Saturday, July 30, 2005

[article] You Can Make Their Day

Ten Tips for the Leader About Building Employee Motivation and Morale at Work
By Susan M. Heathfield

You can make their day or break their day. Your choice. No kidding. Other than the decisions individuals make on their own about liking their work, you are the most powerful factor in employee motivation and morale. By your words, your body language, and the expression on your face, as a manager, supervisor, or leader, you telegraph your opinion of their value to the people you employee.

Feeling valued by their manager in the workplace is key to high employee motivation and morale. Feeling valued ranks right up there for most people with liking the work, competitive pay, opportunities for training and advancement, and feeling "in" on the latest news. Building high employee motivation and morale is both challenging and yet supremely simple. Building high employee motivation and morale requires that you pay attention every day to profoundly meaningful aspects of your impact on life at work.

Your Arrival at Work Sets the Tone for the Day

Picture Mr. Stressed-Out and Grumpy. He arrives at work with a frown on his face. His body language telegraphs "over-worked" and unhappy. He moves slowly and treats the first person who approaches him abruptly. It only takes a few minutes for the entire workplace to get the word. Stay away from Mr. Stressed-Out and Grumpy if you know what's good for you this morning. Your arrival and the first moments you spend with staff each day have an immeasurable impact on positive employee motivation and morale. Start the day right. Smile. Walk tall and confidently. Walk around your workplace and greet people. Share the goals and expectations for the day. Let the staff know that today is going to be a great day. It starts with you. You can make their day.

Use Simple, Powerful Motivational Words

Sometimes in my work, I get gifts. Yesterday, I interviewed an experienced supervisor for a position open at a client company. She indicated that she was popular with the people at her former company as evidenced by employees wanting to work on her shift. Responding to my question, she said that part of her success was that she liked and appreciated people - telegraphing the right message. She also uses simple, powerful, motivational words to demonstrate she values people. She says "please" and "thank you" and "you're doing a good job." How often do you take the time to use these simple, powerful words, and others like them, in your interaction with staff? You can make their day.

Make Sure People Know What You Expect

In the best book I've read on the subject, Why Employees Don't Do What They're Supposed to Do and What to Do about It, by Ferdinand Fournies (see side bar), setting clear expectations is often a supervisor's first failure. Supervisors think they have clearly stated work objectives, numbers needed, report deadlines and requirements, but the employee received a different message. Or, the requirements change in the middle of the day, job, or project. While the new expectations are communicated - usually poorly - the reason for the change or the context for the change is rarely discussed. This causes staff members to think that the company leaders don't know what they are doing. Hardly a confidence, morale-building feeling.

This is bad news for employee motivation and morale. Make sure you get feedback from the employee so you know he understands what you need. Share the goals and reasons for doing the task or project. In a manufacturing environment, don't emphasize numbers if you want a quality product finished quickly. If you must make a change midway through a task or a project, tell the staff why the change is needed; tell them everything you know. You can make their day.

Provide Regular Feedback

When I poll supervisors, the motivation and morale builder they identify first is knowing how they are doing at work. Your staff members need the same information. They want to know when they have done a project well and when you are disappointed in their results. They need this information as soon as possible following the event. They need to work with you to make sure they produce a positive outcome the next time. Set up a daily or weekly schedule and make sure feedback happens. You'll be surprised how effective this tool can be in building employee motivation and morale. You can make their day.

People Need Positive and Not So Positive Consequences

Hand-in-hand with regular feedback, employees need rewards and recognition for positive contributions. One of my clients has started a "thank you" process in which supervisors are recognizing employees with personally written thank you cards and a small gift for work that is above and beyond expectations.

They need a fair, consistently administered progressive disciplinary system for when they fail to perform effectively. The motivation and morale of your best-contributing employees is at stake. Nothing hurts positive motivation and morale more quickly than unaddressed problems, or problems addressed inconsistently. What about supervisory discretion, you are probably thinking. I'm all for supervisory discretion, but only when it is consistent. People need to know what they can expect from you. In employee relations, an apt statement is: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." (attribution unknown) You can make their day.

It Ain't Magic. It's Discipline.

Supervisors frequently ask, "How do I motivate employees?" It's one of the most common questions I am asked. Wrong question. Ask instead, "How do I create a work environment in which individual employees choose to be motivated about work goals and activities?" That question I can answer. The right answer is that, generally, you know what you should do; you know what motivates you. You just do not consistently, in a disciplined manner, adhere to what you know about motivation.

The ten tips, outlined in this article, are the keys to supervisory success in creating positive employee motivation and morale. The challenge is to incorporate them into your skill set and do them consistently. Every day. Author, Jim Collins identified disciplined people doing disciplined things every day as one of the hallmarks of companies that went from Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... And Others Don't (see side bar). You can make their day.

Continue Learning and Trying Out New Ideas

Use whatever access you have to education and training. You may have an internal trainer or you can seek classes from an outside consultant, a training company, or a college or university. If your company offers an educational assistance plan, use all of it. If not, start talking with your Human Resources professionals about creating one. The ability to continuously learn is what will keep you moving in your career and through all the changes I expect we'll see in the next decade.

Minimally, you will want to learn the roles and responsibilities of supervisors and managers and how to:
• provide feedback,
• provide praise and recognition,
• provide proper progressive discipline,
• give instructions,
• interview and hire employees,
• delegate tasks and projects,
• listen,
• write records, letters, file notations, and performance evaluations,
• make presentations,
• manage time,
• plan and execute projects,
• problem solve and follow up for continuous improvement,
• make decisions,
• manage meetings, and
• build teams in a teamwork environment.

What does all this have to do with motivation, you may ask? Everything. The more comfortable and confident you are about these work competencies, the more time, energy, and ability you have to devote to spending time with staff and creating a motivating work environment. You can make their day.

Make Time for People

Make time to spend time daily with each person you supervise. Managers might aim for an hour a week with each of their direct reports. Many studies, over the years, clearly indicate that a work motivation factor is spending positive interaction time with the supervisor. Schedule quarterly performance development meetings on a public calendar so people see when they can prepare for extra time and attention from you, focused on them. You can make their year.

Focus on the Development of People

Most people want to learn and grow their skills at work. No matter their reason: a promotion, different work, a new position or a leadership role, they appreciate your help. Talk about changes they want to make to their jobs to better serve their customers. Encourage experimentation and taking reasonable risk to develop their skills. Get to know them personally. Ask what motivates them. Ask what career objectives they have and are aiming to achieve. Make a development plan with each person and make sure you help them carry the plan out. The quarterly performance development meeting is your opportunity to formalize plans for people. You can make their career.

Provide Leadership

People expect you to know the goals and share the direction in which your work group is heading. The more you can tell them about why an event is happening, the better. Prepare staff in advance if visitors or customers will come to your workplace. Hold regular meetings to share information, gain ideas for improvement, and train new policies. Hold focus groups to gather input before implementing policies that affect employees. Promote problem solving and process improvement teams.

Above all else, to effectively lead a work group, department, or unit, you must take responsibility for your actions, the actions of the people you lead, and the accomplishment of the goals that are yours. If you are unhappy with the caliber of the people you are hiring, whose responsibility is that? If you are unhappy about the training people in your work group are receiving, whose responsibility is that? If you are tired of sales and accounting changing your goals, schedule, and direction, whose responsibility is that? If you step up to the wire, people will respect you and follow you. You are creating a work environment in which people will choose motivation. It does start with you. You can make their whole experience with your company.

Monday, July 25, 2005

[Tips] How to Succesfully Negotiate a Raise and/or Promotion

The process of asking for a raise or promotion is similar to a mating dance-if you don't complete each step correctly, you don't win the prize. The urge to burst in your manager's office and launch into an "I'm underpaid" sermon is tempting, but it's not the way to win yourself a bigger paycheck. Complete the checklist below before having the "big talk" and you'll be reaping the rewards all the way to the bank.

Step #1: Ask yourself if you deserve one
Self-evaluation-yuck! But here goes…Have you been a team-player? Do you regularly go above and beyond the call of duty? Has it been over a year since your last pay increase? Ask yourself if you deserve it (and be honest) rather than asking yourself if you need it. A rent increase or new car payment does not warrant a raise and should not be used as a factor in negotiations.

Step #2: Don't forget to smile
If you go in there with threats and demands, your manager will immediately be put on the defensive. Be confident, approachable and pleasant. You'll receive a more positive response from your manager and will have remained a consummate professional throughout the process.

Step #3: Make an appointment
All serious conversations with your manager should be scheduled via a formal invite (email is fine). Let your boss know that you are requesting a formal review and would like to discuss re-negotiating your salary/position. Schedule approximately 60 minutes for a day within 5 days of your request. NOTE: To be completely prepared, be sure to cover all of the steps below before requesting the meeting.

Step #4: Prepare your argument
Preparation is everything. If you don't have your arsenal in order before you walk into the meeting, you might as well cancel it. This is the time to be poised and ready to make the argument of your life. Here are a few of the talking points you should have together:

A. Personal Achievements
Highlight areas within your professional development where you have shown marked improvement (i.e. management style, listening skills, verbal communication). Not only will your boss know that you take his or her feedback seriously, but you have also taken the initiative to improve in those areas.

B. Company Contributions
Cite your most recent accomplishments that have positively impacted the company, group and/or client relations and highlight those that will benefit future projects. Discuss your professional track record by citing specific areas in which you excel (i.e. deliver projects on time, under budget, effective management style). TIP: Document your achievements by keeping a weekly journal so it's handy when you need it.

C. Client/Peer Kudos
Reference specific, unsolicited praise and admiration you've received from higher-ups or clients. These endorsements speak volumes about your professional integrity and give evidence to the fact that your work is noticed by others.

Step #5: Nail down a number
In order to determine what you should be receiving for compensation, you first need to find out what you're worth. To see how your current salary compares with equivalent roles in the marketplace, check out HireMinds Salary Guide.

Before settling on a figure, take the following company factors into consideration:

* What is the typical increase given? Do they have a policy on raises (i.e. maximum 10%)?
* How often are raises given to employees (bi-annually, annually)?

Be clear on what you are requesting. Go in there with a solid number in mind (try to avoid giving ranges as you will usually end up at the low end); however, don't give the impression you are unwilling to negotiate. Say something like, "I propose an 8% increase to my current salary for the following reasons…".

NOTE: Depending on the company, a typical raise is between 5-15%.

Step #6: Keep your mouth shut
Whether you get your raise or not, do not, under any circumstances, discuss the details of your raise with anyone you work with-not even if he/she is your best friend. Because pay varies from person to person, employees who become privy to the paychecks of others may become resentful and feel betrayed. Your manager is sure to hear the grumblings and be less than impressed with your lack of discretion. Do yourself and everyone else a favor, keep them ignorant to your compensation.

Step #7: Plan your response
You should at least consider your response if your manager comes back with a counter-offer. Don't feel discouraged as most issues surrounding money go several rounds before a resolution is met. If, finally, you can not agree on a dollar amount, see what else you can negotiate (i.e. parking space, additional paid vacation). If you are flat out denied, it may be time to re-evaluate your current situation. Search HireMinds jobs for new and exciting opportunities.

Good Luck!

This article is available at

Sunday, July 24, 2005

[article] Emotions Role in Making a Sale or Getting You Promoted

Bagaimana peran emosi dalam keberhasilan karir seseorang? Apakah benar seorang manajer dapat bekerja secara profesional dengan mengesampingkan emosinya? Bagaimana pengaruh rasa bahagia atau rasa sedih terhadap kemampuan seorang sales untuk menjual? Apakah emosi mempengaruhi karir seseorang?

Hal-hal inilah yang ingin dijawab Maurice E. Schweitzer, seorang guru besar bidang operations and information management di Wharton Business School, dan Jennifer Dunn, seorang mahasiswi PhD di jurusan tersebut. Mereka menuliskan hasil penelitian mereka dalam sebuah paper bertajuk "Feeling and Believing: The Influence of Emotion on Trust".

Artikel yang diterbitkan dalam Journal of Personality and Social Psychology ini berawal dari minat Schweitzer dalam hal negosiasi. Tentuya, dalam negosiasi, faktor kepercayaan (trust), adalah faktor yang sangat penting. Kepercayaan ini dipengaruhi oleh kecenderungan seseorang terhadap kepercayaan itu sendiri, dan kepercayaan terhadap orang lain. Tetapi berdasarkan hasil riset, Schweitzer menemukan bahwa kepercayaan ini adalah sesuatu yang labil. Faktor kepercayaan bukanlah faktor yang sifatnya stabil. Kepercayaan seseorang terhadap orang lain sangat dipengaruhi emosi yang dirasakan orang tersebut.

Jadi bagaimana seseorang dapat me-manage emosinya atau emosi orang lain?

Looking to Make a Sale or Get Promoted? Emotions Will Help Determine the Outcome

High emotion contributes to great opera. It does not, however, serve us well when making judgments about others. This is the argument advanced in "Feeling and Believing: The Influence of Emotion on Trust," a new paper by Maurice E. Schweitzer, Wharton professor of operations and information management, and Jennifer Dunn, a PhD student in the department.

The two researchers conducted five experiments to determine the influence of emotional states -- happiness, gratitude, anger, and guilt -- on trust. Each experiment confirmed that incidental emotions (emotions from one situation that influence judgment in a following, unrelated situation) affect how willing we are to trust others. For example, our anger over a speeding ticket is likely to affect how we judge someone later in the day. The researchers conclude that despite feeling we are rational beings who make clear, lucid judgments, in reality we all walk around in a sea of emotions that are likely to influence how we act in both business and social contexts.

The article, recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, stems from Schweitzer's ongoing interest in negotiation, where trust plays a critical role. Previous research identified trust as a combination of two constructs: one's own propensity to trust and one's knowledge about the other person. "This research suggests that we make a cognitive decision and use reason to decide whether or not to trust someone," notes Schweitzer. "What our research says is that trust is much more labile than that." In other words, trust is a constructed judgment that is influenced by irrelevant information. "The extent to which I do or do not trust you is a function not only of how trusting a person I am and what I know about you, but also a function of irrelevant events that have influenced my emotional state. For example, if I hit a parked car, argued with my spouse, learned that I have to pay a large repair bill (or won an award, had a paper accepted, or saw my stock account grow) beforehand, I would trust you less (or more). The main idea in the paper is that emotions which are irrelevant to the judgment task nevertheless influence trust judgments in predictable ways," Schweitzer says.

He and Dunn demonstrated this through a series of experiments, each one designed to test a different aspect of the "emotions affect trust" theory. In one study, for example, he and his team approached people waiting for trains and asked if they would be willing to take part in a study. They were asked to name a co-worker and then -- after an "emotion induction" phase -- answer a series of questions about that person. In the "emotion induction" phase, participants recounted in writing an incident that made them angry, sad, or happy (depending on which emotion they were assigned). Participants wrote about events like the birth of a child (happiness), the untimely death of a loved one (sadness), or the destructive behavior of a neighbor (anger). After this exercise, participants rated their co-workers on such statements as: "If X promised to copy a presentation for me, s/he would follow through," and "X would never intentionally misrepresent my point of view to others." Results showed that happy participants were significantly more trusting than were sad participants, and sad participants were significantly more trusting than were angry participants. Throughout each of the five studies, the results were the same. "What surprised me most was the magnitude and consistency of the effects," says Schweitzer.

A "Simple Manipulation"

For managers, this study reveals much about human nature, he suggests. "We can easily channel people and direct them to a happy, sad or angry place ... in a relatively short period of time with a relatively simple manipulation." These manipulations can take the form of a short story (e.g., a news story), a short movie clip, or even a short discussion. For example, the best salespeople "don't call on a customer and start with a comment about the stock market dropping or a favorite sports team losing. Instead, they focus attention on something uplifting," like a team making the playoffs or an upcoming holiday.

"In negotiation, we have always known that non-task communication -- discussion that's not directly relevant to the negotiation process -- is important for closing a deal," says Schweitzer. "This research gives us some insight into why it's important and what kinds of things should go into that communication." Specifically, "non-task communication, like telling jokes/stories or talking about sports, can change people's emotional states and make them more (or less) trusting. My advice is to give serious thought to non-task communication. This includes preparing the types of stories you tell and the types of non-task questions you ask. It also includes learning more about a client, such as whether he/she is a huge Red Sox fan or cares a lot about wildlife refuges. Conversely, you should recognize that when a salesperson or someone else engages in a conversation like this, he or she may influence your emotional state and subsequently your 'trust judgment'. The reason you gave someone a large contract may have more to do with how funny the story he told you beforehand was than with his reputation for dependability."

So going in to ask for a promotion or new responsibilities on the job is probably a good time to recount a funny story or ask about your supervisor's golf game, Schweitzer says. The point is to recognize the role that emotions play. Outside events -- such as the rise/fall of IBM stock if your supervisor owns it, or whether his or her child got accepted into a prestigious college -- as well as non-task communication, like telling a funny story, are important for trust judgments.

That's not to say we should never acknowledge problems that occur outside of the work setting, Schweitzer adds. "You have to demonstrate sensitivity." If a colleague is going through a difficult time personally, you should acknowledge it, but not dwell on it. "Our research shows that you can shift people to think about happy things and make them -- literally -- happy."

What Schweitzer and Dunn don't know is how long these incidental emotions last. The research tested people's propensity to trust immediately after the emotion induction (putting people into a happy, sad, or angry mood). Schweitzer is now working on a series of tests to determine the durability of these emotions: Do they last for minutes, hours, days or weeks? The results should help fill out the picture of how emotions affect our judgments.

Being Aware of Your Emotions

A second key finding in the study is that if people are aware of their emotional state, then the emotional state does not generally bleed into their judgments of others. In one study, for example, participants were shown film clips to induce either happiness or anger. Participants in the "happy" group watched a Robin Williams comedy routine, while those in the "anger" group watched a clip from the film Witness, in which teenagers harass an Amish man. After watching the clips, half of those in the "happy" group saw a brief note on screen that read, "Prior research has shown that even short film clips like the ones you have seen can influence people's emotions." The other half saw a blank screen. This was duplicated in the "angry" group. Consistent with the other study, angry participants provided significantly lower trust ratings than happy participants among those who did not receive the warning message. Among those who viewed the warning message, trust levels were about the same.

Again, says Schweitzer, links to the business world are clear, in particular because the results speak directly to the issue of "emotional intelligence," a widely discussed concept in recent years. "Managers and employees alike need to realize that when making decisions, they are in a state that is driven partly by reason, but also partly by emotion," he notes. Taking into account the role of awareness, managers can keep an eye out for employees who are at risk for bringing unrelated emotions to critical decisions. For example, a manager in a law firm may need to pull another lawyer aside and say, "I know case X isn't going well, but case Y is different," or "I know you're going through a difficult divorce, but don't let that cloud your judgment when you go into your negotiations today." Says Schweitzer: "When people recognize the trigger, or source, of their emotions they are less likely to misattribute them. When I realize that I'm angry because of something my spouse did, I am less likely to use that anger in an unrelated judgment. When I am not aware of or thinking about why I am angry, I am more likely to misattribute it."

Unattributed emotions are a problem, he points out, particularly for people working in high-stress, fast-paced jobs, like judges and parole officers, who have to make quick judgments about people. Because they move from one incident to the next without the luxury of time to sit back and gauge their emotions, they are more likely to misattribute emotional states. Again, awareness and correct attribution of emotional states can help manage this process, he suggests.

Based on his work in the field, Schweitzer thinks people conceive of themselves as rational human beings driven by rational thought -- particularly Westerners -- but it's not true. "People undervalue the extent to which emotions influence their judgment," he says. Correctly attributing our emotional states can counter the effects of others who are trying to manipulate our feelings. "Good sales people tell jokes and funny stories; they bring little gifts. What they are trying to do is influence people's emotional states." Recognizing that this person is trying to make you feel good can help separate the good feelings from the decisions at hand. Are you feeling you can trust these new partners and sign on the dotted line because it's a solid deal or because you are ecstatic over your new baby? "This is what we need to be aware of," says Schweitzer.

The highly emotional people in the crowd shouldn't feel too bad, he adds, noting that our quick emotional reactions have served us well for the past 100,000 years. Our ancestors who happened upon a snarling, big-toothed animal were smart to listen to their emotions and run the other way. "Actually, it's only been fairly recently that we can or should override those emotional reactions," he says. In other words, going into battle mode may not be the best response to a large, scary-looking person coming toward you at work. Especially if it's your boss.