Tag: leaders

22 Oct 2018

Managing the workplace zombie by Debra Fraser

“I see dead people”. At work. Duppies, zombies, ghosts, whichever term you prefer. People who are there but not really there…or are they? (Cue spooky music…).

Workplace zombies are those who are disengaged from their companies and their jobs, but still show up for work. They clock-in and clock-out. Present in body but not in spirit; listlessly satisfying the requirements or ‘letter’ of the job, but avoiding any spirited connection with the company’s purpose, mission and people. They were once ‘fully human’, bringing their energy, ideas, and genuine loyalty to their place of work and teams. So what happened to them? What force sapped the life out of these formerly productive souls?

Reasons

As a research project of interest, I had my team conduct a survey to find out what drives individuals to jump off the bridge into zombie-ism. Here are some of the common reasons:

• “The company doesn’t care about me”

This sentiment is voiced by workers who held the company in high esteem when they first joined the organisation. Over time, however, an event or series of events occurred in which the employee’s high expectations were not met. For example, a manager fails to respond fairly or compassionately to an employee’s legitimate personal crisis or need. The employee disengages, emotionally, but due to the monetary rewards, continues to show up to work.

 

• “I don’t like the type of job I’m in”

Here, the employee accepted the job, and after some time, discovered that it does not fit his/her natural abilities and expectations. Due to the unavailability of a ‘better’ job, the employee disengages, mentally, but continues to show up to work until a new opportunity, or funds to attend training for the new opportunity, presents itself.

• “I’m not rewarded fairly for my job”

Here, the individual believes that the pay received is not commensurate with the work performed, so in short, they are being ripped off. Disengagement occurs and ‘another one bites the dust’.

Why should companies care about zombie-ism or seek to combat it? Because it costs them, literally! Several studies have shown that disengaged workers, similar to sick workers (google “Presenteeism”), who still come in to work perform at a slower pace, make more errors, and negatively impact the productivity of their coworkers. The net result is that the company would be more profitable if both sick and disengaged workers stayed home until they were well, or resurrected!

The discussion on workplace zombies continues this week as the Jamaica Business Development Commission hosts its annual Employee Engagement Conference, an event where hundreds of Jamaica’s CEOs and decision-makers meet to discuss the causes, impact and responses of having an engaged workforce.

Debra Fraser MBA, is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, and is a board memberof the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, and a member ofthe Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica as well as theSociety of Human Resources Management. Please direct comments todfraser@caribbeanhrsolutions.com or www.caribbeanhrsolutions.com

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10 Sep 2018

Why Employee Engagement is Not Working Part 2 by Debra Fraser

In last month’s issue, we identified that: “The average person would rather have a great boss looking out for them than prizes, trinkets and parties”. Improving productivity is directly linked to employees’ engagement with… their boss! So, if you are a leader who is cognisant of the power of your role and who wants to make a difference, what is the single most important thing you can do to ensure you are part of the solution, and not the source of the problem?

Become more self-aware.

Unsurprisingly, many ‘bad bosses’ actually believe they are fantastic leaders. The problem is, they are significantly disconnected from their employees’ perception of them.

Remember Psychology 101: the Johari box? Created by two psychologists in 1955, this theory is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. Each person’s self-awareness falls into four quadrants, as per the image below.

 

The challenge “terrible” bosses have is that much of their interactions fall in the “Blind” box. For example: during the busiest time of the day a manager appears on the production floor, shouting work-hard mantras meant to ‘encourage’ staff to hit their goals. He believes he is showing support for the teams ‘in the trenches’. Meanwhile, his staff perceives his ‘ranting’ as annoying, distracting and part of his typical ‘hands-off’ approach. The result? Staff absenteeism increases during peaks, productivity goals are missed, and there is unwanted turnover. Imagine the improvements in productivity and employee engagement if that manager were aware of the impact his approach had on his staff, instead of acting out of the blind box where everyone (including the company purse) loses!

But whose responsibility is it to make the manager aware? Is it the manager’s? Human resources’? The staff’s? Newsflash: staff will rarely volunteer feedback to their boss for obvious reasons, unless the leader genuinely solicits it and creates a safe environment for staff to share.

Leaders: Asking staff for feedback on YOU is the most important thing you can do to increase your own self-awareness and leadership effectiveness.

This week’s challenge: Ask your employees: “On a scale of 1-10, rate my leadership style.” Solicit the presence of a human resource representative to make it a ‘safe space’. Ensure you LISTEN and avoid any statement of self-defence. Then, each time you receive a rating lower than eight, ask the follow-up question: “What would I need to do differently to make that number a 10?” Don’t wait for your company’s annual employee satisfaction survey to show you up. Take the initiative to find out where your gaps are and then address them. In this way, you will have better served yourself, your staff, and your company.

Until next time, leaders keep lookin’ up!

 

Debra Fraser MBA, is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions; a board member of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica; a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and Society of Human Resources Management. Please direct comments to dfraser@caribbeanhrsolutions.com or www.caribbeanhrsolutions.com

Read more

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career-education/fun-activities-and-prizes-do-not-the-engaged-employee-make-part-2_143704?profile=1096

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27 Aug 2018

Launching Leaders: How to spot the leader-in-hiding by Debra Fraser

It is no mystery that one of our nation’s challenges is related to our ability to deploy a bench strength of leaders – leaders are in demand for public and private service, in social, business and even spiritual affairs. After all, if we are going somewhere (somewhere better), someone must lead us.

For those heading organizations, how does one go about discovering potential new leaders, anyways?  Do you look for personality, education, work ethic, passion, creativity? Or perhaps good looks? Years ago, a middle manager who reported to me commented on the humble car I was driving (a 1999 Honda Accord LX, which I still own and love!). This young aspiring leader said: “You know, you have to upgrade your car because it’s just not motivating me to aspire to move up the ladder!  You should be driving a bimma!” Needless to say, his expectation of what a leader should be initially took me by surprise. Perhaps we should add yet another characteristic of leaders: “Must Drive Fancy Cars!”  Ahhh, don’t we wish it was that simple…

Since before the rise of the Industrial Revolution, this matter of selecting leaders has been asked over and over.  Peter Drucker, known as the ‘founder’ of modern management point out that “productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager.”  So if you are a business owner, finding the next leader is crucial to the success and sustainability of your business.  Here are a few guidelines that can take the mystery out of your search for the next leader:

Potential leaders are marked by the following in their daily activity:

  1. They put Integrity first, and here’s what it looks like. Integrity is not an airy-fairy concept.  It means the candidate has a keen sense of what is right which is demonstrated in how he treats co-employees and the company’s customers.  H/she will naturally approach business decision making by weighing how to ‘do-right’ by the customer, the employee, the Company and the community. This habit by yield’s a consistent reliable approach and by it’s very nature engender TRUST, the very thing that keeps customers loyal, employees from leaving, and curries favor from stakeholders including those in the wider community.  That’s measurable value!
  2. They thrive on being the one held accountable; not necessarily the one in charge. I recently performed a stay interview with one of my own staff members, asking her to describe her ideal job and work environment. “Ideally, do you prefer to work behind the scenes, or as part of the team, or do you prefer to be the ‘front man’ who own the success or failures of projects and initiatives?” She shook her head vigorously at the notion of being the one in front, and I appreciated her honesty and candor (BTW, she is an excellent SME and a high-performer).  Her response is a reminder of the innate differences in passion and desire residing in each person.  Your next leader is the one who assumes responsibility whenever there’s a mess so that s/he can lead the clean up effort!
  3. They place a high value on Relationships. As the old adage says all “Business moves at the speed of trust” and if this is the case, relationships are both the fuel and the machine!  Let’s face it, Customer Relations, Employee Relations, Community and general communications are all based on managing relationships.  Looking for a Leader?  Look for the person who naturally keeps commitments to his peers, seeks for clarification and understanding when changes are rolling out, and who values the voice and experience of others, genuinely.

These are indicators that can be spotted in persons day-to-day routine.  They are internal characteristics that indicate who they are as a person in the NOW, so there is no guesswork in how they will act once they are given the title.  And less guesswork = less risk, which is always good for business.

 

Read more

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career-education/how-to-spot-the-leader-in-hiding_142421?profile=1270

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16 Aug 2018

Why Employee Engagement is NOT Working! by Debra Fraser

Despite many companies’ efforts to create a so-called engaged workforce, surveys conducted in a variety of companies in Jamaica and overseas indicate that only 32 per cent of staff are actually actively engaged. But why is this the case?

Employee engagement refers to an employee’s emotional attachment and commitment to an organisation, which manifests in high productivity levels and low employee turnover. The fact is that people work smarter, harder and safer, and stay with a company longer when they are working for managers, rather leaders, who have earned their respect and commitment.

Over the past decade, organisations have chased this concept by implementing various engagement programmes, creating new engagement coordinator positions, and funding engagement budgets. I have worked with companies that give away prizes on a daily basis, over-rewarding basic duties like attendance and completion of core deliverables and throwing elaborate multimillion-dollar parties, but they still have a revolving door, losing between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of their employees each year. Despite the flurry of engagement activities, employee’s emotional attachment to the organisation have not improved. But why not?

The answer is that employee engagement is an outcome, not an activity, so fun activities and prizes won’t do the trick. Throwing activities and cash at a problem is not likely to make it go away, any more than watching exercise DVDs and buying new spandex is likely to make you lose weight. (Trust me, I’ve tried it.) The first step towards improving engagement is to properly diagnose the root causes in the work environment. Time and time again, many root causes point back to gaps existing in the leadership fabric of the organisation. Leadership is the single most important lever and catalyst in improving employee engaging levels! This is the missing link!

Having administered several employee engagement surveys in a variety of companies in Jamaica and overseas, I have found that regardless of size and industry, the correlation is the same: High satisfaction levels with immediate supervisor = High employee retention = Higher productivity and profitability.

The truth is that companies would be better served to focus their attention and investment in ensuring that they foster an excellent leadership culture throughout all levels of the organisation rather than underwriting events, parties, giveaways, games and other gimmicks that frankly can come off as transparent ploys to buy employee loyalty. The average person would rather have a great boss looking out for them than prizes, trinkets, and parties. After all, people are motivated by people. People follow people. And yes, people quit people, not jobs!

So, if you hold a leadership position in your company, how can you ensure you are part of the solution and not part of the problem? We will explore the single most important thing you can do in our next issue.

 

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15 Jul 2018

Have what it takes to be a manager? Part II by Debra Fraser

Launching Leaders with Debra Fraser

 

Companies are completely right to spend a large amount of time and money when selecting supervisors and managers to run their businesses, for any employee who is “not a fit” for the job eventually costs the company in several ways, including lost productivity, reduced employee morale, and replacement costs. But when the miscast employee is in management it is especially damaging because of their broad scope of influence on so many other employees.

Research suggests that the majority of companies are doing a poor job in their selection process: The State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders by management consulting company Gallup indicates that 82 per cent of managers are in fact miscast in their roles, with 25 per cent of them being “dangerously lousy”.

It begs the question: Why are companies floundering in selecting good managers? One of the challenges is that sourcing and selecting leaders represents a significant effort and is NOT a core competency of most businesses. Headhunting and recruiting firms can help with this.

But what about the responsibility of the aspiring manager to pursue his/her own development? There are numerous testimonies of executives who have taken risks and made sacrifices to acquire new skills necessary to advance their career. I can testify to these risks, and rewards, having left Canada at 28 to pursue my own development in Jamaica.

To help those of you who are in this pursuit, and to guide you in choosing the right skills, review the first five (of 10) employer-sought management skills as printed in our last edition. This time ’round however, have a friend interview you and rate each response on a scale of 1 – 10. (See graphic below) In our next article we’ll take a closer look at the last five skills: team building & motivation, delegation, integrity, resource management, and subject matter expertise.

Until then, leaders keep lookin’ up!

Debra Fraser, MBA, is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, an HR outsourcing and recruiting firm; a member of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamica, Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and Society of Human Resources Management. Direct comments to dfraser@caribbeanhrsolutions.com

 

Read Observer article

 

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