Positive Influence Requires Positive Interactions: Part 2

Positive Influence Requires Positive Interactions: Part 2
Employees as a Commodity

The problem is simple: When people are seen as objects of utility in a formula for profitability, the inherent importance of their individualism, their feelings, and emotions is subordinated to their asset value. This objectification is clearly exemplified in the ongoing problem of management bullying and abuse that still exists in organizations today.

Most leaders, managers, and supervisors are not provided specific feedback about interpersonal behavior with their subordinates and peers. Mandating instructions (without considering employee input), sarcasm, rhetoric, emotional behavior - shouting, loudness, tirades - talking over others, poor listening skills, intimidating body language and dialog - the list of things one can do to alienate employees is long.

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Positive Influence Requires Positive Interactions: Part I

Positive Influence Requires Positive Interactions: Part I

Employee Engagement, Total Rewards Cultures, Emotional Intelligence, Six Sigma, Lean Principles, Employee Empowerment and many other initiatives all attempt to systematically explore employee intelligence and experience. Each initiative's processes and principles is grounded in the importance of people. The key objective of each initiative is to channel that value into improved organizational effectiveness.

Though these initiatives and others have been fashionable for years, widely implemented, and publicized as promoting pro-people values, approximately 48% of American employees leave their jobs because they don't like their supervisor. Between 70 and 80% of Americans report rudeness and incivility at work. About 41 percent of American workers report having been psychologically harassed at work at some point - most often by their boss.

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Focus on Behavior to Improve Organizational Performance and Profitability

Focus on Behavior to Improve Organizational Performance and Profitability

Behavior-based safety (BBS) has taught us that we can solve a performance problem by identifying, very specifically, the behaviors we want from employees and the behaviors we want them to stop. For instance, when we use behavioral problem solving in behavior-based safety, we identify a specific safety behavior that will decrease injuries—like putting on fall protection when working above four feet. Then we apply a tracking process to identify how frequently employees are doing so. Through observation (sometimes self-observation if the employee works alone), we get an approximate measure of how often the safe behavior is occurring.

Using this data, we provide feedback to employees about the frequency of critical safe behaviors. This upstream metric is part of a preventive approach to reducing injury rates. Feedback on critical behaviors is a robust factor in individual and group behavior change.

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Only Leaders Can Change a Culture

Only Leaders Can Change a Culture

If you Google “Organizational Culture,” you get over 4,000,000 search results. Wikipedia has one of the first results, and as you scan the description you immediately began to blanch with confusion. If you work in a corporation that will soon undertake a “culture change” initiative, you may begin to tear up.Here is the first paragraph of Wikipedia’s description:

“Organizational culture, or corporate culture, comprises the attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values of an organization. It has been defined as the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization. Organizational values are beliefs and ideas about what kinds of goals members of an organization should pursue and ideas about the appropriate kinds or standards of behavior organizational members should use to achieve these goals. From organizational values develop organizational norms, guidelines or expectations that prescribe appropriate kinds of behavior by employees in particular situations and control the behavior of organizational members towards one another.”Wikipedia

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Re-energizing Your Behavior-Based Safety Process

Creating a successful Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) process is a challenge, and companies around the world are addressing that challenge as you read these lines. Barriers to success include:

Leadership’s failure to “behave” supportively – that is they do not say and do things that convince employees that safety is value #1 – and their priorities and decisions do not support the BBS process and the removal of systems barriers to safe behavior.

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Incentive Programs: Manipulative Quick-Fixes That Destroy Employee Engagement

Incentive Programs: Manipulative Quick-Fixes That Destroy Employee Engagement

Oddly, in this “unmotivated” world, it’s difficult to find anyone who really is unmotivated. Whenever I ask someone if they are motivated, they say yes. Yet, everyone believes there are a vast number of unmotivated people out there, even though no one admits to being one of them.

This view is reflected by the fact that when a company is having a bad sales year, the management team instantly starts shopping for motivational programs for their salespeople. If production is down or product quality is poor, the first step on the problem-solving agenda is to blame lackluster performance on unmotivated employees.

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