nothing wrong with that although people do throw that in our faces over the years. Being liked and trying to be liked is smart. It doesn't mean you aren't using common sense in your relationship with managing employees and their performance.

When approaching an employee for any reason, lead with something positive so they do not learn to associate your presence with correcting performance, a 
negative interaction, or other painful exchange.

Ask employees for their solutions to problems, and treat them like pros, regardless of the position they hold. Intentionally interact with your employees when things are going well—get out of your office so you aren’t seen as a one-person fire department 
only interacting when problems arise or things go badly.

Participate in small talk; use these moments to learn about your employees’ needs. Praise and be in awe of their past achievements, not just the ones you witness on the job. Finally, look for roadblocks to their success. Pay attention to what is 
impeding performance, and find small ways to make their lives more comfortable.

You can learn fantastic skills from a product available at call the "Oh So Easy!" 14 Vital Skills for Supervisors Training Program. 

Here take a look:

View this program in full.14 VITAL SKILLS FOR SUPERVISORS for First-Time and New Supervisors or frustrated supervisors looking to improve their game.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

New Supervisor Training: To Be Liked or Not to Be Liked...That Is Not the Question

Most supervisors want to be firm with their employees, but also draw a balance with the ability to show empathy and warmth. The reason are simple: Every supervisor wants to be competent in managing their subordinates, but they also want to liked.

"Wanting to be liked" as a motivator is often given an undue bad rap by people, when in fact
New Supervisor Training for First Time Supervisors PowerPoint
"Don't make "being liked" a goal, but an outcome."
it is a worthwhile goal. More often we condemn people with the retort: "You just want to be liked!" Yeah, exactly! This should not carry such a negative connotation. The real question is the "how" of arriving at this goal that makes all the difference. As a new supervisor or first-time supervisor you have an important skill to learn, and that is drawing a balance between firmness and control and warmth and being a democratic leader.

new supervisor first time supervisor angry
It's easier to be a punitive supervisor than a positive praising leader
It's safe to say that if you are not liked by your employees, then big problems will follow in the way of workplace sabotage, passive aggressive behaviors, back-biting, and the like.

Some supervisors find it difficult to draw this balance. They may correct employees more often than they praise them. In fact, ironically, it is harder to praise an employee than it is to correct them. Why? The reason is also simple. Praising someone will make feel more vulnerable to rejection as you display your softer side, than getting angry at workers and feeling more powerful in front of them--acting one up. This is a tempting elixir potion indeed, and that means it is habit-worthy -- a habit you want to avoid. So, avoid being power hungry as a supervisor.

So, how can supervisors increase positive interactions? Keep reading to find out or see this new program called "Oh! So Easy" 14 Vital Skills for Supervisors

Supervisors need to regular establish communication habits that they can use daily with their employees. These habits of communication will the manager improve interaction with subordinates and grow their reputations as positive, warm, dependable, generous, and constructive leaders who know how to develop their people. All of this this translates to "nice." So nice is not your ultimately your goal. Having employees see you as nice is in fact, a byproduct or result of your skills and abilities in managing people effectively. Can you see that?

Let's begin with approach employees. When approaching an employee for any reason, the supervisor should lead with a statement of something positive so employees do not learn to associate the presence of the supervisor with corrective and punitive role. Avoid having your wonderful face be linked to a negative interaction or other painful exchange that becomes indelible in your employees mind.

Supervisors must understand the power of their words and the impact words have on a subordinate. Employees a hundred feet away can be easily be affected by a manager's tone of voice, non-verbal behavior, even a sigh. And if you are not telling employees what you are thinking--they are making it up as they go along.

Key to being effective is asking employees for their solutions to problems and work unit concerns, and treating them like pros regardless of the positions they hold -- even on the lowest rung of the corporate ladder your employee is a professional. Make the janitor your hero expert and have them "feel" this from you, and you are on your way to being a admirable leader.

Supervisors, in other words, should intentionally interact with their employees when things are going well. Don't just interact with employees when a crisis occurs. Instead, get out of your office so you aren’t seen as a one-person fire department only interacting when problems arise or things go badly.

Participate in small talk--and remember that every word you say will be remembered, indelible, and engraved in stone. Use these small-talk moments to learn about your employees’ needs.

Also, supervisors should praise employees. This is a no brainer, but as a supervisor demonstrate your awe of your employees' past achievements, not just the ones you witness on the job. You will reinforce their enjoyment on the job, help them have a more positive day, and influence their thinking and motivation in how to engage with the organization's goals.
Finally, look for roadblocks to your employees' success. Roadblocks are natural in every process or path that seeks a desired outcome, but more often employees typically try to find workarounds and coping strategies rather than complain. You don't when in fact the manager has an instant solution.

To find roadblocks, pay attention to what is impeding performance. See performance, conduct, attendance issues, absenteeism, and tardiness or attitude problems first and foremost as symptoms of something else, not necessarily the problem itself.

Follow these steps and you will be liked, and the ones that will like you even more will be upper management who have the ability to influence your career for the better.

Visit this New and First Time (or Any Time) Supervisor Training in PowerPoint

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Alcoholic Employee Spotted Coming Out of Liquor Store: To Step In or Not Step In

Several years ago a supervisor met with me to ask about one of his recovering alcoholic employees
who he saw come out of a liquor store one weekend. The employee's work was satisfactory without any issues.

I guess it is a small town.

The $64K question was, should the supervisor intervene, confront the work on Monday, report it to HR, or blow it off. What would you do?

This employee was in fact referred to treatment several years earlier and a last chance agreement to keep good attendance and maintain productivity was still in effect. What should the supervisor do?

The answer is pretty cut and dry. Do nothing. Less you disagree, follow this path of logic and remember something important: Business organizations are all about productivity and contracts to pay for productivity. They are not business to be ambulance chasers, do-gooders, or involve themselves in the personal lives of employees. Remember as well that witnessing this incident was coincidental. It could have happened five minutes before or five minutes after the time that it did.

This employee may still not be drinking, but even it the supervisor saw the employee turn the bottle up on the way out the door, work performance at this point is still characterized as satisfactory.

Here is what I told the supervisor. Tell me in the comments if you agree. Like any employee, you have the freedom to contact the EAP for any reason you feel appropriate. I encouraged the supervisor to take this step. That step is a confidential one for the supervisor, and actually has some real risk management dimensions to it.

Although many concerned persons would react with alarm to what you have seen, realize that your focus should remain on the employee’s performance and that you don’t have enough information to make an accurate judgment about what you have seen. Your call to the EAP will be treated confidentially. Don’t expect the EAP to provide details of your employee’s treatment or say what will happen with the information you share. But yu can be the EAP will do a little bit of follow up to see how things are going if there is still any level of involvement still in place. There is no guarantee, but it is likely. So far, so good.

Focusing on performance is the surest way to help the employee to not only be a good performer, but to also follow through with whatever his or her program of recovery entails.

Remember, you can’t control the employee’s behavior or outcomes in his or her personal life. Realize, too, that events such as this one frequently have simple explanations. For example, your employee in recovery may have had second thoughts and simply left the store, paid an old debt, or said good-bye to the clerk he never plans to see again!

#supervisortraining #newsupervisor #supervisoryskills

Phone 1-800-626-4327 to get a 25% discount of the 14 Vital Skills for Supervisors Program this monthly only! See the 50% of each of its skills here.

Do you have a training program about Alcohol Abuse? It is a good idea to educate your employees about substance abuse because even if they do not have a problem themselves, a family member may indeed be severely in trouble, and such education always travels home. Find drug and alcohol problems here.

To learn more about, download our free materials by signing up to receive useful products on the home page here at

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Women in the Workplace 2018: A Comprehensive Ground Breaking Research Study 2018

There's a lot of critical information in this new report on women in the workplace.
Despite the push to grow more diverse and inclusive workplaces, African American women in top management are still quite rare.

And there are more findings in this report critical to workforce management.
The new 2018 Women in the Workplace Study is a document you should read for three important reasons:
1) awareness for the problem of barriers to gender diversity that still exist;
2) the reliability of the information found in the document that discusses many aspects of modern day institutional discrimination; and
3) ideas about how you can make a difference in your role no matter what it might be.
The study was conducted by the prestigious

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Managing Poor Performing Employees with An Ultimatum that Works

Supervision skills are not just about managing employee behavior, coaching, inspiring, and
troubled employee being supervised and leveraged into treatment or counseling
praising workers. They are also about knowing when NOT to do those things, and to instead use resources outside of the supervisor's realm to intervene with unacceptable or unsatisfactory performance.

And here is the signal for when to do just that -- when you are failing at changing behavior.

When you can honestly say, "Wow, things are not changing, and my supervisory skills are not making a large enough dent!" -- Say that, and it's time to look outside the supervisory toolbox realm.

So, what's the next path?

The answer: some sort of professional or counseling help with your company's employee assistance program. (Do you have one? No worries. I will discuss another suitable path.)

If you have an EAP, do not see this program as a nice self-referral benefit for employees. This is absolutely the wrong paradigm. What EAPs are, are management tools--pro-employee and pro-management, neutral source management tools to salvage workers.

Sure EAPs take self-referrals you never hear about, but they were never initially designed for that purpose. They were created to salvage troubled workers with awesome skills.
You do not lose valuable workers just because they are sick or temporarily nuts.

Listen and email to receive the second half of this audio instruction guide




Diseases, psychological problems, and other stimuli that adverse affect performance are treatable. Repeating -- don't lose employees because of personal problems that are adversely affecting performance.
Preview our entire world famous Supervisor Training Program here.

If you do not have an employee assistance program, you can still leverage job security to motivate your employee to accept help and go to a helpful resource. It's all in the wrist. By this I mean the formulation of an appropriate disciplinary action that you will promise without any doubt, to deliver and dispense in response to an incident that just occurred which represents the type of performance problems you have been discussing with your employee.

Okay -- at this point, there is the disciplinary action sitting on the table in front of you and the employee -- what's next? What's next is up to the employee.

Either he or she accepts a referral to a professional counselor who can determine the nature of any existing problem with a release signed by the employee to inform you about whether there is a problem or not, but not what it is.  ...... or WHAM! A legitimate disciplinary action is given for the latest unacceptable infraction. Simple.

By the way, when the employee makes the wrong impulsive choice, have small discussion and let them understand the ramifications. See below.

Also that release should remain active so you can get phone calls reporting that the cooperation recommendations continuing.

Remember this is all up to the employee voluntarily in order to avoid the immediate dispensing of the disciplinary action.

Part of your conversation as a supervisor will also be to promise that participation in counseling if it is recommended or any treatment program if that should be the case, and that this will not affect or in any way impede or hamper or negatively affect the employee's job security, promotional opportunities, pay, or status with the organization, and that the entire matter will remain out of the personnel file.

Sound like a good deal? It is!

Let this message sink in while you are sitting there with the employee. Then ask, "what do you want to do?" If the employee says, I have no personal problems, repeat what you are offering. This is a statement the employee will use as a side door to escape this "no win" scenario (actually it is a win-win for the organization in that the problem is being resolved today.)

95% of employees in my experience will accept the professional help, assessment, referral, and signed release of information and agreement to cooperate with a therapist over the disciplinary action. You are not diagnosing your employee. You are saying "Do you want to be accommodated in case a personal problem is contributed to these performance issues?"
If not, dispense the action including termination if necessary.

So, with the above you are saving the company, not the employee. You are putting the company first.

The disciplinary action must be appropriate, but the entire process above must be repeated up to and through termination if necessary. Eventually the employee will accept the help if a personal problem exists. Bet on it. Remember, he who care least wins, and this process is designed to protect the company with job security as powerful leverage for change.

The process described in this post works. If you have any doubt, feel free to download the following document

Get your supervisors trained with 14 Vital Skills for Supervisors and keep that practical training right in front of them all year long to reduce risk, increase productivity, create better engagement among your employees, and improve morale. Go here to preview our 14 Vital Skills for Supervisors education program and get all the formats at no extra charge PowerPoint training supervision skills, Web course you own, or DVD training for supervisors, and of course our favorite - videos.

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