Hot Management Info for 1999

October – Be A Social Worker

September – Differentiating Between Leadership and Management

August – Manager’s Role Is Tough One To Play

July – Training Update

June – Office Ethics

April – The Generation 2001 Workforce

March – Etiquette With Office Gadgets

February – How An Employee Feels About The Boss

January – The Brain Chemistry Of The Human Moment


October 1999 – Be A Social Worker

Coordinates Lois P. Frankel,
lpfrankel@msn.com

  
All work, says Lois P. Frankel, is social- a fact of work life that people ignore at their peril.  “Establishing good working relationships can help us secure the cooperation of the people we need to accomplish our tasks.  If we delay building good relationships until we really need them, it will be too late.”

Here are six of Frankel’s favorite techniques for socializing at work.

  1. Once a day, drop into someone’s office for a 10-minute talk.
    “Casual conservation helps build friendly relationships that can withstand stress.”
  2. When people talk to you, listen.
    “Put everything else on hold for a moment, so that people will realize that what they’re saying matters to you.”
  3. When you need help, ask for it.
    “This is mainly a relationship-building exercise, but you’ll get lots of useful feedback as well.”
  4. Begin conversations with small talk.
    “If you always talk about work, people will think that you only care about work- and that you don’t care about them.”
  5. Don’t let your desire to be liked keep you from being straightforward.
    “We all want to be popular, but that desire should never overshadow the need to make tough decisions.”
  6. Do favors for others- even when you can’t anticipate that a favor will be returned.
    “Doing so builds good corporate karma, and somehow, some way, you’ll benefit from that karma.”

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September 1999 – Differentiating Between Leadership And Management

From American Journal of Evolution,Owen
and Lambert, Page 358. 

Management Leadership
Time-Frame: short-term (3 months – 2
years) 

Focus:

    • the known

formal systems

Time Frame: long-term (5 – 10 yrs and
beyond)

Focus:

    • the unknown

informal systems

Implementing plans, setting
milestones
Designing change agendas, developing
shared purpose and values, designing systems
Working within a system to achieve excellent
performance
Working across systems to achieve excellent
organizational performance
Minimizing or controlling
risk
Risk taking to test new products, services,
systems and processes
Evaluating existing plans Creating plans
Monitoring according to performance
accountabilities (‘keeping on time and on budget’)
Inspiring people to use initiative
Networking for expertise
and resources
Building coalitions to break through
barriers to change and to progress change agenda
Drawing on shared assumptions
(that reduce conflict)
Questioning basic assumptions (with
the potential for increasing conflict)
Conforming to cultural values Redesigning cultural values

 


August 1999 – Manager’s Role Is Tough One To Play

From The San Diego Union-Tribune,
Business WorkWeek, Monday, July 12, 1999

Some managers don’t seem to understand just what they were hired to do.  A recent survey by a consulting firm, George S. May International, reports that managers and owners of businesses think handling employee problems is their most nonproductive task.

What are they thinking?  Dealing with employees is one of the primary responsibilities of a manager today, even if it’s a task many would prefer to skip.

“One of the most endangered species in the workplace today is someone who can get others to do their jobs well,” says Dennis Jaffe, an organizational psychologist in San Francisco and co-author of the book “Getting Your Organization to Change.”

These individuals, he says, are just as valuable as they are scarce.

And, it’s sad to report that one of the reasons they are scarce is because some simply don’t understand what a manager’s role is.

The George S. May survey also found that managers dislike disciplining or    dealing with personnel, correcting other’s mistakes and teaching others what they should already know.

Managing is a balancing act.  It is a recognition of what needs to be done to reach a corporate goal, what resources are available and how to get the most out of those resources.

The working equation
Individual workers are the most flexible tangible in that equation, and the good managers are the ones who figure out a way to get the most out of their employees.

You can talk all you want about defining markets, developing business strategies and operational systems, but all that can fly out the window if you haven’t paid proper attention to the people
hired to work in your company.
The most important task of any manager is hiring the right people and the second most important task is making sure they work toward the company’s goals.

“Supervisors who say they shouldn’t have to concern themselves with this should be concerned about their own jobs,” Jaffe says, “If it is your job to be able to get the people who work under you to perform better, you’d better find a way to do that.  If you don’t, your company might start wondering why it needs you, or why it can’t replace you with a robot.”

Part of the problem with this is the inability of American companies to train their managers adequately, Jaffe says.

Work on the ‘soft skills’
“We just don’t give them the training or the
guidance they need,” he says.  “Most 
managers
are people who worked their way up through the company and became 
managers,
but we never gave them the skills to manage.”

“Companies don’t invest in “soft” skills because they don’t see the payoff.  They seem to think that people should come by managerial skills naturally.”

Some people do. Others have to learn them, layering them on top of the technical job skills they already have.

Of course, no manager relishes disciplining employees, or correcting mistakes, or teaching workers something they already should know, but that is part of business and a very important part at that.

Managers do not work in a vacuum.  Their performance directly spills into the performances of those who work for them.  Understanding and accepting this is essential.

Jaffe says that those who prefer to think of themselves as technical experts should probably retreat to a non-supervisory position.  In short, if you can’t handle the responsibilities of the job, surrender it to someone who can.

Every manager needs to recognize that motivating and guiding workers is one of their main responsibilities.  If they don’t, individual workers and companies never really get the chance to realize their potential. 
– Michael Kinsman

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July 1999 – Training Update

From the San Diego Union-Tribune,
June 21, 1999

There’s the Rub  The rub is that not everyone is up to speed.  Even workers who receive entry-level training need additional training if they are to preserve their value in the workplace.  A worker with marketable skills in 1999 might be an unemployed worker in 2002 or 2005 if he or she doesn’t improve those skills. 

– Michael Kinsman

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June 1999 – Office Ethics 

The following check-list was taken from the book, You Want Me To do What?”, by Nan DeMars , 1998, Fireside

DeMars primarily focuses on ethics issues for secretaries and administrative assistants, but has philosophical work for all employees. 

Use this discussion guide to help you and your co-workers assess the current level of ethical maturity in your office.  Each “yes” answer is a warning sign of a potential ethical dilemma. 

yes  no
 
Do you think anyone in the office is
doing something illegal?
yes  no
 
Do you think anyone in the office is
doing something unethical?
yes  no Is any behavior or action taking place
in the office that you would be embarrassed to  see reported
in the media?
yes  no Are people leaving to go home, go crazy,
go to jail, or go to the authorities?
yes  no Do you trust your boss?
yes  no Does your boss trust you?
yes  no Do you trust your co-workers?
yes  no Have there been any incidents in the
recent past that made you ashamed of your company?
yes  no Is there anything going on in your office
that you would feel uncomfortable about explaining to your kids?
a reporter? your parents?
yes  no Is everyone?customer, co-workers, vendors?being
treated fairly?
yes  no Is there any perception of a conflict
of interest?
yes  no Are there any obvious or subtle behaviors
that seem unfair, or seem to undermind the effectiveness of
the work done in your office?
yes  no Has your ability to make an impartial
and objective decision been compromised or forced to be biased?

– Nan DeMar’s Office Ethics Audit

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April 1999 – The Generation 2001 Workforce 

From Management Review, April
1999

How will students graduating at the start of the next century shape the American workplace?  A survey of the first graduating class of the new millennium by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, shows that tomorrowís employees will have drastically different characteristics from Generation Xers.  This means that in just two yearsí time, employers will have to adopt very different management styles to welcome the new breed.

Clearly, Gen 2001 students see themselves as a privileged group.  They cite technology as their biggest advantage, followed by better career opportunities and more educational resources.  These future employees tend to hold traditional values dear because they have a perspective on three consecutive generations and have more trust in their grandparents and parents than do Generation Xers.

For example, they strongly believe in working hard to pay their dues.  On the other hand, because family values are particularly important to them, they also want to have more flexible work schedules to spend time with their families.

Deanna Tillisch, director of the study, says the class of 2001 is a multifaceted group, and employers should provide them with even more flexibility than Generation Xers.  “Lifelong education is real important to them.  As an employer, you want to provide challenging opportunities to them,” she says.

Though employers can assume that the new entrants to the workforce will exhibit more loyalty than their predecessors, they also must bear in mind that career opportunities will be much greater for these young people.  Recruitment will thus be a very tough job for employers, notes Tillisch.

– By Louisa Wah

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March 1999 – Etiquette With Office Gadgets 

From Training Magazine, January 1999

    • As new communications technology pours into the cubicles of corporate America, our first challenge is to learn to use it.  Our second challenge is to learn to use it without driving one another nuts.  Barbara Pachter, co-author of the Prentic Hall Complete Business Etiquette Handbook, offers some tips for “techno-etiquette” that sound good to us:
    • Leave your name and phone number at the beginning and end of a voice mail message.  And speak clearly and slowly, for crying out loud.  Your name is Kris-tin Applegate, not Krim Mumble-duh.  It is inconsiderate to make someone replay a message to try to guess your name or number.
    • Don’t leave rambling or repetitious voice mail.  Does anybody listen to a message that’s more than 20 seconds long?  No, everybody hits the “delete” button, just like you do.  Keep it short and simple.
    • Spelling and grammar count in e-mail.  No, people won’t assume that you really know better, and, yes, they will draw conclusions about your competence.
    • Don’t use all capital letters in e-mail messages.  Recipients feel as if they’re being yelled at.  And it’s hard to read.
    • If you’re using a speaker-phone, let the caller know who else is in the room with you. This is simple politeness.  It can also avoid all sorts of embarrassment. Don’t use a speaker-phone if you share office space with other people. Listening to your conversations will distract and annoy them.

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February 1999 – How An Employee Feels About The Boss 

The following comments were given by an employee on a questionnaire we administered for a recent building department study.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all employees had such a boss?

“When I need to make a decision on my own, I never have to worry if I’ll get fired over it (because I do make good, moral choices!).  Even if my boss would have done it differently, I don’t get counseled at length about how I screwed up.  I am respected for having been the one there at the time who had to make the decision.  Even when I hate my job because I’m overworked or need a greater challenge, I do remember that there are a lot of places where I do not have the freedom to think for myself. I don’t fear my boss is keeping book on me.  I don’t have to worry that my boss wants to keep me below the level I could rise to. My boss wants us to develop our full potential and doesn’t worry that we’re threatening his job.  Do you know how nice that is?”

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January 1999 – The Brain Chemistry Of The Human Moment 

From Harvard Business Review Issue: January-February 1999

The anecdotal evidence compiled during my work as a psychiatrist and researcher over 20 years strongly suggests that a deficit of the human moment damages a person’s emotional health. That finding is also supported by an ever growing body of scientific research.

Working as long ago as the 1940’s, the French psychoanalyst Rene Spitz showed that infantswho were not held, stroked, and cuddled – even if they had parents who fed and clothed them – suffered from retarded neurological development. In 1951, researchers at McGill University found that a lack of normal contact with the outside world played havoc with adults’ sense of reality.  In the study, 14 men and women were placed in sensory deprivation tanks; within hours, all of them reported an altered sense of reality, insomnia – even hallucinations.

More recent studies have examined less extreme situations with equally compelling results. Between 1965 and 1974, two epidemiologists studied the lifestyles and health of 4,725 residents of Alameda County, California. They found that death rates were three times as high for socially isolated people as for those with strong connections to others. A similar study of Seattle residents, published in 1997, found that married people with a strong social network had lower health care costs and fewer primary care visits than those who were more isolated. Still other studies have shown that supportive social relationships boost immune-system responsiveness and prolong life after heart attacks.

Consider also the decade-long MacArthur Foundation study on aging in the United States, which was recently completed by a team of eminent scientists from around the country.  It showed that the top two predictors of well-being as people age are frequency of visits with friends and frequency of attendance at meetings of organizations.  The study also discovered that, although those who have religious beliefs on average live longer than those who don’t, people who actually attend religious services do better than those who believe but do not go to services.

Most recently, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University examined how people were affected by spending time on-line.  Contrary to their expectations, they found higher levels of depression and loneliness in people who spend even a few hours per week connected to the Internet.  Again, this suggests that the electronic world, while useful in many respects, is not an adequate substitute for the world of human contact.

What exactly is the chemistry at work in these studies of brain function?  Scientists don’t know the whole story yet, but they do know that positive human-to-human contact reduces the blood levels of the stress hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. 

Nature also equips us with hormones that promote trust and bonding: oxytocin and vasopressin. Most abundant in nursing mothers, these hormones are always present to some degree in all of us, but they rise when we feel empathy for another person – in particular when we are meeting with someone face-to-face. It has been shown that these bonding hormones are at suppressed levels when people are physically separate, which is one of the reasons that it is easier to deal harshly with someone via e-mail than in person. Furthermore, scientists hypothesize that in-person contact stimulates two important neurotransmitters: dopamine, which enhances attention and pleasure, and serotonin, which reduces fear and worry.

Science, in other words, tells the same story as my patients.  The human moment is neglected at the brain’s peril.

 -Edward M. Hollowell