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This week we are featuring a blog from Maureen Collins-Williams at MyEntre.net.
For decades, women have failed to thrive as much as men in the workforce. They’ve struggled to rise to management levels in top corporations, to have their voices heard in the boardroom and their efforts fairly compensated. Today, many women believe there’s another way. Perhaps women don’t have to follow traditional rules of business success—perhaps for the first time in history, they can bypass them altogether. How? Technology.
In order to improve an organization’s effectiveness one must understand the role of organizational behavior within the workforce. It is important to understand how an organization’s behavior impacts key business drivers such as profitability, motivation and higher retention rates.
What is Organizational Behavior?
Organizational behavior is the study of human behavior within organizations. If people are an organizations most important asset then understanding how humans behave in organizations will lead to insights that can improve productivity, job satisfaction, employee relations, and more. Organizational behavior focuses on the impact that individuals, groups, and structures have on behavior within organizations. Below are just a few of the components that need to be taken into account:
- The job itself. What kind or type of job is an employee doing, and what is the design of that job? How does the job fit in with other job’s employees are working on? Knowing the type of job an employee is working on can help determine how the employee will react with that job.
- The nature of the work. This goes along with the job because if the nature of work is compatible with the employee then it is more likely that the work will get done well and in a timely manner.
- Turnover. If a person is compatible with the work environment and likes their job, they will be more likely to stay and be high performers at the company. Organization’s rarely take a hard look at the cost associated with turnover. Therefore, cost savings associated with improving the recruiting, selection, on-boarding, and training processes are often ignored.
- Productivity. If an employee is productive, they tend to be more motivated and more likely to enjoy the work that they are doing. This is a win-win for the organization and the employee!
Organizational Behavior Challenges and Opportunities
With everything in life, there are challenges and opportunities, and organizational behavior is no exception.
- Economic pressures impact both individuals and organizations. Employees may have to fight to keep their job. This may encourage the employee to be more productive throughout the day and strive to do excellent work. Competitive pressures are tough in the business world. In a highly competitive society, every organization wants to be recognized as the best.
- Workplace diversity is prevalent. Employees from all over the globe are applying for positions. Diversity is a good thing and can become a competitive advantage that inspires innovation. But it also creates individual and organization acceptance and appreciation challenges.
Ultimately, it is up to the employees in an organization to work with one another and to recognize the differences and skills that each other have. This is crucial within a workforce and a great reason as to why organizational behavior is an important tool to be aware about and understand.
–Annalise Bandel, Student, Loyola University
Sometimes I would rather stick a fork in my eye and twist it than go to another meeting. In most corporate environments meetings are a vital element of life in the office. They dictate our days; form our schedules and consequently, we often find ourselves getting few things accomplished as a result of them. So why do we need ANOTHER meeting anyway?
Obviously, meetings are a necessary evil in running successful businesses. They bring people together by uniting creative minds and are vital in achieving the strategic goals of the company. Leaders who know how to run productive meetings can be the most valued employees of the organization.
Meetings can fail for a variety of reasons. Some of the most important are a lack preparation, agenda or goals. Lacking respect for participant’s time and failing to follow up on specific action items can result in frustrated participants and fewer results. Whether your meeting is at the office, via Skype or conference call, how do you lead an effective one? Reader’s Digest author, Graham Buck, recently gave a few tips:
- Start and end strongly. Conduct every meeting with a purpose and close it with a plan for “going forward”. Denver based consultant Teri Schwartz noted that running a meeting is like “Flying a plane. Most crashes happen at takeoff and landing.”
- Pick a leader. Assign someone to lead at the beginning of each meeting.
- Think small. Be realistic about what you can accomplish and keep the number of attendees manageable to stimulate discussion.
- Direct, don’t dominate. Encourage others to speak up and get involved, especially junior staffers.
- Lay down the rules of engagement. Everyone should understand who will take notes and how decision will be made. Assign follow-up tasks during the final five to ten minutes and then reiterate them later in a group email.
A final tip that I’d like to add is to respect participant’s time. As an HR consultant, one of the biggest complaints that I hear is that employee’s never have enough time to complete their own projects because of all the meetings they are required to attend. Smart business leaders understand the value of participant’s time. If a meeting is scheduled for an hour, be respectful and end it on time!
Does your company struggle with leading successful meetings? Skywalk Group’s Employee Development and Training can help.
Differentiating the “wanna-bes” from the “will-bes”
Hiring is easy, right? The position gets advertised, people apply, the hiring manager interviews, and the best candidate gets the offer. Easy, right? Not so fast. Identifying the right talent who posses the skills necessary to complement a team isn’t quite that easy. Too often companies and their managers treat it like it’s easy, only to ask themselves months later why the best candidate isn’t performing.
While there are many variables impacting a candidate’s success in a new role, as the book “I Quit, But Forgot to Tell You,” points out, you can frequently blame the hiring process. According to a study of 800 managers:
- 72% of management has failed to acquire interviewing, hiring, and profiling skills
- Less than one-third of these manager’s companies use hiring tools, position competencies, job profiles, behaviors and beliefs or selling/service assessments.
Lack of Training
Interviewing is commonly assumed to be skill miraculously perfected the instant it is first required. Just go in there and ask questions; it’ll be obvious who’s the right person. I beg to differ. Interviewing is a skill honed with training, practice and the right assessment tools to differentiate the “wanna-bes” from the “will-bes.” Hiring Winning Talent is an affordable e-learning program but it can also be offered in a classroom setting in your organization.
The Right Tools
Creating a strong team means identifying what skills and behaviors that need to be seen from each position on the team. Take the NFL draft. While most teams wouldn’t mind the first pick quarterback, sometimes the player who will strengthen that weak offensive line is the guy drafted in the 2nd round. If haven’t identified your needs ahead of time, you’ll end up with three quarterbacks and a weak center that can’t protect any one of those quarterbacks.
The same concept applies to business. Tools like position competencies, job profiles and the like, help hiring managers define the skills and behaviors needed to fit the culture and strengthen the team. Just taking time to think about position competencies is one step closer to hiring a strong, talented team.
If a strong, talented team isn’t what you’re after, then sure, recruiting is easy.
In our last article, we talked about how managers can improve the way they provide performance feedback to their employees or anyone else in their lives. This week, we are going to talk about how everyone can get better at accepting feedback.
Is it SARA or SARAH?
There are some normal responses that people have to receiving feedback.
Generally, people aren’t use to receiving feedback. Therefore, it comes as a surprise when it is provided. If you remember from last week’s article, that is why we suggest that people ask permission to give feedback. It helps reduce or eliminate the element of surprise.
Depending on who is providing the feedback and whether or not they are seen as credible, the receiver may be annoyed by the feedback. A friend just told me a story about offering golfing tips and advice to a beginner when she was struggling to hit the ball. I asked the obvious question, “Did she ask for help?” The answer was no. Then I asked the next question, “Did you ask her if she wanted help?” Again, the answer was no. In that situation, it is very likely that the receiver was annoyed by the feedback that she received and she probably went straight to the rejection phase.
It is human nature to want to reject the feedback that you receive, especially when you may feel that it is a personal attack. How long people stay in the rejection phase is variable. For some, it may just require a few hours or days to process the feedback and move to the acceptance phase. For others, it may require receiving the same feedback from multiple sources or multiple occasions before they decide to accept it.
Finally, after having some time to process the feedback, most people are able to accept the feedback and choose how to modify or enhance their behavior accordingly. The only exception to this rule is a fatal flaw. Fatal flaws are either innate personality related issues or values/behaviors that we are personally unwilling to modify or change regardless of the feedback that we hear from others. For example, if you are an introverted individual and you receive feedback that you need to be more extroverted, it is unlikely that you will be able to successfully make that change.
And sometimes, Sarah spells her name with an “H”. Once you have accepted the feedback and made the decision to change, there may be times when you need to ask for help. This could be the case in the workplace or in your personal life. If you are committed to making a change, asking for help can go a long ways towards accomplishing your goal. Not only does it help hold yourself accountable for the change, but it demonstrates to others around you that you are committed to the change.
In an upcoming blog article, we will discuss how not to accept feedback as well.
If you find this information valuable, you may also enjoy Skywalk Group’s Leadership & Development Public Workshops. In addition to learning how to provide performance feedback, participants learn how to be an effective leader, improve their communication skills, and set goals and hold team members accountable for their performance.
Did you miss last week’s article? Read How to Provide Feedback to Employees (Or Anyone Else) now.
Let’s just be frank about this. Most managers stink at giving feedback to their employees. And we aren’t just talking about developmental feedback either. Generally, even though there is a lot of positive feedback to share, it goes unspoken.
There are a lot of reasons for this. Time. Schedules. Fear. Inability.
Using this feedback model can dramatically improve the feedback process. It will improve workplace productivity and the morale of your team. It will even help build your credibility as an organizational leader. But don’t stop at the office. This same model can be used at home and with friends too!
The Feedback Model
Ask for permission.
This is meant literally. Ex. “Susan, can I give you some feedback right now?” Asking this allows Susan to opt out of receiving the feedback at that particular time. She may be having a bad day, in a hurry to a next appointment, or focused on something else at the time. This doesn’t mean that she can avoid getting the feedback indefinitely. If her answer is no, then you just say that you will be sending her a meeting invitation for some time that week to discuss the feedback with her.
Ask for the team member’s evaluation. Then give your evaluation of performance.
The important part here is to ask for their evaluation first. This is important for two reasons:
- It allows you to gain insights into how the employee thinks they are doing.
- Generally, people tend to be harder on themselves so getting them to think about the topic of discussion may be all you have to do.
Identify what will help maintain or improve performance.
Again, the strategy here is to ask the team member for their suggestions first. And then agree or add your suggestions to that. What you want to avoid is the perception that you are forcing your ideas on them. Let them own their own problems and solutions.
Agree on a plan.
Communication is good. Action is better. A game plan is a must if you are truly seeking a change in behavior.
Get commitment and set up a time to review progress.
This is an important piece of the puzzle. Both parties have to know and understand that they are committed to the change. Setting up a time to review progress keeps people focused and is a positive way to demonstrate commitment to the process.
Stay tuned! The next blog article will focus on how you can get better at accepting feedback, regardless of what your role is in the organization.