How are you investing in yourself??

 

 

How do you invest in yourself?  What training or additional skills have you sought out on your own – or do you just wait for your employer to offer something? It’s your career – if you are ready to move ahead, you probably need to take control of your own development.  To find out more about our personalized leadership and management training, along with sales skills and development, contact us for more information at:  www.newleveladvisorsllc.com   #leadership #businessmanagement #training

What is unresolved conflict really doing to your team?

Why Should You Encourage Productive Conflict?

To many people, the word “conflict” is a negative. Thoughts of bad words and hurtful emotion come to mind. The cost of unresolved conflict in organizations is immense. Lost productivity, lost opportunity, or poor choices have contributed to $359 billion in loses nationally. “Unresolved conflict represents the largest REDUCIBLE cost in many businesses, yet remains largely unrecognized.”
This type of conflict seldom results in resolution of an issue, and leaving it unresolved can cost an organization not only tremendous amounts because of nonproductivity, but left unresolved also leads eventually to employee disengagement, which has another layer of lost costs.

But wait! There’s another kind of conflict – Productive Conflict – which does not drain the participants of energy and may actually resolves or clarifies an otherwise cloudy mess. Where teams engage in a “discussion” or “debate” with the exchange of knowledge, experience and differing analytical opinions, will help the collective to arrive at positive decisions and strategies.
With sufficient discourse, a team of reasonable minds will eventually arrive at a consensus – which does not necessarily mean everyone agrees. But without consensus, the team is left with unresolved conflict, where the negative emotions and actions will reside.
Organizations and teams will always be faced with some type of “conflict” – as it’s a necessary part of growth – and moving forward. But it needs to be addressed.
Productive conflict is the counter-balance to the “herd mentality”. You have the seen the situation where a very good idea has been presented, and then the synergy of the group takes over. Suddenly, with everyone on board, the herd stampedes towards the sought-after result.

However, the quiet guy in the corner may just have that last bit of information that will totally change the dynamic and perception of a proposed action. His experience if shared may indicate that there are one or two critical flaws in the thinking, and thus the plan is destined to fail. By sharing this last tidbit BEFORE the stampede starts allows for the collective to identify the roadblocks, and take necessary action to prevent or circumvent the speedbump. This is all good for the organization. Prevent the failures from happening – and its usually much more cost-effective. Won’t even go into examples because we have all seen those.
However, many organizations do not encourage healthy dialogue as new projects or ideas are contemplated. Rather, the “leader” makes a decision and then delivers the news. This isn’t team action. furthermore, it’s usually the most vocal and outgoing team members that will oftentimes dominate the stage if there is dialogue. The more introverted or questioning personalities on the team may fail to speak up because they are intimidated, or in the extreme case – just they don’t care anymore. This leaves the decision without all pertinent and relavent information.

Productive conflict is a solid challenge of thought, based upon facts and true beliefs that are not generated from ill will or negative emotion – but a healthy dialogue of ideas. The style of debating in this fashion is different for each person. Some are contemplative, need more information or data to analyze. Others prefer the vocal debate and utilize their gut instincts. The best leaders will understand the differing needs of each style and guide the discussion in order that all team members have been heard. Without being heard, these team members have a difficult time supporting the ultimate decision (alignment) and often will just nod agreement as to do otherwise seems to them to be futile. This “agreement” is not genuine enough to carry through any difficulties that may arise.
So don’t be afraid of conflict – encourage the healthy debate. Solid decisions are always the best!! We are pleased to introduce our newest Everything DiSC(R) assessment which looks at conflict styles. After taking the assessment, research has found that 96% of participants are better able to handle conflict. For more information on Productive Conflict – connect with us at www.Newleveladvisorsllc.com

Copyright® 2018, Lynne Pope, New Level Advisors

Are your employees suffering from Holiday Blues – or is it something more serious?

Holidays can be a great time for employees to relax and enjoy their family, have some wintertime fun, decompress, and reconnect with their happy side. But this is also an opportunity for them to reflect on their work lives, and perhaps unfavorably remember the workplace as being a whole lot less fun!
When they come back after the New Year’s Celebration– they may be returning the same problems, the same toxic people, the same unsavory culture they left. Pressures return, and they lose the joy of the Holiday Season. The environment to which they return contrasts drastically to the great times they just enjoyed.

The work environment and culture have everything to do with motivation and performance. Research indicates that positive work cultures result in far better growth and revenue tracks. Keeping employees engaged in their work (which has become a soundbite) -is paramount for progressive leaders and managers. What have you done recently to get these employees reengaged with the 2018 goals for the team. Here are some ideas:
• Have you taken an employee culture survey recently? (Best practice is once per year)
• Have you discussed with your direct reports exactly where they are going and what you can do to help them get there?
• Many employees report that no one seems to care about their development or offer them additional training.
• Further, many claim to have no clear vision of where the team is going and thus, they feel they are moving in a vacuum. Have you reiterated the near-term goals for 2018?

Successful leaders understand that employees are human beings first – and thinking human beings at that. Thus, its imperative that you understand them as PEOPLE first – as employees second. This will have a profound effect on their attitude. Next, by showing you care, by asking about the kids, the spouse and other pertinent issues in their lives, will be a strong beginning to re-engaging all but those who really don’t belong there (that group will eventually self-select out).

For more ideas on how to get your team back on track, contact New Level Advisors for a no-obligation conversation. info@newleveladvisorsllc.com If you like articles such as this, please “like” us and “follow” us on LinkedIn. We appreciate your readership – and your comments about current issues that are relevant to making the work place a better place to be.

Why Should You Encourage Productive Conflict?

To many people, the word “conflict” is a negative. Thoughts of bad words and hurtful emotions come to mind. The cost of unresolved conflict in organizations is immense. Lost productivity, lost opportunity, or poor choices have contributed to $359 billion in loses nationally.[1] “Unresolved conflict represents the largest REDUCIBLE cost in many businesses, yet remains largely unrecognized.” [2]

This type of conflict seldom results in resolution of an issue, and leaving it unresolved can cost an organization not only tremendous amounts because of nonproductivity, but also leads eventually to employee disengagement, which has another layer of lost costs.

Another option is where teams engage in constructive “discussion” or “debate”.  With the exchange of knowledge, prior experiences and by offering differing analytical opinions, the collective can then arrive at positive decisions and develop solid strategies.

With sufficient conversation, a team of reasonable minds will eventually arrive at a consensus – which does not necessarily mean everyone agrees. The wisdom and prudence of the proposed action will be evident. But without consensus, team members are left feeling unheard, unsupported and isolated. (Do you have team members who “silo” themselves?)  This is where the negative emotions and RE-actions will occur.  All are detrimental to a team that needs to move forward TOGETHER.

While organizations and teams will always be faced with some type of “conflict” – as it’s a necessary part of growth, but it needs to be addressed. Good team leaders will encourage this dialogue and guide the team members to constructive resolutions.

This requires skills in using “Productive Conflict” which is the counter-balance to the “herd mentality”. You have the seen the situation where a very good idea has been presented, and then the synergy of the group takes over. Suddenly, with everyone on board, the herd stampedes towards the sought-after result without sufficient consideration of possible obstacles. It’s usually the most vocal and outgoing team members that will oftentimes dominate the stage when there is dialogue. The more introverted or questioning personalities on the team may fail to speak up because they are intimidated, or in the extreme case – just they don’t care anymore.

The quiet guy in the corner may just have that last bit of information that will totally change the dynamic and perception of a proposed action. His experience, if shared, may reveal that there are one or two critical flaws in the thinking, and thus the plan could be destined to fail. By sharing this last tidbit BEFORE the stampede starts allows for the collective to identify the roadblocks, and take necessary action to prevent or circumvent the speedbump. This is all good for the organization. Prevent the failures from happening.  Won’t even go into examples because we have all seen those.

“Productive Conflict” is solid challenge of thought, based upon facts and true beliefs that are not generated from ill-will or negative emotion – but rather promotes healthy and respectful dialogue. How people engage in this type of debate is different for each person. Some people are contemplative, need more information or data to analyze. Others prefer the vocal debate and utilize their gut instincts. The best leaders will understand the differing needs of each style and guide the discussion in order that all team members have been heard. Without being heard, these team members have a difficult time supporting the ultimate decision (alignment) and often will just nod agreement as to do otherwise seems to them to be futile. This “agreement” is not genuine agreement, and is not enough to carry through any difficulties that may arise. This team member will quickly become “disengaged”.

So, don’t be afraid of conflict – encourage the healthy debate. Solid decisions are always the best!! We are pleased to introduce our newest Everything DiSC(R) PRODUCTIVE CONFLICT Assessment which looks at conflict styles.  It further demonstrates how your fellow colleagues may approach differing opinions and helps team members to find constructive ways to accept and integrate all perceptions, to the betterment of the team and ultimate decisions.  After taking the assessment, research has found that 96% of participants are better able to handle conflict.

Does this sound like your team?  For more information on “PRODUCTIVE CONFLICT” – connect with us at:  info@newleveladvisorsllc.com

 

Copyright Lynne E. Pope, New Level Advisors –  2017.   All rights reserved.

 

[1] www.Entreprenuer.com

[2] Controlling the Cost of Conflict, K. Slaikeu & R. Hasson

Healthy conflict in the workplace

Conflict is a sure thing – both in the workplace and life in general.  Conflict itself is not the problem – it is how it is handled and resolved.  This week’s conversation is “healthy conflict” in the workplace and how a high performing organization provides a mechanism for resolution.  Dictatorial approaches to conflict – (I.e. “because I said so” -or some variation thereof) -is no longer acceptable.  A true leader does several things: 1) recognizes that there is an “issue” in the group; 2) hits it head on.  Why?  Failure to do so allows for the human mind to conjure up all sorts of assumptions and distortions that create a larger problem.   Conversation starter:

  1. Is conflict an issue in your organization?
  2. If so, do you have a process in which to address healthy conflict?
  3. Are there “silos” and attitudes of WE vs. THEM

Contact us at info@newleveladvisorsllc.com  for additional information on how you can turn your team around in 24 hours.

 

(C) Lynne Pope, New Level Advisors, 2017


Will Your Employees be Happy to Return to Work After All the Summer Fun?

Summertime is a great time for family – for fun, and your employees deserve some summertime fun. But this is also an opportunity for them to reflect on their work lives, and perhaps unfavorably remember the workplace as being a whole lot less fun!

When they come back on September 5th – there may be the same problems, the same toxic people, the same unsavory culture they left. So their imagination, innovation and great ideas may remain at the door. Research indicates that positive work cultures result in far better growth and revenue tracks. Keeping employees engaged in their work (which has become a soundbit) -is paramount for progressive leaders and managers. Have you taken an employee culture survey recently? (Best practice is once per year) Have you identified to your direct reports exactly where you are going and how you plan to get there? (Many employees report that the goals are cloudy – with some reporting almost no vision, or understanding why they are doing what they are doing.) So they move in a vacuum.

Successful leaders understand that employees are human beings first – and thinking human beings at that. Thus, its imperitive that you understand them as PEOPLE first – as employees second. This will have a profound effect on their attitude. Next, by showing you care (have you asked about the kids, the spouse – other pertinent issues in their lives?) That will be a strong beginning to re-engaging all but those who really don’t belong there (that group will eventually self-select out). For more ideas on how to get your team back on track, contact New Level Advisors for a no-obligation conversation. info@newleveladvisorsllc.com

 

My invitation to you:
If you like articles such as this, please “like” us and “follow” us on LinkedIn. We appreciate your readership – and your comments about current issues that are relevant to making the work place a better place to be.

Are Your Employees Engaged Enough to Make Your Business Thrive?

By Lynne Pope – New Level Advisors

Employee engagement remains a critical problem not only for businesses but for the economy. The statistics are challenging as research continues to show that 60 – 70% of all American employees are “disengaged” from their work. That means, for whatever the reason said employees do not feel secure in their position -perhaps because of many years of downsizing, rightsizing, or watching friends and loved ones go through the process of being terminated.

There are other more substantial reasons that employees feel disengaged: it usually has to do with the managers and/0r the culture inside an organization. Many companies are short of staff, reluctant to add more staff, which often results in a staff that is overworked. Oftentimes, employees do not feel a good relationship with a manger , and such employees do not feel supported let alone treasured. Thus when given a situation where a difficult decision has to be made, the disengaged employee, instead of doing the best thing, will oftentimes default to the “easiest thing”. This can have catastrophic results for organizations especially if they are strongly dependent on good customer service.

This means that the employee can get the problem off his or her plate – pass it on to a colleague, often creating more work, less efficiency and very little positive good for the client or customer. Reactions such as these often cost the organization a lot – through loss of efficiency – lessened brand, dissatisfied customers, all of which can have a profound effect on your bottom line.

Recent studies of the effects of employee disengagement shows three key drivers that affect employee satisfaction and engagement in their work:
• Relationship with the immediate supervisor
• Belief in senior leadership
• Pride in working for the company

Companies with visionary leadership understand the detrimental impact of continued employee turnover – which is expensive and disruptive. While the days of beginning a career and then retiring from the same company are probably long gone, some experts believe that turnover rates may rise as high as 65%. This could have a dramatic effect on the bottom line for any company.

So what are wise visionary leaders to do? The same study revealed that employees with “caring” supervisors – those who care about their employees’ personal lives, take an interest in them as people, and care how they feel and support their health and well-being. These managers are more “person-centered” and effectively create an engaging environment where the employees “are more committed, dedicated and motivated to make the organization a success”. * With happy employees, there is likely to be more customer engagement, a resulting increase in sales and profits.

The paradigm shift has started. Employees are one of the biggest investments made by a company – and they are no long just an “asset” to be managed. Rather they are individuals who are in a position to use creativity and innovation that will result in further success for the company.

New Level Advisors, LLC assists visionary leaders to stimulate trust in their organizations and thus motivate employees to reengage with their positions. Engaged employees move up the corporate ladder faster, earn greater incomes, have more expendable income, and the result is a stimulated economy where all in the community can thrive.

Who wins? EVERYONE!! Employees are more satisfied with their work, using more creativity and innovation. Business owners win by reducing unnecessary employee turnover, and with greater sales and profit margins. The community wins because greater growth and profits allows for more expendable income that grows the community.

If you are eager to examine your organization, increase your productivity, reduce employee turnover, and help the community to thrive and grow, please contact New Level Advisors, LLC at info@newleveladvisorsllc.com or contact us at (616) 581-0499.

*”What drives Employee Engagement and Why it Matters” – Dale Carnegie® Training White Paper, 2012.

The Exceptional Team – are you missing an opportunity?

female-manager-with-team

Companies and organizations often have that one team that is so exceptional, knocking it out of the park quarter after quarter – while another team can languish, holding many “reasons” and excuses for under-performing.

In this time of low/slow growth factors – and as we all face many uncertainties in the coming year, how are you positioning your teams for growth? Are there opportunities that could be tapped that you may have missed? Are you using the correct metrics, or can those change to motivate your managers to get more efficiency from their teams? Here we address a couple of the several factors that could help you to have a stellar year in 2017.

It’s not a simple answer as there are many. But we all know that one of the big problems in corporate American (and in non-profit organizations) is the lackluster engagement of most employees (70% are disengaged). While it seems that the topic has been over-saturated, there remains some very viable research to indicate that the issue is just not being addressed or not taken seriously enough. So could this be the differentiator between you and your competition?

A recent study by Gallup(1) confirms once again the low employee engagement remains a prime factor, which addresses morale and the other factors that reduce the passion and eagerness for employees to do the very best they can -and do it every day. As a business owner or Human Resource professional, you are most likely aware of the Q12 surveys which indicate the level of your employees’ engagement.

If you have not done one of these surveys – or something similar- in the last 12 months, you could be in for some big surprises – such as employees jumping ship to move to another, better culture, in all probability to one of your competitors. Further, as studies indicate that employees leave managers, not jobs, what are you doing to ensure that your managers are spending the time and necessary effort to cultivate engaged team members – as many are not. Thus, employees get frustrated, may feel unsupported, and may see no room for improvement or movement to higher positions – all which reduce the amount of passion and thus effort, that those employees will expend to further your business interests.

This same study indicates that female managers are clearly generating more engaged employees than do their male counterparts. While the focus of this article is not to again raise the gender issue, there are some notable observations made which indicate that female managers are more likely to support growth and training opportunities, and that they check in with their team reports more frequently. These are the factors that can be addressed both to reinforce the positive behaviors with female mangers and to motivate your male managers to focus more on the emotional needs of your employees. Your employees are not assets like your machinery, rather they are human beings with a multitude of emotions which generate (or don’t generate) the passion they need to carry into the workplace each day, and therefore create the optimal activity that will help your company to grow. The emotional needs of your team thus need to be cultivated – and seemingly this is more a natural attribute to female managers, but which can be learned and cultivated in aware male managers.

Thus, this leads me to the metrics that you may employ in the coming year, to generate more profitability and productivity which seem so difficult to generate organically in the current low-growth economy. Gallup suggests more gender diversity – hire more female managers and develop that natural tendency to support their team. Increase appropriate manager metrics such as turnover, training and development of their direct reports, and annual surveys which indicate the level of engagement. These are as critically important, if not even more, than just sales figures, which can hide many underlying problems.

In light of the coming labor shortages, 2017 should be the year of infrastructure – building solid teams of employees who are happy when they leave at night, and just as happy (and eager) to return the next day. Sound like a fantasy?

See my blog next week (The Exceptional Team – what makes one stand out over the others?”) to see what a real “dream team” looks like and why they act differently.”

(1) Gallup http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/197552/women-lead-men-key-workplace-engagement-measures.aspx

As the election dust is settling………how do we get employees back on track?

unhappy-employees-at-white-houseAccording to current research of the American Psychological Association, 52% of U.S. adults say that the presidential election was a “very” or “significant” source of stress. If your organization is reflective of the election results – it’s probable that 50 – 70% of your staff was quite or very stressed during the election. With 2 ½ months till inauguration, the intense focus on politics will continue, and with even more focus for the first six months of a new Presidency indicates that post-election blues aren’t likely to dissipate anytime soon.

Psychologists have suggested ways to deal with our children, but as leaders, there is also a strong need to help your staff assimilate and process this election – and what it means to each of them. If you have a diverse culture, there can be a strong fear amongst the minority faction that their loved ones might be deported, or that family members may not be able to join – and many other concerns and fears which have nothing to do with you or your organization.

“So why should we address this” you may ask. Your valued employees need support and reassurance that life will go on, that there is no imminent threat of deportation, and that no wall is going to be built soon, if ever, but many folks don’t trust that or just can’t process it.
“Election Stress Disorder” was coined by Steven Stosny, a therapist in Urban Washington. “Our politics appeal to the Toddler Brain, which is self-obsessed, impulsive, intolerant, blaming, oversimplifying, thinking in terms of “mine!” and “no!” We invoke the Adult Brain by asking how we can improve the situation [rather than whom to blame it on], trying to see other perspectives, appreciating complexity, getting in touch with deeper, more humane values, recognizing that we can’t feel valuable while devaluing someone else. If feelings are dominant, focus on how you would like to feel.”

What behaviors might you see in the workplace that indicates this post-election anxiety:
Irritability and resentment – not only towards the election, but towards every-day situations
Tendency to blame others, more arguments and conflict
Missing details – lost orders, incomplete orders
Sub-standard custom service, which can be very detrimental to a service organization
Oversimplification of perspectives, diminishing of other points of view
Difficulty in concentration – loss of productivity
Low grade anger activates muscle groups – headaches, migraines, stomach aches
As you can see, these behaviors reduce productivity and can have detrimental effect on business.

What leaders can do to help employees overcome these behaviors:
• Leaders should lead by example – exhibit positive emotions by smiling, courteous and warm interactions with employees. Let them vent for a short time, and let them know they are heard.
• Do something for someone else – go the extra mile where it wasn’t expected. This raises self-value. Encourage employees to do the same – “Pay it forward” campaign
• Encourage or reward employees for volunteerism – there has been a 25% drop in volunteerism since the presidential campaign began
• Suggest that political conversations be reserved for “off hours” and out of the office. (this can prevent any bullying or gloating over the election results)
• Reduce exposure to newscasts – this election has been the first with such vitriol 24/7 – and there is no time for recovery from negative news.
• Reduce or eliminate newscasts in the car – which have resulted in aggressive driving and speeding
• Employees venting – let them vent for a bit (this reduces the negative emotion) – but then gently turn the focus to something positive they have done, or some other supportive interactions to let the employee know that you care about them.
In all – remember that we are not done with the negative effects of this election cycle. We have 2 ½ months till inauguration where there is sure to be intense coverage of just about everything. The first six months of the new presidency will surely keep the media frenzy to a fever pitch. Helping your employees to control the negative effects and keep your business running more smoothly.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/09/26/feeling-anxious-ahead-of-the-debate-heres-how-to-cope-with-election-stress-disorder/?tid=a_inl