Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How To Track Performance for Growth

Every goal – organizational or personal – needs a deadline or target date. Without a deadline, there is no pressure to perform at top capacity. Deadlines provide a motivational “push.” Once people discover what they can do, that new level of productivity becomes a constant challenge for achievement giving your business a much needed edge.

A good tracking system is one of the most useful tools for helping individuals meet goals and grow. Progress can be demonstrated only by comparing the past and the present and tracking is the best method of evaluating both the quantity and the quality of performance for individuals, for a department or work group, or for the overall organization.

How to choose a tracking system that meets your needs:
• Appropriate measurement. Make sure the tracking tool measures each important aspect of the activity. If your goal is to reduce the number of days between the receipt and shipping of orders, you won’t be happy to discover that the time interval was cut from three days to one if you also learn that the error rate rose from one percent to eight percent. In this case, a tracking plan should include both speed and accuracy.

• Easy to use. The measurement tool should not add significantly to the workload. If every worker must spend an hour a day just filling in the report, you lose a good deal of valuable time that could have been used in more productive efforts.

• Easy to interpret. Tracking tools should present the facts visibly in a form that quickly reveals the pertinent facts. Charts, graphs, and summary reports with side-by-side comparisons to the last reporting period are easy to read and interpret. What you learn from the reports helps you decide what to do next. Make sure tracking information is used to advance the goals program.

Providing Feedback on Performance
Because attitudes and behavior are so closely associated, it is often possible to change attitude by first changing behavior. When people try out new behavior patterns and discover that they are more satisfactory than established patterns, they gradually change their attitudes to match the new behaviors. Even when attitudes are favorable for success, employees sometimes do not know just what behaviors are appropriate expressions of those attitudes.

One of the best teaching tools is giving feedback on performance. Generally people respond to praise and recognition, but when they continue negative behavior, you might need to use a negative injunction. The purpose of a negative injunction is to stop negative behavior that creates an obstacle to reaching organizational goals or is counterproductive to getting a job done well. As you plan to provide feedback on performance to your employees, you will achieve the best possible results by following some simple guidelines: Click Here to Read Available for a limited time.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Are you liable for harassment that takes place in your business?

Litigation cases in the area of Workplace Harassment are continuing to increase. How do you define harassment in the workplace? It’s not as simple as it used to be. It is now defined as any type of unwelcome action toward an employee that leads to difficulty in performing assigned tasks or causes the employee to feel he or she is working in a hostile environment.

There are three phases to an employee filing an litigation case. First, there is unwelcome and offensive conduct. The harassment may be based on such factors as race, gender, culture, age, sexual orientation, or religious preference. Bullying and retaliation are also forms of workplace harassment.Second, the employee must voice his or her objection to the behavior, allowing the offending individual or individuals to correct their workplace behavior. Last, the conduct must be of a nature that makes an impact on the ability of the employee to carry out his or her duties in an efficient and responsible manner. Some forms of workplace harassment are more common than others. Unwanted sexual advances by peers or supervisors is the most oft cited form of workplace harassment but other forms are also on the rise.

Where does this leave you as an employer or manager? Are you liable for harassment that takes place in your business?

Yes, you as the employer are automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in a negative employment action such as termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages. If the supervisor's harassment results in a hostile work environment, the employer can avoid liability only if it can prove that: 1) it reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior; and 2) the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.

The employer will be liable for harassment by non-supervisory employees or non-employees over whom it has control (e.g., independent contractors or customers on the premises), if it knew, or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action.When investigating allegations of harassment, the EEOC looks at the entire record: including the nature of the conduct, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination of whether harassment is severe or pervasive enough to be illegal is made on a case-by-case basis.

Innovative Leadership of the Delaware Valley, LLC offers the following Workshops that help your organization and management team avoid liability with this area of concern:
    • Workplace Harassment – This workshop is designed to teach managers and employees how to recognize, prevent, and manage workplace harassment including sexual harassment, bullying, retaliation, and more. This workshop provides a comprehensive overview of the legal and practical definitions and offers specific case studies to support the recommended actions.
    • How to conduct a Workplace Harassment Investigation – This workshop identifies the step by step process of a Workplace Harassment investigation from start to finish. Participants will take away all the tools to conduct their own investigation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How to Find Leaders in the Workplace

In a department or work group of any size, smaller groups begin to form along the lines of common needs and desires. You can often observe these groups during breaks or lunch time. Workers enjoy being together because of similar interests, problems, work, or other factors. This is where your informal leader emerges. When you recognize these informal leaders, you can use their power and influence to enhance the results and productivity of the group. You can antagonize informal leaders and their followers and see productivity sabotaged, or you can harness the power of informal groups to increase productivity.

Although informal leaders are not designated by the organization, they frequently wield extensive power and influence because of their ability to help other team members satisfy needs and reach goals. They are automatically sought out for advice and help when a colleague experiences a problem. They often are outstanding team members with common sense, loyalty, and can contribute a great deal to your company’s success when you delegate to them and help them develop their abilities even further.

Occasionally, however, informal leaders are troublemakers who seek followers to satisfy their own desire for power and glory. They may work against the goals of the organization. But most are competent and possess a great deal of undeveloped potential. Whether they become an asset or a liability to your department depends on your ability to help them find a constructive way to satisfy their needs for personal growth. Otherwise, they may become disgruntled troublemakers, or may move on to another job in an attempt to cure a vague dissatisfaction with the work situation.

In an atmosphere where people are motivated to produce at their peak, a great deal of friendly competition evolves and productivity goes up. You must look to these outstanding individuals as leaders, for they are prime candidates for accepting delegation. Not only will they perform well at whatever tasks you assign, but they also encourage other team members towards an attitude favorable to accepting delegation. Because of the influence of this outstanding person, other team members are also willing to learn new jobs and accept new responsibilities.

In contrast, people who feel mistreated and fearful may distrust high producers. They fear that management expects everyone to produce at that high level. Groups of disgruntled individuals sometimes follow an informal leader in using various pressures to force the top producer down to a lower standard. Derogatory terms are powerful demotivators when applied to those who exceed group standards. One of the worst punishments of all can be rejection by other team members.

In such situations, you need to identify their informal leaders and find a way to neutralize their power. These leaders may be people with high potential whose basic needs and goals are not being met. As a leader, you are responsible for knowing these people well enough to discover their unsatisfied needs and helping them motivate themselves to become productive. Directing the energy of these groups into constructive work can turn the force and authority of informal groups into a benefit for the organization.

You can enhance your career success by reinforcing your formal authority with appropriate action to fulfill these leadership functions:

Acceptance by the group. A leader is trusted by the group members to have genuine understanding and empathy for their problems.

Risk taking. A leader takes whatever risks might be involved in expressing group grievances to management and seeking solutions for them.

Communication. The leader contributes to the security of the group by providing information. The informal leader may provide inaccurate information based on rumors. You are, in contrast, a channel for accurate information and thus give employees the feeling of security they need. Using these powerful strategies expands your influence and encourages maximum motivation among your team members.

Innovative Leadership offers "The Making of An Effective Manager (ELD)" Course quarterly and this Leadership and Management Development Course teaches the participants methods (like identifying an informal leader) and principles of communication, handling the difficult employee and more while providing the vehicles and tools for them to use in the workplace to improve productivity and performance. Please call 609.390.2830 for more course information and enrollment forms or click here