Category Archives: Leadership Tools
Have you been assigned the task of directing the human resources of the company? Do you know what are the most important concepts to consider when assessing, recruiting and developing skilled and competent personnel?
Here I will try to describe the core concepts that need to be handled in the development of aTalent Management Strategy.
First, what is talent management ?
It is the the recruitment and development of personnel that can reach high performance levels , thus contributing to the overall objectives of the company.
Each company follows its own model of talent management.
Why is talent management important? In every company there are a number of employees that stand out from the rest , either because they have developed abilities within their assigned tasks or because their overall performance reaches levels higher than the required standards. It is of utmost importance for a company to assure that these people remain in the company and continue contributing.
Talent management involves the application of a number of strategies used in the management of human resources, these are:
1. The identification and selection of employees who have demonstrated a superior performance and are an inspiration to others for the achievement of superior performance. They also represent the main competencies required in the organization of the company. The company has to make use of their capacity for organization.
2. The developing of employees that occupy key positions that require highly qualified personnel and cannot be left vacant for a long period of time.
3. The allocation of resources for the right compensation, training and help for employees that are occupying these key posts. Thus, these employees that contribute to the company’s excellence must be especially encouraged.
Talent management also implies the use of the following concepts which are the key elements in the human resources management:
This concept has to do with the right recruitment
This concept is about assessing competencies. That is, evaluate if the employee can do properly the job he has been assigned.
Organization Competencies :
These are a series of concepts related to the way the employee acts and reacts, the way he overcomes obstacles, how he communicates with people below and above him.
Forecast of Potentials:
This is a prediction of the potential an employee has to move to the upper levels of the organization based on his actual performance, training and other related factors.
Coaching and Mentoring:
These are programs that help the employee in his development of new competencies.
This is a measurement of results the employee achieved within those areas for which he is held accountable.
The company needs to have a plan in case one or more of the key employees leaves the company. Since the position occupied by that person is key, the company needs to know in advance who could be the possible candidate that will replace the employee that is leaving.
Employees that are meant to occupy key positions want to know what chances they have for career advancement. These employees think that their efforts must be valued and encouraged.
Compensation packages are an important aspect of the talent management strategies. Compensation promotes incentive. It is a widely known idea among companies that compensating their employees for their efforts increases productivity.
A talent management program must include a way to keep its key employees and prevent their leaving the company. We always hear employees leaving a company and moving to another because they are offered better conditions that may include higher salary and promotions. If a company considers an employee to be a key employer for a position, it cannot let that employee go.
Research conducted revealed that the lack of organization of human resources, and not having an effective talent management program has accounted for the failure of many companies.
Most of these companies had shown that they were either not applying the concepts or were applying them inconsistently, in a way that did not help to develop a successful Talent Management Program.
We can conclude by saying that a talent management program is one of the key elements in the organization of the workforce that keeps the company moving towards its main goals.
“Morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.”
For your organization to thrive, it’s essential to take the time to develop good morale.
Almost by definition, organizations with high morale experience higher productivity and staff engagement, they show lower employee turnover and absenteeism, and they have a happier workforce. What’s more, they find it easier to attract and retain the best talent. While “raising morale” can seem to be a nebulous goal, many of these other effects are measurable, and directly affect the bottom line.
Last but not least, it feels great to work in an organization where morale is high!
Why Morale Suffers??…..
There are many things that can cause team morale to dip. For example:
- Layoffs and restructuring.
- Poor leadership.
- Poor communication.
- Lack of empowerment or autonomy.
- Inflexible working conditions.
- Cancellation of team benefits.
- Damage to the organization’s reputation or public image.
- Losing a big contract or client.
- Difficult co-workers.
- Heavy workloads or stress, with no reward or gratitude.
- No sense of social value to the work being done, or a negative impact on the wider society.
Signs of Low Morale
Too often, managers don’t realize that morale is poor. Whether or not your team or organization is facing any of the scenarios above, watch out for the following clues that morale may be slipping:
- Obvious unhappiness.
- Increased complaints about work, or other team members.
- Increased absenteeism.
- An increase in conflict between team members.
- Insubordination or unruliness.
- Disorganized work environments.
- Increased employee turnover.
- Decreased productivity.
- Lack of enthusiasm.
Keep in mind that, if you’re a leader or manager, your team’s morale starts with you. It’s up to you to be a good role model for your team. If your own morale is suffering, then it’s vital that you work on rebuilding your own outlook and attitude first.
Start by identifying why your own morale is low, and then come up with ways to adjust your mental attitude.
Often, this starts with action. For instance, perhaps your morale is down because your boss is pressuring you to do a good job, and is threatening to fire you if you don’t perform. You can make yourself feel more positive and in control of the situation by getting organized, and by achieving measurable goals that will put your boss at ease.
Work on rebuilding your self-confidence. Remember, your team is always watching you: if you’re feeling positive and confident, they will too. Quick wins will also help build confidence – for you, and your team.
You might also want to take our quiz, Are You a Positive or Negative Thinker? This helps you understand and change how you think, so that you can interact with your team in a good way.
If your team’s morale needs rebuilding, there are several strategies that you can use. However, just as you did with your own morale, you need to start by understanding the problem. This helps you choose strategies that best fit your situation, which may include:
1. Reconnecting With Your Team
Morale is higher in situations where team members feel close to their managers. You can create this type of environment by developing good relationships with your team, and by reconnecting whenever possible.
Practice Management by Walking Around so you can “touch base” with team members often. With regular contact and communication, you can reestablish trust and rapport with your team.
It also helps to develop your emotional intelligence: the better you can sense the emotions and needs of those around you, the better you will be as a leader.
Keep in mind that lack of appreciation is often cited as one of the root causes of low morale. So, do whatever you can to show your people that you appreciate them. Reward your team by saying “thank you” for a job well done, or by offering benefits such as extra days off, or flexible scheduling when key goals are met.
You’ll also want to give everyone regular feedback on their work. (See our article on feedback – once a year just isn’t enough!)
2. Developing Your Team
Another way of improving morale, especially after a round of layoffs, is by helping people develop their skills.
So make sure that you’re offering your people opportunities for learning and development, as a way of helping them feel more secure and committed to the organization.
You can do this by understanding their developmental needs, and by using Training Needs Assessments to make sure that everyone is properly trained.
Cross-Training is another great way of building morale, and improving productivity, just as long as you explain why you’re doing it. (Some may see it as a sign that layoffs are on the way!)
Similar problems clustered under a variety of designations constitute the functional hierarchy of an organization. The meekest of employees to the CEO, all human resources strive to deal with their given share of problems. Their individual success rates determine the extent of entire organizational output. Facing the ad infinitum performance challenge of modern day competitive environment “workplace bullying” appears as a black hole in an organization and gulps its human resources’ ability to perform effectively. Many dysfunctional companies can be traced back to chronic bullies who, under the guise of tough management, have victimized a succession of employees. Their vainglorious self-perpetuating manners cause devastating blows to the organizations’ talent pool and gnaw at its very ability to achieve its cherished goals.
Bullying is a repeated pattern of provoked, unwelcoming, hostile behavior that intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict injury, insult, hurt, humiliation or discomfort. Targeted, persistent bullying, most often progresses to the ultimate painful consequence of perpetual state of depression, serious social, family and health hazards for the victim. From the physical hounding in the school yards, workplace bullying goes psychological, occurring in situations of real or perceived imbalance of power. It can be a difference in personality – one person more dominant than the other, command of language – one person with a sharper tongue and quicker wit than the other. Psychological bullies deploy tactics of malicious teasing, name-calling, hurtful personal remarks, and cunning deflation of competence by strategies such as isolation, humiliation, excessive supervision and denial of employee rights. The situation is insidiously convoluted on the domestic organizational scene, blemished by little awareness and practice of employee rights, scanty legislation and diminutive law enforcement. Victims keep suffering in silence for the fear of losing their jobs. Bullies thrive on the victims’ extended insecurities.
Bullying usually starts slowly and then escalates rapidly. Hallmark of a bully is double bind communication – where the verbal content of the message does not coincide with the body language or two conflicting ideas about the same subject are packaged in an apparently coherent verbal message – all to confuse the victim. Additional signs are extensive use of negative body language such as eye rolling, eyebrow lifting, heavy sighs, finger gestures, shoulder shrugging and arm movements. Bullies get away with their conduct by making victims feel, it’s their fault. Nitpicking – finding out constant small faults in victim’s work with a flagrant disregard of any achievements is one of the favorite strategies of bullies. Their constant unjustified criticism eventually convinces victims that they are no good.
Belittling tactics are also some sure ways to devastate victims. Isolation is being ignored, ostracized and given the silent treatment during the team meetings while offering less lee way or flexibility to the victim. Systematic incapacitation is extreme level of manipulation where the victim is intentionally excluded from essential information, or misinformed of the workplace developments, called upon in meetings at odd times, issued written complaints, and communicated through sticky notes, instead of personal meetings.
Classical tactics for a victim’s undermining include not providing a clear job description (a deliberate strategy to make the role unclear), devaluation of role by taking away important and interesting tasks replaced with menial tasks. Threats of dismissal are typical at Asian organizational scene, where the organization itself bullies its employees. Behavioral repertoire of bullies cuts across a variety of patterns. They may be differentiated accordingly. Some mastering the blame game, are experts at conjuring thoughtful and caring public appearances. They are calculating, scheming and deceitful deep down. Suffering from narcissistic self-love and convinced of their exalted abilities, they blame everyone but themselves for their mistakes. Even their victims are charmed by their nice manners. ‘I was thinking about you’ is their favorite sentence before delivering devastating criticism to their victims.
Opportunistic bullies are extremely career-oriented and if anything comes in their way they use every ploy to eliminate it. They are highly competitive and manipulate circumstances to achieve their ends. Self-preserving bullies are insecure, loyal only to the agenda of personal survival. Utmost authority orientation is their cornerstone. They go any length to appease their superiors though absolutely flip side of coin to subordinates. In the name of system they bash their juniors with no holds barred and hate to see any initiative coming from them. This simply provokes their internalized insecurity that they relieve by searching and advertising their constituents’ weaknesses and finding creative ways of demeaning them. Juniors for them are only to be seen not heard.
Workplace bullying is definitely a no-win situation. It is not only damaging for the employees being bullied and their families but the business bears its cost through increased leave and tardiness, reduced efficiency and productivity, low morale and high turnover. Good intentions are obviously not enough to escape this quagmire. Successful man is one who finds out what is the matter with the business before his competitors do. Prevention is any organization’s best strategy against bullying. This can be achieved through a three prong strategy.
First step is drafting an anti bullying policy that clearly spells out bullying behaviors. Every member of staff must be provided with a copy and the policy should be updated regularly.
Second step adequate mechanisms must be drawn to report the bullying behavior. This may include nominating a contact person for reporting, a system of mediation, investigation and sanctions because policy does no good unless enforced properly.
Third step is compulsory training for managers, human resource staff dealing with bullying complaints, the contact people and all the general staff. Training must adequately address the intricacies of assertive communication skills required to become an effective team player rather than a starving slave runner.
Even the bullies just like their victims may become valuable human resources; they must be identified and helped before they bring the organization to a grinding halt.
Mostly the word BOSS is supposed to be an acronym for Bully, Obnoxious, Sarcastic and Stupid. The question is how to manage such an impossible man? Workout the problems; do not let them to be a source of your dismissal. This will help your projects, your boss, and most importantly you.
Two people in the world are never wrong, the customer and the boss. In fact they are right even when they are wrong. Does it imply the “Yes Boss” attitude where flattery and buttering up is the only way to get along with your superiors? No. All we want to say is that there are many ways to get along with your boss. The first and foremost understanding is by virtue of what role you put him in, and what your expectations from that role are. If you expect him to be fair and reasonable, and instead find him biased and inequitable, and thus condemn him for life, you will find communicating with him virtually impossible; thus the vicious circle of misunderstandings and miscommunication will start, which will either end in no promotions for you, or you tendering your resignation to find a more congenial working environment. But let me warn you that the likelihood of finding one is low as most bosses tend to have one peculiarity or the other. Mostly the word BOSS is supposed to be an acronym for Bully, Obnoxious, Sarcastic and Stupid. How to manage such an impossible man? Stop expecting him to change, and start making an effort to change and adapt yourself as per his needs and wants.
Six tested strategies one can use to manage and maintain a professionally healthy relationship with the boss are the following:
Change your attitude
Human psyche resents authority. Sometimes this resentment and conceit may blind you to accepting your faults and shortcomings. Work consciously towards maintaining a relationship where you can get along well with your boss. Thus the recommended attitude is to treat the boss as a difficult customer who is going to complain and crib, but who needs to be marketed properly to win him over to your ideas. With this expectation you will find yourself trying to find what he wants, and then tailor your ideas and sell them in such a way that he feels that they are his own ideas, thus making him become dependent on you for his own success. Easier said than done, I agree. But the chances of wining over your boss are definitely higher if you are able to find out what makes him tick and then try to position your ideas in his line of preferences.
Understand his temperament and style
Bosses can vary in disposition and temperament. One is the congenial, easy-to-access kind of a personality. Another is a rash character who takes it upon himself to command respect in a peremptory manner. You can also have a midway combination of a boss who is stern, yet at the same time approachable – a not so formidable a person. If you have the good fortune of working for such a person you couldn’t ask for more. Unfortunately they are in minority.
The boss’s temperament and style of working should be well understood in order to work compatibly. To function according to his parameters, find out what your boss is finicky about and make sure you are extra careful about such issues. Emphasise what your boss thinks is a priority and downplay the rest. If he is a person who is organised and orderly, he will expect you to be the same. If he is slipshod, he is probably a person who is more concerned on meeting deadlines. Fit yourself to your boss’ requirements and try to live up to his expectations.
Don’t shirk responsibility
However hard-pressed you may be, make sure you keep up your word and deliver the goods as promised. You may have to work overtime to achieve this; so make good use of your time and resources. If you want to get ahead in life push your self further. Making excuses or procrastinating will get you no where. Don’t shirk responsibilities, instead treat them as challenges.
Don’t talk ill about your boss in his absence
If you take to bad-mouthing your boss and shouting your mouth off on what a cruel person he is, it will not be appreciated in the long run. If you are impeccable at your work, you can pass a comment or two, but if your work is not up to the mark, then you have no right to talk ill about your superior. Be very careful about what you say to whom. Organisational politics has a way of twisting your words and turning them against you. Many apparently friendly colleagues may be waiting for an opportunity to get back to you by making subtle suggestions to your boss about your ‘weird sense of humour’.
Be a problem solver not a problem seeker
Bosses often see us as their work problems – somebody to assign work to, receive work from and keep busy. The better that you are at solving their management problems for them the more chances you will have at having a better work situation. This does not mean that you do not work to identify problems, but rather it means that you work to a quick identification of problems and then provide a solution for those problems. Solve your own problems and those of others. This may serve as the best job security for you. This will let your boss know that you are a team player and too good of an asset to let go. Workout the problems and do not let them be a means for your dismissal. This will help you in managing your boss, your projects and most importantly YOU.
Maintain a good personal and professional rapport
Treat your boss as a friend when you meet at social gatherings and try not to be a standoffish. Appreciate your boss whenever you get a chance to, and see that it’s genuine praise and not flattery. Bosses can detect flattery afar off. Try to find out about his hobbies and interests. If he is interested in cricket, it is advisable to develop a good knowledge about his favourite matches, favourite players and discuss them with him to create a common platform where you can communicate with him at the level of a friend rather than a formal superior whom you have to bow in subservience all the time.
He is senior to you whether you like it or not, and there’re no two ways about it. Sometimes you may stand in awe of him, sometimes you may just wonder if he is mad or insane. At the end of the day however, your boss is still your boss, and you have to report to him. It is a ritual. If you look up to your boss and realise that he is placed higher than you, probably because he has better expertise or experience, that is the first move you can make towards an effective boss management strategy. The sensible strategy is not to act smart and make him feel insecure and infuriated by your high brow attitude of how ill conversant he is with the modern techniques, but to make him feel that a blend of his experience and expertise and your energy and enthusiasm will create a win-win combination which will help you and your boss make an outstanding place in the organisation. This is the strategy which will change the acronym of BOSS to that of a Benefactor, Outstanding, Smart and Supportive person.