Workplace Diversity Isn’t Enough – Let’s Ramp Up Inclusion

Today I am over at Performance I Create discussing Diversity and Inclusion. We typically see these two terms in the same sentence used interchangeably, but it is so very possible to have one without the other. Here is a sample:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that there is much more to do. Remember, much of the diversity we see is the result of mandates and legislation, not out of truly trying to represent our communities and client bases.  While the snapshot of our organizations looks good and rainbowy, are we treating everyone with respect once they are in the door…or behind closed doors?

FullSizeRender (1)Just when we think that we’ve come so far, we get reminders of how much more is needed in our society. When this post was originally published at PIC a few days ago using the hashtag #Diversity, I received this tweet that makes me want to spread the message of Inclusion even more.

I hope that you enjoy the full post HERE and I asked that you share and promote the good work that some of our organizations are doing and are trying to do as it relates to being Inclusive.

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight at Performance I Create!

Real Bosses Sit Back and Listen

While flipping through the radio stations one night this week I stumbled upon this completely horrible song. But ironically, the guy said something that resonated with me because I was really trying to think of a title for this post. While I’m sure the context in which he meant it was different than mine, it still stuck with me when he said, “Real bosses just sit back and listen…”

When counseling managers, I hear all too often of unnecessary, unproductive confrontations and negative conversations. The conversations remind me of those had with children when one says something…and in an effort not to be outdone, the other just has to rebut, and it becomes a situation where no one wins.

When there is too much talking, not enough listening and someone is so busy trying to prove or drive home their point, messages get lost in delivery. The way something is said (especially when it has nothing to do with the actual issue at hand) can trigger certain emotions that cause all negotiations to shut down. Managers seek satisfaction by throwing verbal darts in an effort to exert authority and prove their case. Unfortunately, those darts and making employees feel as if they are “losing” are more likely to cause the difficult employee to avoid coaching, become combative and unwilling to listen…and even worse, passive aggressive and disengaged. So when you feel as if you “won” the discussion, did you really?

No one ever wins those back and forth battles…in person or in email. Managers often loose credibility and leverage simply because they talk too much, always feeling as if they have to justify a directive or decision after the fact. Leaders communicate what they want, not defend what they do. Clear communication up front allows you to sit back “like a boss”, instead of constantly having to defend your position.

What Is Your Best Defense?
like_a_bossWell-placed silence can be a powerful weapon in an effort to get results in one-on-one, difficult conversations. Tactical conversation can help people to actually hear what’s coming out of their own mouths, while giving difficult people a chance to put their foot in theirs. Well-placed silence helps one choose battles so that there will be enough energy to ultimately win the war. That being said, it’s ok to let people feel as if they are in charge or winning, especially when you know that you have a legitimate case. THE truth will come out if we manage our reactions properly, speak when necessary and keep our comments direct, fact-based and unemotional.

Back and forth battles give difficult people ammunition to continue in their manipulative and unproductive ways. Strategy, patience, calculated conversations and well-placed silence give managers the endurance and edge they need to get much needed buy-in and behavior change. And it’s those qualities that will enable managers to not just feel as if they’ve won a fight, but to actually win the war with the whole team in tact.

A P.I.P. Shouldn’t Be An R.I.P.

It’s so easy to say that employees should just go away when they’re not performing the way we want them to or responding to our management. The hard part is not actually getting them to change behavior, it’s actually admitting that we can do more to get them to where they should be.

image1PIPs or Performance Improvement Plans are often used by companies as the last ditched effort to shape up those “troubled” employees before we ship them out. Others use them as merely a coaching tool to get the attention of their people so that other forms of disciplinary action doesn’t have to be taken. I’ve seen PIPs in memo form, worksheets and templates, and I’ve even seen them delivered in emails. But regardless of how we format them, they should all have the same elements to be effective:

  • Clear areas that our employees need improve upon to remain a part of our teams
  • Challenging, yet achievable goals and deadlines for expected improvement
  • A plan of action for achievable said goals
  • Steps in which the manager can contribute and help the employee reach optimal performance
  • Fair and consistently applied actions that will occur if the desired performance isn’t met

We cannot use the word “Improvement” in the plan if we are not truly trying to achieve it. How we communicate during the delivery, and the words and tone used during the meeting should not feel like a death sentence or as if we are setting the employee up to fail.

There is no need to rehash the issues that we’ve had with the employee, but should focus on the behaviors that cause those issues that need to be altered or adjusted. Bringing up old stuff, especially if those incidents have caused negative conflict before, will surely turn your performance improvement meeting into a counter-productive blame session where no one is listening.

If we want our employees to listen, they must feel as if they are believed in, like they can make it and that they are being supported by members of management. Not only is this communicated in the document and meetings themselves, but by actually following up frequently to ensure that the necessary steps in the plan are being acted on.

So ultimately, a lot of the responsibility comes back to the manager. Not just delivering a document so that we can check a box, but managing our employees to yield the results that we need.

And isn’t that what management is all about? Not just supervising processes and expecting everyone to fall in line, but by providing resources and teaching people how to be successful in our systems.

Joe ClarkIf we want to get rid of someone, let’s just do it and move on to the next. Like Joe Clark said in the movie Lean On Me, “Don’t f#&% around with it…do it expeditiously!” But if we actually want them to get better, we must communicate it, make them believe it and show them how serious we are about them making it through the process.

The Managers of the Roundtable

The legendary King Arthur had a great employee engagement strategy…listen to and value the opinions of your leaders. As a result of the involvement with his team, we still speak of his conquests and successes to this day.

KnightsHere is an excerpt from my new Performance I Create article where I encourage dialogue, equality and teamwork amongst leaders:

…to force ideas on them [managers] may be ineffective because their team may need something different…

I committed to providing a forum, a monthly roundtable, where they could come together, learn from one another, share ideas and needs with HR, and leave feeling as if they were listened to and treated equally.

Click HERE for the full article and please share!

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight at Performance I Create!

When The Phone Stops Ringing

I so often hear complaints about the amount of calls and questions we get in our Human Resources departments, but what if they stopped coming? 

I’m guilty sometimes too. From time to time I let out a huge sigh or say, “What now?!?!” before I pick up the phone, but I remind myself quickly of one major thing before I answer it to get me in the right head space. Human Resources should be the epitome of Customer Service.

Clients (internal or external) don’t constantly call people they don’t trust or can’t depend on. Every call we get is an opportunity to not only help make a difference, but an opportunity to put our offices on the positive map and boost confidence in our service.

We teach customer service to company employees, but we aren’t exempt from delivering the same level of treatment that we preach. We should welcome the calls and questions, as being the first line of defense helps eliminate the issues where we are the last line of defense. When responding to client issues, it’s important for us to not sound as if we are doing them a favor or as if we are being inconvenienced…because it’s far more inconvenient when we have to deal with escalated situations that could have been avoided had we gotten involved sooner.

Remembering these things helps me to clear up that little attitude I may have before answering calls and reminds me to answer that phone or reply to that email with the very level of service that I expect when I reach out to someone for help. 

Even when we don’t think that we operate in a Customer Service role, everything we do…and more importantly how we do things affects and impacts someone else. This huge responsibility is motivation to be the resource that we have been called to be to our employees and in our organizations. Making someone else’s day will almost always help to make yours as well.

ringing-phoneWhen the phone stops ringing and the email notifications are no longer popping up, it could quite possibly mean that we are no longer on the radar…that what we have to say is no longer welcomed or relevant in the eyes of our public, or that no one wants to deal with us because we are just plain rude. And when we are no longer relevant and no one is depending on us for the answers or assistance, we have at some point failed and fallen short of our purpose, which should include treating every person as a valued customer while contributing positively to the bottom lines of our companies.

Does Your Performance Stack Up, Part II

After discussing Performance Evaluations a few weeks ago at Performance I Create, the wonderful folks at Local Job Network reached out to me for a radio interview to discuss the topic further.

blocksWhile I hate my recorded voice, I agreed to do the interview because there are organizations and managers that need a little extra motivation and new ideas on how to prepare for and execute the dreaded Annual Review.

While I do not consider myself the authority on the subject, I’ve seen firsthand how evaluations can turn troubled employees into top performers. I’ve seen the disengaged become leaders with the right feedback.

Please take a few minutes to listen to the full interview HERE and please share!

Thank you so much for listening and for always supporting me as I strive to bring relevance and practicality to management and Human Resources.

 

ADApting To Employee Needs

Please visit Performance I Create for my new post on compliance and decency in the workplace.  Here is a sample…

ada“The very foundation of what HR professionals do is ensure that our organizations avoid risk and stay compliant to not only the policies that are established for the company but to Federal regulations and the laws of our particular States.

…compliance is not only about rules and requirements, it’s also about decency, advocacy and respect for current and potential employees and clients…”

Click HERE for the full article and please share!

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight at Performance I Create!