Supervising: Learning the soft skills and having the right critical conversations
Presented by: Theresa Dickson
Story: Staffer blogging horrible things about coworkers and customers. Personnel Policy – does it cover Internet use, Social Networking and email use – relationships with the community will be protected.
Supervisor: A person with communication skills that get results. With these effective skills:
Planning :: Scheduled checkups with their staff :: Following up in a timely manner with staff and in a manner that risks themselves :: Deadlines and does time management :: respectful staters of the obvious :: screening, hiring, and evaluating :: model for staff behavior (including dress) :: set schedules :: responsible for the accuracy of time sheets :: understand safety and security issues (workers comp) :: understand how health issues impact the library :: pertinent documentation and timely/short communications :: notification of personnel action before the fact
Supervisors are NOT:
parent :: a timesuck (don’t waste time explaining the general philosophy) :: Affirmative Brief Clear (ABC of communication) :: Be friendly, not their best friend (no obvious favorites – leads to hurt feelings and resentfulness) :: not confidential (if it effects staffing, sit on it for 7 days but tell them you need to share it with my supervisor) :: not a lone wolf but a team leader
- People Skills – You adjust and be the bigger person – paid for tolerance and flexibility – work on continuous improvement
Soft Skills versus Hard Skills :: Communications Employees Like to Hear
- Clarification of roles – expectations – assignments – authority and responsibilities clearly defined – for old-timers, keep it interesting
- Praise and Recognition – constructive criticism and feedback – praise in presence of a 3rd party – employees like surprises even less than bosses – give meaningful evaluations
- Change doesn’t have a conscience, ability to change limited by a persons personality, each persons pace of change is based on intrinsic motivation and filter factors, and resources are all around you and ask people for help.
- Take 24 Soft Skills Quiz – http://www.bettersoftskills.com/quiz/
- Management study on crying in the office – sexism women judging women for example
- Have a winner attitude
- Exude Confidence
- Multi-task – Y’s biggest generation in the workforce, winning challenged, How do we help them? flex them, model good behavior, give individualist rewards, spell out what needs to be improved and how – they take direction well, fostering and personal attention
- Professionalism and enthusiasm – enjoy your job
Employees come with their own filters and problems, goal of supervisor is to “contain” their behaviors. Learn not to be self-indulgent (causes damage).
As supervisor, I determine what is acceptable behavior and communicate that clearly. Um, don’t call staff “minions.” Avuncular Timesuck.
Motivation is Intrinsic – individually based. How do we learn those? Have realistic outcome goals.
McClelland’s motivation (look up this book)
_+_+_++_+++_+__+_+_+ LEADERSHIP _+_+__++_+_++__+_+
Leaders and characteristics we like:
interest in others, willingness to listen and learn and understand (Abe Lincoln) :: Gahndi Visionary :: State Librarians surrounded by people with complementary strengths :: Hilary Clinton Perseverance :: local boss Open minded and adaptable to different people :: former boss Present/attentive :: Communication (JFK) :: former boss Intuitive/give tasks based on strengths/harmonize
Listen and Silent made with the same letters – find out what’s needed
Creation of a relationships, expectations, reward/recognition and need to maintain that relationship. Build the relationship with them so they want to please you (especially for adversarial relationship).
Kenneth Blanchard – management treatises from Sea World – When working with Dolphins: 1. Do No Harm as a baseline (element of repair) 2. Reward appropriate behaviors – they won’t bother doing well if you never recognize it!
Do not want malicious compliance.
Supervisors should always be Leaders. Other roles in teams: Informal group leader / internal task leader – as Supervisor directing the work of others..you should lead.
Staying on Script: Create a script where everybody wins. When…then. Don’t have to say directly, “you are messing up.” Instead you say, I’d like to discuss such and such with you today. This is what I expected, this is what I saw. I am concerned.” Don’t think off the top of your head – too much tension! Write it out prior (and talk to supervisor about it). “impact of your unintended action” – the out added to the discussion. Practice, think up all possible scenarios, friend or foe (neither – they are an employee),
Leaders Responsible for the Outcome – Framing the Tough Conversation.
- QBQ – Question behind the Question – ask the better question using “how” and “what” not “why” – focus on action and don’t assign blame
- Slow down – re-stack your hands as a reminder – feel uncomfortable on purpose to create empathy (stack feet, play with ring as reminder)
- Raise the Bar:
B for Background – specifics
A is for Action/response – How will you do it differently?
R is for Result – set the goal and hold accountable
S is for Suggested alternative – ask them to present their own
- Communications Test:
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?
- Measured self understanding is the best method to manage performance – methods of recognition differ based on personality. What kind of recognition do I appreciate? What about my staff? Watch and learn. “What breed of cat are you?”
- Soft Skills can be created and learned.
- Common barriers to communication: hearing what you expect to hear (not listening), evaluating the source to determine value, having different perceptions, having different intentions, ignoring non-verbal communication (folded arms, shaking head no) and outside distractions. NONVERBAL is more important than verbal. Mind your body language – it can cause stress – be in control of yourself
(cool side-discussion of posturing and gender differences and Theresa’s visit to the ape house)
Emotions in the workplace – article in USA today. Women cry out of anger. Hand back the option of being in control – you have to get a lid on this do you need 3, 5 or 7 minutes?
Script, script, scripts – make it a win win situation and watch your wording and language. “This is distracting from the purpose of the department.” ‘I’m concerned about what I am seeing and hearing from your department.” “I believe this has to do with you…so I want to give you some examples of what I heard that I found disruptive and ask you if you see what I see…”
When terminating: How to Avoid the 5 Classic firing mistakes by the HR SPecialist March 2010
- Keep cool and low emotions
- Avoid surprise – give regular feedback
- Watch what you say – SCRIPT for council and terminate mtgs
- Don’t be too kind – also beware of off-handed compliments they can come back to haunt you
- Keep quiet – defamation of characters suits are nasty, avoid them
Exercise – I may write more later…
This has been good and I need to print out all of those handouts and add them to my MPLA Leadership Institute binder!
What I learned: Can’t put anything in the employee’s file that doesn’t have their signature – with their knowledge. Start with meeting, create a plan of improvement – not just verbal – must be signed plan of improvement. Document, document, document. Reasonable accommodation discussion for ADA-related issues. Focus on behavior.
Termination during probation period does not require cause. “This first 6 months is probationary, it is a time for you and us to decide if this is a good fit and we find that it is not working out.” Dress code – take aside, private conversation, review policy and explain why the clothing is not appropriate. Go home and change or offer a sweater to coverup. If it happens again, what will happen. We defined dress code.
90 day tickler file – personal file, not HR Personnel file! Trouble file with neutral notes – they can be subpoenaed.