MPLA: Supervisor pre-conference

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

Skills needed to be in charge of people (.pdf):

  • 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.

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