Category Archives: Managerial Effectiveness

It’s Time to Focus on Respect

 

As the public has become increasingly aware of the sexual harassment and sexual assault women have been receiving in the workplace, there has been much discussion about what to do to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault at work. The solution to the prevention of the behaviors that lead to sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace is quite complex as legal issues, corporate culture and individual behavior change all need to be addressed.

One way to prevent this abhorrent and destructive behavior is to create a culture of respect in the workplace.   So, how do we do this?

First, it is important to develop the capacity to reflect on your own behavior. Are you communicating with others in a way they find demeaning? Do you even know if you are communicating in this manner? Do you have the courage to find out? What would happen if men in executive positions asked female employees what types of behaviors they found disrespectful — And then, changed behaviors that the female employees found to be offensive? If these discussions were modeled and encouraged by executives, would others in the organization feel free to have these discussions?

Creating a safe environment is key to developing a respectful workplace.   One way to create a safe environment is to demonstrate empathy. Whether you agree with the other person’s perspective or not, put yourself in their shoes and show them that you understand their perspective and their feelings.

When developing new strategies to create a respectful workplace, collaborate with others. Our best solutions happen when we ask for input and capitalize on the strengths of those we work with day to day. And finally, when all of these aspects of respect are put in to place, you will create a thriving work environment.

Keep this acronym in mind to help you remember the qualities for creating a respectful workplace:

Reflective

Encouraging

Safe

Perspective taking

Empathetic

Collaborative

Thrive

Employers can’t afford to wait to take the steps now to create a respectful work environment.

© 2017, Alisa Blum, Alisa Blum & Associates, All Rights Reserved

Alisa Blum & Associates works with businesses and organizations to build relationships that enhance individual and team effectiveness.  Information about our services can be found at www.developtopemployees.com.

Enhance Leadership Success by Building Trust

 

Stephen M.R, Covey, in his book, The Speed of Trust, says that when trust is developed and leveraged it is “that one thing that has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity.”  Our experience and research (Interaction Associates, 2013) tell us that teams that trust each other, and workers who trust their leaders, are simply more productive and effective. And probably happier.

Whether we are talking about family, or friends, or the workplace, the trust we feel is about predictability and reliability, as well as respect for the quality of the actions. Think about someone you trust — don’t they show skill in their actions, do what they say, and are consistent? When we feel trust towards someone, especially a leader or boss, we are willing to do more, sometimes risk more, learn something, and make the effort.

Certainly, we bring our individual history, beliefs, and values to a situation. Many of us have people in our past who didn’t deserve the trust we gave them. They didn’t do what they should have done in their position, they let us down, their words didn’t match their actions, and their values weren’t in tune with what we think is important.

It’s really not much different at work. A leader who inspires trust does what he/she says. They communicate clearly and fully. They see the best in their team and are ready for problems. They are open and self-aware. They have commitment to the goals of the team or organization, and they inspire us to commit also. When we are in their presence, they are really there. Some people might experience as safety. We feel known, and while no worker or leader is perfect, feeling trust inspires us to be better.

Trust is a sense or feeling. We have this feeling in our body, and often know whether or not we “should” trust a person. At some point, each of us decides that we have enough information or evidence to trust another person. However, most of us have flawed gauges. Maybe we trust too easily and get stepped on. Maybe we are biased and negatively evaluating someone because of their culture (or race, gender, culture, age, even clothes). Knowing our personal tendencies biases (and confronting them) is a strong step towards calibrating trustworthiness accurately.

If you are a leader, you may not have thought about your presence in terms of whether or not people trust. Now is a good time to reflect:

  • Trust is based on history and consistency: Is my behavior aligned with stated values and consistent?
  • Is there anyone I need to rebuild trust with?
  • Are there situations in which I can build trust and become more transparent by encouraging questions and answering honestly?

A good way to start enhancing trust is to pick one of these questions to discuss with your employees. Let them know you want honest and constructive feedback. See how this changes the relationship.

Judy Sugg, Ph.D. and Alisa Blum, MSW, provide leadership development that incorporate mindfulness techniques and skills to enhance emotional intelligence. Our programs provide techniques for enhancing leadership trust, decreasing stress, improving relationships and increasing productivity.

For more information, contact us at (503) 524-3470 or aimportland@gmail.com

www.developtopemployees.com

What Makes a Diversity Training Program Successful?

Mixed group business people

I have had the privilege recently to collaborate with intercultural communication specialist, Lillian Tsai, to provide a training program, “Working Across Generations & Cultures”. This training has been very well received, particularly among people who have been unhappy with other diversity training programs.

Here are some reasons why I believe this program is having a positive impact:

  • We use a strengths-based approach to help participants appreciate the positive contributions they all bring to the workplace.
  • We emphasize the importance of understanding people based on a multitude of dimensions, both generational and cultural, so they get an understanding of the many factors that influence communication in the workplace.
  • We incorporate a number of interactive exercises and discussions that help participants break down barriers and deepen their connections with each other.
  • Participants are given the opportunity during the workshop to figure out how they can apply the techniques they have learned to resolve a current conflict at work.

Although many people have had negative experiences with diversity training, I know that there are a number of successful programs out there. I am interested in learning more about what others have found useful when helping people work effectively across differences.

The Boomer Exodus & Millenial Explosion: 5 Strategies to Successfully Manage this Generational Transition

Mixed group business people

We are in the midst of huge demographic changes. Boomers are reaching retirement age at record rates.  Millennials will soon be the largest generation in the workforce. Many organizations today have a small window in which to pass on essential knowledge and evolve into the type of organization that is conducive to hiring and keeping a younger generation of top talent.

Here are some strategies that will help your organization to successfully manage this transition:

  1. Have career development discussions. It is essential to find out when your older employees are thinking about retiring and garner suggestions about how to best pass on their knowledge.       Discussions with younger employees is also imperative, as  younger employees are much more likely to stay at their current job if they have opportunities for career development.
  2. Determine which of your employees have the skills, motivation and interest level required to fill positions vacated by your retirees.   It can be extremely useful to develop benchmarks for the positions being vacated so that you can assess which of your current employees are able to fill positions that will soon be vacated. Then, assess current employees who you think could be qualified for these positions.
  3. Develop mentoring programs. Older workers tend to be motivated by having opportunities to pass on their knowledge. Younger workers enjoy the career development opportunities they gain as mentees while also learning critical skills needed to prepare for advancement.
  4. Create flexible work schedules. Many older workers either don’t want to retire full time or cannot afford to retire full time. Organizations can reap the benefits of their experience by creating part-time, on-call or consultant opportunities. Flexible work schedules are a highly effective way to retain employees from all of the generations as this provides them with a greater ability to manage work and family responsibilities.
  5. Move toward a collaborative organizational culture. Younger employees typically desire a flatter, more collaborative organization. In order to keep top young talent, it will be imperative to identify changes that need to be made in your organization to successfully create a collaborative organizational culture.

By implementing these strategies, you can prevent the potential loss of critical knowledge during the Boomer exodus, and can make sure you have successors in place to ensure your organization will grow and thrive.

Alisa Blum & Associates provides customized training programs, assessments, consultations, coaching and conference presentations to help organizations successfully work across generations.  You may contact Alisa for a complimentary consultation at alisa@developtopemployees.com or (503) 481-7586.

© 2018, Alisa Blum, Alisa Blum & Associates, www.developtopemployees.com

How to Select High Quality Managers

Portrait of happy smiling businesswoman and colleagues on background, at office

Think about the best manager you have ever had. What impact did this manager have on your productivity? Now think back to the worst manager you have ever had. How did this manager impact your productivity?

According to the latest Gallup workplace research, productivity suffers greatly when employees are disengaged.   Gallup’s research has shown that a primary reason employees are disengaged is due to poor relationships with their managers. The financial impact is significant as poor management is estimated cost to U.S. organizations $450-$550 billion a year.

It is quite common to promote individuals with high technical skills into management positions even though management positions require very different skill sets. The next time you need to fill a management position, you will improve the odds of hiring a high quality manager by asking these questions:

  1. Who are my company’s top managers?
  2. What are the specific skills, interests and motivations that cause these managers to excel?
  3. Which of our current candidates share the skills, interests and motivations of our top managers?
  4. Are there additional qualities the management team needs at this time?

Careful consideration of these questions will provide essential information needed to select high quality managers, who will be instrumental in increasing your organization’s productivity. Feel free to contact me to discuss how to best select high quality managers for your organization.

Copyright 2014, Alisa Blum & Associates. All Rights Reserved.

Alisa Blum is a management and employee development specialist. She works with businesses and organization to develop a high achieving workforce. You can reach Alisa at 503-524-3470. Information about her services can be found at www.developtopemployees.com.

Retain Top Talent With These Three Questions

job interview-young employees

As Boomers retire and Millennials begin to dominate the workforce, it is essential for managers to retain top talent.  One of the best ways to keep top Millennial talent is to have frequent career development discussions.

Managers can initiate the career development discussion by asking their employees these three questions:

  1. In what areas of your work do you feel the most successful?
  2. What parts of your work give you the most satisfaction?
  3. What ideas do you have that would simultaneously create a career opportunity for you and increase the success of our organization?

Keep in mind that career development is a process.  Your employees will likely need time to reflect on these questions, and may need assistance to fully explore their career goals.  The manager’s role in this process is key because employees often are not likely to openly discuss their career aspirations without encouragement from their manager.   You will find that these discussions will go a long way to enhance motivation, increase productivity and reduce turnover.

Alisa Blum & Associates offers consulting, training and coaching to enhance motivation and improve productivity.  For questions about our services and schedule a free consultation, please contact Alisa at (503) 524-3470 or alisa@developtopemployees.com.

Six Key Competencies of Effective Managers

management communication skillsFor years we’ve been hearing that people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers. Despite this knowledge, many employees are promoted into management positions without understanding key competencies that will enable them to be effective managers.

Here are six key competencies that I have seen in successful managers:

  • Proficient Communication Skills: Managers that are skillful communicators, listen with full attention to employees concerns, adapt their communication based on each employee’s personality style and manage conflict in a manner that all parties experience a satisfactory outcome.
  • Understand the Needs of the Multigenerational & Multicultural Workforce: Baby Boomers, who once dominated the workforce, are now retiring. Our youngest employees, the Millennials, are now the largest cohort in the workforce and have very different work styles than previous generations. Effective managers understand the needs of the different generations and adapt accordingly.  Our workplaces are becoming increasingly diverse.  It is incumbent upon managers to communicate effectively across cultures.
  • Provide High Impact Performance Feedback: To help employees to develop to their full potential, effective managers know how to provide frequent positive and constructive feedback in a way that motivates both underperforming and high performing employees.
  • Focus on Employee’s Career Development Needs: A key reason high performing employees’ stay at their jobs is because they have the opportunity to learn and grow. Effective managers develop career development plans with their employees and follow-up to ensure the plans are implemented.
  • Incorporate a Strengths-Based Leadership Approach: A strengths-based approach ensures that managers are aware of their own strengths and interact with employees and the leadership team in a way that capitalizes on their own strengths. Effective managers are also aware of their employees’ strengths and consciously create development opportunities that maximize employees’ strengths.
  • Advocate Organizational Changes Necessary for Developing and Keeping Top Talent: Often organizations need to make adaptations in their structure and policies in order to develop and keep a high-achieving workforce. Effective managers are skilled at helping senior management understand the need to make changes that satisfy employee needs and create a thriving organization.

Often companies have the desire to teach these competencies, but lack the internal resources to devote to this endeavor. Contact us to find out about our Developing Great Managers Program and to schedule a free consultation to help you develop a highly competent management team.