Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is Social Media Encouraging More Employees to Switch Jobs?

According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 31 percent of employees are not satisfied in their current jobs. More surprising: 74 percent of workers would consider leaving their current position if they were approached with another offer.
With social media making it easier than ever for employers to approach both active and passive candidates, is this newer phenomenon encouraging more employees to pack up and leave? Or is it just empowering employees to find better opportunities faster and more efficiently?
Prior to the proliferation of social media, the amount of time it took a dissatisfied employee to find a new position was a great deal longer.

Sharing makes it easy

Before social media made it easier for employees to quickly reach out to their network to explore new opportunities, the most effective thing candidates could do was to hit the pavement at time-consuming networking events or start seeking headhunters or recruiting firms. This meant a company could be stuck with an unhappy employee (and vice versa) for months, if not years.
With social media, it is now easier for employees, who have outgrown their current positions, to find new challenges and opportunities.
“Social media definitely encourages people to switch careers.They are being actively recruited through the networks and can then learn more about the company recruiting them through their company social network profiles,” said Kelsey Meyer, SVP of Digital Talent Agents.

Better mobilization with social media

The acceleration of social media usage has made connecting with others a streamlined and fast process.
LinkedIn has about 85.7 million monthly visitors, while users spend about 405 minutes per month on Facebook. Coupled with the fact 1 in 6 job seekers who found their last job through these platforms, social media referrals have become one of the key sources for recruiters to find new talent.
When looking to fill a position at Digital Talent Agents, Meyer turned first to LinkedIn to scout candidates with the skills necessary for the job. She found a great candidate with all the experience and qualifications her team was looking for — the only problem was that the candidate was employed and not looking for new opportunities. Still, he agreed to an informal conversation about the role, which led him to research the company through their social media presence. The candidate liked what he saw and came in for two rounds of interviews and was eventually hired by the company.
Social media platforms are also the obvious place for employees to turn to when looking to move on from their current position. In the digital age we live in, information travels fast and can be shared in many ways. Social media makes this sharing even easier, allowing passive candidates to reach out to employers and hiring managers while searching for new opportunities, without much effort and from the comfort of their notebook or mobile device, regardless of where they are.
“Social media broke down barriers because the candidate was able to learn about our company culture,” Meyer said.

Encouraging workers to leave, or just making it easier?

Social media makes it easier for employees unhappy in their current positions to find new opportunities which may fit them better. While rehiring for a position is not always desirable, the alternative could be worse — especially when an employee is no longer engaged in the workplace.
Social media allows these disengaged employees to leave for greener pastures — and their current companies to staff the open position they leave behind with a more energetic candidate. As a result, both companies could end up with more productive employees, thanks to social media and more efficient ways for employers and prospective employees to connect.
The speed at which information travels in this new social environment means companies cannot ignore the role social media plays in recruitment – especially since social media makes it easier for companies to get their positions in front of interested candidates, both active and passive. With a next-gen recruitment platform, it is simpler and faster for employers and talented candidates to find each other and match open positions with the right fit.
Many companies are using social media in conjunction with employee referrals. Since 74 percent of employees are passively searching for jobs and 28 percent of all external hires last year were made through referrals, putting the two together makes for a strong combination resulting in faster hires and improved prospects for candidates.
Social media is helping employees find new opportunities for which they may have renewed enthusiasm while allowing companies to hire the most motivated workers for their open positions. While the ways in which candidates are finding these opportunities have changed, the things that attract top-tier talent have remained the same.
If a company has great positions and an appealing corporate culture, they will attract innovative hires. Social media only makes this scouting process faster for both job seekers and hiring managers.
By Sajjad Masud is CEO and co-founder of Simplicant

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Don't Like Your Job? Change It (Without Quitting)

Sometimes you know your job just isn't right for you. Maybe you're in the wrong field, don't enjoy the work, feel surrounded by untrustworthy coworkers, or have an incompetent boss. Most people would tell you to find something that's a better fit. But that may not be possible. There are many reasons you may not be able to leave: a tough economy, family commitments, or limited opportunities in your field. So what do you do when you're stuck in the wrong job?
What the Experts Say
According to Gretchen Spreitzer, professor of management and organizations at University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and coauthor of "Creating Sustainable Performance," people are highly dissatisfied when their job has no meaning or purpose to them, provides little opportunity to learn, or leaves them depleted at the end of the work day.
Whatever the reason you are unhappy, you don't have to just live with it or quit. In fact, even if you are able to find another job, staying put may be the best option. "Job searching and changing jobs is not a trivial matter. It is often costly to career momentum and earnings as much as it is a boon," says Amy Wrzesniewski, an associate professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management and coauthor of "Turn the Job You Have into the Job You Want." The good news is that there is usually more leeway to alter your job than you think. "There are often real areas for movement and change that people tend not to recognize," she says. Here's how to make the most of an imperfect job situation.
Look at yourself
Whether or not you are satisfied with your job often has to do with your disposition, says Sigal Barsade, the Joseph Frank Bernstein Professor of Management at The Wharton School. Some people are naturally inclined to be unhappy, while others have a brighter take on life. Before you declare your job a bad fit, take a look at yourself. Barsade says it's worth asking: Are you just the kind of person who tends to be dissatisfied? This understanding may not make you like your job better, but may make you think twice before you look for a new position.
Find meaning
Speitzer's research shows that finding more meaning in your work can dramatically improve job satisfaction. Barsade agrees; she recommends looking at your job responsibilities through a different lens. For example, if your position involves menial tasks, try to remember they are stepping stones to a longer term goal and you won't be doing them forever. Or, if you are in a field that is emotionally taxing, like nursing or social work, remind yourself that while you are tired at the end of the day, you are helping others. It also helps to connect with colleagues. Seek out opportunities to show compassion and express gratitude. Spend time with coworkers you like. "Stronger emotional connections at work lead to a myriad of positive physiological and social effects," says Barsade.
Alter what you do
If you can't change your perspective, you may be able to shift your job responsibilities. And you don't necessarily have to transfer departments or get a promotion to do it. Spreitzer and Wrzesniewski suggest using a job crafting exercise to redesign your job to better fit your motives, strengths, and passions. "Some people make radical moves; others make small changes" in how they delegate or schedule their day, Wrzesniewski says. While the former might require approval from your manager, the latter often doesn't. For example, if your most enjoyable task is talking with clients, but you feel buried in paperwork, you might decide to always speak with clients in the morning, so you're energized to get through the drudge work for the rest of the day. Or you might save talking with your clients until the end of the day as a reward.
Change who you interact with
If it's not the work you dislike but the people you work with, you may be able to change that too. Wrzesniewski says she has seen people successfully alter who they interact with on a daily basis to increase job satisfaction. Focus on forging relationships that give you energy, rather than sapping it. Seek out people who can help you do your job better. Wrzesniewski gives the example of workers at a hospital who were responsible for cleaning patients' rooms. They relied on a centralized dispatch to tell them when rooms were open and what products were safe to use based on the occupant. But dispatch didn't always have the most up-to-date information. This meant the workers couldn't do their jobs as well as they wanted to, leaving them dissatisfied. When they developed relationships with the clerks on each ward, they received more accurate information and were able to do a more efficient job of cleaning. Of course, if your relationship with your boss or your coworkers is especially difficult, you may not be able to work around them. "Job crafting can't turn around any job situation. It's not a cure-all," Wrzesniewski says.
Resist complaining
When you're in the wrong job, it can be tempting to moan about it to others. But it's not advisable. "Complaining about your job is a recipe for trouble. You never know how the complaints may be shared with others in the organization," says Spreitzer. Plus you may drag others down with you. If you are unhappy, it's better to focus on what you can change not grumble about what you can't.
Keep options open
The improvements you make to your job situation may make things more tolerable, but you should always be open to the next thing. "You can improve your job but you can also be on the lookout for new opportunities," says Speitzer. Be sure your resume (e.g. your LinkedIn profile) is up to date and that you are continually meeting people in the field you want to be in.
Principles to Remember
  • Make connections with people you like at work
  • Assess what you don't enjoy about your job so that you can minimize the time you spend doing unwanted tasks
  • Keep your options open — you may not be able to leave your job now, but circumstances may change
  • Assume that the job is the problem — you may be prone to being dissatisfied
  • Think you're stuck — there is usually more leeway to alter your job than you think
  • Complain incessantly about your job and bring others down
Case Study #1: Integrate your interests into the job
Thomas Heffner is an engineer at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, a university-affiliated research center that contracts with the Department of Defense. When Thomas took the job eight years ago, he started off doing purely technical work focusing on radio frequency design and radar analysis. He knew pretty early on that this work wasn't his passion. "So much of what we do is done in isolation. We have classified labs where I might be the only person typing away," he says. About five years into the job, he took on a project manager role, thinking it would allow him to interact more with people. Still most of his tasks — managing schedules, developing contracts, reviewing documentation — involved working alone. Thomas thought about looking for another job, one that suited him better, but he couldn't. He and his wife were having a second child and it wasn't a good time to make a move, especially given the tough job market. Instead, he started taking classes in positive organizational psychology and found ways to integrate this interest into his work. He offered to do presentations on positive organizational scholarship. He first spoke to his own group and then at brown-bag lunches, which were open to everyone in his 5,000-person center. He also approached his company's training and development office about developing a course that uses positive psychology to teach innovation and creativity. The staff in that office encouraged him to create and teach the course. While these new projects are outside of his scope of work, he still does all of the things his project manager role requires. And, he has been able to reduce his administrative workload by delegating certain tasks to his team members who were eager to take them on. "I was able to make room for the things I wanted to do," he says. And it's paid off. "Before I started making changes, my job satisfaction was probably about 3 [on a scale of 1-10]. I'm making small changes; it's nothing earth shattering, but it's now up to a 7." By finding other ways to spend time doing what he enjoys most — learning, teaching others, spending time with people — he believes he can boost that up to an 8 or 9.
Case Study #2: Start doing the job you want
Nine years ago, when Shammy Khan took a job at a contract manufacturer based in Texas, he knew it wasn't the perfect job for him. The position was in account management and required Shammy to handle routine, day-to-day work related to one of the company's clients. Shammy felt his strengths lied elsewhere. "I was more interested in growing businesses and putting deals together than servicing existing clients," he says. Yet he was spending less than 5% of his time doing that. After a year on the job, he completed a job crafting exercise, which helped him realize that he would be happier focusing more on new customer deals, which he saw others doing full time. He approached his manager and explained why he was the right person to cultivate a potential client in a market — large scale electromechanical integration services — the company had never served. His boss was convinced. Shammy's title and role didn't change but he shifted his attention to developing and acquiring the capabilities needed to win the account. The client is now one of his company's top six customers. Based on that success, Shammy was promoted to vice president and is now focused exclusively on new ventures, strategic markets, and business development.
By Amy Gallo - editor at Harvard Business Review

Three Quick and Dirty Ways to Speed Up the Hiring Process

These techniques can reduce the time it takes to find a quality employee by days or even weeks. Grab your notepads, hiring managers, because here are the three most important things they had to say.

1. Add special instructions for submitting a resume

Any good employee should know how to follow a set of simple directions – it’s pretty fundamental for performing any job in any industry – and many companies test for this essential trait early on in the corporate hiring process. They do it by making candidates follow a set of special instructions when submitting their resumes.
In addition to asking applicants to send in interview questions they think they should be asked along with their resumes, Cluffy Institute COO Christy Scott also requests that applicants make an appointment for a phone interview by using the company’s online scheduler.
“You will be amazed at how few candidates will do this,” she says. “It’s an easy way to eliminate the people who aren’t serious about getting a job and working for the company.”
Ed Kaminsky, president of SportStar Relocation, uses a similar trick when hiring for his real estate offices.
“I set up a voice mailbox with three or four interview questions and ask applicants to call in and answer them,” he says. “There’s usually one question that determines whether or not they’re paying attention. For example, I’ll ask them to repeat their name and phone number twice. If they don’t do it, they lose points.”
A few little tests like these can help uncover superior candidates well before the interview phase. Could your hiring process benefit from a similar screen?

2. Encourage great referrals

Instead of immediately posting a new vacancy on job sites, several of our respondents say that they try to fill the position through a bounty system first. Bounty systems turn your employees into recruiters by giving them a reward (usually between $2,500 and $10,000) for recruiting a successful hire.
“Bounties really help save us both time and money,” says Laura Fitton, an inbound marketing specialist for Hubspot. “Recruiting services frequently cost $20,000 or more. We figure, why not spread the wealth around?”
It makes sense. Your employees each probably know several qualified individuals who are worth checking out. And with a reward at stake, you can be sure that your staff will put some effort into recruiting talent for your company.
You will want to pay close attention to motivations and incentives where money is involved, though. And sometimes the reward of a great job in a positively challenging environment is enough. If you work to build an amazing workplace (and workplace culture), bringing on a friend to enjoy the great atmosphere might be a reward in and of itself.
3. Ask candidates to sell you on something they love
Asking the same old questions on an application – “What are your career goals? Why do you want to work here?” – tends to trigger the same bland, prepackaged responses every time. That’s why a few of our respondents like to switch things up. They ask candidates to talk about one of their passions instead.
“We ask all applicants to make us love something that they love,” says Rachel Dotson, content manager for ZipRecruiter. “We put this question right in the online application and we read it before the cover letter and resume. Aside from making the hiring process more enjoyable for us, it tells us a great deal about each applicant’s communication skills, level of creativity and cultural fit. It’s amazing how much you can glean from such a simple question.”
That seems like sound logic to us. Asking an employee to sell you on something they’re truly passionate about provides invaluable character insights early in the employee selection process. It gives you the chance to see who will gel with your corporate culture and who won’t.
No matter how happy you are with your current corporate hiring process, it can always be better. Listen to the experts and try one of these quick and dirty hiring tricks the next time you have an open position to fill.
We’re not fortune tellers, but if we were, we’d predict that using these techniques will make finding the perfect candidate for your company easier than ever before.
By Eric Gaydos is the Buzz Marketing Manager at The Resumator, a SaaS applicant tracking system and recruiting platform trusted by many of the fastest-growing companies in the world.

10 Reasons That HR Thinks Employees Are Totally Crazy

Here’s why HR Pros think employees are crazy:

  1. Your Boss tells us about all of your weird anxieties.
  2. Your co-workers, that hate you, tell us about all of your weird anxieties.
  3. We know your medical history – mental and physical. Sorry, it’s part of the gig.
  4. We find out every time you cry or lose it at work – every time. That’s almost part of the gig.
  5. Your crazy-ass emails find their way to our inbox. Thank your “work” friends for that.
  6. We spend too much time talking about you in succession planning meetings, uncovering all that is wrong with you.
  7. You rate yourself as “Great” on your self-assessments, and we know you are barely “Average.”
  8. We know more about your divorce than your divorce attorney.
  9. Your stories about your kids haunt me at night.
  10. We know everyone you’ve slept with in the office – or tried to sleep with, or want to sleep with.

A function of being in HR

This is just a function of the job – we see and hear the worst and the best of all of our employees.
Just like the school teacher who spends more time on a daily basis with your kids than you do as a parent, that teacher is probably going to know some things about them that you are unwilling to accept. HR Pros know some things about our employees – many of which they aren’t willing to accept – that’s human nature.
By Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is Executive Vice President of HRU Technical Resources , a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI

How Do We Ask the Right Interview Questions?

Q: During the interview process, is there a good way to assess each candidate so I can narrow down the search in a timelier manner? I was hoping for some kind of checklist. Or would this actually be a hindrance rather than a help?

- Need for Speed, HR specialist, Nonprofit, Wausau, Wisconsin

A: Start with the resumes. You learn a lot about candidates - not only from what they tell you, but what they exclude - their effectiveness as a communicator and the overall presentation. The devil is in the details, so watch the details. Review each resume for specific skills, experience and quantifiable attributes that align with the position you wish to fill. Check employment dates, being mindful of large gaps in employment - why might that be? Note also basic fundamentals such as grammar, spelling, font choices and the general layout. Lack of professionalism/attention to detail in a resume is a sure warning sign that you can expect the same from their work. Skill assessments are another good way to objectively qualify desirable candidates. If you have assessments, send them out before phone screenings and use them as proof of the skills required. Candidates who pass the resume review and skill-assessment phase are worth a brief phone screening.

Keep these initial screenings to five minutes and ask the following four questions, but remember not to discuss the company or position before you qualify them through your process.

a) In one minute or less, walk me through your current responsibilities. (The objective is to assess whether a person really possesses the experience and skills required.)

b) Why are you looking? (You need to understand their motivation - why you, why now?)

c) What are you looking for in your next position/employer? (If the answer does not gel with your company or the position, stop the interview and move on. Don't waste your time, or theirs, trying to change their mind or talk them into your company.)

d) What sets you apart from your competitors on this position? (The person ought to be able to clearly articulate the value he or she brings to your organization. Today, everyone must bring value to the table. If they can't answer well on the phone, they'll never be able to do it once hired.)

During this screening call, you are looking to uncover a few basic fundamentals: Does the candidate speak and communicate effectively? Are you getting straight, honest and engaging dialogue? Do you sense a healthy self-esteem - solid confidence but paired with enough humility to work with your team, clients and vendors? Does the candidate have the skills that you're looking for? And perhaps most important - what does your gut tell you? Initial intuition is remarkably accurate. How many times have you talked yourself into hiring someone you were initially apprehensive about but who worked out well?

Provided the candidate passes these initial checkpoints with flying colors, tell him or her about the position and extend the invitation for a formal interview. If not, let the candidate know right then and there that it doesn't sound like a good fit. You owe the person that much, and the finality makes it easier for you to move on to the next option.

[Source: Deborah Millhouse, CEO Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina

Three Leadership Traits that Never Go Out of Style

When I was a kid, the children in our neighborhood would play in a nearby park every evening. Our undisputed leader was a boy barely a year older than I was, I think. He introduced the new kids to everyone, taught them the rules of games we played, and made sure no one felt left out. We also trusted him blindly because he had our backs whenever we messed up.
None of the leadership lessons that I have learned, unlearned, or relearned ever since have left as indelible an impact as the ones I learnt as a child. Three, in particular, stand out:
Trust: Do your team members trust you? Do they accept that you will, without doubt, stand up for them whatever the situation? Only that kind of trust makes people feel empowered, gives them the courage to innovate, take risks, and to push themselves beyond their comfort zones to find success.
David Maister, Charles Green, and Robert Galford, who wrote The Trusted Advisor, outline four attributes on which to assess your trust quotient: Credibility, reliability, intimacy and self-orientation. Take this online assessment to evaluate yourself on this parameter.
Empathy: Did you notice that look of anxiety as your teammate walked into office this morning? Or did you miss it because you were busy fretting about deadlines? Do you treat your team members as human beings, and not just as workers?
Emotional intelligence is widely recognized as a leadership quality, but being transparent about your emotions isn't. I'm puzzled by the fact that leaders are expected to maintain a stiff upper lip, as the British say, at work. Why can't we rejoice in our successes, or show concern about our setbacks rather than taking them in our stride? Why don't we laugh and cry with the highs and lows in the lives of our colleagues? We are human beings, and knowing that our bosses care for us is a fundamental human need.
Mentorship: No matter how talented we may be, we crave the guiding hand, the mentor who will teach us the rules of the game. Pat Riley, the widely respected NBA coach, once said that there was no great player who didn't want to be coached. The same holds true of work. Would you be where you are today if your first manager hadn't nudged you in the right direction? When people are perplexed about what the future holds for their organizations and themselves, mentorship is critical.
By Vineet Nayar is vice chairman and CEO of HCL Technologies Ltd.

Hiring Wisdom: 4 Things About Making the Hire/Don’t Hire Decision

The following is a best practice, proven technique for making better hiring decisions:
If you make the final hire/don’t hire decision, there are four things to consider:
  1. The results of testing should count for 30 percent.
  2. The interview should count for 30 percent.
  3. The results of the reference check should count for 30 percent. 
  4. Your feeling, intuition, and opinion should count for only 10 percent (because, no matter how hard you try to eliminate your biases – they may still be there.)
If the applicant scores poorly in any one of these areas, it’s a deal breaker. However, an exceptional rating in any one area shouldn’t, on its own, get someone hired.

By Mel Kleiman, CSP, internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees.

Five Indicators Coaching Can Work

There are five indicators that a willing harassment intervention participant is likely to be successful after coaching:

1. Empathy:

Understanding why the other person felt violated. Emotional intelligence is designed to determine a person's level of empathy.

2. Not blaming others:

Understanding why the other person didn't deserve to be treated disrespectfully, no matter what his or her performance problem was. One of the simplest ways people can demonstrate this is via the 3Rs: repeat, restate and reflect. When a person makes a statement or raises an issue, the coach responds by repeating, ''you don't feel heard.'' Restating, ''So, you are saying you don't feel heard.'' Then reflecting, ''It must be hard to come to work when you feel unheard and that important issues don't get resolved.''

3. Respect:

Seeing how the behavior links to a broader way of viewing others. This is similarly manifested in behaviors like using the 3Rs.

4. Accepting the cost:

Knowing what the behavior change will mean in terms of emotional investment. For example, they understand if they don't follow through on the agreed change, a promotion or possibly their job will disappear.

5. Self-monitoring:

Accepting what they will need to do differently and participating in scheduled check-ins to confirm it.

By Paul M. Connolly | Talent Management

Steps to Retain Diverse Talent

Here are several actions that organizations can take to retain their diverse and high-performing leaders:

1. Actively use incentives, cash and non-cash, with your organization:

Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" with a more diverse workforce grew 14 percent versus peer companies' growth of 6 percent - and they did so by providing incentives. Ensure incentives are aligned with corporate goals and that participants understand the programs.

2. Train supervisors to coach their teams:

When recruiters speak with candidates and learn about why leaders are interested in changing jobs, it is largely because of the supervisors, not the company. As Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman write in their book, First Break All the Rules: What The World's Greatest Managers Do Differently, people don't leave jobs, they leave managers.

If employees don't get along with their managers, don't like them or respect them, they will leave a company - despite a high salary or great benefits. A bad manager is a big factor in employee performance. A good manager, no matter the salary, will inspire loyalty.

If a manager thinks diversity is important, the subordinates will feel the same way. And if the subordinate is a minority, he or she will feel more inclined to stay with the company and the manager.

3. Measure organizational health and perspective:

Each organization should engage methodology that monitors its overall health and data for supervisors and smaller work groups.

Most important, the data from the surveys should be used to measure progress and develop action plans to continually improve an individual or total work group level.

4. Facilitate mentoring:

The concept of mentorship occasionally leads to unrealistic expectations from the mentee. However, a"two up" supervisor can have an active working relationship with the diverse leader. A regular "touch base meeting" can provide guidance and direction from a more senior perspective. For diverse talent, there may not be a leader who is senior of the same "group."

5. Conduct active monitoring of performance and advancement:

In many organizations diverse talent is promoted at a slower rate than their peers. Closer monitoring of promotions at all levels will better align promotions with performance.

By Dwain Celistan | Chief Learning Officer - DHR International, a global executive search firm.

Good Boss, Bad Boss, How to Be the Right Kind of Boss

What makes a good boss

So why is that?
We realize it is probably because of many different factors, however we were intrigued that people are not more interested in how to be a good or even great boss.
Is mediocrity taking over? Perhaps the reason is people are more focused on searching for the topic based more on the particular role than they are from the perspective of how to excel in that given role. Or maybe it’s because of the uptick in entrepreneurship. Regardless, building a successful business requires more than being a boss, it requires being a good boss – one who can create followership, build trust and maintain engagement.
So what makes a good boss or a bad boss?
High level – we’ll offer a few qualities that make a good boss and a bad boss.

Good Boss

  • Vision
  • Transparency
  • Inspiration
  • Authenticity
  • Honesty
  • Trust
  • Socialized power
  • Values equality
  • Recognition for a job well done
  • Helps other succeed

Bad Boss

  • Tunnel vision
  • Secrecy
  • Pessimism
  • Disingenuous
  • Dishonesty
  • Mistrust
  • Personalized power
  • Practices oppression
  • Ignoring a job well done
  • Only helps themselves succeed

3 steps in becoming a good boss

So how do you become a good boss?
Short answer – develop and excel in the “good boss” qualities listed above. You can get started in three (3) steps.
  • Feedback: The first step in being a good boss is feedback – soliciting input from those you lead regarding your actions and behaviors and how those behaviors positively and negatively impact them.
  • Awareness: The next step in being a good boss is having self awareness – taking the feedback on those actions and behaviors that may negatively impact those you lead and making a conscious effort to be aware of when they are occurring and why.
  • Action: The third step in being a good boss is action – take action to increase your positive behaviors and decrease those with a potential negative impact. Training, coaching, and mentoring are all great ways to increase and develop new skills that can have a positive impact on those you lead.
By Scott Span, MSOD, president of Tolero Solutions , an organizational improvement and change management consultancy.

Building Company Culture: To Make it Work, It’s Gotta Start at the Top

Out of everything I read on a daily basis, interviews with CEOs tend to be among my favorites.
Case-in-point: this recent SmartBrief interview with John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management, in which he focused solely on the importance of executives leading the culture of their companies:
Culture is everything when it comes to responsible, long-term business success. Culture is what exists before any given leader shows up, and it’s what exists after any given leader moves on. Culture is in the DNA of an organization. It is not something that a leader necessarily goes out and creates. A leader’s job is to discover, communicate and reinforce culture. If you don’t get culture right, nothing else matters.”

How financial institutions lost their way

In fact, Mr. Taft lays the blame at the feet of failed culture for many of the problems in financial institutions today:
I believe that the financial organizations that have gone astray have done so because they lost touch with their culture. They lost touch with their stewardship mission, purpose, values and responsibilities. Those have always been at the core of the financial services industry. What we need to do today is not so much invent or create a new culture for our industry but find our way back to the culture that should have been there all along.
Most financial services firms have a culture that at some point, somewhere, was about serving the needs of their clients. It wasn’t just about making money. It was about helping clients achieve their objectives, promoting economic growth and performing a social good. Chances are the people at the firm came to the firm because of the chance to make a positive difference in the world. That ethic is embedded in most of the financial institutions I know. We’ve just lost touch with it in too many cases.
Restoring the culture of financial institutions to what it ought to be is the No. 1 leadership challenge right now in the financial services industry. Regulatory reform is not enough. If we are going to keep future financial crises from happening, we have to address cultural failings at the heart of the financial services industry. Whether or not we get it right will be a case study in leadership for years to come.”

“The tempo starts at the top”

This is precisely why our No. 1 tenet of strategic recognition as outlined in our book Winning with a Culture of Recognition is “the tempo starts at the top.” Without senior leadership support, guidance and demonstration of desired behaviors and actions, no employee recognition program can move beyond being a “program” to becoming the basis of your culture.
Or, as Chris Edmonds of the Ken Blanchard Cos. said in a recent SmartBlog post:
“Senior leaders must become champions of their desired culture, investing time and energy each week in proactive culture management. Responsibility for corporate culture cannot be delegated to subordinates; the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of senior leaders.”
Who is in charge of the culture of your organization?
By Derek Irvine- Vice President, Client Strategy & Consulting Service at Globoforce

Handling Feedback: It’s About Being Transparent, Not Getting Defensive

If you need to give constructive feedback or challenge someone, try prefacing it with authentic self-disclosure.
I recently witnessed a great example of this in action. More specifically, it was an example of:
  • A leader modeling transparency, authenticity, and vulnerability.
  • How doing so made his challenging a team member much less threatening
  • And, by doing both, modeled how to challenge someone or give negative feedback in a safe way.
Here’s what happened …

No defensiveness, just deep listening and sharing

I was facilitating a management retreat for a medical practice recently. As part of the program, each member of the team asked the others for feedback on something they do really well that others appreciate and something they could improve on.
One of the managers bravely shared with the Practice Manager, who we’ll call James, how she felt unsupported by him during an incident with a physician and the response she would have liked from him.
I watched his response closely and was impressed by how he demonstrated the “seek first to understand” maxim and then how he shared the rationale behind his response.
As he explained his rational, he didn’t get defensive, he didn’t shut her down or “correct her.” He simply shared that his intention was to communicate that staff have the right to call physicians on bad behavior. They didn’t have to call on him to intervene.
But here’s where it got good.

How NOT to receive feedback

Another member of the management team, upon getting critical feedback about a couple of her team members, immediately countered with: “They probably do that because your people…” Now, even though she didn’t make her remark in an accusatory tone, she made it immediately after the person gave her feedback.
Reflect on what you would think if you were the feedback giver and the receiver responded immediately with a retort. You would think they didn’t care about taking in what you said, but only on defending themselves. You would probably feel that your message wasn’t heard and your sharing it was a waste of energy.
After the interchange, James the Practice Manager shared how one of their goals as a team is to talk openly with each other and how one of the things that makes that possible is listening openly to criticism. He then shared how when he was getting criticism in the group, he found himself getting defensive at first, and had to stop that response and focus on what the person was saying. He acknowledged how hard it is for him — as it is for all of us — to get negative feedback.

Acknowledging feedback

He then went on to comment on how the manager had immediately responded to her feedback with a retort and how it would be more useful to acknowledge to the other person that they had been heard, and ask the other person for more information and clarification if necessary.
I thought it was a great example of how to challenge someone in a kind and compassionate way, by first sharing how you, too have the same automatic defensive response and that you’re not coming from a “better than” place, but from a “we’re all in this together” perspective.
The manager’s facial expression, voice tone, and verbal response to his observation indicated that she was able to take in what he said without feeling criticized, judged, or shamed. Conversely, if he had given feedback in the “Gotcha” style that some people do — especially those who like to adopt a position of superiority — she probably would have verbally accepted his feedback, but inside harbored resentment.

Take away messages

  1. Demonstrate authenticity and transparency — Be willing to acknowledge your own fallibility and natural human responses to difficult interactions or situations. When you do, your team will be able to relate to you more, they will respect you more, and they will be able to hear and value your feedback more. They will be able to do so because they see that you recognize your own humanity and don’t put yourself above them. Your modeling this will also embolden them to be more transparent and real in their interactions, which will make for a more alive, creative, and bonded team.
  2. Self-disclose a similar experience or response — When giving someone feedback, if you can possibly do so, either share an example of how you did the same thing or simply acknowledge that you have done the same thing as the other person. This helps take away from the natural “One Down” position a person feels when someone else is giving them negative feedback. When the other person feels that we are giving feedback from a position of superiority, it is likely to trigger shame, which poisons the feedback and the relationship. Conversely, coming from a position of “We’re all human and therefore imperfect” makes it easier to hear negative feedback without feeling shamed.
  3. Use self-deprecating humor — If the other person is prone to embarrassment or harsh self-criticism, I recommend that you use self-deprecating humor to acknowledge that you know only too well how challenging that situation is. Obviously, only say that if it’s true. When we do this, not only does it diminish the potential of a “One Up” position, it also utilizes the power of humor to diffuse tension and awkwardness.

One more thing

Occasionally, I meet “Old School” managers or people who are simply insecure, who are afraid that doing the above will make others lose respect for them. They fear that doing so will diminish their credibility, and power.
As you probably know from your own experience, the opposite is true. When someone in a position of power chooses not to lord their power over us, when they acknowledge that they recognize they aren’t perfect, and when they act in ways that help us save face … we not only like them more, we respect them more, and are more open to future feedback from them.
So look for opportunities to be more transparent, authentic, and vulnerable and watch your ability to positively influence increase.
By David Lee - founder and principal of HumanNature@Work