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Supervision

Getting the most out of your leadership development programs

Getting the most out of your leadership development programs

By on Jul 22, 2019 in Best Practices, Blog, Coaching, Leadership, Supervision, Training and Development, Training and Development Consulting | 0 comments

Our clients contact us asking for guidance when they wish to implement leadership development programs.  There are usually two needs they have identified: Helping senior management become more effective at leading the organization and becoming more strategic, and Helping front line supervisors become more adept at managing their teams and learning basic management skills to become more effective. Regardless of what the need is, we want to learn some information from the client to help guide them to select the best topics and also ensure there is a system in place to reinforce the learning and integrate it into the culture. Some of the things we ask the client are: What are your goals?  More concretely, what do you envision the results to look like?  You should have some idea of what you want to achieve.  We recommend you take the time to write your goals down and what they will look like. How do you know what training gaps there are? How have they manifested themselves in how people manage or lead? What has the effect been on employees? Identifying the difference between long-standing issues and recent critical events will ensure you are addressing root causes and not merely symptoms. How open is the team to learning?  Are they willing to change their approach, even if it is difficult?  Work may be needed to ensure people are primed to learn. Do the actions of the leadership team model the behaviors you want to see in the supervisors? Do they walk the walk? Without alignment between what leadership says and how they behave the program will fail. What systems are in place to hold people accountable and make changes? Is there a robust performance management and coaching system in place?  Training is used to set expectations.  There has to be a system in place to measure and communicate results. Training and development programs can be expensive to implement. Determining your goals and defining the outcomes before you embark on working with a partner or sending people to training is critical to ensure you get the best return on investment.  Making sure the means to measure behavior change is also needed to determine success or failure. Also remember that training...

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People problems rarely “work themselves out” …so how do you address them?

People problems rarely “work themselves out” …so how do you address them?

By on Jul 12, 2019 in Best Practices, Blog, HR Consulting, Performance Management, Performance Management Consulting, Supervision | 0 comments

When we find a client struggling through corrective action, we show them the process to manage performance effectively so that they can make better decisions about performance management outcomes. If they have not done so, we facilitate a discussion of what is expected of the role, both in terms of job duties and expected behaviors. This often helps the client focus on the specific performance issues. Scan their employee handbook and policies and procedures. Often overlooked, the descriptions of what is acceptable and what is not may be found here.  This helps develop a plan to manage performance and hold people accountable. Uncover exactly what the performance issues are. Are they related to failing to meet key performance indicators, sales or production goals?  Are they violating company policies? Do they behave in ways that are not appropriate for their role? Once the client has defined the issue, we then assist with preparing corrective action tools that can be used in coaching, corrective action, or if necessary, termination,  to ensure the process is firm, fair, and consistent. Managing poor performance is a challenge.  It’s often not pleasant, but if you can save a poor performer by learning to address performance issues clearly and thoughtfully when they arise, you’ll strengthen your business. While it may ultimately require the most drastic action such as termination of employment, in most cases effective performance management leads to performance improvement, which saves time and money on recruitment, training, and maintaining employee morale and productivity. Do you have questions about effective performance review systems?  If you need assistance with this or other human resource needs, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

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People problems rarely “work themselves out”

People problems rarely “work themselves out”

By on Jul 10, 2019 in Best Practices, Blog, HR Consulting, Performance Management, Performance Management Consulting, Supervision | 0 comments

In our Human Resources consulting practice, one of our favorite euphemisms for performance management issues is when a client tells us that they need our help because an employee “isn’t working out”.  Our first response is usually, “well, tell them to go to the gym!”  Kidding aside, we understand what the client means, but use this to get the client to think and speak in more specific terms. Simply put, it’s a serious matter to contemplate terminating someone’s employment, and we want to be sure that the client has thought clearly about their rationale for doing so.  This is where effective performance management can help. When clients tell us someone is “not working out”, that can mean one or more of the following: The employee is failing to meet production, sales, or other specific goals, or isn’t fulfilling the duties enumerated in their job description. The employee has violated company policies such as appearance standards, time and attendance requirements, safety policies, etc. The employee does not behave in a way that is appropriate for their role. They may not demonstrate appropriate customer service, teamwork, leadership, or some other trait that is necessary to do the job. We often find that smaller businesses struggle with addressing performance issues. In many cases they do not act at all, or swing the other way and react disproportionately to the final “straw that broke the camel’s back”…which comes back to haunt them if the former employee takes action against them. Here are the reasons we’ve uncovered why clients don’t act sooner: Conflict avoidant…people don’t like to be confrontational, especially face to face. Fearful of legal action…many of our clients are smaller companies and fear that they will inadvertently do the wrong thing that will get them into costly trouble. Inability to articulate exactly what the performance problem is…sometimes the client just can’t state clearly what the problem is…especially when it is behavioral based. Don’t have a roadmap for the process; clients may not know what to expect or have the tools to start and finish a path of corrective action to improve behavior. Feel like they don’t have time to manage performance…too busy…but the problems persist until something must be done about it....

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How conflict can be a positive influence in the workplace

How conflict can be a positive influence in the workplace

By on Aug 31, 2017 in Blog, Performance Management, Supervision | 0 comments

In the past, we’ve discussed various causes of workplace conflict as well as the importance of resolving conflict [see here and here].  But how do we go about addressing conflict when it occurs?  The first critical step to handling conflict is understanding that it can be a positive influence in the workplace and should not always be seen as a problem.  Instead, conflict can be viewed as an opportunity, for example, consider the following: Conflict leads to changes and improvements Conflict provides an opportunity to re-evaluate a situation, and forces us to look for new solutions – whether it’s in the way a team works together, how a service is delivered, or the way a product is used.  While it can seem like an unpleasant process to those involved, conflict leads to a better way once it has been recognized and resolved effectively. Conflict can be a sign that someone’s needs are not being met Conflict can be a symptom of someone’s dissatisfaction in the workplace.  If employee dissatisfaction is high, productivity, performance, and profitability will suffer.  The key to resolving conflict here is to identify what needs are not being met and find out why.  For example, employees may be looking for performance feedback—which management isn’t currently providing.  By diagnosing dissatisfaction, employers can move to increase worker satisfaction and benefit from dramatically improved business results. Conflict can result in amazing ideas Encouraging positive conflict is often a great way to innovate.  For instance, appointing a “devil’s advocate” when brainstorming is a well-known way of forcing participants to think about different sides of an idea and innovating further.  In the day-to-day workplace, as well as in a brainstorming session, conflict can work well in this way as long as it’s handled effectively. While conflict can be a destructive force, it can also be constructive if it is used as inspiration in a respectful and compassionate manner.  By being able to utilize conflict positively when it does happen, your business will create a healthy and innovative workplace environment. If you need assistance with conflict management or other human resource needs, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

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Creating effective management and successful supervisors

Creating effective management and successful supervisors

By on Aug 9, 2017 in Blog, Leadership, Supervision | 0 comments

As mentioned in our previous post, most companies promote workers into supervisor positions because they seemingly deserve it, rather than have the talent for it.  For example, a great contributor with long tenure may be given a promotion and put on a management track to keep them on the team.  However, it should be noted that the habits that made them successful as individual contributors are not the same ones that will make them effective leaders.  We’ve found that great leaders have many of the following talents: They motivate every single employee to take action and engage employees with a compelling mission and vision.  For more on employee motivation see here They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance. They create a culture of clear accountability by checking in regularly with staff and making sure everyone has the tools needed to do their job. They delegate meaningful projects to their team members. This builds up their team and helps them reach their potential. They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency. They communicate clearly and make the time and space for people to talk and ask questions. They make decisions based on productivity, not politics. They are flexible and can adapt to individual employees and allow them to work according to their own individual style. Knowledge, experience, and skills develop our talents and the fundamental skills of management can be learned by anyone.  Since management is not something we are born knowing how to do, it is especially important to ensure that your supervisors are given the training and support needed to succeed.  Finally, remember that excellent managers come in all shapes and sizes and their management style can be as unique as personalities.  There is no single way to be a successful supervisor, instead recognizing what works for your company and developing those traits in your employees can help create effective leadership. If you need assistance strengthening your management team or other human resource needs, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

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Barriers to successful supervision and management

Barriers to successful supervision and management

By on Aug 7, 2017 in Blog, Leadership, Supervision | 0 comments

Time and time again many of our clients have expressed that finding great managers and supervisors is challenging, yet having a great leader can exponentially increase employee engagement and company growth.  Regardless of business size or industry, we have found that poor management contributes to poor performance.  Missing the managerial mark could drive good employees to leave the company and cost valuable time and money. Learning what makes a poor manager can help yours flourish in their role.  Sometimes, the barriers supervisors must overcome to be effective at their job are unintentionally set up by the employer.  Here are some common challenges supervisors face: Failing to officially designate someone as a supervisor even though you expect a person to fulfill the role.  For instance, sometimes the duties of a manager are added to an employee’s current position without giving that person a title.  This robs the person of any authority to enforce company standards. Failing to give supervisors the skill sets and tools to do the job.  Simply promoting the highest performer to a management role does not mean they will be a high performing supervisor.  The skills needed to be a manager are often different than the skills needed to be a successful programmer, machinist, salesperson, or engineer, for example. Providing inconsistent training and education.  Supervisors also need to be comfortable exchanging this information across the organization.  If their health and safety training and education vary, they may not understand and interpret the job requirements in the same way nor be able to discuss this information with each other. Communicating only one way.  Supervisors must be both the employer’s face to the workers and the workers’ face to the employer.  Employers need to make sure they are responding to concerns coming up through their supervisors, which also ensures concerns going down are addressed. Ignoring diversity in the workplace (e.g., culture, ethnicity, gender, age, and physical abilities).  Employers who fail to hire diverse supervisors or only hire supervisors who don’t know how to manage a diverse workforce may reinforce stereotypes and fuel conflict.  Working positively with diversity engages everybody. Eliminating these barriers will help supervisors transition into their management and contribute to their success in the new role.  Make sure to read...

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