Can One be Overly Engaged at Work?

sucking-up-to-boss3What is just the right amount of engagement or is there just no such thing? Either one is engaged or not. There are no shades of gray. However, I wonder how others may view this thought.

I don’t ever want to be that person who is always “sucking up” to the boss, and yet, there are some who might misinterpret a good working relationship between a boss and a subordinate. I don’t think you should ever have to make excuses or explain to anyone why you have that good working relationship unless it’s just to say that you have good karma, while still being very much engaged.

“Sucking up” to the boss also doesn’t mean you’re engaged. In fact, in many cases it can mean the opposite because a person’s motives for buddying up to their boss could mean they want a promotion, more money, or special favors. Who knows? Brown-nosing does not equate to employee engagement. Brown-nosing or “sucking up” is all about the person doing it. They have the “me syndrome.” It may seem like they are engaged, but their motives are very deceptive.

An employee who is truly engaged, does great work and is recognized with a pat on the back by their boss, deserves accolades – not favors. Anyone witnessing the pat on the back may just be envious, while at the same time, happy for that person who deserves the merit. Envy of someone’s situation is not jealousy. Jealously harbors resentment. Envying someone for doing a good job with recognition should only inspire others to achieve success at work.

I believe that the notion of someone being “overly” engaged is only in the mind of the observer. Either one is engaged or one is not. Anyone who believes that any of their coworkers are overly engaged is perhaps mistaking them for being enthusiastic or passionate about their work.


Managing Managers’ Feelings

Business HandshakeIt’s probably happened to all of us at one time or another, when we have a manager that just doesn’t like us for some reason. Who knows why? You try your best to figure it out with coworkers and friends, and still you get a weird vibe. What’s this all about?

Well, managers are human too and so are personality clashes. That’s a very human trait and sometimes you don’t even know why you clash with someone. But underneath it all, there is a reason and you have to do some brainstorming to get to the bottom of it. But how?

After just writing about a jealous boss, maybe there’s a social case where it’s not jealousy but a genuine personality clash. Personality clashes can be as intricate as personalities themselves. You don’t have to have the same kind of personality to have a clash. You could be two polar opposites whereby you’re not liked for you’re A-type, bombastic personality, while your manager is B-type, quiet and reserved.

Coaching managers to understand his or her subordinates better and to smooth out personality quirks, is the best way to go if you ask me. In fact, if a manager is trained to understand personality types, then he or she will certainly understand his or her subordinates much better. Most of the clash is due to misunderstanding where people are coming from.

plsunderstandmeHaving both manager and subordinates take personality tests are not only fun, but will help clear the air. There are many personality tests, but the one I find best, is Keirsey-Bates. (David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates – Please Understand Me; 1984) Below is Amazon’s the book description:

Does your spouse’s need to alphabetically organize books on the shelves puzzle you? Do your boss’s tsunami-like moods leave you exasperated? Do your child’s constant questions make you batty? If you’ve ever wanted to change your mate, your coworkers, or a family member, then “Put down your chisel,” advises David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates in this book of personality types. We are different for a reason, and that reason is probably more good than bad. Keirsey and Bates believe that not only is it impossible to truly change others (which they call embarking on a “Pygmalion project”), it’s much more important to understand and affirm differences. Sounds easier than it is, you might say. Well, this book is a guide for putting an end to the Pygmalion projects in your life and starting on the path to acceptance.

A few years ago, we took personality tests during a week-long training session facilitated by an outside party – a real pro! We found that many of the personality group descriptions were spot on for most, and others were quite surprising, but they told us it was spot on.

You can get the book for a tuppence at Amazon and conduct the test yourself. I’d start with the manager and subordinate who are experiencing the clash. You have two great workers who you don’t want to see leave over this and what a better way to resolve differences once they are understood? … better yet, once they understand each other.

What Prevents You from Doing Your Job Well?


From time to time, perhaps it’s a good idea to rid ourselves of distractions that prevent us from doing our jobs well. Oftentimes, I allow myself to be distracted by things that are either in my control or not. For example, I should have my cell phone off while at work. If anything is really urgent, as in a medical emergency, my nearest and dearest know my work phone. You may think that a simple text is not distracting but consider that you answer a text which involves a social situation with one of your friends. It’s not necessarily the text that’s distracting or your reply, but it’s thinking about the situation afterward. If it doesn’t bother you and you can jump back in your work like a horse with blinders on, then this is not a problem for you.

Yes, I know we’re all human and don’t want to work like robots all day long. I believe we do need to break away from our work stations at regular intervals. This situation is not only for office workers on computers. This affects us all in any industry. So, set aside time to call or text on your break.

As we know, there are different strokes for different folks and what bothers one person may not bother another. Therefore, make a list of distractions and work on eliminating, avoiding, or controlling them.

The title of this blog is “What Prevents You from Doing Your Job Well?” It’s not only audible or visual distractions that keep you from doing your job well, but perhaps something more, like admitting you need more professional training on certain software. This is a common problem and if someone is always lost on how to do something and consistently asking for help, not only are they preventing themselves from doing their job well, but they are distracting others from doing theirs.

Here’s an example of what prevents me from doing my job well.

  1. Not prioritizing my workload.
  2. Helping others too much with last minute rush jobs putting other tasks on the back burner.
  3. Not focusing on the task at hand. Scatterbrained.
  4. Over multi-tasking.
  5. Inability to just say, “no” to additional tasks when already full.
  6. Allowing too much socializing with “drive-bys.”

These are things I can work on and if they are out of my control, it’s time to sit with my supervisor and ask him or her to help me prioritize my work.

Is Honesty Still the Best Policy?

George TreeOf course honesty is the best policy for all the reasons in this debate. Honesty is not always about telling the truth when asked a question. Being honest is a lot more. For instance, are you honest about the time you spend on a job? Are you honest about getting or giving the right change? This type of honesty is more or less covert. You may never be found out, and yet you never know when you’ll be asked whether or not you are honest about these types of situations.

What if you are at a job interview and an unusual question is posed by the interviewer. She asks, “Imagine you have been with the company for a full year. Do you feel entitled to take a pen home?” Yikes! Who hasn’t taken a pen home from time to time? Quick, think. How do you answer? You could deflect and say, “It’s not right to take anything home from work that’s not your own property.” Or you could tell a semi-lie and say, “Yes, I admit, I have taken a pen home from time to time, but only by accident, and brought it back to the office the next day.” Or you could spill your guts and say, “Yes, I did. And I knew it was wrong and unethical, so I apologized to the office supply cabinet.”

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TNS Floats to HRMAC Summit 2014 in Rosemont



On October 23rd at HRMAC Summit 2014, we are taking part in a very special venue. Our CEO, Mike Schroeder will speak at one of HRMAC’S Industry Knowledge Sessions held during the show.

Industry Knowledge Sessions is an opportunity to present unique thought leadership content or a case study to the Summit attendees through a 30 minute information-based session.  This session is intended to be educational in nature and focus on industry knowledge through best practices or a client case study.

Since we just published a book on tips for managers on how to engage their employees, we found that the requests for the books were so overwhelming that we printed more and now want to present these very helpful tips at HRMAC.


Mike will be presenting his session (C5) at 12:15 pm in Room 14.

Check in, Session Times & Room Assignments: All breakout sessions are located on Level 1. Please go directly to the room your session has been assigned (room changes may occur if necessary but will be prominently communicated via on-site signage).

Come see us at booth 320!

Good Parenting Skills Essential for Employee Engagement

parentingHow do good parenting skills affect employee engagement? What does parenting have to do with their son or daughter being engaged or disengaged at work?

If one is still lucky enough as I am to have their parents around to offer advice once in a while, consider how their influence can affect your work. My parents—my good parents—have always supported my goals in life, especially my talents. They are the wind beneath my wings, so to speak. I have always taken into account their honest feedback, good or bad, at several of the jobs I had in my life. That being said, sometimes when I felt I was not being treated fairly, they gave me open and honest feedback. If I was wrong, as hard as it was to take, I realized they were telling me for my own good in order to grow in the working world. So, there it is; growing up in the working world could use some parenting.

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TNS Headed to Nashville for Leading Age Expo 2014

TNS-Tradeshow-BalloonOCTOBER 15, 2014 – TNS Employee Insights will attend the Leading Age Annual Meeting & Expo in Nashville on October 19th to 22nd.

The Leading Age Annual Meeting & Expo is about embracing managed care programs, implementing new technology solutions and developing housing with service models. Attending the show will be thousands of ALF (Assisted Living Facility) professionals who will attend 150 expert-led education sessions.

Our presence at Leading Age is to promote our brand and offer our services, specially tailored to this market. Our brochures specifically speak to the ALF audience, illustrating our understanding of their business needs.

TNS Employee Insights provides associate (employees) and resident surveys to help ALF businesses find solutions to problems.

If you are planning to attend the Leading Age Annual Meeting & Expo 2014, please find TNS Employee Insights at Booth 2013.

Is Your Boss Jealous?


I’m sure there are plenty of us out there who would just love to walk off their jobs due to having a bad manager, and throw something on the way out. Why is that?

When you first started your job, everything was just peachy, and your new boss didn’t show any signs of maleficence. They call this the honeymoon phase. Then little by little the evil leaked out. Your ideas are no good anymore for some reason, you’re overlooked to attend critical meetings, and in general, your boss is treating you as though you have the plague.

You say you’re a rock star when it comes to your job, and always go above and beyond the call of duty, fully engaged in your work and interested in the company business. You’ve already received 2 glowing annual reviews. You’re well-liked by your peers and little birds land on your shoulders in the morning to help you dress. You’re immaculate about your hygiene, and your attire is always fashion plate worthy. When you smile, your bleached white teeth twinkle. So what’s the beef with your boss?

Aside from not be doing your job correctly, is she* jealous of you? Is she afraid you’ll steal her position? Did you say something hurtful without realizing? There could be a lot of reasons why the boss has suddenly turned mean. If you start going home with this on your mind, and begin to worry, it’s high time to ask her what’s wrong.

Schedule a chat time between the two of you to discuss it. If you’re dealing with someone who is truly vindictive, insecure, and lacks leadership skills, you probably are dealing with a jealous boss. If it’s your work that’s the problem, in my view, this boss would be the type who couldn’t wait to tell you where you’re making mistakes. On the other hand, could it be that she is not telling you what your failings are in order to let you fall? Who knows?

One thing’s for sure, you will never know until you hash it out. Trust your perceptions about this boss as to what kind of personality she possesses, and if you feel that a one on one meeting will end up with your words twisted or misinterpreted, then you had better have a third party present, such as an HR rep, another manager, or coworker whom you can trust.

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Is Government Responsible for Your Happiness?


I came across a very interesting article on the net about the government and the people of Bhutan. I mentioned this in one of my blogs when researching OHP back in January.

Occupational Health Psychology (OHP), a relatively new discipline, emerged from two distinct applied psychology disciplines, health psychology and industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology, as well as occupational health.  According to Wikipedia, “[OHP] concerns the application of psychology to improving the quality of work life, and to protecting and promoting the safety, health and well-being of workers.  OHP is concerned with psychosocial factors in the work environment and the development, maintenance, and promotion of employee health and that of their families. OHP includes a number of other disciplines, occupational sociology, industrial engineering, economics, preventive medicine, public health and others.

Back to Bhutan. This country keeps a happiness meter on its people and that’s how they measure how well things are going in that country. How wonderful! How simple!

From the excerpt:

“The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan measures its economic development and growth not with the conventional measure of GDP, but with the holistic, multidimensional measure of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which is measured based on economic self-reliance, environmental preservation, cultural promotion and good governance. The government’s goal is to balance economic progress with the spiritual and emotional well-being of the people.”

“Bhutan is known for shunning conventional development and going its own way. The first foreign tourists didn’t come to the country until 1974, and the government allows only 9,000 to enter per year, each of whom pay fees of $200 per day. Television and the Internet arrived only in 1999. Most recently, the Government of Bhutan made it illegal to sell tobacco or smoke in public, becoming the first officially non-smoking nation.”

“This statistic is compiled from responses to the survey question: “Taking all things together, would you say you are: very happy, quite happy, not very happy, or not at all happy?” The “Happiness (net)” statistic was obtained via the following formula: the percentage of people who rated themselves as either “quite happy” or “very happy” minus the percentage of people who rated themselves as either “not very happy” or “not at all happy”.” Continue Reading →

TNS at HCA HR Summit Today!


Today, we are at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, attending the HCA HR Leadership Summit 2014. For those who are attending be sure to greet Dr. Pat Sikora, and Mark Posmer at Booth #16.

Dr. Patricia Sikora, Senior Consultant, has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and organizational research services including online surveys, multivariate analysis, qualitative and ethnographic research, competitive intelligence, and secondary research; with particular expertise in complex emerging technologies and business-to-business relationship management. Past clients include Microsoft, American Heart Association, GTE, PacifiCorp, Qwest, and Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

As a former client services director, she provided design, analysis, and consulting support to Fortune 500 clients. Patricia holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2002. She is a proud recipient of Albert Heyer Award for research in Applied and Organizational Psychology.

Mark Posmer is the Director of IT Support, & Consulting Services/Advanced Analytics with TNS Employee Insights. He has worked in survey development and data analysis, specializing in employee and customer surveys. Experience with data analysis programs and procedures, such as SPSS, has allowed him to conduct statistical analyses for different clients. He has assisted clients such as United Technologies Corporation, IHG and HCA in the coordination and analysis aspects of the survey process.  Posmer is a member of the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology and the American Psychological Association. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Northern Illinois University.

If you are not attending the HCA HR Summit this year, be sure to call TNS Employee Insights for more information about our services.  Call 888-726-8686.