How to Steer Clear of Toxic Environments

toxicToxicity can happen anywhere at any given workplace no matter how small or large, or what industry. Where there is human interaction, there is potential for disappointment that can add up to unhappy employees. Unhappy employees tend to want to spread their misery to others, even if unknowingly doing so. The disengagement of such employees is off the charts. What becomes toxic is the spread of that unhappiness and others’ reaction to it.

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Manager’s Bad Advice Could Lead to Dismissal

managerHere’s one for the books. I know someone who works for a major food chain here in the Midwest. I’ll call her Jane to protect her identity. Jane is just reaching her one year anniversary as a part time florist. A few times she has had to clarify certain procedures and protocols with her boss. Naturally.

Due to Jane’s boss not being able to extend her more working hours as a part-timer, she asked her boss if she could arrange her schedule should she be called to work at another occasional part time job – given enough notice. The boss told Jane that if that opportunity landed on a day she was scheduled to work, she should just call in sick that day. Jane took offense to the advice of lying and calling in sick because she has a good work ethic. Not only did Jane’s immediate boss tell her to call in sick but so did the store manager who has years of experience with this particular food chain.

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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.

 

What Prevents You from Doing Your Job Well?

distraction

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.

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TNS Floats to HRMAC Summit 2014 in Rosemont

 

TNS-Tradeshow-Balloon

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.

TNS_2719-14_TipsBookletMediaPack_Blog

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!

Is Your Boss Jealous?

worlds_greatest_mean_boss_lady

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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Squirrels Strike at Squirrely Co in Squirrelville

A nutty case study

Squirrelville

Letter-O-60pt-Castellarnce upon a time, there was a little village known as Squirrelville, USA. The inhabitants were real squirrels and they were quite efficient as hunters, but mostly gatherers in their community.

For years, the squirrels worked in harmony with each other because they were very well-organized and everyone had a role to play. Each role was described in great detail so that there would be no mistake as to what each squirrel had to do. Life was good.

There was a company called Squirrely Co, which was quite popular and only the brightest and smartest of the squirrel community could work there. At Squirrely Co, the squirrels produced nut jam, nut butter, nut soup, and nut meg. These were specialty items that only the hoidiest of toidiest of squirrels could afford. Squirrel Co operated efficiently and as a result, was very prosperous.

Squirrely Co was successful because the work environment was well-structured. There was a CEO, managers, administrators, and various departments of workers. The CEO told the administrators what to do, the administrators told the managers what to do, and the managers told the workers what to do.

Squirrel Co had great benefits too, which included medical, dental and accidental road kill. Not all squirrel companies could afford accidental road kill as they considered it too risky of a health hazard. The company also allowed their associates to buy stock in nuts. The only risk here would be a rise and fall in market value on a daily basis and it was also a seasonal risk.

Everyone at Squirrel Co was very happy… or so it seemed.

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Let’s Talk about Dag Nammit Swearing at Work

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Dang! I’ll bet if you saw that title, you clicked right on over here to read more!

This is more of a confession than a sermon on swearing at work. Just because I write about things that happen in the work place and what I feel should be done to rectify situations, does not make me sanctimonious. Here’s an area where I should pay closer attention.

One of my fondest memories from the movie, “A Christmas Story,” is when Ralphie swears when trying to help his father fix a flat tire.

Ralphie: Oooh fuuudge!

Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] Only I didn’t say “Fudge.” I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!

Mr. Parker: [stunned] *What* did you say?

Ralphie: Uh, um…

Mr. Parker: That’s… what I thought you said. Get in the car. Go on!

Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] It was all over – I was dead. What would it be? The guillotine? Hanging? The chair? The rack? The Chinese water torture? Hmmph. Mere child’s play compared to what surely awaited me. Continue Reading →

TNS Dance Card Full for October

TNS-Tradeshow-BalloonThis is our busiest season of the year for attending trade shows!

OCTOBER 2-3 – Our first stop is in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Conference Center to attend the HCA Human Resource Leadership Summit “Our Time is Now,” from 7AM to 11PM.  If you plan on coming, please come see us. Attending will be two of our experts in their fields. You’re going to want to talk to them!

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Got Chops? Open up at Meetings!

MadMeeting_2

After reading a great blog from Roz Usher, a leadership, image and branding specialist, entitled, “Silence is NOT Golden or When and How to Speak Up During A Meeting,” I naturally want to embellish even more into the heart of employee engagement.

Roz touches on employee engagement by noting how the silent people at meetings may appear to be disengaged by not participating. However, in my experience it is more the case of very much engaged employees afraid to speak out or interrupt a filibuster conducted by a chatty manager or a bloviated bulldozer.

We know that communication is 80% listening. The listener decides if communication is to take place. However at meetings, participation is mandatory in order to accomplish the meeting objectives. You were invited to the meeting for a reason. If you were in doubt that you should attend, ask the meeting coordinator what your purpose is at the meeting so you can prepare for it as Roz suggests in her blog.

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